There are a few teams with some work to do to get their books in order this offseason. In this issue:
- Digging the Saints out of yet another cap hole
- Life after Tom Brady for the Bucs will be austere
- The corner the Packers backed themselves into
The Big Picture: Teams In 2023 Cap Hell
With the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on sporting leagues in 2020 getting smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror, NFL teams will generally have a much less challenging time managing their finances. The salary cap is growing again after it took a $20 million or so dip due to revenue loss from the pandemic, and it could grow by a lot with how the league’s revenue continues to balloon with money from TV deals, gambling and more.
Some teams will still have a lot of work to do to get out of the red for 2023, however. There’s nothing quite as bad as the Saints’ $100 million hole last year or the Falcons’ abysmal situation that was somehow worse than New Orleans the past two seasons. But the Saints do have another big hole to dig out of and the division-rival Buccaneers are in only slightly better shape. In total, nine teams are in deficits of eight figures or more for 2023 right now in Over The Cap’s effective cap space metric, which takes into account the money needed to fill out the roster and sign draft picks.
We will be taking an in-depth look at the five-worst cap situations, including some of the teams mentioned above and another in the Packers that doesn’t have as big a hole to climb out of but is more limited in the levers they can pull to create space. We’ll discuss the other six teams in a more quick-hit style below that.
For years, the Saints’ salary cap strategy has been criticized as irresponsible and unsustainable. New Orleans has been one of the most aggressive teams in the league in restructuring contracts and pushing bonus proration into the future. However, it actually was quite shrewd for where they were as a team. Drew Brees gave them a chance to contend every season, and with the cap growing consistently every season, they smartly realized cap space now was more valuable than cap space later.
Of course, a global pandemic throwing NFL revenues into flux and causing the cap to drop for the first time in years was a major curveball. With Brees retiring, there was an opportunity for the Saints to hit a reset button and pay their debts in a way that could have been less painful. Instead, they doubled down, and I think this is actually where the Saints made their big mistake.
To get out of the red last year, the Saints had to restructure nearly every single player on the roster who made more than the minimum salary. They were so hard up for space that they converted WR Deonte Harty’s restricted free agent tender of a few million into a signing bonus and added void years to spread it out — and there were multiple moves like this.
The rationale was that even without Brees, the Saints pushed hard for a playoff berth in 2021 and missed mainly due to injuries. They brought the vast majority of that team back healthy this season, with the exception of HC Sean Payton. That turned out to be a pretty big deal to lose Brees and Payton in consecutive offseasons, and the Saints’ habit of trading away draft picks caught up to them with shaky depth when injuries hit again.
The Saints will have little choice but to make a few more restructures given their current situation. You could see them being more conservative than they have been in the past, however. Guys like CB Marshon Lattimore and RT Ryan Ramczyk are viewed as core pieces and are young enough to be relatively low-risk restructures. Those two moves alone save the Saints about $20 million. Saints C Erik McCoy has a $10 million roster bonus that was designed to be restructured as it’s already guaranteed; that saves another $8 million. Veteran S Marcus Maye has one of those bonuses too worth $6 million, so even though he’s a 30-year-old defensive back you can see he’s in the team’s plans. Restructuring that saves $4.5 million.
It’s probably the end of the road for WR Michael Thomas in New Orleans after yet another season lost to injury. The team can use an accounting trick to make him a June 1 cut and get most of the savings early by having him agree to a pay cut in exchange for hitting the market sooner. Given he has no more guarantees and will be cut regardless, there’s no downside for him. That saves $16.5 million.
Do-it-all wonder Taysom Hill is making way too much money for his current role but the Saints are pretty much stuck with that contract for another year — that deal continues to be one the most puzzling ones signed in a long time. They could restructure him with the plan to make him a June 1 cut in 2024, which would save $6.6 million. It would also make it easier to trade Hill if Payton comes calling from his next team.
There’s another interesting situation with QB Jameis Winston, who’s currently on the bench. If he’s the starter next year, he’s making a reasonable amount. If not, it makes no sense for either side to keep him. The Saints can do the same trick with Winston that they did Thomas and clear $12.8 million, otherwise the savings are only $4.4 million with a straight release.
Those moves would get the Saints to a point where they could do the minimum to field a team but they’ll need money to sign a starter if they move on from Winston, extend DE Marcus Davenport or make other notable moves in free agency. There aren’t a lot of cuts that free up cap space but releasing K Wil Lutz would save $3.7 million and the veteran is a luxury the team probably can’t afford, though they could extend him as well and net similar savings. Cutting DE Carl Granderson would save $4 million but New Orleans might think he has enough upside to hold onto.
Otherwise, the team needs to dip back into the restructure well. The options are G Andrus Peat, DE Cameron Jordan, LB Demario Davis, RB Alvin Kamara and S Tyrann Mathieu. Peat seems the most likely restructure candidate. He’s only 30 and the team has always seemed to have a higher opinion of him than others. That saves about $8 million.
At this point, these moves would give the Saints enough to extend Davenport, operate during the regular season and maybe make one more bargain-priced addition. To do anything more, the Saints would need to touch the deals for Jordan, Davis, Mathieu and/or Kamara, and that carries real risk.
The fact that Mathieu didn’t get a roster bonus like Maye probably indicates the Saints are less confident about his game aging well even though he’s just one year older. Of the remaining group, Davis and Jordan are both 34, and while they’re still playing at a high level, Father Time is undefeated. Kamara is only 28 but in running back years, that’s starting to get dicey. Not restructuring these three would preserve outs in their deals for 2024 and protect the team’s options going forward. They’re set to have positive cap space in 2024 for the first time in what will be years.
But a lot is going to depend on how the Saints see themselves after this season. Do they think they need a reset? Or do they stick to their guns yet again? Their current record of 4-8 seems like a pretty brutal reality check but time will tell.
Tampa Bay’s approach will be dictated by what QB Tom Brady decides to do. If he wants to come back, they’ll restructure all the contracts and extend the veterans they can to try and make another run at a Super Bowl. If he retires or decides he wants to play elsewhere — his contract is up after this season and includes a no-tag clause — then the Buccaneers have some work to do to clean up their books.
The first step will be figuring out how to manage the $35 million in dead money from Brady’s contract. If he retires, they can wait until June 1 to process it and take just $10.7 million of the hit in 2023 and save the rest for 2024. If he wants to play elsewhere, they have to take it all on the chin in 2023. They could also choose to do that anyway just to get it over with as fast as possible.
Without Brady, the Bucs would probably look to cut a number of veteran players like RB Leonard Fournette, G Shaq Mason, TE Cameron Brate and K Ryan Succop who would be considered luxuries for a rebuilding team. They can either find younger, cheaper options or already have those on the roster. The total savings here is about $14 million.
The Bucs have some solid restructure candidates including DT Vita Vea, WR Chris Godwin and CB Carlton Davis. All of them have been recently extended and all are 28 or younger. No restructure is risk-free but teams would rather push money out on players they see as being part of their future for a while. All three already also have all or most of their base salary in 2023 guaranteed. Restructuring them adds $29 million in space.
These moves would get the Buccaneers under the cap, and if Brady retires they’d get a major boost of cap space after June 1. They would need more if they planned on making any moves in free agency, however. They could restructure C Ryan Jensen or OLB Shaquil Barrett but both are on the far side of 30 and coming off of significant, season-ending injuries. Tampa Bay likely prefers to keep those deals untouched.
That leaves three players as big decision points: LT Donovan Smith, WR Mike Evans and WR Russell Gage. The latter was just signed as a free agent this offseason but has only 231 yards receiving in seven games as he’s battled hamstring issues. Half of his $10 million 2023 base salary is already guaranteed but releasing him would still save $2.8 million.
Smith is an above-average player who plays a premium position. But his deal presents $10 million of savings if cut which is significant. His contract is set to void in 2024 and Tampa Bay hasn’t extended the 30-year-old yet, which might be a hint. Still, a restructure or extension seems just slightly more likely to me for now, both of which could create about $9 million in savings.
Finally, the Buccaneers will need to do something with Evans. He has a cap hit of $23.7 million in the final year of his deal, which is set to void in 2024. One way to lower that is with an extension, and Evans is due for a raise with how the wide receiver market has moved. He’s on pace for his ninth straight 1,000-yard receiving season and hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down.
Still, committing $20 million a year and significant guarantees to a 30-year-old wideout is a tough sell for a rebuilding team, if that’s what Tampa Bay is doing in 2023. That’s why I think Evans is a serious trade candidate this coming offseason. It wouldn’t save the Bucs more than a couple million and would leave behind a $21.4 million dead cap hit. But it would give them a decent draft pick and allow them to clear their books going forward.
Compared to the Saints and Buccaneers, the Titans’ cap troubles will be far less convoluted to get out of — probably due to the fact their deficit is $30+ million smaller. But it doesn’t mean it will be any easier, as Tennessee will need to make some painful cuts, letting go of players who may have meant a great deal to the team and fanbase in the past few years.
Titans LT Taylor Lewan, OLB Bud Dupree, DL Denico Autry, WR Robert Woods, C Ben Jones, K Randy Bullock and LB Zach Cunningham all are potential cap casualties this coming offseason. All of them have significant savings if cut and are older than 30, except for Cunningham who’s 29:
|Player||Cap Hit||Dead Money||Savings|
If the Titans cut everyone on this list, it would result in $58.5 million in cap savings and put them in more than adequate position to operate this offseason. They’d have some holes if they made all of these cuts but they’re already playing without Lewan who has a torn ACL. Dupree has just three sacks which is fifth on the team. Woods is the leading receiver but with only 351 yards. Cunningham started just five games before going on injured reserve. It seems like Jones will consider retirement with how banged up he’s been. Autry might be the toughest cut here and the one I think Tennessee is most likely to keep around.
Tennessee will miss the experience and leadership this group provided. But it’s time for them to turn the page. This team is going to look considerably different in 2023.
The Chargers have had one of the biggest advantages in football for the past few seasons: a franchise quarterback on a rookie contract. That’s about to end soon, as Justin Herbert is finishing up his third season and will be eligible for an enormous extension this offseason. The big money won’t kick in for a year or two but the team needs to start getting their books in order now.
Some of the moves are easy. Cutting CB Michael Davis after he fell out of the lineup will save $7.4 million. Restructuring star OLB Joey Bosa, who’s still just 28, can add another $15.3 million. But the decisions with aging stars WR Keenan Allen and OLB Khalil Mack will be more difficult and will determine how the Chargers’ offseason goes.
Mack is set to count $27.4 million against the cap in 2023, and $18.4 million of that sum can be saved with a straight release. That’s a massive number. However, Mack has played well with seven sacks this season, and the whole point of trading a second-round pick for him was to team him up with Bosa who’s been hurt. It’d be tough to move on after just a year.
What I could see the Chargers doing is signing Mack to an extension to lower that cap hit and lock him in at a more palatable rate. It could be a legitimate deal, maybe worth somewhere in the neighborhood of what Saints DE Cameron Jordan is making. Or it could be a restructure with void years added. Either way, they could shave off nearly as much as they would by cutting him, somewhere in the neighborhood of $15-$18 million.
Allen has missed the bulk of the season with a balky hamstring and will be 31 in 2023. He has a $15.5 million base salary but only $1.5 million of that is guaranteed. In total, the Chargers could save $14.8 million in cap space with $6.9 million in dead money by releasing Allen. It would be a tough move but when receivers start to decline it often comes suddenly and injuries can be a harbinger. Between injuries and the base salary, it might be tough to find takers in a trade, although the Rams found a buyer for Woods last offseason.
There are a few other smaller moves the Chargers could look into. Extensions for G Matt Feiler and RB Austin Ekeler likely wouldn’t cost much and could lower their cap hits for 2023. Had things worked out the way they envisioned with CB J.C. Jackson, he would have been a restructure candidate. They can’t get out of his contract easily for another season, but his benching and injury will ward them away from doing anything with his deal.
What makes Green Bay’s situation difficult isn’t the deficit, there are plenty of teams who have more committed to the books in 2023. What will be challenging is the Packers have boxed themselves into a corner and don’t have many levers to pull to try and fix things — and their record this year makes it clear there’s a lot to fix.
The elephant in the room is QB Aaron Rodgers’ contract after he signed a three-year deal worth $50 million a year with significant guarantees last year. No matter what, he’ll count about $31.6 million on the cap, even if he retires. In that scenario, Green Bay would just wait to process his retirement until after June 1. That’s a chunk the Packers just have to work around.
In recent years, the Packers have eased up on strict organizational precedents about not doing restructures or void years or other tricks more aggressive teams have used to manufacture cap space. Some of that has been out of necessity because of the pandemic, some of it was to help appease Rodgers who wanted a more aggressive front office. My hunch is going forward, the Packers will want to get back to a more traditional approach and avoid contract restructures when they can.
That means cuts to create cap space and this is where the pinch comes in. There aren’t a lot of moves with meaningful savings and minimal dead money. Green Bay could cut CB Rasul Douglas and save $3.2 million but it would be $3.5 million in dead money and leave the Packers needing to find a new starting cornerback.
Instead, they’ll probably look at RB Aaron Jones and his $20 million cap hit. Cutting Jones would save $10.5 million with $9.5 million in dead money. While the veteran back has been arguably their best and most consistent offensive player in 2022, he’ll be 29 next year and that’s a ton of savings to turn down for a running back. Perhaps they compromise with a short extension that lowers his cap hit, as unrestricted free agency isn’t usually kind to backs.
The other major cut candidate to watch is LT David Bakhtiari. His road back from a torn ACL in December of 2020 has not been smooth, with what sounds like multiple setbacks and procedures. This season, he’s played 95 percent of the snaps or more in just six of the Packers’ 12 games. He’s missed three games and split time in the other three. His knee might need to be managed for the rest of his career.
Bakhtiari has played well when he’s been in the lineup and has played 100 percent of the snaps for three games in a row. But he’s also set to count $29 million against the cap in 2023, and because of his knee problems, a restructure becomes a major gamble. The catch is that a straight release saves less than $6 million. A June 1 cut would save $17.5 million but the Packers wouldn’t get those savings until after that date. The last five games of the season should offer some valuable data as to where the Packers should go with this decision.
They have some other options to create space. A short extension for veteran S Adrian Amos, whose deal is set to void and leave behind $8 million in dead money, could create a few million in space. A long-term deal for OLB Rashan Gary could also result in a couple million saved in the summer. He’s due $10.892 million on the fifth-year option.
If the Packers decide to break the glass and restructure some contracts, the top candidates are CB Jaire Alexander, DT Kenny Clark and LB De’Vondre Campbell. That would add $9.2 million, $10.965 million and $2.8 million respectively.
Wrapping Up The Rest
Here are the remaining teams, including their projected 2023 effective cap space and a few quick moves they’ll likely need to make:
- Some of Jacksonville’s big free agent signings have run their course and it’s time for the team to take the cap savings with CB Shaquill Griffin and S Rayshawn Jenkins, nearly $20 million in total. Jaguars DE Roy Robertson-Harris is another one to watch with $7.8 million in savings available, although he’s been solid.
- As far as restructure candidates, LT Cam Robinson and WR Christian Kirk are young enough to be relatively lower risk. That’d add $17.6 million in space. They could look at LB Foyesade Oluokun, WR Zay Jones, DL Foley Fatukasi or even 32-year-old G Brandon Scherff. There are reasons to be more conservative with that bunch, though.
- If they restructure QB Josh Allen, that should add about $21.5 million in cap space which basically pays off all their debts. Another $10.8 million can be freed up by restructuring DE Von Miller, who has a bonus in his deal that looks like it was earmarked for that.
- From there, a few more judicious cuts and restructures should give them enough space to re-sign key free agents like S Jordan Poyer and LB Tremaine Edmunds and maybe make a couple of shrewd additions in free agency. Guys to watch in that category include C Mitch Morse, who will be 31 and carries a cap savings of $5.25 million and a dead money hit of $6 million. Buffalo could also save $4.79 million by releasing RB Nyheim Hines, who has played almost exclusively special teams since being acquired via trade.
- Other restructure candidates include LB Matt Milano and LT Dion Dawkins.
- The big cut will probably be veteran LB Shaq Thompson who has a cap hit of $24.5 million in 2023. Carolina would save $13.2 million by releasing him. They’ll also likely cut C Pat Elflein ($4.75 million saved), LB Damien Wilson ($3.6 million), and perhaps S Xavier Woods ($2.7 million). They remain among the league leaders in cap space this year and should roll over a significant amount.
- Restructure candidates include RT Taylor Moton, WR D.J. Moore and RG Austin Corbett. In total, Carolina could add about $29 million in cap space by maxing out restructures for those three.
- These moves would put the Panthers in an okay position in terms of cap space to work with next offseason to try and bolster the roster for the next head coach. They’re hurt by a significant $28 million in dead money that’s already on their books for the Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson trades. They also have to earmark a major sum for DE Brian Burns, who will be entering a contract year. However, they should have enough to make a notable move or two to bolster the roster for the next head coach.
- It seems like things are trending toward a break between the Dolphins and CB Byron Jones as he remains out with a nagging Achilles issue. They would only save $4 million by cutting him outright, while a June 1 designation would let them save $14.1 million in 2023. The other signing that’s gone sour is WR Cedrick Wilson, who was made obsolete by the trade for Tyreek Hill and has lost the starting job in three-receiver sets to Trent Sherfield. However, Miami already guaranteed $5 million of his 2023 base salary, so they’d basically be paying him to go away if they cut him.
- Some mid-priced veterans like CB Keion Crossen, TE Durham Smythe and TE Cethan Carter could be cut for cheaper and younger alternatives. The Dolphins would save about $9 million with those moves.
- The bulk of Miami’s cap space is going to come from restructures, however. They have three main candidates in Hill, LT Terron Armstead and OLB Bradley Chubb. Hill is 29 but isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Interestingly enough we’ve seen some speedsters keep their wheels into their 30s as long as they stay relatively healthy. DeSean Jackson comes to mind as one example. Restructuring Hill would create an enormous $18.7 million influx of cap space as well, so it feels like a decent bet for the Dolphins to do it.
- Chubb is the youngest of the three and restructuring his 2023 base salary that’s already been guaranteed and spreading it over the rest of the deal he just signed would add $14.7 million in space. Restructuring Armstead would add another $11.8 million, although Miami will likely be cautious with the 32-year-old veteran who has an extensive injury history.
- Last year the Vikings avoided making a bunch of veteran cuts. Will they show the same restraint this year? There will be no shortage of options, including:
- 31-year-old LB Eric Kendricks ($9.5 million in savings)
- 34-year-old S Harrison Smith ($7.5 million savings but $11.7 million in dead money
- 33-year-old WR Adam Thielen ($6.4 million savings/$13.5 million dead)
- 31-year-old LB Jordan Hicks ($5 million savings)
- 30-year-old FB C.J. Ham ($3 million savings)
- 31-year-old OLB Za’Darius Smith ($12.3 million savings, $3.3 million dead)
- I would hazard a guess the linebackers and Ham get cut as those are relatively easy to replace with cheaper options. The defensive scheme also devalues linebackers over pass rushers and secondary players. The offense lives in three-receiver sets and barely uses a fullback.
- If the Vikings keep Smith, Thielen and Smith, the bulk of their spending money in 2023 is going to have to come from redoing contracts already on the books. They could add $10 million by restructuring RT Brian O’Neill and another $6 million from restructuring RB Dalvin Cook. They’ll probably be reluctant to touch Cook’s deal, though, due to the position he plays.
- The real cash will come from a lucrative, multi-year extension for QB Kirk Cousins, which seems likely given the team’s success this season. However, it will be interesting to see what Cousins’ camp pushes for given how the quarterback market has grown again. The Vikings front office has made it clear it’s aware of Cousins’ limitations, even if they think he’s a quality starter. I think they would be content to push the value over $40 million a year, fully guaranteed of course in Cousins’ trademark style. Where things could hit a snag is length of the deal. Cousins probably doesn’t want another one-year extension, and Minnesota might be hesitant to tie themselves to him for three or more years. Either way, he’s scheduled to have a $36 million cap hit in 2023 and an extension could cut that in half, or more.
- Restructuring the Big Three of DT Aaron Donald, WR Cooper Kupp and CB Jalen Ramsey should get the Rams in the neighborhood of $30 million in cap space to work with in free agency and for any free agents they want to keep
- They can’t get out of WR Allen Robinson’s contract, so odds are he gets another year and they hope they can make things work. Their other big free agent signing was LB Bobby Wagner, and while his deal is easier to get out of, he’s played better.
This Week In Football
- It seems like we’re making real progress to a new team for free-agent WR Odell Beckham Jr. He’s beginning his visit tour with the Giants and Bills to close out this week, then will head to Dallas on Monday where owner Jerry Jones will have the chance to make the final pitch. A big factor for Beckham is almost certainly going to be the size of the deal each team is willing to offer for him, while these visits are important for the teams to ascertain how healthy and able to contribute Beckham is going to be coming off of his ACL tear. It would not surprise me if by this time next week, we knew Beckham’s next team.
- Earlier this year, I thought there was no way all of these veteran quarterbacks that we’ve seen be so good for so long would continue to struggle. It looks like I will be wrong on that, for a variety of reasons including injuries. The curse that hit the Rams’ offensive line has started to spread rapidly to the rest of the roster, and QB Matthew Stafford was one of the victims. He’s out in the concussion protocol, though he does not have a concussion per the Rams. He took a hit and started feeling numbness in his legs, which is a legitimate cause for concern until the team can figure out what’s causing it and how to fix it. In the meantime, there’s no sense in Stafford continuing to take a pounding in what’s evidently a lost season. So he might not be back until 2023. Meanwhile in Green Bay, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ struggles are starting to make a little more sense with the revelation of just how serious the thumb injury he’s been playing with is, even though he keeps downplaying it. He picked up a rib issue in the loss to the Eagles on Sunday but is still chugging along. At this point, it would take the Packers being eliminated for Rodgers to concede the starting job, which does seem like it’s only a matter of time.
- With all the quarterback problems around the league, a lot of teams will be looking to the future and the draft for a potential solution. Everyone already knows about Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. Tennessee senior QB Hendon Hooker has also made a name for himself this college football season, though his torn ACL will likely relegate him to Day 2. There are two more quarterbacks to know as potential first-round prospects: Kentucky’s Will Levis who declared for the draft this week, and Florida’s Anthony Richardson is expected to declare as well. We’ll have more on all these quarterbacks in a future issue of NFLTR Review, so keep an eye out for that.
- After a relative reprieve last week, the injury gremlins were back at work:
- For the second time this season, 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell exited with an MCL injury that will sideline him about six to eight weeks. He already had one stint on injured reserve with the same injury to his other knee and will have to miss the rest of the season if he goes on IR again. San Francisco is hoping to have him back for the playoffs and avoid that. The speedy Mitchell was a find as a sixth-round pick but staying healthy has been a big issue through his first two seasons.
- The Bears took a pair of major blows during their beatdown at the hands of the Jets. They lost WR Darnell Mooney to an ankle injury and veteran S Eddie Jackson to a serious Lisfranc injury. Both players will miss the rest of the season. Mooney is a young player the Bears want to build around. This could be the end of the line for Jackson in Chicago, however, due to his contract. The injury is just the final blow.
- The Los Angeles Rams continue to be the most snakebitten team of the year after a remarkably stretch of good injury luck that partially fueled their success the past few seasons. The latest injury was to disappointing veteran WR Allen Robinson, who will end his first season as a Ram following a foot injury with just 33 catches, 339 yards and three touchdowns.
- Tampa Bay’s offensive line hasn’t been hit as hard as the Rams, but the Bucs have had their fair share of injuries this season and endured another when superstar RT Tristan Wirfs went down in a heap. They broke out the cart and the aircast and everything, giving every indication Wirfs could be looking at a real rough injury. Instead, it turned out to be just a high-ankle sprain, and Wirfs will miss weeks instead of months.
- In the “OUCH” category, Eagles S C.J. Gardner-Johnson had his breakout season for Philadelphia temporarily derailed by a lacerated kidney suffered during the win over the Packers. It sounds like an injury more likely to be suffered jousting than playing football but amazingly enough it will not prevent Gardner-Johnson from returning to the field, probably sooner rather than later.
- Wrapping things up, after some speculation that Bills DE Von Miller would only miss one game with his knee injury, Buffalo decided to take the cautious route and shut Miller down on injured reserve for the full four games to give him a chance to heal as much as possible before crunch-time in the postseason. It’s a good job by the Bills keeping in perspective the biggest reason they made the investment in Miller. He’s supposed to be their closer in big games in the playoffs, and having him as healthy as possible for that is the most important thing right now.
- Former Broncos RB Melvin Gordon found a new home, staying in the AFC West and landing with the Chiefs on the practice squad. Kansas City already has an interesting collection of running backs even with Clyde Edwards-Helaire on injured reserve, with breakout seventh-round rookie Isiah Pacheco, veterans Jerick McKinnon and Ronald Jones and now Gordon. I would term this an insurance policy for their insurance policy from the Chiefs’ perspective, as injuries can pile up in a hurry at running back. There’s a fairly good chance this doesn’t end up moving the needle for them, though.
Nickels & Dimes
Quick-hit thoughts and observations from around the NFL…
Ravens HC John Harbaugh might be hoping Stanford saves him from having to have another hard talk with a veteran coordinator this offseason. It’s too easy to criticize offensive coordinators but there’s mounting evidence that the Ravens are being held back by OC Greg Roman‘s system, and just like last year with Wink Martindale, a change is needed…
The Chiefs' offense continues to chug along, but what the Browns have done on offense this year is pretty stunning pic.twitter.com/wPGatz2ehS
— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) November 22, 2022
There’s been some buzz about Browns HC Kevin Stefanski being on the hot seat after this season. I don’t buy it for a few reasons, but this is a big reason why….
The way the Rams’ season is going, I’m surprised this didn’t put McVay on IR along with the other half of their team so they could just run the clock out until 2023…
NFL defenders with the most combined non-sack TFLs + run stuffs in 2022: pic.twitter.com/et9vMAMXne
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) November 29, 2022
Behold, a list of underrated players…
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) November 30, 2022
I was going to write a whole article on this subject and he…just…tweeted it out…
Jokes aside, this year’s free agent class is looking like a letdown at the receiver position. The incoming draft class also doesn’t have as many clear-cut projections as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. This is actually something the Bears cited as to why they were as aggressive trading for Claypool as they were. But what could augment the pool for receiver-needy teams are these veterans who for financial reasons might be leaving their original teams. We hit on a couple names above. Stay with us the next few weeks, and we’ll dive in even deeper…