Does your team still need help even though the offseason is mostly over? Look no further. In this issue:
- 113 total trade candidates to monitor
- Veteran EDGE’s, young WRs & even some fullbacks
- And of course, quarterbacks…
Around The Trade Block
We’re at the point of the NFL offseason where teams largely look the way they’re going to look come August and September. The draft is in the books and free agency is pretty picked through. But teams can still work the trade market to add to their rosters and we’ve seen a couple of those deals already. There will be plenty more during training camp and ahead of the trade deadline at the end of October.
So who’s available? We went through the depth charts for all 32 teams, connecting dots between excess depth, salary info, offseason additions and more, and came up with 113 potential trade candidates, broken down by position.
Most of these names won’t be traded, but a number of them could be. Think of this as a potential watch list to monitor, especially as we get deeper into training camp and the preseason.
- 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo
- Browns QB Baker Mayfield
- Packers QB Jordan Love
- Eagles QB Gardner Minshew
- Ravens QB Tyler Huntley
- Panthers QB Sam Darnold
- Steelers QB Mason Rudolph
It’s definitely a buyer’s market at quarterback right now, at least considering the quantity and quality of the options available. There are no slam-dunk franchise starters but there are varying degrees of competency and potential available.
Mayfield and Garoppolo are the obvious big fish with their current teams caught between a rock and a hard place given the duo’s scheduled compensation in 2022. Right now San Francisco and Cleveland are holding in the hopes of an injury to another starter creating more leverage, while interested teams are waiting in the hopes of only paying a fraction of either Mayfield or Garoppolo’s salary.
After that, we get into some intriguing backup territory. Aaron Rodgers’ new deal seems to eliminate the chances of Love starting before the end of his rookie contract. The former first-round pick could be intriguing to teams looking to net a potential future starter. Minshew doesn’t have nearly the same pedigree but he’s shown surprising competency in 22 career starts with a 41-12 touchdown to interception ratio.
Don’t expect either player to come cheaply, however, which is a big part of the appeal. The minimum asking price I would expect from either Packers GM Brian Gutekunst or Eagles GM Howie Roseman is a third-round pick. Let me stress that again: minimum. Potential starting quarterbacks have a lot of value, and so do quality backup quarterbacks for that matter. Neither Green Bay nor Philadelphia has to trade either player.
In Love’s case, he’s entering the third year of his four-year deal and is quite affordable as a backup as long as he’s on his rookie contract. The Packers probably won’t exercise his fifth-year option next May but there remains a world in which Rodgers retires following this season and Love gets a chance as a starter in Green Bay after all. Love’s stock is also at a low point and there’s a chance he could rehabilitate things with a strong showing this preseason or in any spot starts during the regular season. Add it all up, and there’s no rush for Gutekunst to trade Love unless he’s getting something back of legitimate value.
Minshew is in the final year of his deal, which does lend a little more urgency to the Eagles’ attempt to maximize his value. Still, any trade compensation would be weighed against the potential compensatory pick Philadelphia would stand to gain. Roseman has proven time and time again to be a shrewd negotiator, so it’s doubtful he’ll just give Minshew away.
Huntley showed off an intriguing skillset in relief of Lamar Jackson last season but another team would have to make it worth Baltimore’s while to give him up. Conversely, Carolina and Pittsburgh would likely be thrilled to trade Darnold or Rudolph, who other teams might like as a potential backup if they had favorable reports on them coming out of the draft. The salary for both is a major obstacle, though. Darnold likely plays out the string in Carolina unless they eat most of his $18.9 million fifth-year option to facilitate a deal and get a pick back. Rudolph is a strong candidate to be cut in September if he’s not dealt before then.
- Raiders RB Josh Jacobs or Kenyan Drake
- 49ers RB Trey Sermon
- Bills RB Zack Moss
- Dolphins RB Myles Gaskin
- Browns RB D’Ernest Johnson
- Vikings FB C.J. Ham
- Ravens FB Ben Mason
There’s often not much of a trade market for running backs given how plentiful the talent is at the position but it can happen given the high rate of injuries. Keep an eye on Las Vegas. This offseason, the Raiders declined Jacobs’ fifth-year option, drafted Zamir White in the fourth round and signed veterans Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah. They also still have Drake, restructuring his deal instead of biting the bullet and cutting him. It’s more likely they keep four backs in 2022 and rebuild the position in 2023 but if White shows he’s ready to start sooner rather than later, Las Vegas could go ahead and move on early from Jacobs if they get a decent offer.
Sermon and Moss are former third-rounders who appear to have fallen out of favor with their current coaching staffs. The 49ers and Bills also each drafted backs on Day 2 this year, so a fresh start might be best for both sides. Gaskin was Miami’s starter last season but the new coaching staff has made multiple additions that have him currently in a battle for the third spot on the depth chart. Cleveland tendered Johnson as a restricted free agent but also drafted Jerome Ford in the fourth round. If the Browns look to save some money at the position, Johnson is the one most likely to be moved in my opinion, not Kareem Hunt.
Now for some fullback trade talk! The position is obviously a dying breed in the modern NFL with the proliferation of the passing game. Only 12 players cracked 100 snaps last season. It’s a role that’s highly dependent on scheme, which is why it’s worth noting the switch with new Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell coming over from the Rams. The Vikings were one of the league leaders in fullback use in 2021. The Rams didn’t even roster one and spent just two snaps in two-back sets all season.
That’s bad news for Ham. He’s good enough on special teams that it’s hard for the Vikings to just cut him outright. But it’s worth pointing out the Patriots don’t currently have a fullback on the roster and project to be a run-heavy offense again in 2022. The Ravens also re-signed FB Pat Ricard this offseason, which makes it hard to find room for Mason on the roster.
- Panthers WR Robbie Anderson
- Jaguars WR Laviska Shenault
- Giants WR Darius Slayton
- Eagles WR Jalen Reagor
- Cardinals WR Andy Isabella
- Patriots WR N’Keal Harry
- Dolphins WR Preston Williams
- Jets WR Denzel Mims
- Buccaneers WR Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller
- Dolphins WR Lynn Bowden
- Chiefs WR Daurice Fountain
For now, I’m leaving off the trio 49ers WR Deebo Samuel, Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf and Commanders WR Terry McLaurin. Seattle and Washington have both passed on chances to trade their star wideouts and look to be serious about negotiations, at least right now. Samuel’s trade request still stands but San Francisco didn’t grant it during the draft and has the next couple of months to figure things out with their star wideout, who doesn’t have a lot of holdout leverage. Perhaps things change with that group closer to the regular season.
There are still options, although more so for teams looking to build out depth than add high-impact starters. Anderson came up in trade talks earlier this offseason and could be a solid No. 2 receiver for another team, particularly one with a better quarterback situation. Carolina instead restructured his deal but they could still move him after June 1 if the right offer comes along. It wouldn’t save much but it would get him off their books in the future and net them a pick, as opposed to potentially cutting him in 2023 to get his $21.7 million cap hit off the books.
After Anderson, there’s a cadre of former high draft picks who for one reason or another haven’t worked out with the teams who drafted them. Shenault has had some flashes with over 600 yards receiving each of his first two years. But the GM who drafted him is gone and he’s on his third coaching staff. Reagor, Harry, Mims and Isabella are buried on their respective depth charts due to a lack of impact so far despite being drafted in the first or second round. They could use a fresh start.
Slayton had a great rookie season as a deep threat but hasn’t been consistent as he enters a contract year. He’s due a raise to $2.4 million in 2022 under the proven performance escalator program, and that actually could work against his roster chances for the cap-strapped Giants. In a league that prioritizes speed, however, New York should be able to get something back in a trade for Slayton.
Williams is an enormous receiver who’s flashed at times his first three seasons. But the former UDFA has been beset by injuries, playing just eight games a year so far. He’s been buried by Miami’s aggressive offseason at receiver and isn’t a lock to make the team, but a good preseason might catch another team’s eye. The same is true for Bowden, who has some positional versatility.
The battle in camp and preseason is also going to be important in Tampa Bay, as the Bucs have a handful of receivers fighting for perhaps just two or three final roster spots. Ideally for the team, someone else looking for help might flip a pick to them instead of chancing things to the waiver wire. The Chiefs will have a pitched battle at the end of their roster at receiver as well, and someone like Fountain might be interesting to another team, if for nothing else than special teams value.
- Dolphins TE Durham Smythe or Adam Shaheen
- Jets TE Trevon Wesco
- Patriots TE Devin Asiasi or Dalton Keene
The Dolphins currently have Mike Gesicki, 2021 third-rounder Hunter Long, Cethan Carter, Shaheen and Smythe on the roster. Even if new HC Mike McDaniel goes tight end heavy and carries four, that leaves one on the outs. Both Smythe and Shaheen have developed into well-rounded players who could fill solid depth roles on other teams.
In New York, the Jets brought in two free-agent tight ends on relatively big deals and spent a third-rounder on Jeremy Ruckert. That likely means curtains for Wesco, but he could still have value to another team as a blocker.
Asiasi and Keene are leftovers from New England’s attempt to fix the position in the third round of the 2019 draft before double-dipping again in free agency last offseason. Neither has made much of an impact so far, It’s worth mentioning, though, that Keene has some H-back versatility that could work at fullback if the Patriots want to go that direction.
- Texans LT Laremy Tunsil
- Jets OT Mekhi Becton
- Eagles OT Andre Dillard
- Dolphins OT Austin Jackson
- Falcons RT Kaleb McGary
- Ravens OT Ja’Wuan James
- Giants OT Matt Peart
- Chargers RT Storm Norton
- Dolphins OT Greg Little
Tunsil isn’t a likely trade candidate, especially given the team restructured his contract this offseason. It can’t be completely ruled out, however, particularly if another team is willing to give up a significant package of picks. Houston still needs to do a lot to rebuild.
A trade involving Becton is also significantly less likely after the team passed on drafting a tackle in the first round this past April. Still, things between him and the team don’t feel like they’re in a good place. Veteran George Fant may be the leader to start at left tackle, which would push Becton to the right side. He needs a good training camp, and the Jets also need him to be good, but if things go south there should be another team willing to take a chance on Becton’s talent.
Dillard got a chance to start last season after LT Jordan Mailata was hurt and he showed a lot of improvement, perhaps enough to start for another team. He’s firmly buried in Philadelphia behind Mailata and RT Lane Johnson, though. Like with Minshew, don’t expect Roseman to just give Dillard away even though the former first-rounder is in the final year of his deal. The conversation probably starts at a third-round pick.
McGary and Jackson are two other high picks potentially nearing the end of their time with their original teams. Atlanta’s added veteran competition for McGary at right tackle in addition to declining his fifth-year option. So this might be his last chance to establish himself in Atlanta. Jackson will also be competing to start at right tackle after being displaced from the left side by free-agent signing Terron Armstead. He’ll battle 2021 second-rounder Liam Eichenberg. If he doesn’t win, it puts his future in some doubt, especially because of the new coaching staff coming in.
Peart has been drafted over in New York, and with an entirely new regime in town, he’s one to watch for a fresh start elsewhere. Norton was the weak link in the Chargers’ offensive line last season and Los Angeles still has not replaced him. If/once they do, he could be available as well.
Baltimore signed James last summer as insurance for this year at right tackle, but since then they’ve added Morgan Moses and drafted Daniel Faalele in the fourth round. The selection of first-round C Tyler Linderbaum also means Patrick Mekari is available to back up either tackle spot. If LT Ronnie Stanley is healthy, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for James, who had an Achilles injury of his own. If he’s healthy, he could draw interest as a starting right tackle with a lot of experience.
- Broncos G Graham Glasgow
- Bills G Cody Ford
- Dolphins C Michael Deiter
- Ravens C Trystan Colon-Castille
- Panthers G Dennis Daley
- Panthers G Michael Jordan
- Vikings G Wyatt Davis, Jesse Davis, Chris Reed
It’s been a rough few months for Glasgow. He suffered a broken leg that ended his season and also had ligament damage. Rather than take his chances in free agency, he elected for a pay cut that will keep the Broncos from releasing him this year, but didn’t guarantee anything else. He’ll compete with Lloyd Cushenberry and Quinn Meinerz for two starting spots at center and guard.
If he loses, the Broncos could always keep him as a backup. Offensive line depth is valuable, especially for contending teams. Glasgow will have trade value, though, especially with only $3.1 million due this year in base salary after the pay cut.
In Buffalo, Ford has been unable to crack the starting lineup despite having numerous opportunities. It might be time for a fresh start. Carolina has upgraded from Daley and Jordan this offseason but the two have starting experience that might catch the eye of another team in need of help at guard.
Deiter is currently slated to start at center for the Dolphins, but they’re working free-agent signing Connor Williams there during OTAs, and have enough cap space to sign someone like J.C. Tretter later this summer. Other teams looking for a center specifically could eye Baltimore, where they’ve gone out of their way in the past to find room for Colon-Castille in a crowded offensive line room but may be hard-pressed to do so again this year.
The Vikings chucked a bunch of resources at fixing their problematic right guard spot, drafting Ed Ingram in the second round and signing Davis and Reed. With Ezra Cleveland locking up one spot and Ingram the other, that leaves just one or two roster spots for the remaining three candidates, and Davis might be at the end of the pack even though he was just taken in the third round last year.
- Bears DE Robert Quinn
- Raiders DE Clelin Ferrell
- Broncos OLB Malik Reed
- Texans DE Rasheem Green, Jordan Jenkins or Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
- Jets DE Jabari Zuniga, Bryce Huff, Vinny Curry or Solomon Thomas
- Colts DE Ben Banogu
- Browns DE Stephen Weatherly
- Vikings DE D.J. Wonnum or Janarius Robinson
- Saints DE Tanoh Kpassagnon and Taco Charlton
- Giants OLB Oshane Ximines, Quincy Roche or Elerson Smith
- Browns DE Curtis Weaver
- Cowboys DE Tarell Basham
- Lions DE Austin Bryant
- 49ers DE Jordan Willis
Quinn is obviously the big name here if he really wants out of Chicago. He said it himself earlier this offseason: if the Bears were willing to trade Khalil Mack, they can trade just about anyone, and they’d have a market for Quinn. He had a monstrous season with 18.5 sacks last year and that kind of pass-rushing presence is always in demand. The $12.8 million base salary would be an obstacle to a deal, though not an insurmountable one as we saw last year with Von Miller.
Outside of Quinn, you don’t see a ton of big names. Ferrell is a former top-five pick but is more of a role player than an impact starter. Las Vegas would probably be happy to shed his salary and get a pick after declining his fifth-year option. Reed has 13 sacks the past two seasons but profiles more as a first pass rusher off the bench than a starting player. Denver gave him the just right of first refusal tender yet he didn’t seem to draw much interest as a restricted free agent this offseason.
The overriding theme with the rest of the list is crowded depth charts that could push some intriguing edge rushers onto the waiver wire during roster cuts and spark some low-level trade action. The Texans have been particularly busy, signing Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison to two-year deals in addition to Green and Okoronkwo. They join 2021 breakout DE Jonathan Greenard and Jenkins, a free agent signing last year, in what is an extraordinarily crowded edge group. Most teams keep four, maybe five players here, meaning the Texans will have to cut or trade one or two out of this group if everyone stays healthy.
It’s a similar story with the Jets. While HC Robert Saleh regularly kept 10 defensive linemen when he was the 49ers’ defensive coordinator, the Jets have even more of a surplus up front. Guys like Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, first-rounder Jermaine Johnson and fourth-rounder Micheal Clemons are locks at edge. So is Jacob Martin considering his three-year, $13.5 million deal. At defensive tackle, there’s obviously Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins, while one of either Jonathan Marshall or Nathan Shepherd should make the team as a run stuffer.
That leaves just a couple of spots for everyone else. Thomas got a deal that was almost fully guaranteed, but his game is a little redundant to Franklin-Myers as an early-down defensive end who kicks inside on third down to rush. Curry got a large percentage of his deal guaranteed, but Huff has been coming along as a rotational edge rusher and is younger. What’s clear at least is that Zuniga, a former third-round pick in 2020, faces a steep climb to make the team.
The Texans and Jets are the extreme examples here, but there are a number of other players who could be forced out. Banogu hasn’t developed the way the Colts hoped for a second-round pick and could be out of chances. Minnesota might only have room to keep either Wonnum, who started 14 games and had eight sacks in 2021, or Robinson, who basically red-shirted his rookie season in 2021 but is an athletically intriguing former fourth-rounder. Ximines, Roche and Smith are competing for just one roster spot unless the Giants decide to keep five outside linebackers.
- Commanders DT Daron Payne
- Chargers DL Jerry Tillery
- Cowboys DT Neville Gallimore, Trysten Hill, Carlos Watkins
- Patriots DL Byron Cowart, Daniel Ekuale
- Steelers DL Montravius Adams, Chris Wormley
- Seahawks DL L.J. Collier
- Raiders DT Andrew Billings
Washington explored the trade market for Payne earlier this offseason according to reports but didn’t find enough interest to pull the trigger. He’s in the final year of his contract and we can deduce his final year as a Commander but it still would likely take either a major offer or Washington falling out of contention before the trade deadline for a deal to come together. Payne’s a good player but not the kind of impact interior pass rusher teams will stretch themselves to acquire.
Tillery seems like he’s on his way out of Los Angeles after the Chargers declined his fifth-year option and made it a priority to reshape their defensive line. Perhaps they could get a late-rounder back. In Dallas, there’s a big crunch for roster spots at defensive tackle, and they could alleviate that by trading someone like Hill or Gallimore who has underperformed so far.
The Patriots and Steelers both have enough depth on the defensive interior that other teams could look to raid them during roster cuts. Ekuale was a stash on the practice squad last year but had interest from other teams and decided to stay in New England. Cowart, Adams and Wormley have all flashed at different points, though the consistency is still lacking.
Collier has been available for a couple of seasons now as a failed first-rounder. Seattle’s scheme change on defense might not help him.
- Falcons LB Deion Jones
- Chargers LB Kenneth Murray
- Texans LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, Christian Kirksey, Neville Hewitt, Kamu Grugier-Hill
- Steelers LB Robert Spillane
- Vikings LB Chazz Surratt or Troy Dye
- Eagles LB Davion Taylor
The Falcons would love to trade Jones for a pick. However, his salary and dropoff in play the past few seasons make that seem unlikely. Indications seem to be that the Falcons are leaning toward releasing him after June 1 when it doesn’t result in a negative hit on their cap for 2022.
Murray is another former Chargers first-round pick who has struggled to find his footing in the NFL. The team probably will have more patience with him than Tillery, however. Houston has a crowded depth chart at linebacker as well and could flip one of the players mentioned here for a late-rounder, particularly if third-round LB Christian Harris is ready to start right away.
Pittsburgh signed Myles Jack to start alongside Devin Bush at inside linebacker and there’s some optimism for 2021 fourth-round LB Buddy Johnson. If he takes a step forward, it could make Spillane expendable. Dye, Surratt and Taylor were all developmental options taken with relatively high picks but now find themselves on much more competitive depth charts.
- Lions CB Jeff Okudah
- Saints CB Bradley Roby
- Raiders CB Trayvon Mullen or Amik Robertson
- Cowboys CB Anthony Brown
- Patriots CB Jonathan Jones, Myles Bryant, Terrance Mitchell, Joejuan Williams
- Vikings CB Cameron Dantzler
- Chiefs CB Deandre Baker
- Giants CB Darnay Holmes
- Bears CB Kindle Vildor
Okudah has had some bad luck with injuries but that doesn’t change the fact he’s entering his third season with the Lions and they still don’t really know what they have. He’ll have a chance to compete to start but Detroit’s secondary is a lot more competitive than it was a year ago, so it’s possible he could fall behind.
The Saints and Roby worked out what looks like a pay cut to keep him in New Orleans instead of a straight release, which is interesting considering Roby’s snaps were inconsistent last year due to other players on the roster. You wouldn’t think that would change in 2022, so if another team needs a veteran or Roby decides he wants more playing time, it’d be logical for something to happen there.
Dallas is in an interesting situation with Brown because coming into this year the expectation was that 2021 second-round CB Kelvin Joseph would step up and take over the No. 2 job. Brown is solid, but the Cowboys would save $5 million by moving on, which seems like a no-brainer if Brown is fourth on the depth chart behind Joseph, Trevon Diggs and Jourdan Lewis. The catch is Joseph’s legal situation, which is still developing but could be a factor in his availability.
Mullen, Robertson, Dantzler and Holmes are all young, relatively high draft picks who are working with new coaching staffs this year. If they don’t fit in smoothly, that recent draft capital could help another team talk themselves into taking a flier.
New England’s secondary is wide open, so there’s room for surprises. Jones has been a starting slot corner but he’s getting older, missed all of 2021 to injury and could save the team around $6 million if they move on. Bryant has exceeded expectations as a former undrafted free agent but his athletic limitations were exposed in a couple of rough outings against Buffalo last season. If the Patriots want to get faster, there might not be room for Bryant.
The Chiefs and Bears have also added a lot of competition in the secondary, which could push out guys like Baker and Vildor. Baker’s still hanging around after flaming out with the Giants, while Vildor started 12 games for Chicago as a former fifth-round pick. Neither are shutdown corners by any stretch of the imagination but they have some value in a league desperate for competent cornerback play.
- Bengals S Jessie Bates
- Bills S Jordan Poyer
- Bears S Eddie Jackson
- Ravens S Chuck Clark
- Raiders S Johnathan Abram
- Jets S Ashtyn Davis
The odds are low of either Bates or Poyer being traded considering both the Bengals and Bills are right in the middle of a Super Bowl window. But neither are happy with their contract, which will have other teams keeping tabs on things. Bates was franchise-tagged despite being pissed about having to play out a contract year last season. He’s making noise about a holdout, though it will cost him a lot to follow through. Poyer has asked the team for a raise as he enters his contract year. The temperature hasn’t raised on that situation yet but there’s still time.
Jackson might not fit the timeline for the rebuilding Bears. He’s getting older and is due $11 million in guaranteed salary in 2022, which might be why he wasn’t just cut. He’s the type of player it makes a lot of sense to trade but finding a taker for that salary might be hard unless he has a strong start to the season.
The Ravens’ selection of first-round S Kyle Hamilton put Clark’s future in Baltimore in doubt. Three-safety packages are always an option, but Clark is still looking at a reduced role sooner rather than later no matter how you slice it. Baltimore has shown it will honor trade requests from players the past couple of seasons.
Abram and Davis have been disappointments relative to expectations and draft positioning so far. Abram’s fifth-year option was just declined and there’s a good chance he loses his starting job to Duron Harmon.
This Week In Football
- The Bears traded one big-name pass rusher this offseason and they might not be done. There’s some buzz that OLB Robert Quinn, coming off of an 18.5 sack season, would prefer to be dealt as well. It makes sense given he’s 32 and Chicago doesn’t look like it’s going to be much of a factor in 2022. There should be a solid market for Quinn and the Bears could add another decent pick or two to help speed along their rebuild. However, it doesn’t seem like they’re inclined to make that move right now.
- In other pass-rushing news, the Browns closed a deal with DE Jadeveon Clowney to bring him back for another season in Cleveland. It’s a one-year pact worth up to $11 million, which will probably be how the rest of Clowney’s career goes from here. It’s a win for both sides, as the Browns get an excellent bookend across from Myles Garrett, while Clowney gets a decent paycheck and to play for a team that, if a few things break their way, could be a serious contender.
- There’s still not much momentum for the Browns when it comes to trading QB Baker Mayfield and it comes down to haggling over the price. Teams like the Seahawks and Panthers are both still interested, but only to a point. And right now that point includes the Browns taking on the majority of Mayfield’s $18.858 million fifth-year option. So far the Browns have been unwilling to do that. As we wrote a couple of weeks ago, if they’re willing to endure the awkwardness of keeping Mayfield the rest of the year — and this is a team that has shown it’s willing to deal with “distractions” — they could bank on getting a comp pick for Mayfield when he signs elsewhere in 2023. There’s been a lot of reporting on the financials of this deal, not so much on the picks that may or may not be on the table.
- The Browns are also apparently getting close to an extension for TE David Njoku, who was franchise tagged by the team earlier this offseason at a sum of $10.9 million fully guaranteed. It got overshadowed by how crazy the wide receiver market became, but there was a run on tight ends this offseason too. Tags for Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki and Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz were understandable but guys like Carolina’s Ian Thomas, Seattle’s Will Dissly and Jacksonville’s Evan Engram all cashed in with deals that look rich when compared to their career production. Njoku’s franchise tag falls in that same bucket, as would the reported $13+ million a year the Browns are willing to fork over. That’s top five money at the position for someone who has averaged just 27 yards a game so far in his career.
- Jimmy Garoppolo is still on the 49ers’ roster and there are a lot of people who don’t quite know what to make of it. However, 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan said this week at OTAs that the expectation is still for them to trade Garoppolo at some point, though he stopped short of fully guaranteeing it. There are a couple of things to keep in mind. While a lot of coaches play mind games or lie to the media, Shanahan shoots it pretty straight, like last year when he insisted time and time again they weren’t going to just give Garoppolo away and were perfectly content starting him until either Lance beat him out for the job or they were out of the hunt. Every action San Francisco has taken this offseason has indicated that they are preparing for Trey Lance to start, down to little things like Lance being the one to text the incoming rookies as the leader of the team. In my opinion, there’s a 99 percent chance Lance is the starter, setting aside the chances of injury.
- As for Garoppolo, his shoulder surgery paused things while other teams made their plans at the position, which has San Francisco in a bit of a bind given he’s owed $25 million. They could cut him outright and save all of that but again, taking the 49ers at their word, they’d be extremely reluctant to do that because they believe Garoppolo is a starting-caliber quarterback who ought to have value to other teams. Perhaps there’s a way for both sides to work out a pay cut, but there’s no way the 49ers are paying that amount to a backup quarterback when they have guys like WR Deebo Samuel and DE Nick Bosa up for new deals.
- New Cardinals WR Marquise Brown flies a little under the radar compared to other receivers from his 2019 draft class like Samuel and A.J. Brown who are or were up for new deals. But he’s in a great position to cash in as well and an extension for Brown is one of Arizona’s priorities. Considering the Cardinals gave up a first-round pick to acquire Brown, he’s in an excellent position when it comes to leverage in these talks. $20 million a year seems like a floor for him.
- It would have made a lot of sense for the Colts last year to go after Nick Foles as a backup quarterback given his familiarity with HC Frank Reich’s system, the one in which he led the Eagles to a Super Bowl win in 2017. But Indianapolis was cautious about stepping on Carson Wentz’s toes. There are no concerns like that with new starting QB Matt Ryan, though, so Foles finally landed in Indianapolis this week on a two-year deal. Ryan has been one of the most durable quarterbacks in football, so there’s a good chance he doesn’t play, but the Colts are in good hands with Foles if they ever need to turn that way.
- The Ravens made another addition to their secondary this week, signing veteran CB Kyle Fuller to a one-year deal. Fuller’s a relatively big name at the position but he fell off dramatically in 2021 after signing a one-year, $9.5 million deal with the Broncos. He was benched for multiple games and was shopped around at the trade deadline. He’s only 30 but the cliff can come fast for defensive backs, so perhaps expectations should be tempered. If he can give them what Jimmy Smith did the past few seasons, that’ll be a win for the Baltimore front office.
- Pittsburgh concluded a long and thorough search for a successor to outgoing GM Kevin Colbert by staying in the building and promoting VP of football administration Omar Khan. He’s a longtime veteran in the Steelers’ front office with 21 years under his belt, almost as many as Colbert had as GM. Khan has interviewed with other teams for GM vacancies as well, so he’s well-qualified. Pittsburgh does transitions about as well as any organization in football, so there’s no reason to think they’ll miss a beat with Khan.
Nickels & Dimes
Quick-hit thoughts and observations from around the NFL…
Remember when Matt Rhule fired Joe Brady because he didn't run the ball enough in 2021?
Third largest decrease in early down passing from the first half to the second half of the season amongst all NFL teams in 2021. pic.twitter.com/GyCQDGqVeh
— Amr Gabr (@amrgaabr) May 19, 2022
Beyond the Panthers takeaway here, it’s interesting to see the top and bottom teams on this list. The Patriots took more and more off Mac Jones’ plate late in the year, while the Browns put more on Baker Mayfield’s despite the injury. Might not mean anything for 2022 but it’s interesting…
A look at all the participants who will be there pic.twitter.com/Lcjl65swU2
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) May 19, 2022
It’s hard not to take a look through this list and come away thinking the lack of qualified candidates is the reason the NFL has a hard time with minority hiring…
Never told this story but enough time has passed… An agent once told me his DL was deciding on 2 teams – 1 in the NFCS and 1 not in the NFCS. It was literally dead even. After a couple of days, the DL chose outside the NFCS because he hated Jensen so much. He has that effect. https://t.co/J2XV9XTVIW
— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) May 20, 2022
Tampa Bay re-signing C Ryan Jensen flew way under the radar, but that was a huge coup for them this offseason, probably second only to Brady unretiring…
Jameson Williams went 12th with an ACL tear
Jaylen Waddle went 6th w a bad ankle
Henry Ruggs was the first WR off the board
— Conor "The Syrup Guy" McAnalytics (@ConorMcQ5) May 19, 2022
This is a fascinating article and thread. Obviously, the NFL is placing a huge premium on speed. And intuitively we know it affects the game, but perhaps maybe not as much as we think…