NFLTR Review: Potential Landing Spots For Hopkins, Jeudy, Sutton & Other Notable Receivers

Plenty of teams are still on the lookout for help at what has become one of football’s most important positions. In this issue:

  • The skinny on Hopkins, Jeudy, Sutton & more WRs on the block
  • Under-the-radar names who might be available
  • Why the 2023 draft class might not bring the cavalry

Around The Trade Block: Wide Receiver

Wide receiver has rapidly become one of the most important positions in the game. Just follow the money. The only players who make more are quarterbacks and pass rushers, and everyone else, even the left tackles and cornerbacks, falls in behind. 

That makes the conundrum receiver-needy teams have to navigate this offseason fascinating. Two months ago, we looked ahead at the options teams might have to upgrade their receiving corps. Compared to a year ago, it was slim pickings. The available free agents were all complementary pieces at best. And if the trade block is like a used car lot, last year there were multiple high-end brands that had barely been driven. This year, the options all either have a lot of mileage, are overpriced or are even starting to break down. 

So even though the need for quality receiver play hasn’t dwindled, teams have proceeded with caution so far. All the free agent wideouts signed deals for probably less than they expected. There have been three trades that involved a receiver so far and all of them involved some creativity. The Texans ate a third of Brandin Cooks’ salary just to get fifth and sixth-round picks from the Cowboys, while the Bears used the leverage of having the No. 1 pick and a Panthers team desperate for a quarterback to pry D.J. Moore away as a part of that trade package. The Browns swapped their second-rounder with the Jets’ third-rounder to get Elijah Moore, which New York was amenable to given a myriad of factors, like the pending trade for QB Aaron Rodgers, their crowded receiving corps and Moore’s discontent with his role last season. 

As the calendar is poised to flip to April, the biggest name on the trade block, Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins, remains available. It’s not that Hopkins wouldn’t be a big help to a team at this point, even though he’s turning 31 this year. There are just numerous factors that make this trade complicated, including the Cardinals’ high asking price and Hopkins’ contract. 

The Broncos have a lot of depth at receiver and an opportunity to replenish their depleted store of draft picks by dealing from that strength. That’s why they’ve been willing to listen when teams have called about WRs Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. It also means they’re not settling. Denver’s asking price has been high, reportedly a first-round pick for Jeudy and a second-round pick for Sutton. 

However, teams have been understandably reluctant to meet that. Jeudy showed a lot of promise last season but has battled injuries and has yet to hit 1,000 yards receiving in a season. Sutton has also had his share of injuries and hasn’t crossed the 1,000-yard mark since tearing his ACL in the 2020 season opener. He’s due $14.5 million in 2023, nearly all of it guaranteed. 

If a deal shakes out for one or more of these receivers, it’s looking more and more like it will be closer to the NFL Draft as teams get a sense of all their options. It’s not a great draft class compared to past years — more on that in a little bit — but for some teams, it will be the best option they have. 

Here’s a look, post-free agency and trades, at which teams still have the need for a receiver and the resources to potentially land one of these three players. 

Landing Spots For Hopkins, Jeudy & Sutton

Jeudy & Sutton

The Broncos have been willing to entertain the idea of trading a receiver and part of the reason is they need more draft picks to replace what they’ve given up to acquire QB Russell Wilson. Both Jeudy and Sutton are valuable enough that other teams are reaching out. Everyone would love to trade their pocket change for a $5 bill but usually teams have to give something of value to get back something worthwhile. 

Receiver is the deepest position on the roster, which would minimize the blow if Denver traded one. Another factor is new HC Sean Payton was willing to cycle through skill position players when he was with the Saints and had a track record of getting production out of less-heralded options. It’s not a question about whether Jeudy or Sutton fits the offense Payton is installing but if the Broncos can afford to trade away anyone, it’s a receiver. 

A trade doesn’t make sense unless the Broncos feel like they’re getting strong value back, though. So while there might be a little room to compromise on the asking price — for instance a high second-round pick and some additional sweeteners might be enough for the Broncos to relent on Jeudy — Denver isn’t going to trade either player just to get them off the roster. Any team that trades for Jeudy or Sutton is going to have to give up something real. 

Which teams might be prepared to do that? Teams eyeing a younger, potential building block piece will have more interest in Jeudy. He’s still on his rookie salary in 2023 but any acquiring team will have to budget for his fifth-year option in 2024 and potentially an extension if he breaks out. Giving up the No. 22 pick would be a steep investment by the Ravens, but if they like Jeudy more than the receivers available when they’re on the clock, it would be a way for them to fill their biggest need with a more proven NFL quantity. 

The Giants also need a receiver but they’ve balked at giving up this high of a pick for Jeudy in the past and have taken more of a budget approach with their moves at the skill positions this offseason. Other receiver-needy teams picking late in the first round include the Bills, Saints and Chiefs, but all of them might be more inclined to gamble on the four years of cost control for a rookie rather than be faced with the prospect of taking on Jeudy’s option and a potential extension. 

If the Broncos are willing to consider an early second-round pick, there are some intriguing options. The Texans need pass catchers for their new rookie quarterback, whoever that ends up being, and they’re short on proven options after trading away Cooks. They have the No. 33 overall pick which might be interesting to dangle for Jeudy. 

The Rams are trying to be more disciplined this offseason but one of their philosophical tenets in the past was that draft picks could be overvalued compared to proven NFL players, especially at premium positions. Receiver isn’t what most would put at the top of their list of needs, but Cooper Kupp won’t play forever, Allen Robinson could be traded and is a cut candidate after this season and Van Jefferson is in a contract year. 

After trading away Moore, the Panthers went out and signed both Adam Thielen and DJ Chark to give their receiving corps a much-needed boost. Still, Carolina needs long-term options. They could use this pick on a receiver but once again, if they think Jeudy is more of a sure thing and are willing to budget for him down the road, a deal could make sense. 

Two more teams that need receiver help and pick in the top half of the second round include the Titans and Patriots. New England has actually been one of the teams linked to Jeudy. They could reunite him with his college quarterback, Mac Jones, and have shown a preference for veteran receivers over rookies. The Titans’ roster is pretty bare at receiver right now and Jeudy would be a safer bet than a rookie. 

The market for Sutton will be a lot slimmer given he’s older and more expensive. A team will have to have enough cap space to take on his $14 million base salary. As a result, the Broncos probably won’t be able to get as much back in a trade, perhaps a third-round pick at best or a fourth. The Texans, Falcons, Packers and Panthers currently are the teams that have both a need for a receiver and the cap space to take Sutton on. The Ravens have reportedly inquired but would need to resolve their cap situation first. 

Carolina already invested in two other veterans. The Texans would also likely prefer someone younger. The Packers want to add a veteran to their receiving corps but Sutton would probably eat up too much of their available cap space. Atlanta needs a No. 2 receiver across from 2022 first-rounder Drake London, so that might be the best fit out of the four options. However, the Falcons are a run-first offense and might be just fine with Mack Hollins in that role, especially with TE Kyle Pitts the true No. 2 option in the passing game. 


There are a ton of complicating factors when it comes to a Hopkins trade, even if he’s the biggest name available by far this offseason. Let’s start with the player. Hopkins is turning 31 in June and that’s a scary number for a lot of NFL teams. Many receivers start seeing their production decline once they hit 30, but instead of being a gentle slope, it’s usually a cliff. Sometimes there are warning signs, sometimes there aren’t. 

In Hopkins’ case, he’s played in just 19 of 34 possible games in the past two seasons. Six of those were due to a suspension, but a combination of nagging injuries has kept him out of the other nine. Over the last two years, he’s averaged 5.6 receptions and 67.8 yards per game compared to 5.9 receptions and 79.4 yards per game in the previous eight seasons. A slight dropoff, but still excellent numbers. If you look at his 2022 season alone and not 2021, his numbers actually beat his career averages in several categories. So while there’s some risk in acquiring Hopkins, it’s not really a question about if he can still play.

What looms larger in trade discussions is his contract. Hopkins has two years remaining on his deal worth $34.35 million, including a $19.45 million salary in 2023. That’s a big number for a 31-year-old receiver, even if $17 million per year is a bargain for a player of his stature. A team that trades for Hopkins has to find a way to lower that cap hit for 2023. 

An extension would make the most sense, and Hopkins would likely welcome a chance to boost that $17 million per year average and get one last big payday before the sunset of his career. The challenge for teams is figuring out how much to invest long-term in a receiver who may still be playing at a high level but is turning 31. The worst-case scenario is being stuck with an albatross of a contract for a player who ends up not being able to contribute. 

On top of all that, a team will have to give up a draft pick for Hopkins, and the Cardinals have understandably been trying to maximize the return they get for Hopkins on his way out. They’re entering what looks to be a multi-year rebuild, and it makes far more sense for both the team and for Hopkins to figure out a way to trade him to a contending team, netting the Cardinals a draft pick and some cash savings they can reinvest in the roster. Arizona has reportedly been asking for a second-round pick, but if a team was willing to give that up, the deal would have been done by now. 

The Cardinals aren’t being unrealistic with their asking price, as the Falcons got a second for Julio Jones in 2021 from the Titans. That ended up working out horribly for the Titans, though, which might be influencing negotiations for Hopkins now. It’s also possible Hopkins is influencing the market. While he doesn’t have a no-trade clause — it was voided as a result of his suspension for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy — he still has a good deal of control because a new team will need to negotiate a new contract with him. If he doesn’t sign off on a contract, an acquiring team won’t sign off on a trade. 

This is the same reason the Rams couldn’t get more than a third-round pick and change for CB Jalen Ramsey a few weeks ago, and it’s possible the Cardinals will fare similarly. If Hopkins only wants to go to one team like Ramsey did, Arizona’s hands are tied. Hopkins presumably wants out of Arizona given the Cardinals aren’t expected to be good. But how much is he willing to compromise on the contract to do that? 

Only Hopkins can answer that question. For what it’s worth, former NFL CB Pacman Jones, who’s a friend of Hopkins, has indicated winning is more important to Hopkins at this point than money. He also mentioned five teams specifically as potential candidates to trade for the veteran, including the Bills, Ravens, Falcons, Patriots and Raiders. 

Other reports have indicated the Patriots aren’t serious contenders, with roadblocks ranging from the cost to acquire Hopkins to his relationship with new OC Bill O’Brien who infamously shipped him out of Houston. The Raiders seem pretty set at receiver as well. Out of that list, there’s quite a bit of additional smoke connecting the Bills and Ravens as potential Hopkins suitors, and they would check a lot of boxes. 

Both are contending teams with franchise quarterbacks — assuming the Ravens can work things out with Lamar Jackson. They need an extension for Jackson to create enough cap space to go after Hopkins anyway. That’s obviously a major hurdle Baltimore has been trying to clear for two years and counting. The Bills have a big need for another receiving threat but figuring out the money with Hopkins would be a challenge, too. 

Assuming it’s true that winning is the top priority for Hopkins, other teams with at least 8.5 projected wins that also have a need at receiver include the Chiefs, Vikings, Giants and Steelers. The Giants have probably made their big moves at receiver already, as they traded for TE Darren Waller and signed a bunch of receivers to cheap deals. The Chiefs are a popular team that comes up but philosophically they seem to be against dedicating significant resources to the receiver position. It seems more likely they’ll try to go younger and cheaper.

The Vikings had to cut Thielen because he was too expensive, so it’d be counterintuitive to turn around and invest picks and a major contract in Hopkins. They do need a receiver though and check some boxes that Hopkins would be looking for.

The Steelers are a dark horse here. They’re a competitive squad that nearly made the playoffs in QB Kenny Pickett’s rookie season. They’re not hurting for pass-catchers on offense, as the trio of WR Diontae Johnson, TE Pat Freiermuth and WR George Pickens has both proven production and potential. There’d be room for a player like Hopkins, however, and that could help Pickett take a big step forward. A trade like this would be out of character for the Steelers based on how they’ve operated in the past but new GM Omar Khan has shown a willingness to shake things up in his first year on the job. That makes Pittsburgh a wildcard that can’t be entirely dismissed as a landing spot. 

Other Receivers Potentially Available

Much of what we wrote back in January about receivers who could be available is still relevant. Contract discussions haven’t picked up a lot of steam yet with receivers from the 2020 class, so there hasn’t been an opportunity for hurt feelings and unmet contract demands. Still, it does not seem like the Bengals or 49ers will be willing to trade either Tee Higgins or Brandon Aiyuk, though there definitely will be teams who will — and have — checked in. So far the Cowboys and Vikings seem highly motivated to extend CeeDee Lamb and Justin Jefferson respectively, though all of these players except Higgins have fifth-year options to give their teams more time to negotiate. 

Another interesting name to monitor is Colts WR Michael Pittman, who like Higgins is entering a contract year. If the Colts are looking to accumulate more draft capital and are leery of paying Pittman $20 million a year, he could be an alternative for WR-needy teams to look into. Still, Pittman feels more like a player the Colts will want to build around, not trade away. 

To put a bow on that article from January, some of the big-name veterans we mentioned who might be available included Davante Adams, Keenan Allen and Mike Evans. The door is closed for Adams and Allen. The deadline for Adams’ option bonus passed and the Raiders have shown zero interest in trading him, though they did deal Waller. The Chargers restructured Allen’s contract and GM Tom Telesco emphatically reiterated on multiple occasions Allen would stay in Los Angeles. Tampa Bay hasn’t expressed a lot of interest in trading Evans either, as it would be more than $20 million in dead money and they’re not tanking despite what it may look like. 

Still, Evans is in the last year of his contract. Is he in the team’s long-term plans? If not, does it make sense to turn down a second-round pick? Would another team even be interested in giving up that much for Evans? He’s turning 30 in August and has nine straight 1,000-yard seasons, while his base salary is $13 million. There haven’t been a lot of rumors about Evans being available but if I ran a receiver-needy squad, he’s definitely someone I’d be pushing for. 

Here are some more names who teams could at least check in on: 

  • Cardinals WR Marquise Brown: Unlike his 2019 draft classmates, Brown didn’t cash in after he was traded and is playing out his fifth-year option. Do the Cardinals plan on paying him with the new regime in town? If not, would another team? 
  • Cardinals WR Rondale Moore: Hasn’t been able to stay healthy through two seasons and is a unique player. Does he fit the vision for the new regime? Two receivers from the 2021 class have already been traded. 
  • Bears WR Chase Claypool: Didn’t have nearly the impact the Bears thought he would when they traded a second for him at the deadline last season. Entering a contract year, along with Mooney, and the team already has Moore. If they draft another wideout, could they look to cut their losses? 
  • Bears WR Darnell Mooney: Solid player but up for an extension. If talks hit a snag, another team could try to swoop in. Wouldn’t cost much, and it might be more likely he tests free agency in 2024. 
  • Bills WR Gabriel Davis: If the Bills find an upgrade elsewhere, they’d have to listen to offers for Davis. Good but limited player who might find more money as a free agent next offseason. 
  • Rams WR Van Jefferson: No one with the Rams is ever truly off the block. Jefferson has shown flashes of being a decent No. 2 when healthy and is entering a contract year. 
  • Rams WR Allen Robinson: Even if the Rams ate all of Robinson’s salary in 2023, are any teams realistically going to be interested in a receiver turning 30 with a lengthy injury history and coming off back-to-back career-worst seasons?
  • Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow: Raiders HC Josh McDaniels has been talking up Renfrow this offseason but the fact remains Renfrow didn’t fit into his system nearly as well as people expected, even when healthy. Guess it takes more than being white and shifty. There’s been a steady exodus of players out of Las Vegas and I wouldn’t say Renfrow is safe. 
  • Patriots WRs DeVante Parker or Kendrick Bourne: Lumping these two together, as while being very different players they both are middle-priced veterans who the Patriots ideally would like to upgrade from if they can this offseason. 
  • Jets WR Corey Davis: Based on early reports from the Jets’ beat, the expectation was Davis would be long gone by now given the $10 million in savings if cut. And yet he somehow outlasted Moore. The Packers have talked about adding a veteran receiver and HC Matt LaFleur worked with Davis in Tennessee. It’s not out of the question he’s part of the eventual Rodgers package. 
  • Jets WR Denzel Mims: If the Jets were willing to trade Moore, they’d surely be willing to move Mims. A fifth would probably do it, if another team were willing to give up that much. 
  • Commanders WR Curtis Samuel: Part of Washington’s justification for going cheap at the quarterback position this offseason is that it allows them to juice the rest of the roster, which would include Samuel. I don’t think he’d be untouchable, however, and Washington might have enough other weapons on offense to justify turning him into a draft pick as he enters a contract year. 

What About The Draft? 

Teams have become a little spoiled by the amount of talent that’s been coming out of the draft at the wide receiver position in the past few years. There’s even been a line of thinking from some scouts, execs and analysts that this would become the new normal, as the advent of 7-on-7 leagues and spread offenses at the lower levels of football meant a stronger passing game pipeline. 

This year throws a wrench in that theory. All of the top prospects in this class have major questions. Some of them will be first-rounders but not as many and not as high as in recent seasons. It looks like a return to 2019 and 2018 in terms of the available talent. 

Year Top 10 WRs First Round Day 1-2
2022 2 6 17
2021 3 5 15
2020 0 6 17
2019 0 2 13
2018 0 2 10


This year, the Athletic’s Dane Brugler has zero receivers in his top 10, five in his top 40 and 14 in his top 100. NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein has one in his top 10, six in his top 40 and 13 in his top 100. The consensus board compiling rankings from across the industry, put together by Pro Football Network’s Arif Hasan, has zero top 10 receivers, six in the top 40 and 14 in the top 100. 

It’d be a surprise if a receiver went in the top 10 based on what we know now. We could get another five or six in the first round due to need and positional value driving guys up the board but it also wouldn’t be a shock to see just three receivers hear their names on Thursday night. Similarly, I have a hunch that receivers got a little juice in everyone’s top 100 because of the frenzy we saw last year, and the NFL might be more pragmatic. I would take the under on 14 receivers drafted in the first three rounds. 

There will be good and perhaps even great players who come out of this class but all of the top prospects have big questions to answer. Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba played almost exclusively out of the slot, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Plenty of star NFL receivers do a ton of damage out of the slot. But if that’s the only thing he can do, it caps his ceiling a little. 

USC WR Jordan Addison and Boston College WR Zay Flowers are electric playmakers, but both of them are tiny. Addison is 5-11 and 173 pounds, while Flowers is 5-9 and 182 pounds. Again, it doesn’t mean they can’t be good players. The NFL has become more accepting of small receivers. It’s relevant for these teams trying to figure out what the ceilings are for these players, though. 

TCU’s Quentin Johnston is huge, athletic and really checks all the boxes as the physical prototype that a lot of teams want. The issue with him is drops. Sometimes drops are a product of just having the ball thrown to you a lot (which is an indicator that a player might be pretty good) but in Johnston’s case, he has legitimate glitches with his hands he needs to troubleshoot. Last year he caught just eight of 23 contested targets despite being 6-4 and nearly 210 pounds. 

Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt was absurdly productive in 2022 and he has the game-changing speed teams drool over. But you could count on one hand the number of times he had to beat press coverage in Tennessee’s offense. If he’s going to be more than a one-trick pony in the NFL — even if it’s a really good trick — he has work to do, too.  

This is what receiver-needy teams have to weigh. Some of these players will either shore up their weak spots or prove they can compensate in other ways, and the upside is four years of cost-controlled production. The obvious downside is that about half of them probably won’t, leaving teams still trying to fix the same problem. 

This Week In Football

  • This was an important week for news, as nearly all of the NFL’s major decision-makers were gathered in one place in Arizona for the league owners meetings. They had the opportunity to answer questions on a wide variety of subjects and one of the biggest topics of conversation was Ravens QB Lamar Jackson — especially after he announced he had requested a trade earlier this month right as HC John Harbaugh was sitting down for his interview. There has still been no traction on Jackson’s market even though he’s been available to sign an offer sheet for a couple of weeks now, and the Patriots privately ruled themselves out of the running despite rapper Meek Mill texting owner Robert Kraft about Jackson wanting to be in New England. The trade request doesn’t necessarily mean Jackson is done with the Ravens, it could be an attempt from his camp to try and shift the pressure to the Ravens. But it does show he’s trying to leverage some options for himself, as there’s still no resolution in sight. 
  • On the flip side, the winds are starting to blow in a positive direction when it comes to the standoff between the Packers and the Jets over QB Aaron Rodgers. After getting hung up on the idea of a first-round pick, the two sides appear to be closer on draft pick compensation. The crux of the deal would be a second-round pick this year and another Day 2 pick in 2024 that could become a first-rounder. What is still holding up the two sides is conditions for the picks. What do the Jets and Rodgers have to do for the Packers to get a first? And If Rodgers plays just one year, do the Jets get a pick back in 2025? The two sides are working on answering those questions and it seems like a resolution could come before the draft
  • Rodgers to the Jets is a done deal, it just seems like a matter of time. Perhaps Jets fans should start looking at Odell Beckham jerseys too. While the veteran receiver has a number of offers on the table (supposedly), it looks like the Jets are the leaders in the clubhouse to sign him. There’s mutual interest between the two sides and Beckham likes the idea of playing with Rodgers. That’s actually part of the delay, as there’s no reason for Beckham to lock himself in just in case the deal falls through for some reason. At this point in his career, Beckham’s probably not a true No. 1 receiver anymore. He’s 30 years old with multiple ACL tears. However, he might have enough left in the tank to be a dang good No. 2, and the Jets need someone who can beat man coverage now that they’ve traded away Elijah Moore
  • The Giants’ last-second deal for QB Daniel Jones before the franchise tag deadline allowed them to use the tender on RB Saquon Barkley. That gives the team a huge amount of leverage on Barkley compared to if he’d been allowed to test unrestricted free agency, and New York seems like it’s taking advantage. Before the two sides had been discussing a long-term deal in the neighborhood of $12 million a year. Now, that’s off the table — along with any contract offer from the Giants. The message from the Giants is basically “we might give you an offer before the July 17 deadline, and that’s going to be the best you get otherwise you have to play for $10 million on the tag.” It sucks for Barkley but running backs aren’t left with a lot of options the way things are set up. This is something to watch later in the summer, as there’s a possibility the relationship deteriorates. 
  • Figuring out what’s going to happen with Georgia DT Jalen Carter will be one of the top draft topics over the next few weeks. While he reached a plea for his arrest for reckless driving, that and other issues are still hanging over him. He could slip out of the top five picks and perhaps even further. Some teams will have him off their draft board in the first round, including most likely the Las Vegas Raiders. One of the things about having a professional sports franchise in Las Vegas is being aware that some players just aren’t going to be able to handle the off-field distractions. Given what happened with former first-round WR Henry Ruggs, it’d be understandable if the Raiders felt they couldn’t draft Carter. The team pushed back on the idea that they weren’t considering drafting him at all but it’s probably safe to put him elsewhere in mock drafts. 
  • The pickings are slim in free agency right now but there are a few notable players still signing deals. 
    • The Panthers signed WR DJ Chark to a one-year deal in the neighborhood of $5 million. Even though Carolina had already signed veteran WR Adam Thielen, their receiving corps still needed a lot of help. Adding Chark prevents the Panthers from having to overpay in a trade for a veteran, or reaching on a rookie and forcing them into too big of a role immediately. Considering they’ll be developing a rookie quarterback they’ll pick No. 1, having a quality environment around that player is important too. 
    • Veteran DL Calais Campbell may be turning 37 in September but he’s still got a fair amount left in the tank and was a hot free agent name with several teams recruiting him. So it’s notable he picked the Falcons. Campbell said he loved Atlanta’s pitch of being able to have an impact in the community, and they reminded him of another upstart team he played for, the 2017 AFC runner-up Jaguars squad. Funny enough, the Jaguars were one of the teams recruiting him. 
    • Baltimore hasn’t been able to do much this offseason to address roster needs due to Jackson’s franchise tag eating up most of their available cap space. But they were able to sign veteran WR Nelson Agholor on a one-year, $3.25 million deal that can double in size with incentives. Agholor’s best suited to be a No. 3 receiver or role player at this point in his career, but he’s welcome depth given how thin the Ravens’ receiving corps has been. 
    • The Lions were another team who bolstered their receiving corps, bringing back fan-favorite Marvin Jones on a one-year deal for about $3 million as well. Detroit is looking for 2022 first-round WR Jameson Williams to take a big step forward in his second season after his ACL rehab basically turned his rookie year into a redshirt. Still, he appeared in six games and had just one catch on nine targets. That catch went for 41 yards and a touchdown, which shows why the team is excited about him, but rounding out a group that also includes Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds with Jones is a crafty move. 
    • The Bills and Eagles each had big needs at safety this offseason and signed two interesting one-year flyers this week. Buffalo added 25-year-old former Rams S Taylor Rapp on a one-year deal. They already brought back Jordan Poyer and have Micah Hyde, but their depth was an issue. Rapp should be a big upgrade there and even force his way onto the field in three-safety looks. The Eagles signed former Steelers S Terrell Edmunds to a cheap one-year deal, and they’re so bare at safety after losing both starters that he’s currently projected to start for them. Edmunds has started the past five years for Pittsburgh but is a better run defender than coverage player. Philadelphia was at a point where they just needed bodies, so more moves could be coming. 
    • The Bengals were pretty bare at tight end after losing Hayden Hurst in free agency, so landing former Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr. fills a big need for them. Injuries held Smith back while with the Vikings but he’s an athletic pass-catcher who should thrive in the space created by the Bengals’ other weapons on offense. He’s not a bad blocker either, his biggest issue is he’s on the small side for a traditional in-line tight end. 

Nickels & Dimes

Quick-hit thoughts and observations from around the NFL…

One of the quirks of this offseason is that there aren’t actually a lot of teams looking for help at left tackle. Check it out:

BUF Dion Dawkins DAL Tyler Smith
MIA Terron Armstead NYG Andrew Thomas
NE Trent Brown PHI Jordan Mailata
NYJ Duane Brown/
Mekhi Becton
WAS Charles Leno
BAL Ronnie Stanley CHI Braxton Jones
CIN Orlando Brown Jr. DET Taylor Decker
CLE Jedrick Wills GB David Bakhtiari
PIT Dan Moore MIN
Christian Darrisaw
HOU Laremy Tunsil ATL Jake Matthews
IND Bernhard Raimann CAR Ikem Ekwonu
JAX Cam Robinson NO Trevor Penning
TEN Andre Dillard TB Brandon Walton
DEN Garett Bolles ARI D.J. Humphries
KC Jawaan Taylor LAR
Joseph Noteboom/
Alaric Jackson
LAC Rashawn Slater SEA Charles Cross
LV Kolton Miller SF Trent Williams


The Titans and Chiefs added players in free agency already. The Colts, Saints and Bears don’t have household names but they have young players who have shown some promise and who they want to develop. The Steelers could fit in this category, too. Leno is pretty solid for Washington and affordable, so they’re not dying to upgrade. The Bucs could shift RT Tristan Wirfs to the left to take care of that need. And the Rams like their players more than people outside might expect…

This is having an impact on the market for guys like Bengals OT Jonah Williams and free agent OT Isaiah Wynn. It’s also why Brown got less from the Bengals than people expected…

That said, he still did well for himself…

Win totals that jumped out at me, either too low or too high…

  • Too low: Texans 5.5. This team quietly got a lot better, and the rest of the division isn’t that scary. 
  • Too high: 49ers 11.5. Who’s their quarterback going to be? (And this is coming from a Trey Lance stan)
  • Too low: Panthers 7.5. Yes, I’m a Panthers fan but I don’t think I’m being a homer. The team showed down the stretch last year it wasn’t that far off, and now it hopefully will add competent offensive coaching and quarterback play to go with a borderline top 10 defense and offensive line. It helps they’ll have an easy schedule. 
  • Too high: Raiders 7.5. Their defense is still a mess, they still play in the AFC West, I’m not sure if they got better on offense and the jury is still out on McDaniels. 

Strength of schedule related to last season’s record is a faulty metric. SOS based on projected win totals is a little bit better…

An interesting study in contrasts, no doubt. And still plenty of time for things to fall either way…

I’ve seen people express frustration with how Harbaugh’s relentlessly sunny optimism has seemed out of touch with the situation between Jackson and the Ravens. But when you put it in this context…

Fair or not, this seems to be where things stand…

Just absurd. This isn’t why he’s going top-five, though…

This is. (Also just a reminder if you’ve been a reader of this column, you’d have already known Richardson was pretty dang good)…

Let’s end with a laugh…

Or two…

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