NFL Offseason: 1 Add, 1 Subtraction, 1 Storyline
Top 51 Space: $21.4M
Add: Kyzir White (LB, PHI, 2 years, $10M / 1 year, $5M) Has 250 tackles in the past two seasons.
Subtract: Zach Allen (DE, DEN, 3 years, $47.5M / 2 years, $32M) Arizona is simply not in the business of 2 year deals right now. DeAndre Hopkins’ eventual trade will soon top this list.
Top 51 Space: $22.4M
Gas pedal half way down.
Add: Jessie Bates III (S, CIN, 4 years, $64M / 2 years, $36M) Top 5 free agent on most lists, fills at least 1 of ATL’s biggest holes. Keeping the O-Line intact (Lindstrom, McGary) is a close 2nd here.
Subtract: Calvin Ridley (WR, JAX, 1 year, $11M) ATL secures a 5th this year, and at least a 3rd next year (assuming he plays a normal season in JAX). If Jacksonville extends Ridley, that turns into a 2nd - which then becomes decent return value. Ridley should be on this ATL squad.
Top 51 Space: $7M
Subtract: Ben Powers (G, DEN, 4 years, $51.5M / 2 years, $27M) Is he an elite interior lineman? Nope. But $13.5M per year for 2 years isn’t elite interior lineman pay. Losing an experienced lineman in a spring where the QB position is in complete flux seems like backwards thinking.
Top 51 Space: $10M
Still really good.
Add: Jordan Poyer (S, BUF, 2 years, $12.5M / 1 year $7M) Poyer’s return in any capacity was a welcomed surprise. But a return on a 1 year, $7M practical contract seems like a complimentary dessert course after dinner.
Subtract: Tremaine Edmunds (LB, CHI, 4 years, $72M / 3 years, $57M) The price was always going to be out of range, but Edmunds really (finally) settled into his role at the center of Buffalo’s defense last season. It appears the Bills will utilize the draft to replace him.
Top 51 Space: $28M
Add: The #1 overall pick. No offense to Adam Thielen, Miles Sanders, etc… but a team handing out 4 picks and a starting wide receiver to move up in the draft will always get the nod here. The trade was processed early enough to believe they’ll at least consider listening to flip offers.
Subtract: D.J. Moore (WR, CHI) The player included in the #1 pick swap, has 3 years, $52M remaining on his contract. If Moore lives up to WR1 status, it’s outstanding value for Chicago.
Top 51 Space: $38M
Add: 10 players at $120M guaranteed. All of them are upgrades, most of them will start in 2023.
Subtract: The #1 pick. Obviously the plan here is to put a roster around Justin Fields that proves he’s worthy of the role going forward. If that doesn’t turn out to be the case, then what are we even doing here?
Top 51 Space: $17M
Stay the course.
Add: Orlando Brown Jr. (OT, KC, 4 years, $64M / 2 years, $42M) Brown’s stock dropped in 2022, but he’s still an upgrade for a Bengals team that won’t stop trying to keep Joe Burrow protected in this contention window.
Subtract: Jessie Bates III (S, ATL, 4 years, $64M / 2 years $32M) There’s a world where Bates falls victim to having “1 elite season” with a lot of above average play elsewhere. But losing both Bates and Vonn Bell in the same offseason will be a tough hill to climb on the field, even if rebuilding the position through the draft will ease the pain financially speaking.
Top 51 Space: $10M
Stuck, unless Deshaun arrives.
Add: Juan Thornhill (S, KC, 3 years, $21M / 2 years, $14M) A sneaky quiet signing with a player that KC absolutely wanted to retain this spring. Thornhill replaces recently released John Johnson, and should be an immediate upgrade to the secondary. Also, a facelift on the interior defensive line was necessary - but it feels like Cleveland is having to do this every offseason.
Subtract: Pick #42. I realize that moving back 32 spots in order to acquire WR Elijah Moore on a 2 year, $3.3M contract shouldn’t feel like much of a risk, but this feels like a buyer beware scenario in a spot where Cleveland should be aggressively trying to put the best possible set of weapons around Deshaun Watson in Year 2.
Top 51 Space: $16M
Still really good.
Add: Brandin Cooks (WR). This probably should have happened last November, but here we are a few months later, with Houston retaining $6M of the $18M guarantee for 2023. Dallas now owes their WR2 $12M this year, and a reasonable $8M in 2024 (non-guaranteed).
Subtract: Dalton Schultz (TE, HOU) While full details aren’t yet available, it appears the Texans scored Schultz at around $6M base value for 2023. Dallas certainly wasn’t interested in a multi-year guarantee here, but not kicking the tires on this 1-year showcase contract seems like a miss. Was Schultz the one saying no here?
Top 51 Space: $7M
Let Russ Sit in the Pocket.
Add: Sean Payton (COA). No offense to the completely rebuilt right side of the offensive line, but bringing in a new adult to manage this discombobulated roster was the single most important need for Denver this offseason.
Subtract: Dre'Mont Jones (DE, SEA, 3/51.3, 1/23.5) Denver isn’t exactly flush with defensive linemen these days, and Jones showed ability to get to the QB from both inside and outside last season. Seattle’s $23M Year 1 cash flow likely scared off more than a few other contenders here though.
Top 51 Space: $25M
The Corner has been Turned.
Add: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S, PHI,1 year, $6.5M) CGJ was a ball hawk when available to Philly last season, and it’s his injury history that likely tempered his contract this free agency. The Lions are happy to be that showcase team for 2023. His ability to turn the ball over may win the Lions a ballgame or two this season, and the price is certainly right.
Subtract: Jamaal Williams (RB, NO, 3 years, $12M / 2 years, $8.1M) He’s almost 28 year old, so shame on me for calling this a tough loss, but the Lions haven’t had many things work for them over the past decade. Williams’ ability to find the endzone for this team might not be replaceable - even at this stage of his career.
Green Bay Packers
Top 51 Space: $22M
Add: Matthew Orzech (LS, LAR, 3 years, $3.6M/1 year, $1.1M) If you don’t regular follow the Packers in March, you might be surprised to find out that they’ve made almost zero significant movement yet. This is just the status quo, and - quite obviously - larger transactions are brewing.
Subtract: Allen Lazard (WR, NYJ, 4 years, $44M / 2 years, $22M). Rodgers’ forthcoming trade aside, losing Lazard, an experienced weapon, is a downgrade for Jordan Love’s offense, that appears to be flush with youth for the upcoming season.
Top 51 Space: $25M
Strength in numbers.
Add: Volume. For the second offseason in a row, the Texans lead the world in numbers of players signed to 1 year (actual or practical) contracts.
Subtract: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (DE, CLE, 3 years, $19M / 2 years, $13M) Posted a career year in 2022 on a weak Houston defense and at 27 years old would have made sense as being factored in as one of the “core players”.
Top 51 Space: $21M
Different but the same.
Add: Gardner Minshew (QB, PHI, 1 years, $3.5M) Let’s say the draft doesn’t break their way and they end up with more of a “project” QB, and the Lamar Jackson offer sheet option doesn’t break their way and the Colts end up having to work from within for 2023. Minshew at $3.5M is a more than capable option, especially when paired with a solid offensive line, an elite running back, and a wide receiver ((Pittman) projected to break out next season.
Subtract: Bobby Okereke (LB, NYG, 4 years, $40M / 2 years, $22M) It was a big free agency for off ball linebackers with prices ranging from vet minimum to $18M per year. Okereke falls somewhere in the middle, despite 275 tackles over the past two seasons, and Top 5 production in 2022 alone.
Top 51 Space: $11M
The calm after last year’s storm.
Add: Calvin Ridley (WR) So many fringe contenders make a splashy March move to add another weapon to their young QB’s arsenal that helps push them to the next level. Jacksonville secured this in November. Ridley’s on a 1 year, $11M (non-guaranteed) showcase deal that could turn into a gamechanger.
Subtract: Jawaan Taylor (OT, KC, 4 years, $80M / 3 years, $60M) We knew the money was going to be crazy, but factor in $60M of practical guarantees plus the Chiefs, and it’s hard to blame Taylor for leaving the Jags this March.
Kansas City Chiefs
Top 51 Space: $6M
Surprising amount of turnover?
Add: Jawaan Taylor (OT, JAX, 4 years, $80M / 3 years, $60M). The Cheifs opted to pay Taylor $60M over the next 3 seasons instead of retaining Orlando Brown Jr, who secured $49M through 2025 with Cincy.
Subtract: Juan Thornhill (S, CLE, 3 years, $21M / 2 years, $14M) Thornhill was a Top 20 safety last year in a contract season and wound up at $7M per year through 2024 in Cleveland. This seems like one the Chiefs should have ponied up for.
Las Vegas Raiders
Top 51 Space: $15M
One leg going down, one leg going up.
Add: Pick #100. I realize I’m avoiding the 20 players who were signed this free agency thus far (including a new QB1), but securing pick #100 for Darren Waller last week seems like the kind of move we look back in on 3 years and gush at the player that was selected. It’s a really deep early Day 2 draft, and the Raiders now have more ammo for it.
Subtract: Jarrett Stidham (QB, DEN, 2 years, $10M | 1 year, $4M). I know, this seems lazy, but Garoppolo’s ability to be available for 18 weeks seem impossible based on his track record, and Stidham at least showed signs of being capable to handle Josh McDaniels’ system on a loaner rate. Losing this familiarity seems like a miss.
Los Angeles Chargers
Top 51 Space: $16M
A little too quiet.
Add: Eric Kendricks (LB, MIN, 2 years, $13.25M | 1 year, $6.75M) As the only player the Chargers have added from another team this March, Kendricks was the obvious choice here - but he’s also a solid add. Letting him manage business behind the likes of Bosa & Mack seems like a very nice triangle setup for the Chargers in 2023.
Subtract: Drue Tranquill (LB, KC, 1 year, $3M) LAC probably believes they’ve upgraded here with the above Kendricks signing, but anytime you lose a viable start to a division rival on a value contract, it has to at least be noticed.
Los Angeles Rams
Top 51 Space: $14M
Storyline. Shut it down.
Add: A third-string TE and pick #77. I realize that money does a lot of the negotiating within a trade package, but the Rams - a franchise in desperate need of draft picks - simply didn’t get enough back for their biggest trade chip in Jalen Ramsey. How do we know this is true? The Dolphins took his traded salary, guaranteed it, and added another year at that price - and guaranteed that.
Subtract: Bobby Wagner (LB, SEA, 1 year, $7M) Obviously this was played induced, but Wagner was outstanding for the 2022 Rams, chose to opt out of $11M in 2024 to stay, and chose to sign back with division rival Seattle at just $7M max.
Top 51 Space: $4M
Add: Jalen Ramsey is the obvious choice here, but the Dolphins quietly added 3 Day 1 starters on the defensive side of the ball in Ramsey, MLB David Long and S Deshon Elliott. Mike White as the new QB2 is also a very intriguing add here.
Subtract: Elandon Roberts (LB, PIT, 2 years, $7M / 1 year, $3.5M) Roberts had a career year in 2022 and was likely secured a starting spot in Pittsburgh as part of his negotiations. The move leaves Miami a little thin in the linebacker spot, but the draft should close that gap shortly.
Top 51 Space: $1.4M
One and Done?
Add: Byron Murphy (CB, ARI, 2 years, $17.5M / 1 year, $8.6M) With Patrick Peterson off to Pittsburgh, the Vikings could have slow-played this position and let the youth simply rise to the top. Adding a 25-year-old Murphy on a 1 year guarantee is a really nice depth play for Minnesota, who appear to be thinking only about 2023 right now (rightfully so).
Subtract: Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, CLE, 4 years, $57M / 3 years, $42.5M) This contract was probably $15M + 1 year too long for Minnesota’s liking, but he’s a body they’ll need to replace in the coming weeks still.
New England Patriots
Top 51 Space: $14M
Add: Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA, 1 year, $4.5M) Stop me if you’ve heard the high hopes for a TE joining the Patriots narrative, but this one at least comes with financial value from the get go. Gesicki + JuJu Smith-Schuster at a combined $14,5M cash this year could be a really nice shot in the arm to the Patriots’ offense - especially if a certain upgrade at QB1 comes to fruition.
Subtract: Damien Harris (RB, BUF, 1 year, $1.77M) Harris was outplayed by Rhamondre Stevenson down the stretch, but that would have been the case for plenty of RBs across the league. Losing him to a division rival at $1.5M guaranteed seems like a miss.
New Orleans Saints
Top 51 Space: $15M
Still hanging on.
Add: Derek Carr (QB, LV, 4 years, $150M | 2 years, $70M) Does Carr represent a major upgrade from the past few seasons of Jameis Winston & Andy Dalton? There are believers on both sides of that equation. But it probably didn’t take the Saints front office too long to look around their division, assess the kind of moves that were available to them this March, and pull the trigger on another “rebuild on the fly” offseason.
Subtract: David Onyemata (DT, ATL), Kaden Elliss (LB, ATL) Shy Tuttle (DT, CAR) Losing a trio of reliable defensive pieces to a division rival isn’t ideal, and when you factor in the loss of Marcus Davenport (MIN), it’s safe to assume if the Saints have simply gone through too much turnover on one side of the ball to remain competitive.
New York Giants
Top 51 Space: $4M
Run it back.
Add: Darren Waller (TE, LV, 4 years, $52M / 1 year, $11.875M) Not in love with forfeiting the #100 pick to acquire him, but a healthy Waller is a top-flight weapon for Daniel Jones to work with in 2023. You paid the QB, you trust the new system, might as well upgrade the accessories.
Subtract: Julian Love (S, SEA, 2 years, $12M / 1 year, $6.3M) Love posted a career year in 2022 and just turned 25 years old. The Giants clearly had a line of demarcation on bringing him back, and Seattle simply surpassed it.
New York Jets
Top 51 Space: $2.3M
Add: Nathaniel Hackett (OC). This was supposed to be how the Broncos got Rodgers to Denver. Now it appears that the Jets will successfully pull off that plan, along with a familiar face or two (Allen Lazard, etc…). Hackett + Rodgers should represent a strong upgrade from what the Jets have been able to produce in the past few seasons. And that alone might be enough to make them legitimate AFC contenders.
Subtract: Elijah Moore (WR, CLE) Moore was a trade candidate even before the Aaron Rodgers conversation picked up steam, and this move satisfies one of two outcomes. 1) It becomes a more attractive pick (#42 versus #74) for trade purposes. 2) It becomes a better pick to actually use in replacing a player like Moore this April.
Top 51 Space: $11.5M
Add: Jason Kelce (C, PHI, 1 year, $14.25M) Cheating here, but it can’t be stated how important Kelce’s return is to Jalen Hurts and the organization as a whole. Kelce’s new deal carries a fake salary in 2024 that will allow the Eagles to move on from him Post June 1st next offseason (if he decides to hang them up).
Subtract: Miles Sanders (RB, CAR, 4 years, $25M / 2 years, $13.2M) It’s getting harder and harder to say that losing a RB in the offseason is a problem, but Sanders’ value to this Eagles offense was underrated in many regards. When he was knocked out of the Super Bowl early on, the offense never found the running game again. Philly likely covers this concern up dramatically with a high (potentially very high) draft selection this April.
Top 51 Space: $10M
Add: saac Seumalo (G, PHI, 3 years, $24M / 1 year, $8.25M) Seumalo turned a career year into a nice free agent deal, and represents another upgrade on the offensive line for a Pittsburgh team in much need for it. As with 99% of Steelers’ contracts, it’s a 1 year guarantee on its head.
Subtract: Chase Claypool (WR, CHI) Claypool was moved to Chicago at last November’s deadline, but the reward comes in the coming weeks, as the Steelers will have the #32 overall selection in the draft thanks to the trade. Addition by subtraction.
San Francisco 49ers
Top 51 Space: $5M
D-Line for Days
Add: Javon Hargrave (DL, PHI, 4 years, $84M / 2 years, $41M) Hargrave leaves a great Philly defensive line for an equally great 49ers unit. It’s also an excellent contract for a player already north of 30 years old. There’s an awful lot to like here.
Subtract: Mike McGlinchey (RT, DEN, 5 years, $87.5M / 3 years, $52.5M). The Broncos simply outpriced everyone here. Any free agent contract that has 3 years of practicality out of the gate is an outstanding deal for the player. It stands to reason that an early Day 2 draft pick is focused here.
Top 51 Space: $10M
Operating in parallel worlds.
Add: Dre'Mont Jones (DE, DEN, 3 years, $51M / 1 year $23M). The Seahawks added Jones in the same regard that they brought back Geno Smith - a slight front loaded overpay, with a practical out after 2023. Why is this important? Their draft capital affords them the opportunity to address both the Edge Rusher and QB1 positions in a couple of weeks. Depending on how that all plays out, they can stagger their finances in these areas as needed. Smart business.
Subtract: Rashaad Penny (RB, PHI, 1 year, $1.35M) Penny was a mixed bag in his 5 seasons in Seattle, and injuries are a big part of his resume, but he showed plenty of flashes of great worth in this Pete Carroll system. Seattle will rely on Kenneth Walker Jr. now, and will almost certainly spend another worthy draft pick on his RB2 in the coming weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Top 51 Space: $5.7M
Stuck but still involved.
Add: Lavonte David (LB, 1 year, $7M) Most teams in TB’s situation would opt to rip this band-aid off and run it into the ground, but a few notable veteran contracts with upside down dead cap scenarios really hampered their ability to do so. Getting a player like David (and CB Jamal Dean for that matter) really fortifies their ability to compete in 2023. New QB Baker Mayfield has had worse options around him.
Subtract: Rakeem Nunez-Roches (DT, NYG, 3 years, $12M / 1 year, $5.5M) Not a position the Buccaneers were interested in pumping more money into in their current iteration, but the Giants get a good player to add to their already bolstered defensive line.
Top 51 Space: $8M
Cap & standings casualties.
Add: Andre Dillard (OT, PHI, 3 years, $29M / 2 years, $17M) Taylor Lewan’s release put the Titans behind the 8 ball on the edges of their offensive line, so this signing isn’t only necessary, it has a chance to hold plenty of value at around $8.5M per year guaranteed. Dillard projects to be the starting left tackle, but that might change based on draft selections.
Subtract: David Long (LB, MIA, 2 years, $11M / 1 year, $5.5M) Struggled to stay on the field the past two seasons, but also improved mightily across his first 4 NFL seasons. The Dolphins’ scored a Day 1 starter in the middle of their defense at a reasonable 1 year tender.
Top 51 Space: $3M
A roster ready for a better QB.
Add: Jacoby Brissett (QB, CLE, 1 year, $8M) A really undersold move, as the Commanders have been vocal about giving youngster Sam Howell the keys to this team. But Washington has enough of a roster to compete in the NFC East, and if the wheels fall off early, Brissett has shown he’s more than capable of picking up the pieces and holding together a stable offense.
Subtract: Cole Holcomb (LB, PIT, 3 years, $18M / 1 year, $6M) He missed half of 2022, but is 1 season removed from 140 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions and a sack. He can fill up the stat board better than most - and now joins Linebacker U.