2022 NFL Offseason Series: AFC East

2022 NFL Offseason Series: AFC East

Breaking down the upcoming offseason for each 2022 NFL team, broken down by division, including projected cap space, players under contract, notable free agents, potential extension candidates, franchise tag possibilities, & trade/cut options.

Offseason Division Pieces

Buffalo Bills

Projected Top 51 Cap Space: $9.4M

Under Contract (41): FULL ROSTER

2022 Dead Cap: $1M

Notable Restricted Free Agents:Ryan Bates (G, 24), FULL LIST

Notable Unrestricted Free Agents:Jerry Hughes (DE, 33), Mario Addison (DE, 34), Harrison Phillips (DT, 25), Emmanuel Sanders (WR, 34), Levi Wallace (CB, 26), Matt Breida (RB, 26), FULL LIST

Franchise Tag Candidates: None

Draft Picks: R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6 (CAR), R6, R7 (ATL), R7

Extension Candidates

Levi Wallace (CB, 26)
The Bills could probably stand to upgrade from Wallace, and may look to do so early in the 2022 draft, but offering him a short-term to remain in the fold should also be in play as well. Troy Hill’s $4.5M per year deal in Cleveland could be a model here.

Stefon Diggs (WR, 28)
Diggs has 2 years, $25.5M left on this contract with Buffalo, but with cap hits that soar past $17M each year, it’s reasonable to assume that the Bills will redo this deal to put a little more cash in his pocket now, and better control his cap numbers across the next 2-3 seasons. He projects to a year, $90M extension, though his numbers compare extremely well to DeAndre Hopkins’, who locked in at $27.5M per year not too long ago.

Tremaine Edmunds (ILB, 23)
The Bills exercised (and fully guaranteed) Edmunds’ $12.7M option for 2022, so there’s no rush in making a long-term decision here. Buffalo is better when Edmunds is on the field (115+ tackles in 3 straight years) but the advanced stats don’t love him as a complete player. The Bills have retained almost all of their pieces in their current window, but Edmunds might be squarely on the bubble come 2023.

Potential Trades/Cuts

Cole Beasley (WR, 32)
The soon to be 33 year old holds $1.5M of dead cap against a $7.6M hit in 2022, meaning the Bills can free up $6.1M by moving on.

Mitch Morse (C, 29)
Morse has been in decline each of the past 3 seasons in Buffalo, but is still a more than adequate option at the center position. The Bills are likely to add 2-3 new bodies to their O-Line this offseason, and if a replacement for Morse can be found, there’s $8.5M of cap to be saved.

Miami Dolphins

Projected Top 51 Cap Space: $75M

Under Contract (37): FULL ROSTER

2022 Dead Cap: $1.6M

Notable Restricted Free Agents:Nik Needham (CB, 25), FULL LIST

Notable Unrestricted Free Agents:Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, 28), Mike Gesicki (TE, 26)

Franchise Tag Candidates: Mike Gesicki (TE, 26), projected $11M

Draft Picks: R1 (SF), R2, R3 (SF), R4 (PIT), R4, R5, R6 (NE), R7 (HOU)

Extension Candidates

Christian Wilkins (DL, 26)
No need to wait around on this one. Wilkins is every bit the player Miami hoped he would be when selecting him #13 overall in 2019. He becomes extension-eligible after 2021, & the Dolphins don’t have too many other mouths to feed right now, so locking in their franchise d-lineman makes sense. He steers more as a run-studder statistically, which limits his financial ceiling. A $12M starting point is probably about right.

Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, 28)
Ogbah has improved on what was a pretty nice 2020 campaign with Miami, putting his name in serious conversation for a multi-year extension. Ogbah comps well to Jerry Hughes in Buffalo, but with age and a cap increase on his side, should push north of $12M per year as a starting point.

Mike Gesicki (TE, 26)
After a breakthrough 2020, Gesicki just hasn’t found his footing in 2021, but it’s clear the ceiling is there. Suppressed production has his calculated value at $11M, but Jonnu Smith’s $12.5M deal in New England sounds about right.

Potential Trades/Cuts

Jesse Davis (RT, 30)
Davis has played nearly every snap for the 2021 Dolphins, but there are likely to be plenty of changes on the Dolphins’ O-Line this winter. Miami can free up $3.6M of cap by moving on.

Adam Butler (DT, 28)
Butler has limited production despite a starting role on the Dolphins D-Line. The $3.75M to be saved is better used elsewhere.

New England Patriots

Projected Top 51 Cap Space: $31M

Under Contract (46): FULL ROSTER

2022 Dead Cap: $3.1M

Notable Restricted Free Agents:Jakobi Meyers (WR, 25), Jakob Johnson (FB, 27), FULL LIST

Notable Unrestricted Free Agents: J.C. Jackson (CB, 26),Trenton Brown (OT, 28), Dont'a Hightower (LB, 31), Nick Folk (K, 37)

Franchise Tag Candidate: J.C. Jackson (CB, 26), projected $17.5M

Draft Picks: R1, R2, R3, R4 (PIT), R4, R6 (LAR)

Extension Candidates

Isaiah Wynn (OT, 25)
The #23 overall pick in 2018 holds a fully guaranteed $10.4M salary in his 5th year and has posted back to back solid seasons on the Pats O-Line. Keeping Mac Jones comfortable will be a priority for NE heading into 2022, so locking in the left tackle long-term makes sense. Wynn projects to a 5 yr, $77M contract right now.

Nelson Agholor (WR, 28)
Agholor isn’t pouring in stats on a weekly basis, but he seems a good fit in this offense, and if it ain’t broke…The 28 year old holds a $15M cap hit in 2022, meaning a restructure of some sort is extremely likely. Tacking on 2 years at his current $11M seems to fit the bill.

J.C. Jackson (CB, 26)
The Patriots felt much more comfortable moving on from Stephon Gilmore when Jackson raised his game to higher standards, but keeping him will come at a major cost. The league’s INT leader since 2019 comes in north of $20M per year currently in our system, projecting to a 5 year, $104M extension.

Adrian Phillips (S, 29)
Phillips and cornerback J.C. Jackson are set for unrestricted free agency, and one will almost certainly snag a franchise tag in February. Buffalo’s Jordan Poyer is a close comp statistically speaking, so something around the $10M per year mark makes sense. UPDATE: Phillips signed a 3 year, $12.75M extension on 1/1/22

Damien Harris (RB, 24)
Harris has put together strong back to back seasons for the Pats, and will be entering a contract year in 2022. His lack of production as a pass-catcher keeps his valuation at bat ($5M), but New England was likely never going to pay a running back north of that anyway.

Potential Trades/Cuts

N'Keal Harry (WR, 24)
Harry is averaging 1 reception per game in 2021, and has only found the end zone 4 times in 3 years. Only $674k of his 2022 salary is fully guaranteed, meaning $1.8M of cap/cash can be cleared per his release.

New York Jets

Projected Top 51 Cap Space: $54M

Under Contract (43): FULL ROSTER

2022 Dead Cap: $1.4M

Notable Restricted Free Agents:Kyle Phillips (DE, 24), Mike White (QB, 26), FULL LIST

Notable Unrestricted Free Agents:Morgan Moses (RT, 30), Marcus Maye (S, 27), Jamison Crowder (WR, 28)

Franchise Tag Candidate: None.

Draft Picks: R1, R1 (SEA), R2, R2 (CAR), R3, R4 (CAR), R4 (MIN), R5, R5 (PIT)

Extension Candidates

Jamison Crowder (WR, 28)
The numbers won’t look great having missed games and dealing with a QB carousel in 2021, but Crowder’s shown enough in 3 seasons to prove he should be kept in the fold to work with Zach Wilson. Corey Davis, Crowder, & Elijah Moore actually make a solid tandem with a more consistent timeline. Crowder projects to 4 years, $50M currently.

Morgan Moses (RT, 30)
Moses has taken over 90% of the snaps in 2021, and remains a strong option on the right side of an offensive line heading into his 30s. The more adequate offensive linemen, the better. Daryl Williams’ 3 year, $24M contract in Buffalo should be on track. 

Quinnen Williams (DT, 23)
Williams becomes extension eligible after 2021, and has been every bit the player the Jets hoped for when they took him #3 overall in 2019. But does it make sense to extend an interior defensive lineman this early? Recent experience says no. Jonathan Allen’s $18M is an early benchmark to look at.

Potential Trades/Cuts

Shaq Lawson (DE, 27)
The Jets acquired Lawson for a 6th round pick this August, but got minimal production from the former 1st round pick. All $9M of his 2022 cap figure can be cleared via release.

Sheldon Rankins (DT, 27)
Despite his most productive season in 3 years, Rankins likely won’t be kept on a $6.25M cap figure for 2022. There’s $5.5M to be freed up here.