2022 NFL Offseason Series: AFC South

2022 NFL Offseason Series: AFC South
Assessing the upcoming offseason for each 2022 AFC South 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

Houston Texans

Projected Top 51 Cap Space: $39M

Under Contract (29): FULL ROSTER

2022 Dead Cap: $35M

Notable Restricted Free Agents: None.

Notable Unrestricted Free Agents: Tyrod Taylor (QB, 32), David Johnson (RB, 30), Maliek Collins (DT, 26), FULL LIST

Franchise Tag Candidate: None.

Draft Picks: R1, R2, R3, R3 (NO), R4 (LAR), R6, R6 (SF), R6 (GB), R7 (DAL)

Extension Candidates

Brandin Cooks (WR, 28)
It was a surprise that Cooks wasn’t moved at the trade deadline, and now just weeks later it seems plausible that a multi-year extension to keep him in Houston could make sense as well. With Davis Mills trending toward being the 2022 QB, quickly building up pieces around him will be the plan, and Cooks certainly fits that bill. With 1 year, $13.7M left on his current deal, a 4 year, $68M extension could be in the cards.

Potential Trades/Cuts

Deshaun Watson (QB, 26)
Watson held out the entire 2021 season, a $10.54M healthy scratch. His off-field legal issues are well-documented, and should have some form of resolution in Februrary 2022, just before the window to trade him will re-open for Houston. His contract holds 4 yrs, $136M left on it, $35M of which is fully guaranteed today, another $37M of which locks in this coming March. The Texans will free up $24.2M of cap space with an early offseason trade and it seems likely there will be a handful of suitors willing to offer multiple Top 100 picks for his services going forward.

Indianapolis Colts

Projected Top 51 Cap Space: $57M

Under Contract (35): FULL ROSTER

2022 Dead Cap: $818k

Notable Restricted Free Agents: Ashton Dulin (WR, 24), FULL LIST

Notable Unrestricted Free Agents: Eric Fisher (OT, 30), T.Y. Hilton (WR, 32), Mark Glowinski (OG, 29)
Xavier Rhodes (CB, 31), Al-Quadin Muhammad (DE, 26), FULL LIST

Potential Franchise Tag: None.

Draft Picks: R2, R3, R4, R5, R5 (COMP), R6 (COMP), R7 (PHI), R7

Extension Candidates

Quenton Nelson (OG, 25)
One the games premier guards has a $13.75M 5th year left on his rookie contract for 2022. At some point between now and then, it’s hard to imagine him not becoming the highest paid guard in NFL history. For now, that means $16M per year, $47M guaranteed.

Matt Pryor (OT, 27)
While Eric Fisher was brought in to be Carson Wentz’s safety guard, his injuries have afforded Pryor a chance to take on the bigger role, and he’s been up to the challenge for the most part. A buy low extension for Pryor might be strong value for Indy, even if he reverts back to the right side of the line eventually.

Rock Ya-Sin (CB, 25)
The former 2nd round pick becomes extension eligible after 2021, and could become a very important part of the Colts secondary with Xavier Rhodes headed for free agency. Michael Davis' 3 year, $25M deal with the Chargers is a safe comp.

Potential Trades/Cuts


Jacksonville Jaguars

Projected Top 51 Cap Space: $71M

Under Contract (37): FULL ROSTER

2022 Dead Cap: $18M

Notable Restricted Free Agents: Andrew Wingard (S, 25), FULL LIST

Notable Unrestricted Free Agents: Cam Robinson (OT, 26), Andrew Norwell (OG, 30), DJ Chark (WR, 25), FULL LIST

Franchise Tag Candidate: Cam Robinson (OT, 26), projected $16.5M.

Draft Picks: R1, R2, R3, R3 (CAR), R4, R5, R6, R6 (SEA), R6 (PIT), R6 (PHI), R7, R7 (BAL)

Extension Candidates

Cam Robinson (OT, 26)
Robinson probably isn't the long-term option for Trevor Lawrence's blindside, and the advanced metrics are very much against his services, but the Jags can't go backwards at this position even for one season. Keeping Robinson in the fold as they attempt to upgrade him via the draft or free agency (or both) isn't the worst idea in the world. The Jags have plenty of cap space to work with, so a second franchise tag ($16.5M) could also be in the cards here.

Josh Allen (OLB, 24)
The other Josh Allen becomes extension eligible after the 2021 season, and should be locked in as the cornerstone defensive player for Jacksonville going forward. After an outstanding rookie year, Allen missed half of 2020, but has rebounded nicely through his third campaign. Matt Judon's 4 yr, $54M deal is the current baseline comp, though Allen's ceiling puts him in content for a $20M per year contract.

Potential Trades/Cuts

Carlos Hyde (RB, 31)
Hyde filled in admirably throughout the season with Etienne going down early, and Robinson injured late in the year. The return of both, plus a restricted tender for Dare Ogunbowale, should be Hyde's spot in question, who may be seeking brighter skies himself anyway. Jacksonville can clear $2M of his $2.45M cap hit by moving on.

Chris Manhertz (TE, 29)
Manhertz isn't going to pile up pass-catching numbers, but has value in other facets of the game. The acquisition of Dan Arnold lessens his role a bit, and should Luke Farrell or an offseason addition outperform him over the summer, there's nearly $2M to be saved here.

Tennessee Titans

Projected Top 51 Cap Space: $14M

Under Contract (37): FULL ROSTER

2022 Dead Cap: $760k

Notable Restricted Free Agents: Derick Roberson (LB, 26), FULL LIST

Notable Unrestricted Free Agents: Harold Landry  (EDGE, 25), Jayon Brown (LB, 26), Matthias Farley (S, 29), Ben Jones (C, 32), x David Quessenberry (OT, 31), FULL LIST

Franchise Tag Candidate: Harold Landry  (EDGE, 25), projected $18.5M

Draft Picks: R1, R3, R4, R4 (COMP), R5, R6, R6 (COMP)

Extension Candidates

Harold Landry  (EDGE, 25)
Landry has more than filled the void that Bud Dupree was supposed to cover when the Titans locked him in at $16.5M per year this past March. Landry’s projection currently sits at 4 yrs, $70M.

Jeffery Simmons (DL, 24)
Simmons is rounding into one of the more versatile DLs in the game, and should be high on the list of Titans players to be locked up. With that said, pass rush probably ranks higher on the pecking order right now. The going rate for a pass rushing interior lineman starts at $18M per year, with $20M plus a very strong reality. 

A.J. Brown (WR, 24)
Brown has big play ability anytime he’s on the field, and there have been games that he’s simply put the team on his back. But the overall resume looks a heck of a lot like Kenny Golladay’s as he entered free agency this past March, and the current valuation (4 years, $71M) looks alot like that too.

Potential Trades/Cuts

Kendall Lamm (OT, 29)
Lamm has been reduced to a depth role (less than 100 snaps) putting his $4.15M cap figure for 2022 highly in question. With just $850,000 of dead cap attached to the deal, there's $3.3M of cap space to be freed up by moving on.