With most draft picks now under contract, the NFL offseason shifts to roster bubbles, contract extensions, and even trade candidates as teams head toward training camp. We've identified a few hot takes that make sense before the 2018 season.
Bills Trade Charles Clay to the Los Angeles Chargers
Clay has two year’s remaining on his somewhat lofty 5 year $38M contract from the Bills, including cap hits of $9M in each. If Buffalo is treating 2018 as a “bridge year” like some speculate, moving Clay now for a decent return makes sense. The Chargers are a much improved team, but with Antonio Gates now considered to be out of the picture, and youngster Hunter Henry on the IR, Clay would make an immediate impact.
The move would leave $4.5M of dead cap with the Bills in each of 2018 & 2019, but clear $4.5M each season as well (Chargers would get Clay on cap hits of $4.5M both years).
Redskins Sign Dez Bryant
Washington took a big swing this offseason by letting Kirk Cousins walk, and immediately acquiring Alex Smith to man the ship. But they’re likely still looking up at the rest of the division, led by the Eagles, Cowboys, & Giants. Dez would bring an emotional uplift, as well as fill a physical need on the field. No longer a deep threat, he represents the short yardage, and red-zone threat the Redskins will need, especially with Jordan Reed’s health always in question.
A 1-year deal for around $5M should get the job done late in the summer.
DeMarco Murray Signs with the Indianapolis Colts
It’s a little surprising Murray hasn’t latched on anywhere yet, but letting rosters sort out (and injuries happen) isn’t a terrible move by him either. There are likely a few teams considering his services right now, notably Denver, Chicago, & Green Bay, but the Colts make the most sense. Assuming Andrew Luck returns, Indy won’t want him launching 50 passes a game out of the gate, so a switch to a versatile running attack would be smart. The Colts will also be losing Robert Turbin for the first four games due to suspension, so there’s an immediate need.
A 2 year $6M contract ($3M guaranteed) is probably about right.
The Jets Release Teddy Bridgewater
Josh McCown’s fully guaranteed $10M, and Sam Darnold’s fully guaranteed $30.2M contracts but Bridgewater’s future on immediate notice. It’s possible the Jets carry all three, but not likely. Assuming he makes it through camp. Bridgewater will reel in a $500,000 signing bonus, and a $500,000 workout bonus in 2018. His release would leave that $1M as dead cap, clearing $5M.
Neither Odell Beckham Jr & Le’Veon Bell are Extended
It’s becoming very difficult to justify overpaying for elite players - even offensive weapons. Many teams have built their rosters for above average depth, and steered clear of blockbuster contracts to a few players specifically.
Beckham is set to play out an $8.459M 5th-year option in New York, while Bell is locked into a second franchise tag, worth a very nice $14.544M. It’s becoming more and more likely both play out 2018, then hit free agency together.