With franchise tag delegations, free agency, and the draft all closing in, we'll take a quick snapshot look at the offseason status of each 2017 NFL team, including projected Top 51 Cap Space, key positional needs, potential cap casualties, notable free agents (including projeceted market values), and additional thoughts going forward. Keep the conversation going @spotrac
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Justin Bethel (CB, $5.25M), and Tyvon Branch (DB, $4.1M) may both be on the bubble after a disappointing and injury-filled 2016, respectively. Arizona may also cut ties with Daryl Washington (LB, $7.17M) who has been suspended since 2014, and shows no signs of a return.
Arizona must decide on the 5th year option for Deone Bucannon (LB) who hit the injured reserve list late in 2016. It's possible an extension for DT Corey Peters is on the table as well, should cap space become available.
Tyson Jackson (DL, $5.85M) posted an average year and may be too rich at 30 years old. This is an otherwise well-locked-in roster.
Coming off an MVP & Super Bowl appearance, extending QB Matt Ryan will be of priority. The 31 year old has $35M remaining on his current deal through 2018, none of which is guaranteed. He's currently projecting to a 4 year $95M extension. This will likely take a backseat to a contract extension for 26 year old CB Desmond Trufant, who is set to play out an $8.026M option in 2017. He's projecting north of $9M per year currently. Should cap space allow for it, the time to consider extending RB Devonta Freeman is quickly looming as well. The versatile playmaker carries a market value north of $10M per year right now.
Mike Wallace (WR) carries an $8M option for 2017, including a $1M roster bonus due March 13th. It's likely a tough call for the Ravens, especially being thin at the position already. The same likely can't be said for Elvis Dumervil (OLB, $8.375M) who at 33 years old and with limited production in 2016 will need a paycut to stay in the conversation going forward. In similar fashion, Baltimore will likely look to get younger and cheaper in the secondary, with Lardarius Webb (CB, $7.5M) the likely piece to fall. Benjamin Watson (TE, $4M) is coming off a torn ACL, and at 36 years old could be moved on from as well.
The Ravens possess limited cap space heading toward the new league year, but also have the majority of their core under strong veteran or rookie contracts. They'll focus heavily on the draft to get younger and cheaper in key areas, but should be in the market for cheaper veteran free agents, as it's unlkely they'll be able to bring back notable expiring players like Brandon Wiliams or Ricky Wagner.
Most of the talk leading up to March will be about the status of Tyrod Taylor (QB, $15.9M) as the Bills carry a decision on a 5 year, $82.5M option, including $30.75M guaranteed at signing (due March 11th). Aaron Williams (S, $6.625M) has yet to decide about continuing his career after suffering another neck injury in 2016. Kyle Williams (DT, $8.3M) appears healthy and willing to return for 2017, but his status remains somewhat up in the air. The Bills must also choose to exercise the 5th year option for WR Sammy Watkins, a likely no-brainer.
Stephon Gilmore (CB, 26) stands out as the Bills most notable free agent to be, and has had an up-and-down first 4 years to say the least. His current market value stands at a whopping $14.6M, making him a prime candidate for a franchise tag this offseason (projected to come in around $14M). Elsewhere Buffalo could be considering a long-term deal for Cyrus Kouandjio (OT, 23), who is set to enter a contract year in 2017.
While cap space isn't currently an issue for the Panthers, roster turnover in some instances may be important in order to get younger, cheaper, and shake up what was a disasterous 2016. Jonathan Stewart (RB, $8.25M) has battled back from injuries, but has also seen a decline in production. Carolina may need to get younger and cheaper here. Ed Dickson (TE, $2.7M) may also be on the bubble come crunch time.
Carolina will likely use early draft picks and free agent money to bolster the offensive line and edge rush - both major setback areas in 2016. Top free agent Kawann Short (DT, 28) is valuing at top dollar, and is a likely franchise tag candidate for the Panthers in the coming weeks. Fellow linemate Star Lotulelei (DT, 27) is set to enter a contract year in 2017, and will also be considered for a new deal. Carolina must also exercise the 5th year option for Kelvin Benjamin (WR, 26).
While it's not 100%, it appears the divorce is finally coming for Jay Cutler (QB, $16M) and the Bears. The same should be said for Eddie Royal (WR, $5M), Kyle Fuller (CB, $3M), and Tracy Porter (CB, $4.05M).
The Bears have cap space to burn and major positional categories to fill. They'll be plenty active in the coming weeks, likely starting with an attempt to lock in Alshon Jeffery to a long-term deal. They'll need to overpay to keep him.
Cincy's defense may be getting an overhaul after a disappointing 2016 campaign. Offseason trouble may force their hand with Adam Jones (CB,$7.6M), while age and a drop in production may cost Rey Maualuga (ILB, $3.6M), & Michael Johnson (DE, $5.125M) their roster spots.
The Bengals O-Line remains at odds, as 35 year old Andrew Whitworth was arguably their best player in 2016. He's set to hit the open market, and the Bengals must find long-term answers. Kevin Zeitler (OG, 26) is set to hit the open market and should be a priority signing for Cincy. Tyler Eifert (TE, $4.782M) is entering a contract year, and with recent injuries may have to play out his contract. It's possible both Dre Kirkpatrick (FA), and Adam Jones are out of the picture in 2017, meaning an overhaul to the secondary will be at hand. This could be a very busy offseason in Cincinnati who must also decide on the 5th year option for Darqueze Dennard (CB).
With Josh McCown already having been released, the focus turns to Robert Griffin III (QB, $9.25M). He's set to receive a $750,000 roster bonus on March 11th. With an ample amount of cap space, Cleveland won't face "cap casualties" this offseason.
The Browns did well to lock in Jamie Collins (OLB) earlier this month, and will certainly look to do the same with WR Terrelle Pryor (27) in the coming weeks. The versatile playmaker carries a market value just shy of $9M. John Greco (OG, 31) may be an extension candidate this offseason, though father time is not on his side.
The Cowboys will do their best to find a trade partner for Tony Romo (QB, 36), but it's not likely anyone will budge. His release will clear $5.1M in much needed cap space this March. Elsewhere Alfred Morris (RB, $2.1M), and possibly even Jason Witten (TE, $12.2M) could be let go as Dallas fights for space. Also of note: restructuring Dez Bryant's already guaranteed $13M salary to the veteran minimum would save Dallas $8M in 2017 cap space.
The Cowboys put together one of the more surprising campaigns last season, and in doing so, turned over their roster to young, cheap talent. They'll need to trim some fat to stay within good financial standing, and likely won't be major players in free agency.
The signing of Donald Stephenson (OT, $5M) last offseason didn't go as planned. Combine that with the option decision on a 4 year $48M extension for Russell Okung (OT, $11.7M), and the Broncos O-Line is in major flux. On the other side of the ball, T.J. Ward (S, $5.75M) and Jared Crick (DE, $2.225M) could be slightly on the bubble, but only if their spots are upgraded this offseason.
Much of the Broncos plans will rely on the March 9th decision for Russell Okung's option. It's unlikely Denver re-signs any of their notable free agents, as they continue to build through the draft. Denver must also decide on the 5th-year option for Bradley Roby (CB).
The Lions re-build took a big step forward in 2016, and should continue to progress into 2017. Haloti Ngata (DT, $7.75M) likely won't be back at the price, while DeAndre Levy (OLB, $8.39M) could barely find the field in 2016. The combined $9M+ in space for releasing both will be much needed comes free agency.
The Lions need a bonafied cornerback to go with Darius Slay, and could be eyeing A.J. Bouye out of Houston, who carries an $11M+ market value as of now. They'll be in the market for more help on the edge rush as well, and will likely look to the draft to fill that need. Matthew Stafford (QB, 29) is entering a contract year in 2017, and could be aligning himself to become the highest average paid player in the history of football. Detroit will need to decide on the 5th year option for Eric Ebron (TE) - a seemingly tough call.
The Packers already cut ties with CB Sam Shields, & injury-plagued RB James Starks, leaving only Ty Montgomery to fill that role currently. Long-time Packer Clay Matthews (LB, $15.2M) may also be too expensive to keep on board this summer, though his vesatile style of play will be tough to replace.
Green Bay likely overachieved in 2016 and will need to improve on both sides of the ball to regain form in 2017. This will start with the running game, a hole they're reported to fill early in the draft. Injuries to the secondary need to be addressed as well, and could be done so via free agency - though the Packers are almost never major players in that game. Re-signing Jared Cook (TE, 29) appears to be a priority, and shouldn't force them to break the bank. Green Bay will also need to decide on the 5th year option for HaHa Clinton-Dix (S)
The Texans will probably release a QB this offseason, but it's likely to be Brandon Weeden (QB, $2.125M), not Brock Osweiler. Look for Houston to also move on from Chris Clark (OT, $3.25M) who was a major liability in 2016.
It's tough to gauage the Texans 2016 campaign, who once again came close to breaking through - even without J.J. Watt for much of the season. Houston will likely draft to fix their O-Line, and should be pushing to re-sign A.J. Bouye (CB, 25), who is rising up the top free agent boards, and is currently projected toward an $11M+ deal. It may also be time to extend DeAndre Hopkins (WR, 24), who is set to enter a contract year in 2017, though the $15M per year price tag may prove difficult. Houston will also need to decide on the 5th year option for Jadeveon Clowney (OLB).
The Colts have already cut ties with LB D'Qwell Jackson, and should also do the same with Arthur Jones (DT, $7.35M) who faced injuries and a PED suspension in 2016. Vontae Davis (CB, $10.25M) is a nice veteran presence in a somewhat young Colts' defense, but his cap figure appears to be much higher than can be accepted.
The Colts have yet to put an offensive line in front of Andrew Luck that can function. This should be their #1, #2, and #3 priorities heading into March. They possess a decent among of cap space, and can certainly trim to gain more. The Colts are also expected to select a playmaking running back high in the draft to bolster their offense.
Kelvin Beachum (OT, $8.5M) has a 4 year $40M option due 2/15. The 27-year-old struggled in 2016, making this a tough decision for the Jaguars. With ample cap room yet again, roster cuts will likely be in reaction to free agent signings, as they continue to look to improve in many areas. Dan Skuta (OLB, $4.1M) and Paul Posluszny (ILB, $5.1M) could be on the soft-bubble based on the upcoming draft.
Outside of Beachum's option (above), Blake Bortles (QB) will be a name to watch this offseason, as the Jaguars will need to decide on his 5th year option for 2018. Chris Ivory (RB, $5.8M), Julius Thomas (TE, $8.3M), & Allen Hurns (WR, $7M) Tashaun Gipson (FS, $6.3M) all had rough 2016 campaigns, and all carry dead cap that makes them virutally unremovable.
The Cheifs carry a $10.75M option on backup QB Nick Foles that should be taken off the books, but a harder decision lies with long-time RB1 Jamaal Charles (RB, $6.1M). Kansas City will need the $6M+ plus saved when it comes down to it. Another $4.1M can be cleared by releasing punter Dustin Colquitt ($4.9M).
While much of the offseason talk has been about Alex Smith's status with the team, it seems time would be better spent addressing the lack of WR production that has scortchfed the Chiefs over the past decade. The future of Eric Berry (FS) in KC remains at large, as the 28 year old has publicly said he refuses to play out another franchise tag. He carries a market value of $9.1M currently. The market for defensive tackle Dontari Poe will likely price Kansas City out early. The Chiefs will also need to make a decision on the 5th-year option for Dee Ford (OLB).
The Chargers offensive line continues to struggle, which could lead to them moving on from both King Dunlap (OT, $8.375M) & D.J. Fluker (OG, $8.821M). Regardless, they'll address this area in the next few weeks. Also sturdily on the bubble is Brandon Flowers (CB, $11M) who's release clears $7M in needed cap space.
Injuries have decimated Philip Rivers' receiving core in back to back years. With Melvin Gordon showing signs of a breakout, addressing the O-Line and finding Rivers another passing weapon should be a priority this spring. As the Chargers top free agent re-signing OLB Melvin Ingram appears to be a priority. But his $17M+ calculated market value might mean a franchise tag is forthcoming. The Chargers must also decide on the 5th-year option for Jason Verrett (CB).
Even with ample cap space it's hard see the Rams keeping Lance Kendricks (TE, $4.25M) on the roster past March 11th (when he's due a $500,000 roster bonus). Eugene Sims (DE, $3.25M) could be the odd man out on the defensive line, while Greg Robinson (OT, $6.77M) is a veritable bust as a #2 overall pick, but with zero saved to release him he probably survives his contract year season.
Trumaine Johnson (CB) played out a franchise tag in 2016, and carries a $13M market value heading into this offseason. If the Rams can't bring him back, they'll be VERY thin in the secondary. The Rams have done well to extend their own early, so for the most part, the core is intact. Los Angeles will have to decide on 5th year options for both Aaron Donald (DT), and Greg Robinson (OT).
There's certainly no way Mario Williams (DE, $10.5M) stays on at his current rate, and the same can likely be said for Koa Misi (OLB, $6.5M). Elsewhere a restructure or paycut may be in the cards for Branden Albert, who may be moving to right tackle this year, while an extension for SS Reshad Jones would allow them to lower his 2017 cap figure.
Miami has made re-signing Kenny Stills (WR, 24) a priority, but with Jordan Cameron, Dion Sims, & Dominique Jones all set to hit the market, locating a TE1 should be right up there as well. Andre Branch (DE, 27) had a nice bounce-back year in 2016, and could command something in the $6M-$7M per year mark. Jarvis Landry (WR, 24) will also be entering a contract year in 2017, and will be a top extension candidate in the coming months. His calculated market value already comes in north of $12.5M per year. Miami will also need to decide on a 5th-year option for Ja'Wuan James (RT).
The $18M cap hit currently allocated to Adrian Peterson (RB, 31) is more than double any other running back in the league. Peterson's run in Minnesota is likely coming to a close. Jarius Wright (WR, 27, $3.16M) barely saw action in year one of a 4 year extension. The Vikings may also continue cutting ties with Sharrif Floyd (DT, $6.757M) whose 5th-year option becomes fully guaranteed on March 9th.
Outside of the obvious need to add offensive linemen, Minnesota appears to have swung and missed on Laquon Treadwell (WR, 21) & Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, 25). Look for them to add depth here early in the draft and/or via free agency. If the recovery process for Teddy Bridgewater (QB, 25) doesn't go well this spring, the Vikings could be in the market to draft another option to backup Bradford in 2017, and possibly take over the reigns from there. Speaking of, Minnesota must decide on 5th-year options for Teddy Bridgewater (QB) & Anthony Barr (OLB).
With ample cap space, the Patriots' offseason is more about the players with expiring contracts than it is dealing with those who are currently signed. Though despite his brilliance in Super Bowl LI, it's unlikely Danny Amendola (WR, 31, $7.79M) is allowed back at his current price.
The Patriots' prospective UFA list boasts some major players, including Logan Ryan (CB, 26), Martellus Bennett (TE, 30), Dont'a Hightower (ILB, 26), & LeGarrette Blount (RB, 30) to name a few. Even at 30, Blount's production finds him valuing north of $4M per year. He'll need to accept much less to remain in New England. While Hightower's current market value falls in just north of $10M, it's likely the 26 year old targets former teammate Jamie Collins recent $12.5M AAV on the market. Left Tackle Nate Solder (28) is a notable extension candidate, as his 2 year, $20M contract expires after 2017. Backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo will also be entering a contract year in 2017, and will be the topic of trade talks until further notice.
Jairus Byrd (FS, 30) has been a free agent signing bonus since joining the Saints in 2014. With all but $8M of dead cap off the deal, the Saints may choose to break free this offseason. Punter Thomas Morstead and his $4.7M cap hit may also be on the roster bubble.
29 year old Nick Fairley (DT) had a quietly nice 2016 for the Saints and will likely garner multiple offers on the open market. After rewarded Drew Brees (QB, 38) with a 1 year extension last offseason, it appears the future Hall of Famer will be playing out a contract year this time around. This certainly means New Orleans will be addressing the QB position in the upcoming draft. While trade rumors surrounding WR Brandin Cooks were swirling, it appears his spot in New Orleans is secure for now. The 23 year old carries a market value of $13.6M, and the Saints will have the opportunity to exercise his 5th-year option this spring.
The Giants made a few expected moves early this week, releasing WR Victor Cruz & RB Rashad Jennings - moved that cleared $10M in 2017 salary cap space. It's expected they'll do the same with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (CB, $8.5M) & J.T. Thomas (OLB, $4M) to free up a few more dollars as free agency nears.
With Eli Manning (QB, 36) on the back side of his career, the Giants will likely take an earlier-than-later look at selecting a new long-term option in the upcoming draft. They'll likely be in the free agent offensive line market, as well as seeking a replacement for the recently let go running back Rashad Jennings. New York will have the ability to exercise the 5th-year-option for Odell Beckham, Jr. (WR), who is now eligible for a contract extension.
Despite multiple restructures, the Jets will likely move on from Ryan Clady (OT, $10.5M) in the coming week. Darrelle Revis (CB, $15.3M) has a $2M roster bonus due on March 10th, and will likely need to take a sizeable cut to his base salary to stick around. Marcus Gilchrist (S, $6.625M) is trying to recover from a torn knee tendon. His release would clear $5M+ in needed space. Brandon Marshall (WR, $7.5M) has been rumored to be on the trade block, and Nick Mangold (C, $9.075M) is entering a contract year, and could be a late casualty if space remains an issue.
The Jets secondary needs more talent & more depth, but will be strapped for cap until multiple moves are made. Releasing Clady & Revis will clear nearly $20M in cap space, but it seems likely that more chips will fall before it's all said and done. This could mean trading WR Brandon Marshall and quite possibly DE Muhammad Wilkerson as well. New York will also have the chance to exercise a 5th-year option on FS Calvin Pryor.
With ample cap space and a truly remarkable 2016 across the board, it's tough to identify any notable signed Raiders player worthy of the "roster bubble". It's possible Lee Smith (TE, $3M) is upgraded this spring, while more offseason trouble may have Aldon Smith (OLB, $2.75M) in danger of being passed by. If cap space does become an issue this offseason, Sean Smith's roster bonus/salary & David Amerson's salary can be restructured to free up some dollars.
Despite a few notable free agents, the talk in Oakland (aside from the potential relocation) will be locking up Derek Carr (QB, 25) & Khalil Mack (DE, 25) to long-term deals. The Raiders can exercise a 5th-year option for Mack this spring, keeping him at a reasonable price through 2018, but they may still choose to pay the versatile edge rusher. Follow these up with a deal for Amari Cooper in the next 24 months, and the Raiders core is in great shape right now.
Ryan Mathews (RB, $5M) may not make it to the final year of his 3 year $11M contract, while long-time blindside tackle Jason Peters (OT, $11.2M) may need to accept a paycut to stay in the fold this season. Mychal Kendricks (ILB, $6.6M) has been a rumored trade candidate, while Connor Barwin (OLB, $8.35M) may simply be outright released.
The Eagles need more cap space to improve upon their 2016 roster, so it's likely some if not all of the names mentioned above are casualties. It's no secret that Philly wants to acquire a playmaker in the passing game, and could be big players for Alshon Jeffery this spring. WR1 Jordan Matthews is entering a contract year in 2017, and is a top extension candidate, currently valuing around $10M per year. If Ryan Mathews is released, look for a running back to be an early draft selection this April. The Eagles will also have the ability to exercise the 5th-year option for Marcus Smith (OLB).
Ladarius Green (TE, $6.1M) faced concussion issues in his first year with the Steelers, and Pittsburgh might not want to take the risk going forward. This offseason will be more about bringing back players.
The Steelers are less than a month away from seeing Le'Veon Bell (RB, 24) hit the open market. While it's not likely, his recent groin injury does put a crimp in things. It's still HIGHLY likely that Bell is slapped with a franchise tag in the coming days, with the intent to sign him to a long-term deal this spring. The 24 year old carries a market value of $10.5M. Notable free agents alongside Bell include Lawrence Timmons (ILB, 30), Jarvis Jones (OLB, 27). It's also likely Antonio Brown (WR, 28), Stephon Tuitt (DE, 23) & Ryan Shazier (ILB, 24) are considered for extensions this offseason. The Steelers can exercise a 5th-year option for Shazier this spring.
The early player to watch is of course Colin Kaepernick (QB, $19.3M) who can opt-out of his contract on March 2nd. It's expected that the 49ers will release him either way. Torrey Smith (WR, $9.6M) adds a nice veteran presence to a scattered Niners squad, but likely won't be able to hang around at that cost.
If they move on from Torrey Smith, the Niners will be set to lose their entire WR arsenal this offseason (Kerley, Streater, Patton all free agents). The order in which they rebuild this team isn't known, but it's possible it starts with a veteran QB signing this March. Look for them to push to re-sign Gerald Hodges (ILB, 26) who had a quietly great 2016 campaign. The Niners also have to make a decision on the 5th-year option of Jimmie Ward (FS, 25).
The Seahawks simply don't have many bad contracts on their current roster. They've done well to lock in their core talent early enough to keep value intact, and still hold a fair amount of cap space heading into the new league year.
The Seahawks need to rebuild 75% of their offensive line this year, and will likely do so through the draft. Of their pending free agents, Tony McDaniel (DT, 32) might be brought back into the fold, while most others will be allowed to test the market. Justin Britt (C, 25) is entering a contract year and should be considered a top extension candidate.
Lack of production combined with a PED suspension should force Doug Martin (RB, 28) from the 2017 roster. Outside of that, the Bucs should be big spenders this spring.
Free Safeties Christopher Conte & Bradley McDougald and Cornerback Josh Robinson are slated to hit the open market signaling what could be a major rebuild for the Bucs secondary. While it's unlikely Vincent Jackson (WR, 34) is brought back into the fold, Tampa will be in need of a weapon or two both in the pass game and the running game. This could be an enticing landing spot for Adrian Peterson this summer. The Bucs can also exercise the 5th-year option on Mike Evans (WR), but it's likely they push for a long-term extension.
Harry Douglas (WR, 31, $4.4M) barely found the field in 2016 and though WR is an area of need for Tennesee, still should be released. Jason McCourty (CB, 29, $7M) is largely on the roster bubble as well, as the Titans need to get younger and cheaper in the secondary.
With Kendall Wright (WR, 27) set to hit the open market, and Douglas a likely cap casualty, Tennessee's top priorities should be free agent/rookie DBs and WRs this offseason. It's also time to consider a young TE to complement Delanie Walker, who will be 33 for the upcoming season. The Titans can exercise a 5th-year option for Taylor Lewan (OT).
DeAngelo Hall (FS, 33, $5M) tore his ACL in 2016, and might be too risky to rely on next season. Shawn Lauvao (OG, 29, $5M) rated out poorly in 2016, but might be the Redskins' best option at the end of the day. Niles Paul (TE, 27, $2.2M) barely found the field in 2016, and his release would clear nearly $2M in space.
The cap space is a bit deceiving as it doesn't yet include a starting QB. If a long-term extension can't be reached with Kirk Cousins (QB, 28), Washington will most certainly slap another franchise tag on him, a move that will cost them $23.9M. The same can't be said for his passing weapons, as both Pierre Garcon (WR, 30), and DeSean Jackson (WR, 30) are set to hit to the open market. It's possible neither are brought back. Chris Baker (DE, 29) was arguably Washington's best player in 2016, and should be a priority to re-sign this spring.
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