For many NFL franchise, the final few weeks of the 2019 season mean the beginning of the 2020 offseason. We've already seen a few notable contract extensions post of late. Here's a look at a player or two on each NFL roster who may be inline for a new deal in the coming weeks, and a player who's trending toward the trade block or roster bubble in 2020.
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Budda Baker (SS, 23)
Baker becomes extension-eligible after 2019, & has now consistently been a Top 30 safety according to PFF for three straight years. He's a tackle machine, and appears to be a solid part of the Arizona core going forward.
Patrick Peterson (CB, 30)
The relationship between Peterson and the Cardinals has gone back and forth this season, ending now with reports that an extension may be forthcoming. If it doesn't, consider him back on the trade block this offseason. The 30-year-old has 1 year, $12.5M remaining.
Austin Hooper (TE, 24)
Along with George Kittle, should help reset the TE market. His baseline valuation sits right at $10M (even with time missed in 2019), but another cap adjustment should help get the top tier of TEs at the $12M threshold.
Devonta Freeman (RB, 28)
The Falcons are a better offense when Freeman is active, but an injury-filled 2019, and a $9.5M cap hit in 2020 don't bode well for his status. His outright release would clear $3.5M of cap space.
Marcus Peters (CB, 26)
Peters has bounced around, but there’s no question the Ravens defense improved when he was acquired. He’ll be part of a major market reset for the CB position. He projects to a deal worth around $14M per year currently.
Brandon Carr (CB, 33)
On the flip side, keeping Peters probably means moving on from Brandon Carr, who will be 34 by the start of next season. He holds a $7M option for 2020 that clears $6Mif declined.
Tre'Davious White (CB, 24)
Was asked to fill the shoes of Stephon Gilmore and has developed into exactly that type of player. He’s under team control for two years, but the Bills would be smart to get out in front of this deal, especially with players like Josh Allen ready for a pay day in 2021.
Tyler Kroft (TE, 27)
It could be a one and done year for Kroft in Buffalo, who have the benefit of hitting on two TE draft picks of late. With ample cap space, this won't be a required move, but it does clear $5M of space.
Christian McCaffrey (RB, 23)
Despite an interim coaching regime, Carolina extended LB Shaq Thompson recently, somewhat signaling that a major ripdown isn’t imminent. But any coach or GM should be thrilled to throw money at McCaffrey, who’s been a real-life and fantasy dream for three years. He’s the top rated RB according to PFF by nearly a full point, and he projects to a 6 year, $108M ($18M per year) contract according to our valuation.
Cam Newton (QB, 30)
The Kyle Allen era appears to be here, though it doesn't appear to be a slam dunk that the Panthers are set to move on from Newton, especially with a new coaching regime still to come. What we do know is trading or releasing the 30-year-old clears $19.1M of cap space.
HaHa Clinton-Dix (S, 26)
The Bears have had an up & down season to say the least, but they’ve gotten great value out of Clinton-Dix’s $3M “prove it” contract. While Chicago clearly needs to spend most of the time & money on the offensive side of the ball this offseason, rewarding the 26-year-old free safety should also be on the agenda.
Kyle Long (OG, 31)
Long's given the Bears plenty of good years, but has been in decline the past 3 or so. Toss in an injury plagued 2019, and $8.1M to be cleared should his option for 2020 be declined and the writing may be on the wall here.
Josh Tupou (DT, 25)
The Bengals appear ready to dress down this roster in a lot of places. But as the rest of the defensive line begins to age out, Tupou appears to be entering phase two of his career. Hes’ bounced on and off the Cincy practice squad in past years, but a low-level, low-risk extension makes sense to keep some consistency in the fold.
Andy Dalton (QB, 31)
Dalton has 1 year, $17.7M remaining on his contract. While the Bengals are certain to take a QB with their high draft pick in 2020, it may also be in their best interest to keep Dalton on for the transition process. Dalton is certainly a trade option, but Cincy can afford to carry his contract either way.
Kareem Hunt (RB, 24)
The Browns can’t even consider extending Nick Chubb until after the 2020 season, so locking in pending restricted free agent Kareem Hunt makes sense, as long as the price remains in check. Chubb & Hunt have settled into a strong 1-2 punch in the second half of 2019. Ideally this deal stays under the $5M per year mark.
Odell Beckham, Jr. (WR, 27)
Is it one and done for OBJ in Cleveland? The answer is likely no, but the conversation about him being traded elsewhere is already picking up steam. With 4 years, $60M left on his deal, Beckham doesn't have much leverage for a new contract, but it's certainly not out of the question should he land elsewhere this spring.
Dak Prescott (QB, 26); Amari Cooper (WR, 25)
Dallas has the means to extend both of these players right now. But a turn for the worse in 2019 and a likely new coaching regime coming put things on hold indefinitely. Dak currently carries a $33M valuation, while Cooper's has risen to just under $19M. One of these players is almost certainly tagged in February.
Tyrone Crawford (DT, 30)
Crawford's been a very solid option for the Cowboys defensive line, but Dallas will be looking to get younger & cheaper, especially on the defensive side of the ball, as they increase the cost of their offense in 2020. This would be a cap casualty & nothing less.
Justin Simmons (S, 25)
The 3rd rounder out of Boston College is the top graded safety in all of football according to PFF. He’ll look to cash in on a safety market that was wildly reset in 2019 thanks to Earl Thomas, Tyrann Mathieu, & Landon Collins.
Joe Flacco (QB, 34)
No brainer of course. The Joe Flacco experiment never really got out of the laboratory, and the Broncos seem inclined to roll with newcomer Drew Lock and/or another acquisition for 2020. Flacco has $44.5M due over the next two seasons, but none of it is guaranteed. Denver will take son $13.6M of dead cap to move on, clearing $10M of space.
Kenny Golladay (WR, 25)
The 3rd rounder out of Northern Illinois has really hit his stride in 2019, no matter the QB. Detroit should feel comfortable locking in him for another 3 years guaranteed at this point. He projects somewhere between Stefon Diggs ($14.4M), & Brandin Cooks ($16.2M).
Matthew Stafford (QB, 32)
The importance of Matthew Stafford to the Lions has never been more evident than in the past few weeks as the team as bottomed out in his absence. However, what comes next for Detroit seems a bit unknown, as the franchise has been mired in mediocrity for a decade or so. Shipping Stafford to a contender for major assets could be the shakeup the organization needs to reboot. Even still, this is highly unlikely.
Aaron Jones (RB, 24)
The last time the Packers paid a RB a decent dollar was James Starks, who locked in a 4 year, $20M extension back in 2008. Jones is arguably the most productive RB they’ve ever had, and less arguably the most important playmaker on the team right now. He’ll be seeking David Johnson ($12M+) type money.
Jimmy Graham (TE, 33)
Graham's role in the offense has diminished each of the last few years, & while his cap figure actually drops $1M down to $11.6M, that price still seems too high to swallow. His release clears $8M.
D.J. Reader (DT, 25)
The 6th-highest rated interior defender according to PFF is a pending free agent after 2019. An increased role has pushed Reader into a new tier, though he’s now put together three solid seasons in a row. An early valuation points him right at the $12M mark.
Deshaun Watson (QB, 23)
The 24-year old has been a bit underrated behind the noise that Patrick Mahomes & now Lamar Jackson have made in the past two seasons. But Watson is right there with him productively, & a strong postseason run in 2019 could vault him to another level financially. He becomes extension-eligible after this season, & currently holds a $35.7M valuation.
Laremy Tunsil (OT, 25)
Houston gave up two first round picks and then some to acquire Tunsil & WR Kenny Stills, and he’s rewarded them with his usual Top 10 tackle production. A recent uptick of right tackle & guard money vaults the top left tackle pay north of $18M.
Vernon Hargreaves (CB, 24)
Houston claimed the former Bucs 1st rounder off of waivers to add depth to a banged up secondary, but it's been OK at best. Hargreaves' $9.9M 5th year option fully guarantees on March 18th, so he'll likely be released prior.
Anthony Castonzo (OT, 31)
After a bit of a step back season in 2018, Castonzo is back in the Top 5 of offensive tackle according to PFF, and it’s a little peculiar that the 31-year-old hasn’t yet received a new deal (especially as the Colts have already begun the process in locking down TE Jack Doyle). The pending free agent will join Laremy Tunsil as notable tackles seeking a deal this offseason. His starting price should be $16M per year. Darius Leonard, Marlon Mack, & Jacoby Brissett are likely candidates here as well.
Margus Hunt (TE, 33)
Hunt signed a 2 year $9M contract this past March, but has had a minimal role thus far. While a $4M cap figure is nothing the Colts can't handle, he'll be considered a bubble player heading into the offseason.
Yannick Ngakoue (EDGE, 24)
While the coach is on the hot seat and the high priced QB is on the bench, the reality is the financial health of Jacksonville likely means they will continue to push forward in 2020, rather than rip down. He comps well with Z’Darius Smith, who scored $16.5M from the Packers last March.
Marcell Dareus (DT, 30)
Dareus restructured prior to 2019 in order to stick with the Jags and found himself on the IR 8 weeks later. There's not a chance his $22.5M cap figure for 2020 is even considered, meaning Dareus will likely test the market for the first time in his career. Jacksonville will take on a $2.5M dead cap hit for his removal.
Chris Jones (DL, 25)
The sexy answer here is Mahomes of course, but with two years remaining on his contract it’s likely the Chiefs take care of other business first. Jones posted back to back peak years in 2017-2018, and his production has slipped a bit of late. Unfortunately for KC, this means his valuation rings in at $18.5M per year instead of $20M - still a big number for a team without much wiggle room financially.
Sammy Watkins (WR, 26)
The former #4 overall pick back in 2014 might be the 4th most productive passing game weapon right now. Not good news for a player whose cap figure rises to $21M in 2020. The Chiefs can clear $14M of much needed space by moving on this offseason.
Austin Ekeler (RB, 24)
The Chargers have been one of the more disappointing teams of 2019, a year that began with the ugly holdout of RB Melvin Gordon. Gordon’s done little to make anyone think he’s the weapon LA will bring to the new stadium with them next year. Ekeler is a pending restricted free agent, the second best rated running back in all of football (PFF), and projects north of $11M...and rising.
Denzel Perryman (LB, 26)
Perryman locked in a 2 year, $12M extension in LA this past March, but his cap figure soars to $8.575M in 2020. He's a solid interior defender, but might not post the production to warrant the price tag.
Jalen Ramsey (CB, 24)
Much of the Rams’ up and down 2019 has erred on the side of disappointing. But the fact remains that LA gave up a mountain to replace Marcus Peters with Ramsey mid-season, who holds a $13.7M 5th-year option in 2020. LA will have trouble getting themselves financially right this offseason, so a Ramsey extension may need to wait a bit until the roster shuffles thin out. It’s also possible the Rams flip him in a trade to clear some cap, and get back some of their traded assets.
Clay Matthews (OLB, 34)
Matthews can still hold his own, but the Rams will need to be creative to pick up some space in 2020, and unfortunately that likely means casualties will happen. On a $5.75M cap & cash figure, Matthews is potentially tradable.
DeVante Parker (WR, 26)
Parker restructured his 5th-year option in order to remain with the team prior to 2019, and has really put together a solid campaign, especially with the hand he’s been dealt around him. He’s no longer targeted top-tier dollars, but rather logical starting WR pay, which comes in at or around the $9M-$10M per year mark. If he’s allowed to hit the market there’s a chance he’s valued even higher.
Albert Wilson (WR, 27)
Wilson has 26 grabs and just 1 touchdown in 10 2019 games, offering little hope that he'll be a part of the next iteration of the Dolphins. Miami can clear $9.5M of his $10.8M cap figure per a relase.
Kirk Cousins (QB, 31)
The reality here is that Cousins has done 99.9% of what the Vikings were asking for when they locked him in $84M guaranteed 2 years ago. If they feel he’s not the QB who can take them to the finish line, then this extension will never come. But if they like enough of what they’ve seen, converting the $30M already guaranteed in 2020 into some sort of bonus and tacking on a few extra years to this deal will clear some much needed space for Minnesota as they continue to contend. Dalvin Cook will also become extension-eligible after 2019.
Xavier Rhodes (CB, 29)
This is now back to back tough years for Rhodes in the Minnesota secondary, putting his $12.9M cap figure on high notice for 2020. The Vikings can clear up $8.1M of space by moving on.
Jamie Collins (OLB, 29)
After a disastrous stint in Cleveland, Collins returned to NE and made an immediate impact alongside with Hightower & Van Noy. The 29-year-old has been a force in both the run and pass game, factoring into a Patriots’ defense that has posted high marks all year long.
Tom Brady (QB, 42)
This is it, right? Reduced to a game manager, no longer able to make any set of mediocre weapons appear to be great, the end is finally here? It's far from certainty, but should the two sides agree to cut ties, New England will be left with a $13.5M dead cap hit (this dead cap will transfer to a new deal should he be extended).
Drew Brees (QB, 40)
There’s been plenty of speculation that 2019 is a curtain call season for Brees, especially with a hand injury that kept him out of a chunk of games. But the Saints are still legitimate contenders, and Brees is still massively productive most weeks. His current contract contains an automatic void that will leave behind $21.3M of dead cap in 2020 should the Saints not re-sign him.
Patrick Robinson (CB, 32)
Robinson turned a major role in the Eagles postseason run 2 years ago into a 4 year, $20M free agent contract with the Saints. It simply hasn't worked out. New Orleans can clear $3.1M of space by moving on this offseason.
Leonard Williams (DE, 25)
The Giants front-office likely isn’t pining to throw money at anyone on the current roster, but they sacrificed a 3rd & a 5th round pick to bring in Williams from the Jets a month ago, so it makes a decent amount of sense to keep him around a little longer. With slightly above average production to boot in 2019, we’re not talking about a bigtime payday.
Alec Ogletree (LB, 28)
The 60th-rated linebacker according to PFF has 2 years, $19M left on his deal, but his release can clear $8.25M in 2020. The Giants are expected to sweep a lot of areas clean in the coming weeks (fellow defensive starter Janoris Jenkins is a top trade candidate as well).
Jamal Adams (S, 24)
Right, they tried to trade him for a huge haul a month ago, and the relationship appeared to be rocky at best. But money buys love, and Adams becomes extension eligible after 2019. He’s been durable, reliable, and opposing WRs simply don’t catch the ball against him. The 24-year-old will be seeking Landon Collins’ $14M per year.
Trumaine Johnson (LB, 28)
The Jets will tell you there are better ways to spend $34M, but that's what Johnson has earned in New York the past two seasons. They'll eat $12M of dead cap ($3M saved) to move on from him this winter.
Richie Incognito (OG, 36)
A composed Incognito is still one of the best guards in all of football. The 36-year-old has been playing 2019 on a prorated veteran minimum, and has done enough to earn at least another year in the fold. Doubling his current pay should get the job done.
Zay Jones (WR, 25)
The Raiders threw Buffalo a 5th round pick to acquire Jones in October, but he's made little impact since. Oakland may feel his $1.3M cap/cash figure for 2020 is worth another year, but he'll cost them nothing to release if not.
Jason Peters (OT, 37)
One more year? The converted TE is likely headed to Canton someday as a left tackle, but Philadelphia should consider postponing that for another season. Peters missed a few games with a knee injury, but has been as solid as ever when he's been active on Carson Wentz's blindside. He and right tackle Lane Johnson are two of the top five rated tackles in all of football according to PFF. The Eagles should certainly find his heir apparent this offseason, but bringing him back on a healthy 1 year deal also makes sense.
Nigel Bradham (LB, 30)
The Eagles don't have a lot of options to move on from contracts right now due to recent signings, or unfavorable dead cap structures. Bradham holds options from here out, including a $9.7M figure in 2020. Philly can clear $4.4M by moving on.
Cameron Heyward (DE, 30)
He’s been remarkably consistent for 9 seasons and doesn’t appear to be slowing down just yet. Heyward is due $9.5M in 2020 (non-guaranteed), but could be inline for an extension similar to the one the Bills gave Jerry Hughes (2 years, $21.5M, 90% guaranteed). Though Heyward can command an extra year.
Mark Barron (LB, 30)
Reduced to a depth role in 2019, Barron's actually been fairly productive for Pittsburgh. But with the Steelers in cap trouble, and Barron's figure set to jump up to $8.1M next year, the writing may be on the wall.
George KittleTE, 25)
Even when he’s banged up, he’s better than 99% of the TEs in the league. A player who rarely caught the ball in his college days, Kittle is one of the most versatile, productive tight ends the game has seen since early Gronk. A position in need of a market reset, Kittle’s baseline valuation comes in around $11.5M, but it’s highly likely a $12M+ contract is in his future.
Jerick McKinnon (RB, 28)
San Francisco signed McKinnon to a 4 year, $30M contract in March of 2018. He's yet to see the field as a Niner due to injury, reeling in $16.25M despite. San Fran can free up $4.55M of space by moving on after 2019.
Jadeveon ClowneyDE, 26)
Seattle gave up two players and a 3rd round pick to acquire Clowney on an $8M tag, and also agreed not to tag him in 2020. While it’s not a slam dunk that the Seahawks lock him in, the 26-year-old is a Top 10 rated edge defender according to PFF, and fills a much needed voided on a thin Seattle D-Line. His baseline valuation comes in at $20.7M.
Ed Dickson (TE, 32)
A move that probably should've happened prior to 2019, Dickson just hasn't been the weapon Seattle hoped. An injury plagued 2019 should be the nail in the coffin for this 3 year, $10.7M contract. His release will clear $3.4M of cap.
Shaq Barrett OLB, 26)
Signed to a 1 year, $4M “prove it” deal out of Denver this offseason, Barrett’s answered the bell and then some. The 27 year old has 15 sacks, 45 tackles, and 6 forced fumbles through 14 weeks. It’s possible he’s inline for a deal north of the $13.5M per year that Shaq Thompson locked in with Carolina.
Ronald Jones II (RB, 23)
The Bucs haven't been able to find a viable running back since moving on from Doug Martin. With a laundry list of veteran backs set to become available, and plenty more awaiting to be drafted, moving on from Jones makes sense, even if the cap savings ($300,000) are minimal.
Ryan Tannehill QB, 31)
Obviously Derrick Henry & Jack Conklin belong here as well, but the entire franchise changed course when Tannehill took the ball from Marcus Mariota. The $27M(ish) franchise tag is certainly in play, but a cap-adjusted version of Nick Foles’ deal in Jacksonville could also be in the cards.
Delanie Walker (TE, 36)
Walker found the injured reserve list for the second season in the row, and while he vows to return in 2020, the Titans may be thinking otherwise. Tennessee has plenty of mouths to feed this offseason, making the $6.7M to be freed up per Walker's release somewhat necessary.
Brandon Scherff OG, 27)
With the QB situation in flux, and Trent Williams certain to vacate the left tackle spot for good this offseason, locking in Scherff seems a likely priority for Washington. It’ll cost them though, as the interior lineman price has soared the past two offseasons. Scherff is likely seeking a deal at or above $16M.
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