The Super Bowl is behind us, and now the real intrigue begins for all 32 NFL teams with the start of the offseason.
One thing appears certain: Quarterbacks, young and old, will dominate the headlines. And the Rams might try to find a new home for Todd Gurley.
The Bills will sign Tre’Davious White to a market-setting contract extension.
The 2017 first-round pick also has a fifth-year option available, but since earning All-Pro honors in his third season, he has established himself as one of Buffalo’s franchise cornerstones. As one league source told ESPN, White is simply too good to have to prove himself again with the fifth-year option. Expect him to be one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the league, if not the highest-paid, once his extension kicks in. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
The Dolphins will trade up to draft Tua Tagovailoa.
Miami is a top contender to select a quarterback with its top pick in the first round (No. 5), and Tagovailoa appears to be the most likely candidate. Between now and the draft, it seems likely that positive reviews will come out about Tagovailoa’s injured hip, enticing teams behind the Dolphins to trade up for him. General manager Chris Grier says the team has “more than enough” ammunition to trade up if needed, with three first-round picks and 14 projected total selections. Our bold prediction is the Dolphins will feel the need to trade up, possibly to No. 3 with the Detroit Lions, to secure Tagovailoa. — Cameron Wolfe
The Patriots will be aggressive at tight end.
Whether it’s making a run at one of the top free agents (such as Hunter Henry or Austin Hooper) or devoting notable resources in the draft, the Patriots will make a hard push at the position similar to in 2010, when they drafted Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and transformed their offense. While some analysts say this year’s draft isn’t strong at tight end, seeing the success of George Kittle (49ers, fifth round) and Travis Kelce (Chiefs, third round) serves up a reminder that there are always hidden gems to be found. — Mike Reiss
All-Pro safety Jamal Adams will not receive a new contract before the start of the season.
Adams says he expects to have a new deal, but the Jets will slow-play the negotiations because they have the leverage. They have rights to him for two more years, plus a third if they use the franchise tag, so there’s no sense of urgency. They will prioritize other needs before getting to Adams’ contract, which won’t make him happy. — Rich Cimini
The Ravens will sign Calais Campbell in free agency.
Baltimore’s top priority is to upgrade its pass rush after recording a league-low nine sacks with its four-man rush. Campbell, an expected salary-cap cut in Jacksonville, has totaled 31.5 sacks over the past three seasons — seventh most in the NFL over that span (and just one fewer than Denver’s Von Miller). Even though he’s 33, Campbell has many of the traits the Ravens love: durability, versatility (can provide rush on the edge and interior) and strong leadership skills. While adding Jaguars pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue would create a bigger splash, Campbell would represent bigger value for a defense looking to restock its front seven. — Jamison Hensley
Joe Mixon will get $45 million guaranteed in a contract extension.
Mixon, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons, has been one of the NFL’s most productive running backs and is looking to be compensated accordingly. The Bengals have historically been willing to re-sign their top guys and that shouldn’t change with the 23-year-old Mixon, who will be a building block for the Bengals’ rebuilding process. — Ben Baby
The Browns will add two starting tackles.
New general manager Andrew Berry will add one tackle through the draft and one through free agency or a trade. Such a move will shore up Cleveland’s biggest weakness last season. And it will give quarterback Baker Mayfield the time he needs to unlock his talented receiving corps downfield. — Jake Trotter
The Steelers will add a veteran quarterback to the roster.
Even if he’s not one who has been in the system for a decade, an experienced signal-caller could have solved many of the issues that arose when Ben Roethlisberger went down and they were left with Mason Rudolph and Devlin “Duck” Hodges. The Steelers should be able to fix some of those issues with the hiring of new QBs coach Matt Canada, but adding a veteran to the room is a smart insurance policy. — Brooke Pryor
The Texans will let nose tackle D.J. Reader walk, despite an excellent season.
Houston struck gold when it drafted Reader in the fifth round in 2016, but by not having signed him to a new contract before the 2019 season, the team might be priced out of keeping him. The Texans could use the franchise tag on Reader, but after giving extensions to center Nick Martin and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus and with new deals on the horizon for quarterback Deshaun Watson and left tackle Laremy Tunsil, they might not be able to keep the nose tackle. — Sarah Barshop
The Colts will attempt to move up from the No. 13 pick in the first round of the draft to select Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
Indianapolis has questions at quarterback, and general manager Chris Ballard will try to move ahead of Miami, which has the No. 5 pick, to get Tagovailoa. In Ballard’s favor is that Indianapolis has nine picks in this year’s draft. — Mike Wells
The Jaguars will get a deal done with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue — in August.
The Jaguars will use the franchise tag and try to work something out, but Ngakoue’s camp is pretty upset with the team after last year’s attempted negotiations. The sides were roughly $3 million apart on annual salary, and former executive VP Tom Coughlin’s decision to cut off negotiations resulted in a lot of anger. It’s going to take a while for GM Dave Caldwell to repair that relationship and a deal to get done, which means it’s unlikely Ngakoue will be in training camp. — Michael DiRocco
Signing two of the top players in free agency will not be an easy task for Titans GM Jon Robinson. Armed with about $55 million in cap space, Robinson will keep his offensive formula intact by re-signing Henry and Tannehill. Both players are fully aware that Tennessee is the ideal situation for them, which will influence their decisions. — Turron Davenport
The Broncos will be the most active team in the offseason.
If the Broncos are going to break their streak of three consecutive losing seasons — their first such streak since the 1970s — John Elway will have to do the best work of his front office career. The Broncos have the biggest combination of cap space (more than $60 million) and draft picks (projected to have 12) since Elway took over in 2011. They will certainly be willing to make trades during the draft, but the Chiefs are the Super Bowl champions with a 24-year-old franchise quarterback in Patrick Mahomes so this is also about improvement and playing the long game. The Broncos will finish out the draft with the largest class in Elway’s tenure as the top football decision-maker to help bolster a roster that has needs in the secondary, offensive line, linebacker and wide receiver.— Jeff Legwold
Marcus Spears is confident Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will continue winning for years to come.
The Chiefs will keep their first-round draft pick.
That might not sound bold, but the Chiefs have traded theirs in each of the past two years, and general manager Brett Veach likes to deal. But with a contract extension for quarterback Patrick Mahomes looming this year, the Chiefs, who own the No. 32 pick, need all the good, young and cheap talent they can get their hands on. — Adam Teicher
The Chargers will draft a quarterback in the first round.
Since taking over as GM in 2013, Tom Telesco has selected just two quarterbacks in the draft — Brad Sorensen in the seventh round in 2013 and Easton Stick in the fifth round last year. With 38-year-old Philip Rivers a pending free agent and moving his family for good to Florida, it’s time for Telesco to find his successor. The No. 6 overall selection in the draft provides the best chance for the Bolts to secure a franchise quarterback. — Eric D. Williams
The Raiders will stand pat with Derek Carr at quarterback.
What, the purported franchise quarterback keeping his job isn’t bold enough for you? Well, Carr has become the most polarizing figure in recent franchise history, and predicting that the team would move on from him for the likes of (gulp) Tom Brady as it sets sail for Las Vegas would seem, well, trite. Plus, as Carr has pointed out, he is coming off career bests in passing yards (4,054) and completion percentage (70.4%) and he expects to excel playing in Jon Gruden’s offense for the third consecutive season … so long as the Raiders add a WR1. — Paul Gutierrez
Marcus Spears explains how the Cowboys, if they put everything together, can stop the Chiefs from becoming a dynasty.
Jason Witten will play a 17th season … but it won’t be with the Cowboys.
At the end of 2019, Witten said he would make a quick decision on his future, which led many to think he would retire and potentially get into coaching. He still hasn’t made one, which brings the playing element into focus. Witten is the franchise leader in length of service, games played, catches and receiving yards. He is one shy of equaling Dez Bryant’s team record for touchdown catches. He is a Cowboy through and through. The Cowboys like Blake Jarwin‘s development and could look to add a tight end early in the draft. Witten was productive in his return as a blocker and receiver in 2019, but he turns 38 in May and the arrival of Mike McCarthy as coach could mean the right time for an amicable separation. — Todd Archer
General manager Dave Gettleman will trade down in the draft for the first time.
There is a first time for everything; this is the time. The Giants have the fourth overall pick. With quarterback Joe Burrow and defensive end Chase Young expected to go 1-2 in the draft, it puts the Lions (3) and Giants in ideal positions. The demand for QBs Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert will be intense and the price steep, prompting Gettleman to act out of character and make a move down, where the Giants can still get a defensive playmaker or offensive tackle while adding valuable draft assets. — Jordan Raanan
The Eagles will make a splash move at cornerback.
Both starting corners from 2019, Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, are free agents. While it wouldn’t be a surprise if Mills were brought back into the fold, Philadelphia will want import a proven difference-maker to hold down one side of the field. The Cowboys’ Byron Jones and the Broncos’ Chris Harris Jr. are among the top projected free-agent corners. Whether it be via free agency or a trade, Philly will make some waves. — Tim McManus
While on the surface that might not seem bold, here’s why it is: Kerrigan is 31, is coming off the first season in which he missed games and is owed $11.5 million in base salary this season. They also have Montez Sweat to play end in a 4-3 along with Young, so Kerrigan might not even be a starter. But rather than simply cutting Kerrigan (or trading him, though he would not fetch much because of his age and salary), they can offset his cost by lowering his base salary this year but tacking on another season. He could then fill a role a la Clay Matthews with the Rams or Chris Long when he was with the Patriots and then Eagles — situational pass-rushers. Also, owner Dan Snyder likes and respects Kerrigan quite a bit. That’s important here, too. — John Keim
The Bears will acquire an experienced backup quarterback to push Mitchell Trubisky.
Chicago general manager Ryan Pace already committed to Trubisky as the Week 1 starter in 2020, but the Bears have to find better fallback options than Chase Daniel or Tyler Bray. Look for Chicago to either trade for or sign a proven No. 2 such as Andy Dalton or Marcus Mariota when the new league year begins. The Bears can’t afford to waste another season waiting for Trubisky — the second overall pick of the 2017 draft — to develop. It’s now or never. — Jeff Dickerson
The Lions will trade down to No. 5 in the draft and still take cornerback Jeff Okudah.
Yes, this might not seem that bold considering No. 3 is a logical trade-out spot and many mocks have the Lions and Okudah tied together. But saying it in January and having it executed in April are two different things. In trading with the Dolphins, who have the No. 5 pick, the Lions can potentially pick up another first-round selection, which might be able to land them DT Javon Kinlaw or DE Josh Uche — depending which pick it is. That would give Detroit two potential pieces to build its future defense around who would fill massive needs. It’s the smart, shrewd play — if GM Bob Quinn can pull it off. — Michael Rothstein
The Packers will finally draft a wide receiver in the first round.
This is something they haven’t done since 2002, when they took Javon Walker at No. 20 overall. It’s a receiver-rich draft, so even at No. 30 there’s a good chance they can find an impact pass-catcher. In fact, don’t be surprised if they take more than one. GM Brian Gutekunst took three receivers in the 2018 draft, but none higher than Round 4, and only one played last season. — Rob Demovsky
Mike Zimmer will hand over defensive playcalling duties.
We might not see this come to fruition for a while, but the Vikings’ head coach might decide to delegate calling defensive plays to one of his two co-defensive coordinators. Zimmer has been mulling over this idea for several seasons. The reason it’s believable now more than before is that his son, Adam, the Vikings’ linebackers coach, is the co-DC along with defensive-line coach Andre Patterson. What better way for the elder Zimmer to pass on his legacy as a defensive guru than to guide his son through the process of calling plays so he’ll be able to take over those duties this fall, or allow his close confidant in Patterson to finally get an opportunity to call his own game. — Courtney Cronin
The Falcons will lose free-agent tight end Austin Hooper to the Packers.
Sure, they’ll offer Hooper a contract before free agency, but it won’t be enough to satisfy the two-time Pro Bowler. And the Packers, with more cap space and coach Matt LaFleur’s familiarity with Hooper, will make a move. — Vaughn McClure
They’ll then draft Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 7 overall pick. OK, maybe they don’t get Bridgewater and Tagovailoa. If they get Bridgewater, they could use the seventh pick on a defensive player to replace Luke Kuechly. But they will make a bold move at quarterback in some form or fashion. — David Newton
Running back Alvin Kamara will miss much of the offseason in a contract holdout.
Kamara has not announced any plans to do this. But it feels like a no-brainer since he is heading into the final year of a supremely discounted rookie contract (he was a third-round pick). Perhaps the Saints will pay Kamara quickly, like they did with wide receiver Michael Thomas last summer. But agreeing on Kamara’s market value could prove more difficult since there aren’t many perfect comparisons for him and since all NFL teams wrestle with how much to pay their backs. — Mike Triplett
The Bucs won’t have a new deal for Jameis Winston before March.
The Bucs haven’t decided if he’s the long-term answer and would rather pursue a shorter-term deal, such as a franchise tag or two-year deal, while Winston wants more long-term security. — Jenna Laine
The Cardinals will part ways with running back David Johnson, who was once considered the future face of the franchise.
He’s scheduled to earn $10.2 million in 2020, with the entire amount guaranteed on the third day of the league year. But Johnson’s production continued to dwindle in 2019. He ran for just 345 yards, caught 36 passes for 370 yards and was benched throughout the season in favor of Kenyan Drake. While it’s not a guarantee that the Cardinals will bring back Drake, Johnson probably will be a casualty of his production and contract going in opposite directions. — Josh Weinfuss
In a pinch to find space under the salary cap, the Rams will attempt to trade running back Todd Gurley.
Whether L.A. can pull it off remains another question, given Gurley’s massive contract that includes $45 million in guarantees and runs through the 2023 season, as well as the uncertainty that continues to surround the long-term health of his surgically repaired left knee. This past season, Gurley played a diminished role in the offense, rushing for 857 yards, his fewest since the 2016 season (885). — Lindsey Thiry
Dan Orlovsky and Dan Graziano discuss the possibility of the 49ers moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo and acquiring Tom Brady.
The 49ers will make George Kittle the NFL’s highest-paid tight end … by a lot.
Green Bay’s Jimmy Graham has the highest annual average value contract among tight ends at $10 million per season, as the price tag for top tight ends has remained relatively stagnant. That’s about to change as Kittle is entering the final season of his rookie deal and is scheduled to make just $735,000 in base salary after posting more receiving yards in his first three seasons than any tight end in league history. Kittle is also a dominant blocker, a team leader and one of the most valuable players in the league. All of that should add up to a contract averaging somewhere between $12 million and $14 million per season. — Nick Wagoner
The Seahawks will not re-sign Jadeveon Clowney.
He was the only consistent threat on one of the NFL’s worst pass-rush units, which made it all too evident that the Seahawks need more than just him. But they would have a hard time adding a second high-priced pass-rusher if they have to pay Khalil Mack-type money to keep Clowney, who might command that much since Seattle can’t tag him and thus can’t keep him from reaching free agency. The guess here is that GM John Schneider lets Clowney walk and puts that money toward a pair of pass-rushers a la the Packers, who got a combined 25.5 regular-season sacks from 2019 free-agent additions Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith and then four more of Russell Wilson in their playoff victory over Seattle. — Brady Henderson
Published at Thu, 30 Jan 2020 15:12:21 +0000