One trade, free agent signing or extension for all 32 NFL teams before 2023 training camp

2M7EF9W Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs from Chicago Bears safety Jaquan Brisker (9) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

• The Chicago Bears should trade for a depth edge rusher: New York Jets edge defender Bryce Huff is an option that makes sense.

• The New England Patriots should sign wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins: Getting a deal done with the veteran would help the Patriots find out once and for all what they have in third-year quarterback Mac Jones.

• The Miami Dolphins should win the Dalvin Cook sweepstakes: The Vikings released Cook despite his back-to-back seasons with at least 1,150 rushing yards, 45 missed tackles forced and 30 explosive rushes.

Estimated Reading Time: 23 mins

NFL training camps kick off in about a month’s time, and there will be a flurry of transactions right before teams report, as we see every year. Top players get extended in large part so they actually report to camp, wily veterans sign now that they’ve been able to skip the lion’s share of offseason activities and perhaps a handful of trades come through as teams get a better feel for the strengths and weaknesses of their respective rosters.

We highlight one piece of business each team should get done before the third week of July arrives.



Arizona Cardinals: Extend Budda Baker or give him a pay raise

After weeks of back-and-forth conversations between Baker and the new Cardinals regime, Baker requested a trade from the team that drafted him in the second round in 2017 as he seeks an extension that would place him near the top of the safety market. While the timing with the team’s direction certainly does not make sense, keeping a happy and motivated Baker in the fold could help general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon win over a new locker room and get back on track in 2024.

Over Baker's first six seasons in the NFL, his 90.1 run-defense grade ranks seventh among safeties and his 40 tackles for loss or no gain rank fifth. Baker is the clear leader of this Cardinals team, and he just turned 27 years old. When he signed his extension in 2020 for $14.75 million per year, the safety market hadn't reached $15 million annually. But the following offseason, Jamal Adams pushed it to $17.5 million.

Atlanta Falcons: Sign WR Jarvis Landry

Landry is an underneath slot receiver who could be a safety valve over the middle for quarterback Desmond Ridder, and the Falcons are still thin at pass catcher beyond Kyle Pitts and Drake London. After missing most of the 2022 season with an injury, Landry is likely looking at one-year flier contract offers once again in 2023.

Landry is also known to be a good veteran leader, which could be a positive addition to a team with a lot of young offensive weapons. He's coming off the two worst seasons of his career, but he was arguably the best slot receiver in the NFL from 2015 to 2020; his 3,938 receiving yards, 1,748 yards after the catch, 1,166 yards after contact and 91 explosive receptions of 15 or more yards all ranked first among qualifying slot receivers over that span. The Falcons buying low on a potential bounce-back could age nicely in the right setting.

Baltimore Ravens: Sign EDGE Melvin Ingram III

Ingram has been a pillar of consistency in the NFL, recording nine straight seasons with a 70.0-plus pass-rush grade. A year after Ingram was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs and immediately became their best edge defender for the stretch run, he signed a steal of a one-year deal with the Dolphins and once again played at a very high level, far outpacing his compensation.

The Ravens have 2022 second-round pick David Ojabo returning to the lineup after rehabbing a torn Achilles during his rookie season, and they are hoping for 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh to take another step, but adding a designated pass-rushing veteran like Ingram would make a lot of sense to help fill the void left behind by Justin Houston.

Buffalo Bills: Sign RB Darrell Henderson

The former Los Angeles Rams third-round pick was waived last season and landed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he was productive as an early-down runner in 2020, earning an 83.8 rushing grade that ranked 14th among running backs. His 40 explosive rushes over the span also placed in the top 20.

2022 second-round pick James Cook looks to be the leader of this backfield going forward, but the Bills still need an early-down bruiser who can lower his shoulder and fall forward behind a good push from the offensive line. Buffalo is now one of two teams in the NFL with more than $300 million in cash spending for 2023, so while adding James Cook’s brother Dalvin or another wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins would be flashier, a more under-the-radar move could be more prudent.

Carolina Panthers: Extend EDGE Brian Burns

Burns’ 174 quarterback pressures over the past three seasons rank fourth among edge defenders, with his 13.1% pressure rate a top-25 mark despite there not being a lot of consistent pass-rush help across the roster otherwise.

With reports the Panthers turned down multiple first-round picks from the Los Angeles Rams for Burns at the 2022 trade deadline, they frankly should have already extended Burns by now, and there’s no reason they should let any other edge rusher get paid first and potentially boost the position market further.

Chicago Bears: Trade for New York Jets edge defender Bryce Huff

The Chicago Bears made several free agent additions on the edge that should be solid against the run on early downs but don’t project to offer much juice to get after opposing quarterbacks. Huff is an assassin on passing downs, where he’s been deployed in a limited role. His 25.6% pass-rush win rate in 2022 was the top mark in the NFL by more than 3 percentage points among edge rushers with at least 100 pass-rush snaps.

The Jets are gearing up for a Super Bowl run, and while it may not make a ton of sense to move on from a talented young player, they were able to rework Carl Lawson’s contract and used a first-round pick on Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald IV. It makes even less sense for Huff to be a fifth edge rusher when he has earned a larger role.

Chicago has clearly focused on getting younger across its roster, and Huff will be just 25 years old in 2023 set to play on a second-round restricted free agent tender. The trade compensation here likely falls around a fourth-round pick, perhaps with conditions tied to his playtime or production that could elevate the value.

Cincinnati Bengals: Extend WR Tee Higgins

The Bengals did well to address pretty much any remaining roster hole during the 2023 NFL Draft. First-rounder Myles Murphy is another edge defender with three-down ability, second-rounder D.J. Turner is a speedy outside cornerback and third-rounder Jordan Battle provides important depth at safety.

Higgins’ 2.08 yards per route run since 2021 ranks 13th, but Jaylen Waddle at 2.15 yards per route run is the only player ahead of him who is also not the No. 1 receiving weapon on his team. With Tyler Boyd entering a contract year and Joe Mixon’s deal up in 2024, Cincinnati can find a way to keep its three-headed offensive monster if the front office stays proactive and get Higgins done early, enabling them to spread out the cash and cap hits over the next several years.

Extending D.J. Reader would make some sense here, as well, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Cincinnati shied away after Reader missed a lot of his first and third seasons with the team, and after the position market experienced an explosion.

Cleveland Browns: Sign LB Myles Jack

We suggested the Browns add another edge rusher in our last article about free agency, and sure enough, Cleveland went out and traded for Za’Darius Smith. One more piece in the front seven, namely depth at off-ball linebacker with Anthony Walker Jr. coming off a tough injury, would help continue to shore up the interior of this Browns defense at all three levels.

Myles Jack will still be just 28 years old for the duration of the 2023 season and has posted a missed tackle rate below 10% in three straight seasons. His 76 defensive stops against the run over that span rank 12th among off-ball linebackers.

Dallas Cowboys: Extend CB Trevon Diggs

We wrote up a hypothetical extension for Diggs here, but another angle in favor of doing it soon is simply getting ahead of the next crop of young cornerbacks that should propel the market to new heights, namely players such as Atlanta Falcons 2020 first-rounder A.J. Terrell.

Dallas has a handful of massive contracts to dole out soon, but being proactive with Diggs could actually make that endeavor easier in the long run, with the ability to get a better value and stagger cash payouts for CeeDee Lamb, Micah Parsons, Dak Prescott and others.

Denver Broncos: Sign RB Leonard Fournette

Denver signed free agent Samaje Perine, who brings pass-catching and blocking ability, and will eventually get 2021 second-round pick Javonte Williams back from a knee injury, but an early-down runner could be needed here to start the season.

Fournette wasn’t at his best in 2022, but the injury-decimated Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line struggled to create any rushing lanes. In 2021, Fournette’s 3.2 yards after contact per attempt ranked 15th among running backs, with his 12.2% stuff rate a bottom-10 rate among running backs with at least 50 carries. While the two never crossed paths with the New Orleans Saints, Fournette and new Broncos head coach Sean Payton have the Louisiana connection, so this could be one of the better team fits available to him.

Edge defender made some sense here, as well, to bolster the defensive line, but Denver added Frank Clark last month.

Detroit Lions: Sign DI Matt Ioannidis

Ioannidis was one of the more surprising cap casualties heading into 2022, ultimately landing with the Carolina Panthers on a one-year, $5.9 million flier. He paired well with nose tackle Derrick Brown as a lighter pass rusher up the middle. Ioannidis has missed time here and there in recent seasons with injuries, but he's been a consistently strong pass rusher from the interior, earning pass-rush grades of 69.1 or better in each of the past six seasons with a pressure rate of around 10% in each of the past two. He can help a lot of teams make things tough on opposing quarterbacks.

A reliable veteran on the interior next to 2021 third-round pick Alim McNeill could be a key addition to a young Lions defensive line that was gashed up the middle at times in 2022. Detroit does not have many holes left, but not significantly addressing the interior of the defensive line this offseason — via the draft or free agency — leaves an area in need of reinforcements.

Green Bay Packers: Sign S John Johnson III

This may look like a strange move, considering the only real free agent addition of note thus far for the Packers is former Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens, but now that Adrian Amos has officially reunited with Aaron Rodgers in New York, yet another signing on the back end would make sense.

We’re a broken record here, but the Packers simply cannot continue to pour draft resources into their defense and consistently perform as a mediocre unit. And that’s what could happen once again if they enter the season with major question marks at safety.

Johnson didn’t have a great second season with the Browns, with his 17 missed tackles the most of his career by nearly double, but he was playing behind a porous defensive line and has bounce-back potential in him. Johnson is a rangy defender who can play all over the field and could be a major bargain this late in free agency.

Houston Texans: Extend tackle Tytus Howard

Houston traded for veteran right guard Shaq Mason before the draft and traded up for Penn State center Juice Scruggs to ideally take the starting reins from Scott Quessenberry, so reinforcing the line in front of rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud is a clear priority. Keeping 2019 first-round pick Tytus Howard in the fold should be the next piece of business on the docket.

Howard boasts back-to-back seasons with 70.0-plus pass-blocking grades and, after finally getting a full season at right tackle in 2022, should become one of the highest-paid right tackles in football before the 2023 season kicks off.

Indianapolis Colts: Sign OG Gabe Jackson

Jackson is coming off the two lowest-graded seasons of his career but was a model of consistency through his first seven NFL campaigns in Las Vegas. A 69.9 pass-blocking grade in 2020 was the worst of his run. Perhaps he can play some better football in a reserve capacity as opposed to preparing each week to be a starter.

Indianapolis started Will Fries down the stretch in 2022, and he earned a 44.4 pass-blocking grade with 15 quarterback hurries allowed — among the most at the position over the span. It will never be a bad idea to add some offensive line depth for new franchise quarterback Anthony Richardson.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Sign EDGE Justin Houston

While they worked on opposite sides of the ball, Houston and Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson spent three years together in Kansas City from 2013 to 2015.

The Jaguars have two young top-10 picks in Travon Walker and Josh Allen, but after they lost some talent in free agency, a veteran rotational piece to get after opposing quarterbacks could go a long way for a team that should finally be playing with a lead a lot of the time.

Houston’s 18.4% pass-rush win rate and 14.6% pressure percentage in 2022 were both top-25 marks among edge defenders, and he managed to add 9.5 sacks to his total, which brings him to 111.5 for his career, a top-40 mark all time. For a team looking for a menace on passing downs, Houston is still that guy entering his age-34 season.

The Giants need more help at edge rusher after not addressing the position much at all this offseason, and the veteran Houston could be a great mentor for Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari. He would also be reuniting with defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, who was his coach in Baltimore in 2021.

Kansas City Chiefs: Sign DI Will Gholston

Gholston is a seasoned veteran who has played at least 400 snaps in nine consecutive seasons. He can bring experience to a new regime while providing a consistent presence in base personnel on early downs. In 2022, Gholston had 22 defensive stops and missed on just 3.9% of tackle opportunities.

We discussed extending Chris Jones here, and as Kansas City works through that monster deal, they should reinforce the interior unit alongside him.

Las Vegas Raiders: Sign CB Marcus Peters

There are rumblings this deal could be in the works already, and that makes all the sense in the world for a young and largely unproven Raiders secondary.

One of the league's premier interception hawks at cornerback, Peters failed to record multiple picks for the first time in his career in 2022. The soon-to-be 30-year-old suffered a calf strain in December that sidelined him for the final three weeks of the regular season, making it the first season of his career outside of 2021 where he didn't log at least 900 snaps.

Los Angeles Chargers: Sign OG Dalton Risner

The Chargers found a gem in 2022 sixth-round pick Jamaree Salyer, who figures to kick inside to left guard after earning a 75.9 pass-blocking grade as the starter at left tackle in 2022. That said, after moving on from flex offensive lineman Matt Feiler, the Chargers could stand to add depth on the interior behind two sophomore starters at the guard spots. Risner has been a consistently above-average blocker who excels in pass blocking, posting four straight years with a 69.5-plus pass-blocking grade.

Risner may very well prefer landing a starting gig, but perhaps the Chargers could sell him on the chance to play his former team, the Denver Broncos, twice a year. He also fits well in a very pass-heavy offense, which figures to be the situation under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Los Angeles Rams: Sign EDGE Dawuane Smoot

Smoot tore his Achilles late in the 2022 season, so this is really investing in a younger free agent for 2024 and beyond, but that has been the overarching focus of the Rams' offseason already. Perhaps Smoot is open to a multi-year deal like we’ve seen recently for players such as Ja’Wuan James with the Baltimore Ravens during the 2021 offseason, where he gets paid around the minimum, has access to an NFL training staff year-round and can then get ready to bounce back in a major way in 2024.

Smoot signed a two-year, $10 million extension with the Jaguars and took major strides as a pass rusher, setting new career highs in pass-rush grade, pass-rush win rate and pressure percentage last season. From 2021 to 2022, Smoot's 15.9% pass-rush win rate ranked among the top 35 at the edge position.

Miami Dolphins: Sign RB Dalvin Cook

The division rival New York Jets could make a lot of sense for Cook, too, with some doubts from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport shared on the “Pat McAfee Show that standout 2022 rookie running back Breece Hall will be ready out of the gate.

Cook was released despite recording back-to-back seasons with at least 1,150 rushing yards, 45 missed tackles forced and 30 explosive rushes, ranking top six among running backs in all three categories. Miami has a very respectable three-headed monster in rookie Devon Achane, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr., but Cook is a true three-down workhorse who can add an element to this offense and keep defenses on their toes.

Cook’s 24.1% stuff rate (percentage of rushes for a loss or no gain) over the past two seasons led the NFL. His 73.4 rushing grade ranks 49th out of 73 running backs with at least 100 carries over the span, but Mike McDaniel’s scheme and the space created by Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle will certainly help in that regard.

Working against the hometown return for Cook is the Dolphins already leading the league in 2023 cash spending, and Cook is apparently not interested in taking any sort of discount or flier, but … in for a penny, in for a pound?

Minnesota Vikings: Sign OG Oday Aboushi

Minnesota was able to secure one of the top wide receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft even while standing pat at No. 23 overall, bringing aboard USC product Jordan Addison, who could be the No. 2 wide receiver on the depth chart as early as Week 1. Question marks remain in their secondary and on the interior of the defensive line, but not due to a lack of recent draft picks and free agent additions, so they probably just need to let things play out on a new-look defense.

At guard, 2020 second-round pick Ezra Cleveland is entering a contract year and 2022 second-round pick Ed Ingram earned a 44.4 pass-blocking grade as a rookie that ranked 66th out of 71 guards with at least 250 pass-blocking snaps. Aboushi has been a reliable depth piece at either guard spot everywhere he goes, most recently with Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell’s former team in the Los Angeles Rams in 2022. Aboushi has three straight seasons earning grades above 65.0, with grades of at least 60.0 as a pass blocker and run blocker each year.

New England Patriots: Sign WR DeAndre Hopkins

The Patriots need to find out once and for all what they have in third-year quarterback Mac Jones, and Hopkins could go a long way in making that determination. While Hopkins may not be what he once was, from Weeks 7-16 when he played in 2022 he ranked third in targets (93) and fourth in receptions (64).

Hopkins has missed time the past few seasons due to injuries and a suspension but is still one of the more reliable receivers across the NFL. Over the past three seasons, Hopkins' 88.6 receiving grade ranks 10th among wide receivers, his 1.7% drop rate is the third-lowest mark and he is still a top-15 player in yards per route run.

The Patriots have a lot of solid complementary wide receivers, but Hopkins gives them a top dog to actually complement in the offense.

New Orleans Saints: Sign EDGE Jadeveon Clowney

The Saints came close to adding Clowney a few years ago and circle back here to add a veteran opposite Cameron Jordan amid a lot of youth filling up the rest of the defensive line. The Saints used the No. 40 overall selection on Notre Dame edge defender Isaiah Foskey but still could stand to improve on the edge, with not much beyond veteran Jordan and the underrated Carl Granderson.

Clowney is coming off a down year in the pass-rushing department, totaling only 29 pressures and two sacks, but a change of scenery could allow him to thrive again, similar to what happened in his first year in Cleveland. Clowney is one of the best run-defending edges in the NFL over the past decade and should benefit from a lot of talent around him.

New York Giants: Sign EDGE Yannick Ngakoue

Ngakoue's underlying metrics in 2022 were concerning, with his 9.5 sacks this past season well above the expectation of a player with his pass-rush win rate and pressure rate. That being said, he's registered at least eight sacks in every season of his seven-year career and was a more menacing pass rusher on a per-snap basis from 2017 to 2021.

Ngakoue also makes perfect sense in a defensive line unit under defensive coordinator Wink Martindale that is all about rotating linemen in a platoon approach, so he can be a designated pass rusher alongside the young duo of Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari.

New York Jets: Extend Quinnen Williams

Williams elevated his game in 2022 to become the dominant force we expected him to be out of Alabama in 2019, with his 90.1 overall grade ranking fourth and his 84.1 pass-rush grade placing fifth among interior defenders. It’s time he cashes in to reflect his place among the game’s elite. Williams’ 13.7% pass-rush win rate ranked sixth at the position among interior defenders with at least 250 pass-rush snaps, and his 20.2% positively graded play rate against the run was a top-20 mark at the position, as well.

The Jets could still get out ahead of new deals for Chris Jones, Christian Wilkins and others at the position, though Williams is going to land near the top of the position market no matter what at this point.

Philadelphia Eagles: Sign S Duron Harmon

The Eagles don’t have any pressing business, whether that’s a key extension to lock in or a glaring need to address, but adding depth and experience at safety would make sense.

Harmon has logged more than 1,000 snaps in three consecutive seasons and provides a reliable presence on the back end at free safety. Philadelphia’s current position group is largely made up of younger, inexperienced players.

Harmon earned a 77.6 coverage grade in 2022 with multiple interceptions for the sixth year in a row to go along with a career-high 67 tackles and 11 defensive stops. After a very strong draft that also addressed positional needs, there are effectively no holes on this Eagles roster. Depth at tight end or wide receiver were areas to consider here earlier in the offseason, but Philadelphia went ahead and added free agents Olamide Zaccheaus and Dan Arnold.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Sign LB Rashaan Evans

We haven’t changed our answer here after the Steelers addressed almost every weakness from a starter and depth standpoint throughout this offseason. Another piece at off-ball linebacker is the one final move that makes a lot of sense.

The Steelers have rotated through a handful of former highly drafted off-ball linebackers over the past few seasons and follow a similar idea here with the 2018 first-rounder. Evans is coming off career highs with 1,104 snaps, 46 defensive stops and 110 tackles while missing only 7.3% of opportunities.

Free agency addition Cole Holcomb is primarily a Mike linebacker but has experience at the Will spot, which is also the situation for Evans, who was taken in the first round after a stellar Alabama career generally lining up on the weak side. However they’re ultimately aligned, both players have experience across the formation and should work well together behind a stout defensive line. Pittsburgh needs to be better against the run in 2023, especially as they battle with a tough schedule that could build early leads against them. Evans can make a difference.

San Francisco 49ers: Extend EDGE Nick Bosa

It’s a matter of when, not if, Bosa becomes the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history. We wrote up an entire breakdown here of what that monster deal could look like, highlighting some of the various contractual benchmarks Bosa could look to clear. The 49ers undoubtedly have an expensive roster at almost every spot besides quarterback, but if Brock Purdy can be counted on as the guy for the next few seasons, that’s not really a problem at all.

Seattle Seahawks: Sign OT George Fant

After a great draft class, our answer here hasn’t changed.

Seattle found both of its starting tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft with first-rounder Charles Cross and second-rounder Abraham Lucas, but the return of a familiar face in George Fant to serve as the swing tackle once again could solidify the unit. The vibes are high in Seattle with linebacker Bobby Wagner making his way back to the team this offseason, so why not Fant as well if he can’t land a starting gig elsewhere?

Injuries derailed his 2022 campaign, but the seventh-year tackle earned a career-high 75.1 pass-blocking grade in 2021, playing almost exclusively at left tackle. His 3.2% pressure rate allowed was the sixth lowest among tackles on the season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Extend WR Mike Evans

Evans has shown plenty of times that he’s a team-first guy, including the mere fact he’s set to enter the final season of his five-year extension signed in 2018. Along those lines, we projected an extension for Evans here that is below what he could probably push for if he really wanted to drive a hard bargain.

Evans has had the type of impact in Tampa that arguably deserves a Ring of Honor induction ceremony while he’s still on the roster in a few years.

Tennessee Titans: Sign EDGE Kyle Van Noy

The New England Patriots released Van Noy heading into the second season of a two-year, $12 million contract, and he greatly outperformed his one-year, $2.25 million pact with the Los Angeles Chargers for 2022. The savvy veteran has played both as a true off-ball linebacker and more near the line of scrimmage rushing the passer in the past two seasons, offering a unique and valuable skill set to potentially interested teams while earning grades above 60.0 in every facet in 2022.

The Titans moved on from Bud Dupree this offseason and lost DeMarcus Walker to free agency, and while they added Arden Key, he figures to kick inside on pass-rushing downs and brings a very different skill set than Van Noy. The veteran provides pass-rush ability off the edge and can play some off-ball linebacker, which isn’t a strong suit of the current Titans roster.

Many may have expected an addition on the offensive side of the ball here, which is entirely understandable, but if the defense is expected to be the strength of this team in 2023, shoring up the unit would make sense, as well.

Washington Commanders: Sign TE Maxx Williams

Washington quietly has a pretty solid and deep roster on both sides of the ball, with their offensive line upgraded over the course of the offseason and their secondary adding two potential impact players in the 2023 NFL Draft in first-round cornerback Emmanuel Forbes and second-round defensive back Jartavius Martin. Another addition at offensive tackle or guard would make sense, as well, but we went in a different direction here.

There are a few young tight ends behind Logan Thomas who the Commanders are optimistic about, notably 2021 fourth-round pick John Bates — a stout run blocker — but adding another depth piece in Maxx Williams couldn’t hurt now that he’s recovered from an unfortunate ACL tear sustained at the worst possible time in 2021. Through Week 5 of 2021, Williams was earning a 77.6 receiving grade with 16 receptions, as many receptions as he’d had in a full season since 2015. Perhaps more importantly, Williams’ 81.0 run-blocking grade since 2015 is the top mark in the NFL over the span.


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