Connect with us


Who are the best wide receivers still available late on Day 2?



NFL free agency opened with wide receiver as the deepest position group, and deep into the second day of the legal tampering period, that hasn’t changed. While more than a dozen receivers have agreed to contracts, the best of the best still remain. Here’s a breakdown of the top pass catchers still on the market.

Free agent wide receivers still available

The market is constipated for a number of reasons, but the two biggest are probably the actions of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the uncertainty of the quarterback market.

When they grossly overpaid Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, the Jags upended the market, and it might be taking a minute to recalibrate. Plus, the unresolved fates of Deshaun Watson and Jimmy Garoppolo are presumably causing some planning issues for teams in need of a QB.

The latter is a short-term inconvenience, and the following players should largely find homes sooner than later. They will presumably have to be OK with taking less than Kirk ($18 million AAV).

Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Rams

Spotrac calculated market value: 2 years, $26.4M ($13.1M AAV)

The No. 1 receiver still available is No. 1 in injury uncertainty. Beckham Jr. tore his ACL in the Super Bowl and might not be ready for the opener, let alone the start of training camp.

Beckham tweeted through it early Tuesday morning:

“For anyone out there that had a rough day. Just kno u were not alone…. ‘Just keep goin’ I guess I gotta follow my own advice. One more thing, appreciate the small wins no matter how small they may be!”

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

Spotrac calculated market value: 4 years, $65.5M ($16.3M AAV)

The biggest mystery of this position group is where Robinson will land. NFL Network reports that several teams are “in the mix,” including the New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, and Las Vegas Raiders.

In eight NFL seasons, Robinson recorded 495 catches for 6,409 yards and 40 touchdowns — numbers all the more impressive when you consider the quarterbacks on the other end of the passes.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

The rumor mill has been relatively quiet regarding Smith-Schuster, and it’s possible that he could fall to the second wave of free agency. If he does, some team is going to get great value.

While his 2021 season was a wash due to injury, Smith-Schuster had 97 receptions for 831 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2020.

Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills

Sanders turns 35 on Thursday. There’d be no better birthday present than one final payday, particularly with a team that is in contention for a title. Sanders had 43 receptions for 626 yards and 4 touchdowns in his lone season with the Bills.

Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns

Spotrac calculated market value: 2 years, $24.1M ($12.05M AAV)

We feel like there might have been too much of a market correction with Landry, who, like his friend OBJ, could go through a career renaissance once he gets away from Baker Mayfield.

The Saints are reportedly among the teams in the mix, and if they could somehow pair him with Watson, vintage Landry could return.

A.J. Green, Arizona Cardinals

Spotrac calculated market value: 4 years, $28M ($7M AAV)

How much does Green have left? He’ll be 34 years old before the start of the 2022 season. With Kirk gone, perhaps the Cardinals are motivated to bring Green back.

Source link


Chiefs, Ravens Potential Landing Spots?




DeAndre Hopkins has suddenly emerged as the hottest free agent name in the NFL before Memorial Day 2023, following his release from the Arizona Cardinals Friday. But now comes this red-hot question: Who’s in pursuit of the All-Pro wide receiver?

It turns out the Super Bowl Champions inquired about Hopkins before he was even released. But could another surprise team swoop in and land the veteran WR?

Latest on DeAndre Hopkins and the Chiefs

Revealed by NFL insider Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated on Saturday morning, the Kansas City Chiefs were among the two teams that had “substantive” talks with the Cardinals about a potential trade for Hopkins. The other was the Buffalo Bills.

However, Hopkins’ contract prevented a blockbuster trade for the five-time Pro Bowler. Breer added that Odell Beckham Jr. signing his $15 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens “more or less blew [Kansas City’s] progress up.”

With Hopkins no longer considered a trade candidate as a newly released veteran, he’s realistically free to sign anywhere, including with the Chiefs. And already, one defender with ties to Hopkins is making a pitch.

Chiefs Defender Trying To Coax Hopkins to Kansas City

The Chiefs have someone moonlighting as a recruiting coordinator. And he happens to be a past teammate of Hopkins.

EDGE Charles Omenihu, who was one of the team’s defensive free agent signings via the San Francisco 49ers, took to social media to attempt his recruiting pitch to DHop.

“You free now come on to the kingdom @DeAndreHopkins,” Omenihu directed to the star wideout on Twitter.

Hopkins and the versatile defender Omenihu have past ties: Both were members of the Houston Texans, and their time in Houston overlapped for one season.

MORE: 2023 NFL Salary Cap Space by Team

Omenihu was a rookie in 2019 when Hopkins caught 104 receptions for 1,165 yards and scored seven touchdowns. Hopkins, though, was eventually traded to the Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson.

Omenihu would go on to play two more seasons with the Texans before being traded midseason to the 49ers. He went on to play in back-to-back NFC title games with San Francisco while becoming NFC West rivals with Hopkins and the Cardinals.

Is There Room for a Signing, or Is Hopkins Too Expensive for the Champs?

The Chiefs would have to do some serious contract restructuring to have room for Hopkins.

According to Over the Cap, Kansas City sits at $652,557 in cap space for 2023.

PFN’s Dalton Miller took a dive into what a Hopkins contract could look like for his next team. “One thing is certain… it won’t be cheap,” Miller wrote.

Again, Beckham’s deal helped throw a wrench into contract talks, as his deal impacts the 2023 market for veteran wideouts. Miller adds, “Hopkins has earned the right to earn more money than Beckham at this current point in each player’s career.”

As for K.C., the Chiefs still have a bevy of weapons to turn to, beginning with 110-catch Pro Bowler Travis Kelce and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who hit his career-high mark for single-season receptions last season.

Kansas City also has second-year pro Skyy Moore — who’ll more than likely look to level up on the depth chart after his three starts last season.

Hopkins, no doubt, would make Kansas City a heavy favorite to repeat. But the Chiefs are still considered a threat for the title without DHop too.

Is Baltimore the Official Favorite to Land DeAndre Hopkins?

Various national betting sites have the Baltimore Ravens high on the list in landing DHop.

DraftKings is one, giving Baltimore +650 odds of luring in the five-time Pro Bowler. They’re behind the current favorite, the New York Jets, who were given +700 odds.

But there’s another reason behind the idea of a Hopkins/Ravens linking: his recent comments on I AM ATHLETE. On the show, Hopkins discussed the idea of him forming a new duo with the 2019 MVP, Lamar Jackson.

“I love Lamar Jackson,” Hopkins said to hosts Brandon Marshall and Ashley Nicole Moss. “Lamar Jackson is one of my favorite athletes since I’ve been watching sports. I’ve been a fan of Lamar for a long time. I’d be lying to say if I didn’t say…it would be an honor to play with a great guy and great quarterback like Lamar.”

Those comments were made before the Cards officially parted ways with the All-Pro wideout. Now, Hopkins is free to sign elsewhere as a released free agent — and that includes Baltimore.

How Hopkins Changes Complexion of Ravens Offense

Jackson having Hopkins and Beckham on the same roster is something NFL fans would have previously likely only seen in the Pro Bowl. Now, the stakes of landing Hopkins just increased for Baltimore.

Already, the Ravens made their first aggressive move in coaxing Jackson to stay by signing Beckham to his $15 million deal. But Baltimore has other speed elements in place with veteran Nelson Agholor and first-round draft selection Zay Flowers out of Boston College.

This is still a Ravens offense that doesn’t know who officially becomes the WR1. While Beckham has his history of being a past No. 1, he accepted a WR2 role with the Los Angeles Rams opposite of Cooper Kupp during his last NFL stop in 2021. Plus, he’s coming back from a devastating ACL tear suffered in Super Bowl 56, which prevented him from playing in 2022.

Agholor, meanwhile, has never been a lead target. Flowers, as a rookie, is currently being presented with a strong chance of establishing himself as Jackson’s top go-to wideout as OBJ continues his recovery.

Hopkins, however, can become the top aerial focal point of the offense if brought over.

The 6’1″, 202-pound Hopkins would give Baltimore someone who can haul down the contested grabs, and he’s dangerous after the catch while eluding defenders in the open field. While he’s attacked defenses deep, he’s proven to be a short-to-intermediate route attacker over the years, especially when there’s an opening created by other wide receivers drawing coverage matchups.

All that speed on the field can mean less bracket or double coverage for Hopkins, especially on plays where he’s lined up next to OBJ.

Dilemma With Baltimore Adding Hopkins Involves OBJ

Count Beckham as the reason why a Hopkins-to-Ravens deal comes with a dilemma.

Per Sports Illustrated NFL insider Albert Breer, Beckham’s deal impacted a potential trade involving DHop for both the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. Hopkins’ hefty contract, plus what OBJ was handed by the Ravens, were the reasons why the two teams shied away.

With Hopkins being projected in the $15 million range, similar to OBJ, a deal would put the Ravens in the red for their salary cap. Following Jackson’s blockbuster $260 million deal and the Beckham addition, Baltimore now sits at $11,757,827 in 2023 salary cap space, per Over the Cap.

Hopkins and the Ravens would have to find a way to work with a lesser, more manageable deal. But, with two AFC contenders, the Chiefs and Bills, having their trade idea blow up, the Ravens can make the attempt to swoop in on Hopkins and increase a new kind of odds — their Vince Lombardi Trophy-winning odds.

Source link

Continue Reading


‘I Haven’t Seen Any Substantial Change’




It’s been a while since Colin Kaepernick drew football-related headlines. This time last year, when he worked out for the Las Vegas Raiders, per Sports Illustrated, is probably the last one of note.

Colin Kaepernick Says NFL Needs to Do More With Social Justice Efforts

The signal-caller turned social justice advocate is certainly prominent in his field, but his field hasn’t been football in some time — not since 2016 when Kaepernick created a media firestorm over his decision to kneel during the pre-game playing of the national anthem.

The then-29-year-old signal-caller went just 1-10 as a starter during his last season with the San Francisco 49ers.

His stats, while unspectacular, weren’t terrible by any means. He finished the 2016 season with a four-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio (16:4) and added an additional 468 yards as a rusher.

But Kaepernick’s lack of recent success in the win column and the divisive nature of his protest led to his ouster from the league following that season.

Every year teams are desperate for quality play at the quarterback position. Guys like Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Mitch Trubisky get a myriad of chances as so-called “reclamation projects.”

But before he turned 30, Kaepernick was out of the league for good. Despite his leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl (and an NFC Championship the following year) just a few seasons prior, no team felt the risk was worth the investment.

With that in mind, it’s perhaps not too surprising how Kaepernick responded when asked during an interview with NPR if he thought that the NFL had changed for the better since his departure.

“I haven’t seen any substantial change,” Kaepernick said. “I think there is a lot of work to do on that front. Obviously, not playing and being out of the NFL for six years is an indictment on where they are currently at. So I wouldn’t put them at the forefront of goodwill and best of intentions in how they operate.”

As noted by Fox News, the NFL proudly announced that their Inspire Change initiative had raised over $300 million in funds for “social justice contributions from the NFL Family.” The league says that this money is used to “drive further progress in police-community relations, criminal justice reform, education, and economic advancement.”

But to Kaepernick’s point, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the league isn’t systemically corrupt. It merely means that their PR department is hard at work to reverse that perception.

While $300 million is far from chump change, in NFL terms, it’s hardly more than a blip on the radar. After all, there are some individual players (not to mention league owners and executives) who will bank more than that during their careers.

MORE: Highest-Paid NFL Players in the History of the League

Kaepernick, perhaps unknowingly, left plenty of money on the table when he decided to kneel for his cause. But it doesn’t sound like he’s regretful about how his career turned out, nor does he think the circumstances of its (likely) end should reflect on his ongoing off-field efforts to engender change.

“No. I think there’s this idea out there that those are mutually exclusive, and I don’t subscribe to that,” he replied. “So I think people are multifaceted and multitalented. And ultimately, that’s something that — we want to make sure that message is being sent as well. We have the opportunity to move forward and not be pigeonholed into singular elements of ourselves.”

Source link

Continue Reading


Projected Depth Chart, Rosters, and Predictions




The Carolina Panthers are starting fresh with a new head coach and a franchise quarterback in tow. Playing in one of the NFL‘s weakest divisions, can the Panthers contend for a playoff spot next season? Or are they still a year away?

Let’s take a look back at Carolina’s offseason moves as we preview the Panthers’ 2023 campaign.

Everything You Need Ahead of the Carolina Panthers 2023 NFL Season

The Panthers began last season 1-4 under Matt Rhule before going 6-6 under interim head coach Steve Wilks. With Frank Reich joining holdover general manager Scott Fitterer as Carolina’s primary decision-makers, the Panthers reshaped their roster over the offseason.

Carolina Panthers Roster Changes

  • Players Signed
    • QB Andy Dalton
    • RB Miles Sanders
    • WR Damiere Byrd
    • WR DJ Chark
    • WR Adam Thielen
    • TE Hayden Hurst
    • C Bradley Bozeman
    • DL Henry Anderson
    • DL Shy Tuttle
    • DL DeShawn Williams
    • LB Kamu Grugier-Hill
    • S Vonn Bell
    • DB Eric Rowe
    • K Eddy Pineiro
  • Players Drafted
    • QB Bryce Young
    • WR Jonathan Mingo
    • EDGE DJ Johnson
    • G Chandler Zavala
    • S Jammie Robinson
  • Players Lost
    • QB Sam Darnold (49ers)
    • QB P.J. Walker (Bears)
    • RB D’Onta Foreman (Bears)
    • OL Pat Elflein
    • DT Matt Ioannidis
    • LB Cory Littleton (Texans)
    • LB Damien Wilson
    • CB Myles Hartsfield (49ers)
    • S Juston Burris

One of the most critical moments in Panthers franchise history occurred in early March when Carolina sent a package of picks and wide receiver DJ Moore to the Bears in exchange for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Panthers used that choice on Alabama’s Bryce Young, giving the team the franchise QB they’ve been searching for since Cam Newton’s departure.

Trading Moore to Chicago was necessary in order to land the draft’s top pick. But rather than try to replace Moore with a single player, Carolina is attempting to recreate his production in the aggregate. Adam Thielen, DJ Chark, and Hayden Hurst aren’t stars, but they’ll provide enough of a baseline for Young in his rookie campaign. If Young is as talented at the NFL level as he was in the collegiate ranks, he should be able to elevate the receivers around him.

MORE: Carolina Panthers 2023 NFL Schedule

Aside from players who received the franchise tag, Miles Sanders secured the largest contract among running backs this offseason. Sanders might not be as effective behind Carolina’s line as he was with the Eagles, but he’ll help the Panthers’ offense check another box in the competency department. With Bradley Bozeman back at center, Carolina’s front five projects as a league-average unit, even if left guard Austin Corbett isn’t ready to start the season after tearing his ACL.

New addition Shy Tuttle should help the Panthers’ run defense, but safety Vonn Bell was the club’s most significant defensive signing. Paired with Xavier Woods, Bell will give Carolina two steady veterans in the back end who can help limit explosive plays. Bell’s presence also means Jeremy Chinn can continue to spend most of his time in the slot.

Carolina Panthers Coaching Staff in 2023

  • Head Coach: Frank Reich
  • Offensive Coordinator: Thomas Brown
    • QB coach: Josh McCown
    • RB coach: Duce Staley
    • WR coach: Shawn Jefferson
    • TE coach: John Lilly
    • OL coach: James Campen
    • Senior assistant: Jim Caldwell
  • Defensive Coordinator: Ejiro Evero
    • DL coach: Todd Wash
    • LB coach: Peter Hansen
    • OLB coach: Tem Lukabu
    • CB coach: Jonathan Cooley
    • Safeties coach: Bert Watts
  • Special Teams Coordinator: Chris Tabor

Reich was perhaps unfairly chosen to bear the blame for the Colts’ putrid 2022 season, but he remains one of the more respected offensive play-callers in the league. And given his lengthy history as a player and coach, Reich had the contacts to build an elite staff in Carolina.

Thomas Brown should bring some of Sean McVay’s offensive concepts to the Panthers, even if he won’t be calling plays (Reich will handle those duties). Jim Caldwell has a 62-50 record as an NFL head coach, while Josh McCown has drawn head-coaching interest despite his limited coaching track record.

MORE: NFL Power Rankings (Post-Schedule Release)

There is no cap on staff salaries, and David Tepper wasn’t afraid to shell out the big bucks for Ejiro Evero, who was considered for numerous head-coaching jobs and was one of the most-coveted coordinators on the market. It won’t be a surprise if Evero lands an HC role in 2024, forcing Reich to find a replacement at DC.

Predicting the Carolina Panthers Depth Chart

Carolina Panthers Season Preview: Projected Depth Chart, Rosters, and Predictions

Offensive Depth Chart

  • QB: Bryce Young, Andy Dalton, Matt Corral
  • RB: Miles Sanders, Chuba Hubbard, Rasheem Blackshear, Spencer Brown
  • WR: Adam Thielen, DJ Chark, Jonathan Mingo, Terrace Marshall Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., Shi Smith, Damiere Byrd
  • TE: Hayden Hurst, Ian Thomas, Tommy Tremble
  • LT: Ikem Ekwonu, Larnel Coleman
  • LG: Brady Christensen, Justin McCray
  • C: Bradley Bozeman, Sam Tecklenburg
  • RG: Austin Corbett, Chandler Zavala
  • RT: Taylor Moton, Cameron Erving

Defensive Depth Chart

  • DT: Derrick Brown, Shy Tuttle, DeShawn Williams, Henry Anderson, Bravvion Roy, Marquan McCall
  • EDGE: Brian Burns, Yetur Gross-Matos, DJ Johnson, Marquise Haynes, Amaré Barno
  • LB: Shaq Thompson, Frankie Luvu, Brandon Smith, Kamu Grugier-Hill
  • CB: Jaycee Horn, Donte Jackson, Jeremy Chinn, C.J. Henderson, Eric Rowe, Keith Taylor Jr.
  • S: Vonn Bell, Xavier Woods, Sam Franklin Jr., Jammie Robinson

Special Teams Depth Chart

  • K: Eddy Pineiro
  • P: Johnny Hekker
  • LS: J.J. Jansen
  • KR: Rasheem Blackshear
  • PR: Shi Smith

2022 Results and Standings

The Panthers fired Rhule after Carolina got demolished by the 49ers in Week 5, and it looked like the club’s season was over. But the Panthers didn’t pack it in under Wilks.

Carolina beat the Buccaneers in Week 7 in one of the biggest upsets of the year, took down the Seahawks in Week 14, and ran all over the Lions in Week 16. Heading into a Week 17 rematch against Tampa Bay, the Panthers needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

However, the Buccaneers won that game 30-24, ending Carolina’s dreams and eliminating them from postseason contention. Many players voiced their support for Wilks to be promoted to head coach on a full-time basis, but he eventually became San Francisco’s defensive coordinator after the Panthers hired Reich.

2023 Power Ranking and Season Outlook

The Panthers rank 16th in Dalton Miller’s post-draft NFL Power Rankings, putting them squarely in a tier with other fringe playoff contenders.

Even if Young takes a while to get acclimated to the NFL, he should represent a clear improvement over the Baker Mayfield/Sam Darnold/P.J. Walker QB triad that started all of Carolina’s games in 2022. Young won a Heisman at Alabama and is one of the most accomplished college quarterbacks in recent memory. His size concerns are real, but his playmaking ability — both inside and outside structure — gives him plenty of upside.

Young won’t have a true WR1 with Moore gone, but the Panthers’ receiving corps may now be more well-rounded. Aside from Moore, no other Carolina pass catcher received more than 50 targets last season. A group of Thielen, Chark, Mingo, and Hurst might not be uber-explosive, but they’ll offer Young stability as he develops in Year 1.

MORE: 2023 NFL Schedule

The Panthers’ defense was just as woeful as the club’s offense last season. Veteran additions like Tuttle and Bell are solid, but Carolina needs to see significant leaps from young players like Jaycee Horn, Chinn, and Yetur Gross-Matos. Evero should be able to put the Panthers’ defensive playmakers in a position to succeed.

The composition of their roster aside, Carolina’s biggest advantage in 2023 might be the shortcomings of the NFC South. The Saints are the betting favorite, but any team in the division could claim the crown. If Young can play like a top-15 quarterback in his first NFL campaign, the playoffs could be within the Panthers’ reach.

Source link

Continue Reading