2022 NFL Draft

Jets Matched Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill Offer, Included Incentives

Tyreek Hill has provided a few reasons for why he chose the Dolphins over the Jets in his quick-developing March trade sweepstakes, but this derby’s second-place finishers were willing to match Miami’s compensation.

The Jets offered Hill the four-year, $120MM deal the Dolphins proposed, according to ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini, but were also including incentive sweeteners. Hill preferred Miami to New York as a locale and recently has cited Florida’s lack of a state income tax as a reason for the Dolphins choice.

New York offered $52.5MM fully guaranteed, which is what Hill received from the Dolphins, though Cimini adds New York’s tax setup would have required the Jets to propose $58.75MM in guarantees to match the Miami figure. Of course, this is a battle the NFL’s teams with and without state income taxes wage annually. Though, Hill’s one-on-one AFC East duel added some intrigue to this year’s highest-profile such showdown.

Gang Green offered a Pro Bowl incentive in its proposal, per Cimini. It is unclear how much of a bump the Jets’ Pro Bowl escalator(s) would have brought, but Hill is 6-for-6 in Pro Bowl nods (five as a receiver, one as a return man). That would have certainly given the seventh-year playmaker good odds in cashing in on such an incentive. The former Chiefs deep threat leads the NFL in receiving through four games and will face the team he was nearly traded to Sunday.

Drew Rosenhaus called the Jets once the Chiefs gave Hill permission to negotiate with other teams, and Cimini adds the Jets attempted to bring the All-Pro target in for a meeting or fly to his home in south Florida. The Chiefs also rejected the Jets’ effort to do a video call with the receiver, and Rosenhaus ended up being the go-between in these proceedings. While the Jets researched Hill’s complicated background and signed off on going through with trade talks — after the team strangely monitored him as a potential Chiefs cap casualty earlier in March — Rosenhaus contacted fellow client Braxton Berrios to gather Zach Wilson intel for Hill’s benefit, Cimini adds. None of this led to a Jets agreement, however, despite the Chiefs OK’ing New York’s proposal of two second-round picks and a third-round swap for Hill.

Had the Dolphins not been in the mix for Hill, the Jets would seemingly have ended up greenlighting that monster contract and thus not been in trade rumors related to just about every receiver up for an extension this offseason. That would have changed their thinking on Garrett Wilson, the team’s top-rated receiver in this year’s draft.

The Jets tried to trade up with the Seahawks, thus climbing from No. 10 to No. 9, with Cimini adding that they viewed the Saints and Eagles as teams lurking for the Ohio State target. Both the NFC squads soon filled receiver needs — the Saints with the other Buckeyes first-round pass catcher (Chris Olave) and Eagles via the A.J. Brown trade — and the dominoes sent Wilson to the Big Apple during one of the most complex wideout offseasons in NFL history.

Ravens OLB David Ojabo Last Unsigned Rookie

The Ravens are reportedly the only team in the NFL who have yet to wrap up their rookie draft class signings. The lone holdout, Michigan outside linebacker David Ojabo, is the last unsigned rookie selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, with the contract disagreement surrounding Ojabo’s third-year guarantee percentage, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. 

This is a bit of a new issue as, last year, Ojabo’s draft slot didn’t receive any third-year guarantee, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN. This year has seen a difference of approach in the second round, though. The first five picks of the second round this year have received contracts that fully guaranteed the second and third years of their rookie deals. The first three picks of the second round even had some of the fourth year of their contracts guaranteed, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. After those first five picks, the next ten picks (excluding Ojabo) have the second year of their rookie deals guaranteed with a percentage of their third year guaranteed.

There are two factors of the situation that make it difficult for Ojabo and the Ravens to negotiate. The first is that, while picks 38-47 of the draft all have guaranteed third-year money, there is a huge drop off in the guaranteed amount for the pick before Ojabo and the pick after Ojabo. The player selected just before Ojabo at 44th overall is John Metchie III, who received $800,000 (55.61%) of his third year guaranteed, following the descending trend from the 38th pick, Arnold Ebiketie ($1.36MM), down to the 43rd pick, Wan’Dale Robinson ($876,508). The pick immediately after Ojabo at 46th overall is Joshua Paschal, whose guaranteed third-year money dropped dramatically to $275,000 (22.02%).

The extreme contrast from Metchie to Paschal gives far too much wiggle room for Baltimore and Ojabo to disagree on. Ojabo, likely, will want guaranteed third-year money closer to what Metchie is receiving based on being picked just after him. The Ravens’ argument will point to the fact that he plays the same position as Paschal, and it will probably hinge on the second factor that makes it a difficult negotiation, as well: Ojabo’s injury.

Ojabo was trending towards being a first-round pick for much of the pre-draft process before tearing his Achilles tendon at Michigan’s Pro Day. The severity and timing of the injury make it unlikely that Ojabo will be able to make much of an impact as a rookie. Achilles injuries have affected long-term status less and less in the NFL lately, but it can still be a bargaining chip for Baltimore in terms of how much money they choose to guarantee. Ojabo can also try to flip it by pointing out what his draft stock would’ve been without injury.

At this point, it’s hard to make any predictions, but it’s pretty clear where the separation is coming from. The Ravens no doubt want to come to terms with Ojabo, who will eventually be meeting last year’s first round pick, Odafe Oweh, at the quarterback for years to come. But, after being bitten hard by the injury bug last year, it’s easy to see why Baltimore may be uneasy to guarantee payment to a player currently recovering from a serious injury. It will certainly be interesting to see how the situation is resolved.

Panthers Sign Rookie QB Matt Corral, Finalize Draft Class

The Panthers are the latest team to come to terms with one of the few remaining unsigned rookies around the league. Carolina has signed third-round quarterback Matt Corral, per a team announcement. 

Corral took over as the starter at Ole Miss in 2019, but it was during the two subsequent seasons that he boosted his draft stock considerably. During those campaigns, he threw for a combined 6,670 yards with a completion percentage of 69.5% and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 49:18. Showcasing his rushing ability, he added 1,103 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground.

Those totals helped the Rebels to a 10-3 season, and led to Corral finishing seventh in Heisman voting in 2021. Concerns about his frame (six-foot-one, 205 pounds) and ability to adapt to a more complex NFL scheme led to him being viewed as a Day 2 pick, as several other members of this year’s underwhelming QB class were. After Desmond Ridder and Malik Willis taken in the third round, the Panthers traded up to select Corral.

Since then, the Panthers have, of course, added Baker Mayfield to their QB room. The team intends to keep both he and Sam Darnold on the roster, so 2022 will be seen as a redshirt season for Corral. If he develops over time, he could provide the team with at least a long-term backup at a position which has been in flux for several years.

With Corral signed, here is the final breakdown of the Panthers’ 2022 class:

Round 1: No. 6 Ikem Ekwonu, OL (NC State) (signed)
Round 3: No. 94 (from Chiefs through Patriots) Matt Corral, QB (Ole Miss)
Round 4: No. 120 (from Commanders through Saints) Brandon Smith, LB (Penn State) (signed)
Round 6: No. 189 (from Commanders) Amare Barno, Edge (Virginia Tech) (signed)
Round 6: No. 199 (from Raiders) Cade Mays, OG (Tennessee) (signed)
Round 7: No. 242 (from Patriots through Dolphins) Kalon Barnes, CB (Baylor) (signed)

Vikings Sign Second-Round Picks, Wrap Up 2022 Draft Class

Minnesota concluded contract discussions with its 2022 rookie draft class today after signing second-round picks Ed Ingram, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and Andrew Booth (Twitter). With today’s two deals, the Vikings have completed the signing of their entire 10-man draft class.

Ingram was an immediate impact player at LSU, starting all but the first game of his freshman season. He sat out his entire sophomore year, taking a redshirt during a season that saw him suspended for events that occurred three years prior. His time away from the team allowed for another player, Damien Lewis, to slide into the starting role, and Ingram only had two starts in his redshirt sophomore season, seeing most of his action when Lewis was out with injury. Ingram returned to action as a full-time starter for his last two seasons in Baton Rouge and performed well enough in 2021 to warrant a second-round selection that would keep him in shades of purple and yellow.

Despite being the third overall pick for the Vikings this year, the team likely won’t rely on Ingram to start as a rookie. Minnesota will return starters Ezra Cleveland, Oli Udoh, and Garrett Bradbury on the interior. The team also brought in former Dolphins tackle Jesse Davis with the intention for him to play inside. While Ingram will be a game ready backup behind Cleveland, Udoh, and Davis, he may have opportunities to earn a starting position as neither Udoh nor Davis graded out very highly per Pro Football Focus. If Ingram shows he can provide an upgrade, look for him to earn early playing time between Bradbury and tackle Brian O’Neill.

Booth came into Clemson as a five-star cornerback out of Georgia. Joining a talented Tigers roster, Booth didn’t play much as a freshman but earned significant starting time as a sophomore including four starts. He became a full-time starter for Clemson in his junior year, his final with the team. Over 35 total games played and 15 starts, Booth recorded 5 interceptions, 10 pass breakups, 5.5 tackles for loss, and a sack.

Like Ingram, Booth will not be pressured to start full-time as a rookie. Also like Ingram, Booth should have several opportunities to get on the field in his first year of NFL play. Booth sits behind starters Patrick Peterson and Cameron Dantzler on the outside. He’ll compete with Harrison Hand for the first chance to take snaps at nickel and will be in the mix frequently for a position that rotates often.

Here’s the rundown of all 10 players set to join the Vikings at training camp tomorrow:

Round 1: No. 32 (from Rams through Lions) Lewis Cine, S (Georgia) (signed)
Round 2: No. 42 (from Commanders through Colts) Andrew Booth, CB (Clemson) (signed)
Round 2: No. 59 (from Packers) Ed Ingram, G (LSU) (signed)
Round 3: No. 66 (from Lions) Brian Asamoah, LB (Oklahoma) (signed)
Round 4: No. 118 (from Browns) Akayleb Evans, CB (Missouri) (signed)
Round 5: No. 165 (from Raiders): Esezi Otomewo, DE (Minnesota) (signed)
Round 6: No. 169 (from Titans through Raiders): Ty Chandler, RB (North Carolina) (signed)
Round 6: No. 184 (from Jets): Vederian Lowe, OT (Illinois) (signed)
Round 6: No. 191 (from Ravens through Chiefs) Jalen Nailor, WR (Michigan State) (signed)
Round 7: No. 227 (from Raiders through Panthers) Nick Muse, TE (South Carolina) (signed)

Buccaneers Sign Fourth-Round TE Cade Otton, Finalize Draft Class

The Buccaneers entered today as one of a few teams still needing to get their entire rookie classes on the books in time for training camp. Per a club announcement, they have taken care of that today, signing tight end Cade Otton to his first NFL contract. 

The six-foot-five, 247-pounder was a significant part of the University of Washington’s offense during his four years with the Huskies. His most productive campaign came in 2019, when made 32 catches for 344 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The following season, he was named First-Team All-Pac 12, helping to put him on the draft radar for this spring. Tampa made him the first pick of the fourth round, a selection they added via their trade down from No. 27 to No. 33.

The TE room looks much different now in Tampa Bay than it did at the end of last season, of course. O.J. Howard departed in free agency, leaving room for an addition in the draft. Then, in June, Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement – a decision which, despite plenty of speculation to the contrary, he insists will remain final this time around.

That leaves Otton (as well as sixth-rounder Ko Kieft) to compete with eight-year veteran Cameron Brate and recent free agent signing Kyle Rudolph for snaps at the position. The absence of Gronkowski will be felt by Tom Brady and Co. moving forward, but Otton will have the opportunity to carve out a long-term role for himself with Rudolph on a one-year deal and Brate only under contract through 2023.

With Otton’s deal now official, here is the final look at the Buccaneers’ 2022 class:

Round 2: No. 33 (from Jaguars) Logan Hall, DL (Houston) (signed)
Round 2: No. 57 (from Bills) Luke Goedeke, OL (Central Michigan) (signed)
Round 3: No. 91 Rachaad White, RB (Arizona State) (signed)
Round 4: No. 106 (from Jaguars) Cade Otton, TE (Washington)
Round 4: No. 133 Jake Camarda, P (Georgia) (signed)
Round 5: No. 157 (from Vikings through Jaguars): Zyon McCollum, CB (Sam Houston State) (signed)
Round 6: No. 218 (from Rams) Ko Kieft, TE (Minnesota) (signed)
Round 7: No. 248 Andre Anthony, DE (LSU) (signed)

Buccaneers Sign Second-Round DL Logan Hall

The Buccaneers are one step closer to signing their entire draft class. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter), Tampa Bay has agreed to terms with second-round defensive lineman Logan Hall. Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter), it’s a standard four-year deal worth $9.316MM.

Hall had a standout collegiate career at Houston, including a 2021 campaign where he earned first-team All-AAC honors. The defensive line had his best season in 2021, finishing with 47 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and six sacks. His performance vaulted him up the draft boards, and he was ultimately selected by the Buccaneers with the first pick of the second round (No. 33).

It remains to be seen if the Buccaneers will immediately insert Hall into their starting lineup. There’s a better chance he helps provide a breather to veterans like Ndamukong Suh and Akiem Hicks.

With the signing, the Buccaneers only have one unsigned draft pick in fourth-round tight end Cade Otton:

Round 2: No. 33 (from Jaguars) Logan Hall, DL (Houston) (signed)
Round 2: No. 57 (from Bills) Luke Goedeke, OL (Central Michigan) (signed)
Round 3: No. 91 Rachaad White, RB (Arizona State) (signed)
Round 4: No. 106 (from Jaguars) Cade Otton, TE (Washington)
Round 4: No. 133 Jake Camarda, P (Georgia) (signed)
Round 5: No. 157 (from Vikings through Jaguars): Zyon McCollum, CB (Sam Houston State) (signed)
Round 6: No. 218 (from Rams) Ko Kieft, TE (Minnesota) (signed)
Round 7: No. 248 Andre Anthony, DE (LSU) (signed)

Stroud notes that Otton is expected to sign his contract by the time rookies report today. Hall was previously the highest-picked unsigned draft selection, an honor that now resides with Seahawks defensive end Boye Mafe (No. 40).

Titans Sign Second-Round CB Roger McCreary

The Titans entered today with two significant members of their draft class still unsigned, but that number has now dropped to one. The team announced on Friday that second-round corner Roger McCreary has inked his rookie contract. 

McCreary steadily improved during his four years at Auburn. As a junior and senior in particular, he put himself on the radar as one of the 2022 class’ top corners. Between those final two seasons, he totalled 94 tackles (including nine for a loss), and five interceptions, showcasing his talent against both the run and pass. In 2021, he led the SEC with 14 pass deflections.

Those totals, coupled with his six-foot, 190-pound frame, made him a strong candidate to hear his name called on Day 1 of the draft. However, questions were raised about his relative lack of length, especially given the heavy usage of man coverage he was involved in with the Tigers, along with a slightly underwhelming 40-yard dash time at the Combine. At No. 35 overall, he was selected right around where many draft analysts projected him to go.

In Tennessee, McCreary will compete for a starting role right away. The Titans have Kristian Fulton penciled in as a starter, but 2021 first-rounder Caleb Farley could be the favorite at this point to line up opposite him. McCreary’s skillset lends itself to paying effectively on the inside as well, though, so a significant role early in his career is well within reach.

His deal – which is worth $9.165MM – includes a signing bonus of $3.845MM (Twitter link via Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson). That has been seen as a sticking point with many non-first rounders this year, and led to the distinct possibility of several Round 2 selections holding out of training camp. Such a scenario could now only take place in Tennessee with respect to quarterback Malik Willis, who is the lone unsigned member of the Titans’ class.

Browns Sign Round 4 DT Perrion Winfrey, Finalize Draft Class

The final member of the Browns’ 2022 draft class is officially on the books. Cleveland signed defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey to his rookie contract, per a team announcement. 

Winfrey had a brief but productive career at Oklahoma. He flashed his ability as a disruptor in the run game with 5.5 tackles for loss in 2020. He then took a step forward with 23 stops, along with 11 TFLs, in 2021. With 5.5 sacks, he also showcased his ability as a pass-rusher, an element which has become increasingly valuable in recent years.

With a jump in PFF grades from 59.7 to 71.3, many have projected significant growth in the next few years for the six-foot-four, 292-pounder. As a result, some felt that Winfrey would have to wait no longer than Day 2 of the draft to hear his name called. Instead, he could end up representing a value find in the fourth round for the Browns, who continue to add youth to the interior of their defensive front.

Winfrey will join the likes of recent mid-round draftees Jordan Elliott and Tommy Togiai as intriguing prospects in the middle of Cleveland’s d-line. His relative weakness defending the run will, in all likelihood, limit his playing time early on in his career, but he could make an impact on passing downs relatively quickly.

With Winfrey under contract for four years, here is the final breakdown of the Browns’ class:

Round 3: No. 68 (from Texans) Martin Emerson, CB (Mississippi State) (signed)
Round 3: No. 78 Alex Wright, DE (UAB) (signed)
Round 3: No. 99 David Bell, WR (Purdue) (signed)
Round 4: No. 108 (from Texans) Perrion Winfrey, DT (Oklahoma) (signed)
Round 4: No. 124 (from Eagles through Texans) Cade York, K (LSU) (signed)
Round 5: No. 156 (from Vikings through Ravens) Jerome Ford, RB (Cincinnati) (signed)
Round 6: No. 202 (from Cowboys) Mike Woods, WR (Oklahoma) (signed)
Round 7: No. 223 (from Lions) Isaiah Thomas, DE (Oklahoma) (signed)
Round 7: No. 246 (from Bills) Dawson Deaton, C (Texas Tech) (signed)

Packers Wrap Draft Class, Sign WR Christian Watson

With rookies scheduled to report to training camp this Friday, the Packers finally capped off their rookie contract signings today, inking North Dakota State second-round pick Christian Watson, according to Field Yates of ESPN. The 23-year-old wraps up an 11-person rookie class selected by Green Bay this past April.

Watson entered the day as the second-highest draft pick yet to sign their rookie contact as the 34th overall selection of the 2022 NFL Draft. With Watson’s signing today, eight second-round picks still remain unsigned, with all first-round picks securely under contract.

Watson committed to North Dakota State as a two-star recruit, according to 247Sports composite ranking, and redshirted through the 2017 season. He played a small role as a redshirt freshman, too, as he grew from his lanky 6’2″, 175 lb. frame into the athletic 6’5″, 205 lb. frame that got him on the field. Watson began to solidify his starting role as a redshirt sophomore catching 34 passes for 732 yards and 6 touchdowns in 16 games. That’s an average yards per reception of 21.53. He continued to improve on that number in the ten games of the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, catching 19 balls for 442 yards and a touchdown for an average yards per catch of 23.26. In his final 12 games in 2021, Watson recorded 43 receptions for 801 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Watson brings an alluring combination of size and speed to the league. After running a 4.36 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, Watson confirmed that he could continue to be a deep-ball wide receiver in addition to a red-zone threat. The size can limit Watson in short and intermediate routes as it takes a bit more effort for him to slow and change direction, but he had just started polishing his route-running in his redshirt senior year and should have plenty of room for improvement. Watson also contributed to the Bison offense in the run and return game, adding to the possible effectiveness he can provide as a rookie.

After Green Bay lost star wide receiver Davante Adams in free agency, along with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown, Watson will likely be expected to step into a starting position right away. The Packers were able to hold onto free agent Allen Lazard and bring in Sammy Watkins, who will both likely start alongside Watson in 2022. They also drafted Doubs and Toure (listed below) who can help contribute as the Packers attempt to retool the wide receiving corps for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Round 1: No. 22 Quay Walker, LB (Georgia) (signed)
Round 1: No. 28 Devonte Wyatt, DT (Georgia) (signed)
Round 2: No. 34 Christian Watson, WR (North Dakota State) (signed)
Round 3: No. 92 Sean Rhyan, OL (UCLA) (signed)
Round 4: No. 132 Romeo Doubs, WR (Nevada) (signed)
Round 4: No. 140 Zach Tom, OL (Wake Forest) (signed)
Round 5: No. 179 Kingsley Enagbare, DE (South Carolina) (signed)
Round 7: No. 228 Tariq Carpenter, DB (Georgia Tech) (signed)
Round 7: No. 234 Jonathan Ford, DT (Miami (FL)) (signed)
Round 7: No. 249 Rasheed Walker, OL (Penn State) (signed)
Round 7: No. 258 Samori Toure, WR (Nebraska) (signed)

Latest On Lions’ Jameson Williams Process

The clubhouse leaders for first-round wide receiver picks during the 2000s, the Lions passed on such investments from 2008-2021. But second-year GM Brad Holmes gave his team a potential impact wideout talent this year, trading up for Jameson Williams at No. 12 overall.

This move cost the Lions the Nos. 32 and 34 overall picks, along with a third-rounder, though the team added the Vikings’ No. 46 overall selection. Holmes addressed why Williams both convinced him to trade up 20 spots and to deviate from a general policy of not taking injury risks in the first round. After an April film session, the former Rams college scouting director separated Williams from the other receivers in this draft.

I had Jameson in his own box,” Holmes said, via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “You want to be as sure as possible with first-round players, of course, and I was absolutely convicted on Jameson … the speed, how fluid he was, how confident he played. I consulted with our medial team, and they felt it was a clean ACL tear.

“So now I had to get comfortable with picking an injured player. I thought, I can’t preach to our organization to be open-minded with their decisions if I’m not going to be open-minded myself.

Williams was the fourth receiver taken this year, going behind Drake London and ex-Ohio State teammates Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. After hauling in 79 receptions for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns, the Alabama transfer suffered an ACL tear in the national championship game. Were it not for that injury, the slender speedster would have been in the conversation to be the first wideout chosen. Williams, 21, had made it back to that tier anyway, going four spots after London.

The injury likely to keep Williams out for a chunk of his rookie Lions season; he is expected to begin training camp on Detroit’s active/PUP list. Beginning the season on the reserve/PUP list would result in Williams missing at least four games. Given the long-term investment the Lions made, Williams starting the regular season on the PUP list appears likely.

Holmes did not hesitate in trading with a division rival, per King, saying the deal made “a ton of sense for both teams.” Minnesota chose Georgia safety Lewis Cine at No. 32 and traded the No. 34 choice to another division rival, Green Bay, to collect additional second-round capital. The Vikings ended up with Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth, after a Colts trade-up, and LSU guard Ed Ingram.

The Lions, who famously took top-10 wideouts in three straight drafts (Charles Rodgers, Roy Williams, Mike Williams) before hitting big on Calvin Johnson two years later, have made their move for a receiver centerpiece. Jameson Williams should help Jared Goff, who will also have free agent DJ Chark to target this season, but Williams should be expected to be a key starter alongside Goff’s successor. Williams can be kept under Lions control through 2026, via the fifth-year option. Amon-Ra St. Brown is signed through 2024. With two first-round picks in the 2023 draft, which is viewed as far superior to this year’s quarterback class, Holmes and Co. figure to have that position on their front-burner next April.