Cardinals Rumors

2023 NFL Cap Space, By Team

The start of June has served as a key NFL financial period for decades. While teams no longer have to wait until after June 1 to make that cost-splitting cut designation, teams pick up the savings from those transactions today. With a handful of teams making post-June 1 cuts this year, here is how each team’s cap space (courtesy of OverTheCap) looks as of Friday:

  1. Chicago Bears: $32.58MM
  2. Carolina Panthers: $27.25MM
  3. Arizona Cardinals: $26.68MM
  4. New York Jets: $24.79MM
  5. Detroit Lions: $23.72MM
  6. Indianapolis Colts: $23.39MM
  7. Dallas Cowboys: $20.48MM
  8. Houston Texans: $16.81MM
  9. Green Bay Packers: $16.57MM
  10. Pittsburgh Steelers: $15.73MM
  11. Cincinnati Bengals: $14.92MM
  12. New Orleans Saints: $14.27MM
  13. New England Patriots: $14.12MM
  14. Miami Dolphins: $13.9MM
  15. Cleveland Browns: $13.86MM
  16. Philadelphia Eagles: $13.85MM
  17. Los Angeles Chargers: $12.61MM
  18. Jacksonville Jaguars: $12MM
  19. Washington Commanders: $11.57MM
  20. Baltimore Ravens: $11.54MM
  21. San Francisco 49ers: $10.72MM
  22. Atlanta Falcons: $10.7MM
  23. Denver Broncos: $10.13MM
  24. Minnesota Vikings: $9.75MM
  25. Tennessee Titans: $7.99MM
  26. Seattle Seahawks: $7.94MM
  27. New York Giants: $3.82MM
  28. Las Vegas Raiders: $3.37MM
  29. Los Angeles Rams: $1.49MM
  30. Buffalo Bills: $1.4MM
  31. Kansas City Chiefs: $653K
  32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $402K

The Dolphins gained the most from a post-June 1 cut (Byron Jones) this year, creating $13.6MM in cap space from a deal that will spread out the cornerback’s dead money through 2024. But the Browns (John Johnson, Jadeveon Clowney) and Cowboys (Ezekiel Elliott) created more than $10MM in space as well.

The Jets’ number is a bit deceiving. They are still working on a restructure with Aaron Rodgers, as the trade acquisition’s cap number — after a Packers restructure — sits at just $1.22MM. In 2024, that number skyrockets to $107.6MM. Rodgers’ cap hit will almost definitely will climb before Week 1, so viewing the Jets along with the other teams north of $20MM in space is not entirely accurate.

Minnesota is moving closer to separating from its $12.6MM-per-year Dalvin Cook contract. The team already created some space by trading Za’Darius Smith to the Browns. Cleveland, which is one of the teams connected to DeAndre Hopkins, added Smith and did so with help from its Deshaun Watson restructure. Watson was set to count $54.9MM against the Browns’ 2023 cap. That number is down to $19.1MM, though the Browns’ restructure both ballooned Watson’s mid-2020s cap figures to $63.9MM — which would shatter the NFL record — and added a 2027 void year.

Tampa Bay and Los Angeles sit atop the league in dead money, with the Bucs — largely from their April 2022 Tom Brady restructure — checking in at $75.3MM here. That total comprises nearly 33% of the Bucs’ 2023 cap sheet. The Rams, at more than $74MM, are not far behind. Despite the Bills and Chiefs — the teams most frequently tied to Hopkins — joining the Bucs and Rams near the bottom of the league in cap space, both AFC contenders also sit in the bottom five in dead money.

Six Teams To Gain Cap Space From Post-June 1 Cut Designations

With the annual June 1 date — a pivotal salary point on the NFL’s calendar for decades — looming, a handful of teams will see their cap-space figures rise this week. This year, six teams took advantage of the post-June 1 cut designation the league allows for cost-defraying purposes.

Teams are permitted to designate two players per offseason as post-June 1 cuts. This transaction allows a team to spread out a dead-money hit over a two-year period, as opposed to absorbing all the cost in one offseason. The Cardinals did not take this path with DeAndre Hopkins, finalized a standard release Tuesday. Arizona is one of the six teams to have used the post-June 1 cut tactic this offseason, however.

Here are the teams who will pick up cap room Friday, via’s Field Yates (on Twitter):

  • Miami Dolphins: $13.6MM
  • Cleveland Browns: $10.92MM
  • Dallas Cowboys: $10.9MM
  • Washington Commanders: $4MM
  • Denver Broncos: $3.75MM
  • Arizona Cardinals: $3.22MM

With $1.3MM in cap space, the Dolphins sit 30th as May winds down. They will rise to the league’s top half thanks to the funds from their Byron Jones cut emerging. Jones missed all of last season due to injury, seeing what was believed to be a routine surgery — one not expected to even force him to miss training camp time — leave his career in jeopardy. Three years after the Dolphins gave Jones a then-record-setting cornerback contract, the former Cowboys Pro Bowler expressed doubt about playing again.

The Browns’ John Johnson release will balloon their cap space to $15.9MM. Cleveland gave Johnson a three-year, $33MM deal in 2021 but cut bait with a year to go. The Browns were believed to be interested in Jessie Bates, but the Falcons’ monster offer (four years, $64MM) won out. Cleveland instead signed ex-Kansas City starter Juan Thornhill. The Browns used their second post-June 1 designation on Jadeveon Clowney, doing so despite signing the former No. 1 overall pick to a one-year deal in 2022. Released for procedural purposes after a tumultuous year, Clowney is no longer in the Browns’ plans. The team, which has been mentioned as a Hopkins dark horse, now sits in the top 10 for cap space.

Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott cut will lead to a cap-space figure north of $21MM soon; that will place the team in the top eight. The team would have faced an $11.8MM dead-money charge had the post-June 1 designation not been used. Elliott remains in the mix to return to the Cowboys, but the two-time rushing champion would do so at a significantly reduced rate. The team had signed him to a six-year, $90MM extension ahead of the 2019 season, but the former No. 4 overall pick’s best work came on his rookie contract. The Cowboys still have Tony Pollard tied to a $10.1MM franchise tag.

Chase Roullier represents the source of the Commanders’ belated savings. Washington cut its former starting center earlier this month, doing so after signing veteran Nick Gates and drafting interior O-lineman Ricky Stromberg in Round 3. Roullier signed a Washington extension in January 2021 but missed 24 games over the past two seasons. The 2017 draftee, who played just two games last season due to a knee injury, remains unsigned. The Roullier-generated money will bump Washington’s cap-space total past $8MM.

Denver parting ways with longtime kicker Brandon McManus will lead to its slight funding increase, which will boost the team’s cap space past $10MM. McManus served as the Broncos’ kicker for nine seasons, taking over after Matt Prater‘s substance-abuse suspension in 2014. McManus signed two extensions to stay in Denver, the most recent in 2020. But the Broncos have another round of new special teams coaches. Sean Payton cited cost savings when addressing McManus’ release, and the veteran kicker already has a new gig — in Jacksonville.

The Cardinals will add a few million because of their Rodney Hudson release and J.J. Watt‘s retirement. Hudson, who has been closely tied to retirement, spent the past two seasons in Arizona. The Cards acquired the former Raiders and Chiefs center via 2021 trade. Hudson then signed a three-year, $30MM extension that ran through the 2024 season. Injuries doomed the former Pro Bowler in Arizona. After missing five games in 2021, Hudson missed 13 last season. Although Watt retired, the Cards created nearly $1.2MM in 2023 cap space by processing the move as a post-June 1 exit.

Because the Cardinals had used the post-June 1 designation on Hudson and Watt, they could not apply the cost-spreading measure to the Hopkins release. With the Hudson and Watt moves set to lift the Cardinals past the $27MM mark for cap space, only the Bears will reside ahead of them in available funds.

Traded NFL Draft Picks For 2024

As teams regroup on potential trade talks, 2024 draft picks represent the top non-player assets available. Although the usual run of draft-weekend trades featured teams moving up and down the 2023 board, a high number of 2024 picks have changed hands. The Cardinals resided at the center of such movement, but many other teams have already made changes to their 2024 draft arsenals. Three first-rounders have already been traded, and a fourth — barring an Aaron Rodgers injury — will be expected to transfer.

Here are the 2024 picks to have changed hands thus far:

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

  • Lions obtained Vikings‘ pick in 2022 deadline deal that sent T.J. Hockenson to Minnesota
  • As part of Payton trade, Broncos collected Saints‘ third
  • As part of Anderson trade, Cardinals acquired Texans’ 2024 third
  • Cardinals picked up Titans‘ 2024 third in deal that allowed Tennessee to draft Will Levis at No. 33
  • Seahawks acquired third from Broncos in exchange for No. 83 overall pick (CB Riley Moss)
    • It is not yet known if Seattle will add Denver or New Orleans’ 2024 third
  • Texans landed third from Eagles in trade for No. 105 (CB Kelee Ringo)

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6

Round 7

  • Broncos acquired Rams‘ seventh in pick-swap deal for LB Kenny Young in October 2021
  • October 2021 Mark Ingram trade gave Texans seventh from Saints
  • Texans obtained seventh from Chiefs for DB Lonnie Johnson
    • Unknown conditions may keep pick from transferring
  • As part of Amadi swap, Eagles obtained seventh from Titans
  • Daley pick swap sent Titans seventh from Panthers
  • Jones pick swap sent Browns seventh from Falcons
  • In Johnathan Hankins pick-swap trade, Cowboys acquired Raiders‘ 2024 seventh
    • It is unknown which of Las Vegas’ 2024 sevenths will be sent to Dallas

Cardinals Release DeAndre Hopkins

MAY 30: Hopkins’ release is now official, per the NFL’s transaction wire. Officially a free agent as of Tuesday afternoon, the 10-year veteran wide receiver — who has since hired a certified agent — is free to sign with another team.

MAY 26: The DeAndre Hopkins situation has come to an abrupt and unexpected end. The Cardinals have released the veteran receiver, per a team announcement.

The move proves that trade talks never progressed as far as Arizona would have liked, with his contract representing a major impediment to teams becoming willing to part with assets to acquire the three-time All-Pro. As a result, they will now move on from him without receiving anything in return. The Cardinals will save $8.9MM in cap space in 2023 via this release, while generating a dead money charge of $21.1MM. He will be off the books entirely in 2024.

The 30-year-old was due $19.45MM in salary this season, the second-to-last of his current contract. That figure would have been relatively reasonable given the current nature of the WR market, but Hopkins’ scheduled cap hit was a far more burdensome $29.99MM in 2023, and $25.5MM in 2024. That led interested teams to ask the Cardinals to eat a portion of his contract to facilitate a trade, but not much progress was made on that front. Now, Hopkins is free to explore his options amongst the teams he has mentioned as potential destinations this offseason.

That list includes a number of AFC contenders, such as the Chiefs and Bills. The Ravens – who have already made signficant WR additions in the form of free agent signing Odell Beckham Jr. and first-round rookie Zay Flowers – have also been linked to a Hopkins move this offseason. In the NFC, the Eagles and quarterback Jalen Hurts have been floated as a possibility by Hopkins himself and others.

From Arizona’s perspective, this move marks a staunch about-face with respect to the public remarks made by new general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon on their intentions of retaining Hopkins for at least one more year. The former said around the draft that they planned to move forward with the five-time Pro Bowler for 2023, but this season is expected to be a rebuilding one in Arizona, so trade talks were logical.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (on Twitter) that the Cardinals actively tried to move Hopkins, rather than simply listening to offers from potential suitors. As expected, though, Howe adds that his compensation, along with age and missed time due to injuries and suspension weighed down Hopkins’ trade market. The former Texans first-rounder played a full season in 2020, his first year in the desert, but has suited up for just 19 contests in two years since then.

In his time on the field last year, Hopkins remained a productive element of the Cardinals’ passing attack with 717 yards and three touchdowns on 64 receptions. His 1,407-yard campaign in 2020 marked the sixth time in 10 seasons that he eclipsed the 1,000 yard plateau. If he is able to do so again in 2023, a deal from any interested team will be worthwhile.

Today’s news leaves Arizona with Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, Zach Pascal, Greg Dortch and third-round rookie Michael Wilson on their WR depth chart, They will be leaned on during a transition year for the Cardinals, while Hopkins embarks on free agency for the first time in his decorated career. Where he lands on the open market will be no doubt a major storyline to follow.

Each NFL Franchise’s Richest QB Contract

The quarterback market has moved again this offseason. A year after Aaron Rodgers raised the average annual value bar past $50MM, Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson did so on long-term extensions. Overall, four teams have authorized the most lucrative QB deal in their respective histories this offseason. Two more — the Bengals and Chargers — are in talks about record-setting extensions as well.

On that note, here is the richest quarterback contract each team has authorized. Although teams like the Jets and Lions have acquired big-ticket contracts via trade, only teams’ extensions or free agency agreements will qualify here.

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

  • Jay Cutler, January 2014. Seven years, $126.7MM. $38MM fully guaranteed

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Carson Palmer, December 2005. Six years, $97MM. $30.8MM fully guaranteed

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

In trading this contract to the Jets in April, the Packers restructured the deal. Rodgers’ exit will still tag the Pack with $40.3MM in 2023 dead money.

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Carr’s second Raiders deal — agreed to in April 2022 — was worth $40.5MM per year. The full guarantee, thanks to the February escape hatch the team built into the contract, checked in lower than Carr’s initial Raiders extension.

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

Cousins’ 2020 extension checked in with a higher AAV ($33MM) but did not approach his initial Minnesota pact for guarantees.

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Mark Sanchez, June 2009. Five years, $50.5MM. $28MM guaranteed

This was the former No. 5 overall pick-turned-TV analyst’s rookie deal, made possible before the 2011 CBA reshaped the rookie salary structure. Chad Pennington‘s September 2004 extension (seven years, $64MM, $23MM guaranteed) marks the top contract the Jets have authorized for a veteran QB.

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

DB Notes: Lions, Joseph, Oliver, Cardinals

A scary scene transpired during the Lions‘ Week 5 matchup with the Patriots. An ambulance transported Saivion Smith off the field, and the Lions defensive back said he feared paralysis following a collision with Patriots running back Damien Harris. Smith left the game after the next play, after falling to the turf after a routine tackle attempt on Hunter Henry. The backup DB, however, said (via the Detroit Free Press’ Jeff Seidel) he made a failed attempt to return to the stadium from the ambulance and regained arm and leg movement at the hospital. The neck injury he suffered ended up requiring spinal fusion surgery.

Smith received full Lions clearance in April, re-signing with the team that month. The 25-year-old cover man’s deal is worth $940K and contains no guaranteed money, giving the Lions — who overhauled their secondary this offseason — flexibility to move on free of charge. The Lions moved Smith to safety last season, but he offers versatility. With the Lions adding two other DBs with extensive backgrounds at both safety and corner — C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Brian Branch — Smith stands to compete for a backup role.

Here is the latest news from NFL secondaries:

  • After years of shuttling Jimmie Ward between safety and the nickel role, the 49ers let the veteran defender walk (to the Texans) this offseason. They will use free agency addition Isaiah Oliver to replace Ward in the slot, per new DC Steve Wilks. “When [another Ward deal] didn’t happen, we wanted to make sure that we sort of got the best nickel in free agency, and that’s what we went out and did,” Wilks said, via The Athletic’s Matt Barrows (subscription required). “So I’m excited about Oliver. He’s long; he’s physical, can tackle, can cover. He’s going to be a good blitzer for us, everything that we do within this defense.” A former second-round pick, Oliver spent the past five seasons with the Falcons. The 210-pound defender is ticketed to work alongside outside corners Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir.
  • Kelvin Joseph may be in the Cowboys‘ nickel plans. After acquiring Stephon Gilmore via trade, the Cowboys are trying Joseph in the slot at OTAs, Jon Machota of The Athletic notes. The former second-round pick has worked as an outside corner over his first two seasons, though he has only played 330 career defensive snaps. The Cowboys lost both Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown to season-ending injuries last year. While Lewis remains on the roster, Brown, a longtime slot player, is unsigned.
  • Third-round Cardinals cornerback Garrett Williams received slightly more than the rookie-scale minimum to sign, per’s Howard Balzer, who notes the bumps come in Years 2-4 of his contract (Twitter link). This year’s No. 72 overall pick will earn between $1MM and $1.5MM from 2024-26. Third-rounders’ four-year deals are only partially guaranteed. Williams, a Syracuse alum, received a $1.1MM guarantee.
  • The Panthers brought back safety Sam Franklin earlier this offseason, tendering him as an RFA. But the fourth-year defender agreed to sign for slightly less than the low-end tender price. Rather than signing for $2.627MM (the tender number), Franklin is back in Carolina on a one-year, $2.51MM deal, Balzer adds (on Twitter). The Panthers gave the 27-year-old DB a $1.5MM signing bonus, which is spread through 2027 via void years. Franklin has been a core special-teamer in Carolina while working as a defensive backup.

NFL Staff Notes: McDonough, NFLPA, Chiefs, Packers, Gruden, Philbin

It’s been nearly two months since former Cardinals executive Terry McDonough first filed an arbitration claim against team owner Michael Bidwill accusing Bidwill of cheating and gross misconduct. The claim specifically levied accusations of breach of contract, retaliation after engaging in protected activity, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and civil conspiracy. The Cardinals’ public relations consultant, Jim McCarthy, released a statement in return containing several personal attacks on McDonough.

The original complaint stemmed from a situation in which McDonough claims Bidwill had devised a plan for McDonough and then-head coach Steve Wilks to communicate with then-suspended general manager Steve Keim through burner phones. McDonough asserts that after voicing his concerns about the plan, he was written up for insubordination and, eventually, demoted.

McDonough has reportedly added more accusations in an amended arbitration complaint this week, accusing Bidwill and the Cardinals of defamation and invasion of privacy in response to McCarthy’s statement, according to ESPN’s Tisha Thompson. He called the statement “untrue and reprehensible,” and his wife, Lynette, called the statement “the most bizarre and dishonest thing that I have ever heard.” The new complaint also states that McDonough will prepare to pursue a civil complaint against McCarthy and his group, CounterPoint Strategies, for “grossly defamatory statements.”

The NFL recently selected Jeffrey Mishkin to arbitrate the employment dispute, according to another report from Thompson. Mishkin is the former chief legal officer for the NBA, leading the Association’s in-house legal department for seven years. He will determine the schedule of events, which are expected to last for several months.

Here are a few other rumors concerning staff positions in the NFL:

  • Earlier this month, Mike Florio of NBC Sports reported that the league’s Players Association was moving closer to selecting a new executive director. The final candidates are not yet known, but we’re not completely in the dark. Previously this year, The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan identified candidates Matt Schaub, the former quarterback, Kellen Winslow Sr., the former tight end, Teri Patterson Smith, the NFLPA chief operating officer, Don Davis, the NFLPA senior director of player affairs, George Atallah, the NFLPA assistant director of external affairs, and Dominique Foxworth, the former NFLPA president. A couple weeks ago, Jim Trotter, also of The Athletic, reported that no internal candidates made the cut, eliminating Smith, Davis, and Atallah. Foxworth is also expected to no longer be in consideration. Former wide receiver and former member of Congress Anthony Gonzalez has been mentioned but not confirmed as a candidate. The NFLPA is proceeding with the process with the utmost confidentiality and plan to bring it to a close sooner rather than later.
  • After previously participating in the Chiefs‘ Norma Hunt Training Camp Fellowship Program last year, Madison Aponte was hired on as a player personnel assistant. According to Neil Stratton of, while Aponte’s title hasn’t changed, she will continue acting as the team’s college scouting coordinator, a role she’s held since the start of the 2022 season.
  • Stratton reports another addition, this time by the Packers. According to Stratton, Green Bay has hired Joey Laine in the role of salary cap analyst. Laine was a longtime presence in the Saints’ building after working with the team for more than ten years. He eventually left, following Ryan Pace to Chicago and working as the Bears’ director of football administration for eight seasons.
  • Finally, two former NFL head coaches have taken minor roles with new teams this season. According to Jeff Duncan of, the Saints have brought in former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden to assist in the integration of new quarterback Derek Carr in the Saints’ offense. Carr played his best statistical seasons under Gruden during their time together and Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael welcomed Gruden’s assistance with open arms. The second former head coach is former Dolphins’ skipper Joe Philbin who, according to Pete Thamel of ESPN, has been hired as an offensive analyst at Ohio State.

Latest On WR DeAndre Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins‘ tenure in Arizona came to a sudden end yesterday when the Cardinals released the veteran wideout. Throughout the offseason, Hopkins was one of the most popular names on the trade market, and there were whispers that a number of teams had engaged the Cardinals in trade talks. However, Albert Breer of TheMMQB tweets that only the Bills and the Chiefs had “substantive” discussions with the Cardinals.

[RELATED: Cardinals Release DeAndre Hopkins]

Breer adds that both cash-strapped teams had issues fitting in Hopkins’ cap hit. While the Chiefs believed they were making progress towards a trade and a resolution on Hopkins’ 2023 earnings, Odell Beckham‘s contract with the Ravens “more or less blew that progress up.”

While the Chiefs and Bills would still be worthy suitors for Hopkins, that aforementioned OBJ deal may have already priced some teams out of the ensuing bidding war. Mike Giardi tweets that Hopkins “wants money,” and OBJ’s ability to earn more than $15MM with Baltimore hasn’t done anything to change his mind. Breer tweets that the Chiefs and Bills are probably unlikely to sign the veteran unless he drops his asking price, and even then Hopkins would have to settle of an incentive-laden deal.

Of course, money won’t be the only deciding factor when it comes to Hopkins’ landing spot. Cardinals reporter Mike Jurecki tweets that the wideout also values stable management, a good defense, and a quarterback who can galvanize the squad. Yesterday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler released a list of best fits for Hopkins, with the Bills, Chiefs, Jets, Cowboys, and Saints all earning spots. The Browns, Giants, Falcons, and Patriots were listed as wild-card teams in the sweepstakes.

Either way, Hopkins won’t be able to officially sign a deal this weekend. Howard Balzer tweets that while the wideout is allowed to speak with teams, he can’t sign a contract until his name officially appears on the NFL’s personnel notice on Tuesday. Interestingly, Balzer also notes that when Hopkins hired new representation earlier this offseason, the NFLPA listed the agent as Eddie Edwards. Now, there’s no agent of record for the wideout. According to Mike Florio of, the confusion is attributed to the fact that Saint Omni is “running the show” for Hopkins. Last year, the NFL warned teams not to discuss contracts with non-certified agents like Omni during the Roquan Smith negotiations.

As for the Cardinals, there were some pundits who wondered why Hopkins wasn’t designated as a post-June 1 cut, which would have spread his $22MM cap hit over the next two seasons. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe assumes (on Twitter) that the Cardinals just want to “take their lumps now,” and the reporter notes that while Arizona technically used their two allocated post-June 1 cuts, the team could have still cut Hopkins after June 2 and realized the same financial incentives.

S Tony Jefferson To Retire, Join Ravens’ Staff

After missing more than two years because of an ACL tear, Tony Jefferson managed to land roles with multiple teams over the past two seasons. But the veteran defender will choose to step away rather than attempting to play a 10th season.

Jefferson intends to retire, Adam Schefter of tweets. He has another gig lined up, with Schefter adding the former Ravens safety is expected to join the team’s scouting staff. Jefferson played four seasons with the Ravens, working as a Baltimore starter in three of those. The 31-year-old cover man wraps his career having played for four teams, beginning with the Cardinals and including late-career stops with the 49ers and Giants.

Jefferson will follow punter Sam Koch in retiring and joining Baltimore’s staff. Current Ravens inside linebackers coach Zach Orr did the same in the late 2010s, moving from Ravens defender to coach. Jefferson did not finish his career with the Ravens, closing out his NFL run with the Giants last season, but he will stay close to the game as a member of the franchise. The Ravens announced Jefferson will be working as a scouting intern this summer.

The Ravens have signed several veteran safeties to big-ticket deals over the past several years. Jefferson joined Eric Weddle, Earl Thomas and Marcus Williams in this group. Baltimore teamed Jefferson and Weddle from 2017-18, when the two operated as the team’s starting safeties together. Jefferson signed a four-year, $34MM deal with the Ravens in 2017 and started 35 games over the next three seasons. During Jefferson’s final year as a full-time Ravens starter (2018), the team finished first in total defense.

A Week 5 ACL tear sidelined Jefferson for most of Baltimore’s 14-2 2019 season, and the Ravens released him with a failed physical designation in February 2020. Jefferson spent the 2020 season out of football. He eventually caught on with the 49ers in June 2021 but only played in two games with the team. He circled back to the Ravens in November of that year and ended up rejoining DC Don Martindale in New York just before last season. The Ravens released Jefferson on roster-cutdown day last August, his past with Martindale led to a Giants practice squad agreement. He moved up to the active roster and played nine games for the playoff qualifier.

Jefferson finished his career with 67 starts, lasting nine years despite entering the league as a Cardinals UDFA in 2013. Part of Bruce Arians‘ first batch of UDFAs, Jefferson played a regular role on the 2014 and ’15 playoff-bound Cardinals teams. He teamed with the likes of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu in Arizona’s 2015 secondary, which helped form a top-10 defense during a season that ended in the NFC championship game. Jefferson intercepted only four passes as a pro but registered 9.5 sacks and 34 tackles for loss. The future scout earned just more than $32MM as an NFL player.

DeAndre Hopkins Absent From Cardinals OTAs

One of the top NFL storylines which has yet to be resolved this offseason is the future of DeAndre Hopkins. In the latest update on his situation, the Cardinals wideout indicated that he is not currently with the team for the beginning of organized team activities, while keeping his intentions relatively vague regarding his chances of remaining in Arizona.

During an appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast, Hopkins revealed that he is currently working out on his own in Toronto (video link). That makes him one of what will no doubt be several veterans around the league who will be away from their respective teams during OTAs, a phase of the offseason which is primarily geared toward acclimation for younger players or new arrivals.

“Phoenix is home,” the three-time All-Pro said, via team reporter Darren Urban“It’s where I have been the last three years… Working out there, there’s no emphasis other than that’s where I live. It’s not me going on a campaign. It’s just me working out.”

Hopkins has been the source of trade speculation throughout the offseason, with the Cardinals seemingly headed for a rebuild and his contract representing a potential cap burden. A trade sending him to a contending team – particularly in the AFC – coupled with Arizona retaining some of Hopkins’ compensation would have come as little surprise around the draft in particular. However, general manager Monti Ossenfort made clear his intention of retaining the 30-year-old last month.

Hopkins, who has dealt with time lost due to injuries and a PED suspension in recent years, has fallen well short of denying an interest in playing elsewhere in 2023 and beyond. The latter issue voided his no-trade clause, leaving the door open to him suiting up for a third career team at some point down the road. He used his most recent remarks to again praise his current employers, though, going into detail about the factors he is most concerned with entering the latter stages of his career.

“What I want is stable management upstairs, that’s something I haven’t really had the past couple years of my career coming from Houston and then to Arizona,” he said. “A QB who loves the game, a QB who brings everybody on board with him, not just himself but everybody around him… and a great defense.”

While the degree to which the Cardinals check off those boxes is certainly debatable, Hopkins’ other comments again pointed to him remaining in the desert for the coming season. Interest from outside teams likely won’t die down, however, meaning his future remains in the air at this point.