Ravens 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.

LB Patrick Queen Hopes To Remain With Ravens Beyond 2023

With Lamar Jackson‘s contract situation now in the rearview, attention has increasingly turned to the Ravens’ other offseason priorities. One of those could be working out a long-term deal with linebacker Patrick Queen.

The latter is set to play the final season of his rookie contract in 2023, since the Ravens declined his fifth-year option. That decision fell in line with the ones made by other teams around the league at the LB position, and left Baltimore off the hook for what would have been a $12.72MM price tag for Queen. However, it would not come as a surprise if he were to remain with the team beyond this coming season.

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta recently made it clear that the team’s intention remains a multi-year deal for Queen despite their decision on his option. Negotiations with the LSU product have a number of complicating factors to consider, including the historic deal fellow linebacker Roquan Smith was signed to not long after his midseason trade acquisition. Making two major financial commitments at the position would be challenging, especially with Jackson’s $51MM-per-year contract now on the books. Some eyebrows were also raised (including by Queen himself) after Baltimore selected his potential successor, Trenton Simpson, in the third round of this year’s draft.

In spite of those developments, Queen is reciprocating the feeling on the team’s part with respect to finalizing a long-term contract. The 23-year-old enjoyed a career year last season, eclipsing 100 tackles for the second time while adding five sacks and a pair of interceptions. His comments on his future suggest he is prepared to play out the 2023 season without any certainty with respect to his financial status.

“I had many talks with many people and different outlooks on it,” Queen said of his situation, via team reporter Clifton Brown“I just came to the realization that everything is not a bad thing. The front office, [I] talked to them a little bit. They keep me grounded and let me know what it really was and how they feel. At the end of the day, they know that this is the place I want to play. This is the place I want to be. So, however the chips fall, I’m happy with it.”

Another strong season from Queen could set himself up for a big-ticket extension, albeit one which would likely come in at a lower rate than what the 2023 option or a 2024 franchise tag (roughly $20MM for all linebackers) would cost. For now, his attention is aimed at the upcoming season, one in which he and the Ravens will face high expectations, though his financial situation will remain one worth watching.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/31/23

Today’s minor transactions:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: CB Jordan Swann

Denver Broncos

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Waived: LB Damon Lloyd

Tight end Tommy Hudson got into five games with the Titans last season, hauling in three catches for 31 yards. He’ll join a relatively deep tight ends group in Denver that includes Greg Dulcich, Chris Manhertz, Adam Trautman, and Albert Okwuegbunam.

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

Latest On DeAndre Hopkins: Agent, Bills, Browns, Chiefs, Ravens, Jets, Cowboys

DeAndre Hopkins said earlier this offseason he had hired an agent, but it does not appear the former Texans and Cardinals wide receiver made that official until Tuesday.

The veteran is now with Klutch Sports, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, who notes Hopkins will be repped by Kelton Crenshaw (Twitter link). DeVonta Smith, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Chase Young are also aligned with Klutch and Crenshaw. Hopkins had represented himself in the past — including when he signed the two-year, $54.5MM Cardinals extension in 2020 — but as the soon-to-be 31-year-old pass catcher transitions to free agency, he will have representation.

Hopkins had been using financial advisor Saint Omni as his de facto representative, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes, while Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio adds teams were shying away from email communication with the accomplished wideout due to concerns they would be emailing a non-certified agent. That issue will be in the past now, with Hopkins aligned with LeBron James’ Klutch.

As for Hopkins’ potential destination, familiar teams continue to circle. Bills and Chiefs interest remains, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. During a recent ESPN appearance with Harry Douglas and Jason Fitz, Fowler said he would bet on Hopkins ending up in Buffalo or Kansas City (video link).

Both AFC powerhouses sit at the bottom of the league in terms of cap space. Buffalo holds $1.47MM; Kansas City sits at barely $600K. Hopkins is not looking to take much of a discount, especially considering what Odell Beckham Jr. received from the Ravens. OBJ signed for $15MM guaranteed, and incentives can take the 30-year-old wideout’s payout to $18MM. Hopkins remains unlikely to secure Beckham-level cash at this offseason juncture, and the Chiefs and Bills — during trade talks with the Cardinals — balked at taking on his previous contract. With that contract in the past, more flexibility exists now.

Rumored to be interested in Hopkins back in March, the Chiefs had made progress on a trade with the Cardinals, per Breer. OBJ’s deal scuttled those talks. While Hopkins lobbied the Cardinals to eat some of his contract to facilitate a trade, but the lack of worthwhile trade compensation did not compel Arizona to do so.

Hopkins will probably have to reveal some wiggle room as well, if he wants to end up with either of the two teams he has frequently mentioned as appealing destinations. Other teams still view the Bills as a threat to add Hopkins, per Fowler, who also notes the Chiefs’ belief in Kadarius Toney, despite his concerning injury past, also could impede a Hopkins addition. Kansas City also chose SMU’s Rashee Rice in Round 2. The Bills did not draft a receiver until Round 5 (Florida’s Justin Shorter), but they are planning to use first-round tight end Dalton Kincaid as a slot player frequently.

Although the Ravens signed Beckham and now have Zay Flowers in the fold, Lamar Jackson approached team brass about the potential for adding Hopkins weeks ago. With Jackson’s cap hit dropping from $32.4MM to $22.15MM this year, thanks to his record-setting extension removing the franchise tag from the equation, Baltimore has more than $11MM in cap space. The Ravens did Hopkins homework earlier this year, per The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (subscription required), and also discussed Courtland Sutton with the Broncos. But they are not believed to have entered serious trade talks with the Cardinals.

The Browns continue to be loosely connected to Hopkins, with Fowler noting the team will likely at least make a call on the 10-year veteran. Klutch is also a Cleveland-based agency that represents several Browns players. No other agency represents more Browns than Klutch, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot.

Hopkins played three seasons with Deshaun Watson in Houston and remains close with the second-year Cleveland quarterback. Watson said Tuesday (via Cabot), “Of course, we’d love to have him.” Thanks to designating John Johnson as a post-June 1 cut, the Browns will hold more than $16MM in cap space later this week. That said, Kevin Stefanski has praised the Browns’ current receiving corps and expressed confidence in the group as is. The Browns have Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Elijah Moore and three recent third-round picks — Cedric Tillman, David Bell, Anthony Schwartz — on their roster.

The Jets pursued Beckham and had set up a visit, but they backed out of the race when the Ravens’ guarantee figure surfaced. The Cowboys also looked into the former All-Pro via trade. New York has since added Randall Cobb, while Dallas traded for Brandin Cooks. These two could loom on the fringes here as well, but Hopkins continues to be tied more closely to the Chiefs and Bills.

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

Ravens Were Willing To Extend S Chuck Clark In 2022

Things changed significantly for the Ravens at the safety position during the 2022 offseason. One of the results of their moves made on the backend was veteran Chuck Clark being traded at the start of the 2023 league year.

Clark, a 2017 sixth-round pick, established himself as a full-time starter midway through the 2019 season, and held onto a first-team role from that point on. His consistent production had him in line for a new Ravens extension heading into the 2022 offseason, but circumstances turned against him quickly. Baltimore signed Marcus Williams in free agency on a five-year, $70MM contract, marking their latest big-money investment at the free safety spot.

More significantly with respect to Clark’s status, the Ravens followed up the Williams deal by selecting Kyle Hamilton in the first round of the draft. That move seemed to leave Clark on the outside looking in beyond the 2022 season, and he requested a trade shortly thereafter. Baltimore, as expected, ultimately moved on this March by dealing him to the Jets in a swap which yielded $3.64MM in cap savings.

When speaking about the trade earlier this week, the 28-year-old indicated that he felt “disrespected” by the Ravens given the way his time with the team came to an end. Clark has one year remaining on his current contract, but he was under the impression that a Ravens extension was a distinct possibility in 2022, as noted by Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (subscription required). Zrebiec adds, notably, that the team was “open to the idea” as well, before their safety additions made Clark expendable.

The latter – who eclipsed the 100-tackle mark for the first time in his career last year – could have a much clearer path to a starting spot in his new home than he would have had in Baltimore in 2023. The Ravens have Williams and Hamilton in place for the foreseeable future, while Clark could partner with Jordan Whitehead in New York ahead of hitting the open market in 2024. With a cap hit of $4.14MM, Clark could prove to be a cost-effective contributor for the Jets as he and the Ravens go their separate ways.

Baltimore did utilize three-safety packages to a notable extent in 2022, as they looked to integrate Hamilton slowly before what should be a dramatic uptick in usage this year. Continuing those alignments may have left the door open to retaining – or even extending – Clark beyond his current deal, but both parties appear to be well-positioned moving forward. How Clark fares in New York, and the degree to which he is replaced in Baltimore, will be worth monitoring in 2023.

Four In Running For Ravens’ LG Job?

The Ravens will return four starters from last year’s offensive line in right tackle Morgan Moses, right guard Kevin Zeitler, center Tyler Linderbaum, and left tackle Ronnie Stanley. After allowing last season’s starting left guard, Ben Powers, to depart for Denver in free agency, Baltimore has an open spot available on the starting offensive line.

The Ravens are fairly confident in their options to replace Powers. The favorites for the job are utility lineman Patrick Mekari, guards Ben Cleveland and John Simpson, and tackle Daniel Faalele. The team did draft two linemen in Oregon’s Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and USC’s Andrew Vorhees, but Aumavae-Laulu is considered a developmental prospect who can play all over the line, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, while Vorhees’s recent injuries will require him to miss most, if not all, of his rookie season. They also recently added former Bears center Sam Mustipher, but Mustipher is expected to act as an experienced backup center behind Linderbaum.

Mekari and Faalele may be too valuable in their current roles to force into a starting guard spot, even if they would be strong contributors at the position. Mekari has excelled in recent years as a sort of sixth-man for the Ravens’ offensive line. The former undrafted free agent out of Cal has started games at every position on the line for Baltimore usually as an injury replacement. He has the talent to start for many teams, but Baltimore paid him in 2021 to stay and be one of the league’s most talented backups. Faalele on the other hand has the perfect frame to develop into a top tackle. At 6-foot-8, 380 pounds, Faalele could surely be a force on the interior offensive line, but the Ravens want to keep that length on the outside and will likely continue developing him as a tackle.

The battle likely boils down to Cleveland and Simpson. Cleveland was drafted in the third round two years ago with the expectation that he would develop into a starting guard. He lost the battle last year to Powers, but at 6-foot-6, 357 pounds, Cleveland could be an imposing physical presence on the left side of the line. He’s had five starts over his first two years in the league and dealt with a knee injury his rookie year.

Simpson was a late-season addition to the Ravens’ practice squad last year who was signed to a futures contract at the end of the season. He found his way to Baltimore after being waived by the Raiders but is only a year removed from his role as a full-time starting left guard for Las Vegas.

No battles will be won in May, but the Ravens are well set up to use this summer to determine who will be starting in between Linderbaum and Stanley in Week 1 vs. Houston.

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 ESPN.com 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.

Ravens Sign DT Angelo Blackson

After two seasons with the Bears, Angelo Blackson is heading to Baltimore. The Ravens announced an agreement with the veteran defensive lineman Wednesday.

Blackson, who has played for four teams during his eight-year career, has spent extensive time as both a starter and a backup. The former Titans draftee has made 42 starts since coming into the league as a fourth-round pick back in 2015.

He will join a Ravens team that cut Calais Campbell earlier this year. Baltimore did not draft a defensive lineman last month. With Campbell out of the mix (and now with the Falcons), the Ravens stand to field a D-line group consisting of rookie-deal players — Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington and Travis Jones — and veterans Michael Pierce and Brent Urban. Blackson, 30, will join the latter contingent.

Blackson played out a two-year, $5.5MM Bears deal last season. The Auburn alum started 12 games over the past two years. He was more productive in 2021, totaling 43 stops, 2.5 sacks, nine QB hits and his only career interception. Blackson played a career-high 583 defensive snaps in 2021 and totaled 392 under Matt Eberflus last season.

Pro Football Focus also viewed Blackson as a better performer in 2021; last season, the advanced metrics website slotted him as a bottom-10 interior defensive lineman. The Bears moved to a 4-3 base alignment under Eberflus. Blackson had previously spent his career — in Tennessee, Houston and Arizona — on teams using 3-4 schemes. The Ravens have used a 3-4 look for ages. Blackson also spent time with the Patriots in 2017 but did not see any game action, being poached off the Pats’ practice squad by the Texans, who later extended him.

The 315-pound D-lineman has been durable as well, playing at least 15 games in each of the past five seasons. Blackson’s most notable contract came with the Texans, who signed him to a three-year, $12MM deal in 2019. Although Blackson started a career-high 15 games that season, he ended up taking a pay cut in 2020. But Blackson played out that contract, despite Houston going through significant changes in the front office and on the sideline, and has now managed to fetch two more.