Bears 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.

Bears Eyeing Pass Rush Help

The Bears haven’t done much to address their pass rush this offseason, so the team is naturally in the market for some reinforcement on the edge. According to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun Times, the Bears are still shopping around for pass rush help.

“We’re interested in a lot of guys at all positions right now,” head coach Matt Eberflus said. “We’re just excited about being able to look at those guys and potentially add as we go through camp and getting closer to the season.”

The Bears finished last season with a league-low 20 sacks, and the team’s only notable addition on the edge was DeMarcus Walker, who had a career-high seven sacks for the Titans last season. The team also returns some depth at the position; Trevis Gipson has compiled 10 sacks over the past two seasons, and Dominique Robinson showed some promise during his rookie campaign.

“I’m focused on the guys we have here,” said defensive line coach Travis Smith. “That’s not my job to go look outside. That’s for Mr. Poles and [Eberflus] to decide. If they come ask me a question, I’ll offer my opinion on it. But the guys that we have, the 15 guys in the room that we have, coaching every day to get better.”

As Finley notes, the Bears have plenty of connections to the remaining crop of free agent edge rushers. Justin Houston played for Eberflus when the two were in Indianapolis, while Yannick Ngakoue played under Smith when they were in Las Vegas. Bears GM Ryan Poles also has connections to Melvin Ingram and Frank Clark from his Kansas City days.

The Bears are willing to give at least one of the current free agent edge rushers a one-year deal, per Finley. The team will probably wait out the market as they look at add to the position on their financial terms.

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

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

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/22/23

Today’s mid- to late-round draft pick signings from around the NFL:

Chicago Bears

Seattle Seahawks

Johnson had a productive career at Texas, collecting 2,610 yards from scrimmage in four seasons. While his most productive season came back in 2019 (807 yards, eight touchdowns), he finished his senior season with a career-high six yards per carry. The rookie could have an opportunity to produce in 2023 after joining a depth chart that’s headlined by D’Onta Foreman and 2022 sixth-round pick Khalil Herbert.

The six-foot-four, 332-pound Bradford was one of the biggest lineman prospects in the draft. While he naturally lacks athleticism and speed, he could still develop into a productive offensive lineman for a power running game. He’ll likely find himself playing mostly special teams as a rook.

D.J. Moore’s Contract Factored Into Bears’ Trade Effort

While the Panthers stood down regarding a D.J. Moore trade after firing Matt Rhule last October, they ended up unloading their top wide receiver to secure what turned out to be Bryce Young draft real estate. Moore will move to a Bears franchise that has not had much luck forging long-term partnerships with impact wide receivers.

Moore came up during the Bears and Panthers’ trade talks when other suitors drove up the bidding during the early-March sweepstakes for the No. 1 overall pick. The Texans initially were part of these proceedings, with the Bears plotting a move down from No. 1 to No. 2 to No. 9. After Houston withdrew, Chicago dealt directly with Carolina. Bears GM Ryan Poles also inquired about defensive linemen Brian Burns and Derrick Brown, but both being on rookie contracts impeded either being included in the trade.

In the very beginning I was laughed at because I had [one of] three guys that I wanted in the trade,” Poles said, via The Athletic’s Jim Trotter (subscription required). “I did know and felt like there was more of an opportunity to get D.J. because he had a bigger contract and there would be a bigger benefit in cap space to kick back to Carolina. But it was not easy because they absolutely loved that kid. It was painful to pull him out of their arms. I really think it would have been even harder if he had been on a rookie contract.

Carolina extended Moore in nearly a year before trading him, agreeing to terms on a three-year deal worth $61.9MM. That pact came just before the avalanche of receiver extensions drove up the market. Moore, Mike Williams and Chris Godwin settled onto the same tier, hours before Davante Adams‘ Raiders extension ($28MM per year) and days before Tyreek Hill‘s $30MM-AAV extension came to pass. The 2019 receiver class soon upped the cost for up-and-coming star pass catchers as well.

The Bears will benefit from the Panthers’ timing with Moore. They now have him tied to the 10th-most lucrative receiver deal, with the likes of A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel and D.K. Metcalf passing him later during the 2022 offseason. Chicago does not have another big-ticket skill-position deal on its books, with Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool and Cole Kmet attached to rookie contracts. Justin Fields‘ rookie pact runs through 2024 but can be pushed to 2025 via the fifth-year option. The team let David Montgomery walk — for a three-year, $18MM Lions deal — and landed a replacement (D’Onta Foreman) for just $2MM.

The Bears might still be in the market for defensive end help, having finished last in sacks in 2022 and addressing their D-tackle spots early in the draft. But Burns remains on track to sign a Panthers extension. Brown became extension-eligible in January, but the Panthers picked up his fifth-year option earlier this month.

Moore, 26, posted 1,100-plus-yard years from 2019-21, doing so despite a shuffling Panthers QB situation. The Bears have experienced fairly good fortune with veteran acquisitions at receiver over the past several years. Brandon Marshall still holds the team’s single-season receiving yardage record; Allen Robinson produced two 1,100-plus-yard seasons. Neither lasted more than four years for the Bears, who did not get much from Robinson’s fourth slate (a 410-yard showing on the franchise tag).

Moore’s Chicago fit will be a work in progress, but he should have a chance to land another extension in the not-too-distant future, a contract that could keep him in Illinois for the long haul.

Poll: Which Team Has Improved Most This Offseason?

Although several starter-caliber veterans remain unsigned, NFL teams have largely taken their big swings this offseason. Be it through free agency, the trade market or the draft, franchises have updated their rosters in hopes of improving in 2023.

Any conversation of 2023 improvement efforts probably needs to start with the Jets. Thanks to the Sacramento Kings’ playoff advancement, the Jets hold major North American sports’ longest postseason drought — at 12 years. After missing on a few rookie-contract QBs in the time since their last playoff run, the Jets now have Aaron Rodgers. The six nationally televised games on Gang Green’s docket illustrate Rodgers’ impact on the team’s perception, and although the four-time MVP will turn 40 before year’s end, he has made the Jets a free agency destination of sorts. The team added ex-Rodgers Packer wideouts Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, with those moves coming after the addition of safety Chuck Clark via trade.

As the Jets stands to be a factor in the one of the deepest conferences in recent memory, the Dolphins added Jalen Ramsey via trade and will pay Vic Fangio upwards of $4.5MM to run their defense. Miami will bank on Tua Tagovailoa health and showed faith in the oft-scrutinized passer by picking up his fifth-year option two months early.

The Ravens took their biggest steps yet — in the Lamar Jackson era, at least — to strengthen their receiving corps, keeping Odell Beckham Jr. from a Big Apple return (via a $15MM guarantee) and drafting Zay Flowers in the first round. The Browns bolstered their receiving corps as well, trading for Elijah Moore and drafting Cedric Tillman in Round 3. Cleveland also has now added two edge rushers — with Jadeveon Clowney not expected back — in Za’Darius Smith and Obo Okoronkwo to complement Myles Garrett. Cincinnati may have made the biggest outside addition in the AFC North, signing Orlando Brown Jr., though the team did lose both starting safeties (Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell) in free agency. The Steelers added two likely O-line starters, in Broderick Jones and Isaac Seumalo, and made changes at cornerback by signing Patrick Peterson and drafting Joey Porter Jr.

The returns from this year’s top AFC South headlines likely will not emerge until the mid-2020s, but the Texans, Colts and Titans drafted hopeful long-term QBs (C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Will Levis). Houston also gave up a bounty to move back into the top three for Will Anderson Jr.

Making Nathaniel Hackett just the third HC since the 1970 merger to be fired before his first season ended, the Broncos paid up — both in terms of draft capital and salary — to add Sean Payton. They also spent heavily to better protect Russell Wilson, signing Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchey. The latter will be Denver’s 11th Week 1 right tackle in 11 years. The Raiders added Tyree Wilson in Round 1, but the team’s Derek Carr-to-Jimmy Garoppolo transition injects considerably more injury risk into their equation.

Darren Waller going from Las Vegas to New York provided the centerpiece of the Giants’ hopeful pass-game upgrade, which includes a few midlevel wide receiver investments. The team added likely starters in cornerback Deonte Banks and center John Michael Schmitz. Dallas brought in Pro Bowlers Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore via trade, and Mike McCarthy will dust off his play-calling chops after Moore’s Chargers exit. The Eagles drafted two more Georgia defenders (Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith) in Round 1 but lost Javon Hargrave and both coordinators.

Few position groups received more attention than the Lions’ secondary. The rising team added Cameron Sutton, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Emmanuel Moseley and second-rounder Brian Branch. This came after Jameson Williams‘ six-game gambling ban and after two first-round picks (Jahmyr Gibbs, Jack Campbell) receiving positional value-based criticism. While the Bears collected future assets from the Panthers in the Bryce Young swap, they pried D.J. Moore from Carolina and added two likely O-line starters in Nate Davis and Darnell Wright.

Carolina stopped its QB carousel with the Young move, and Frank Reich will be tasked with developing the atypical prospect. The Panthers also lured Ejiro Evero from the Broncos, despite Denver’s interest in retaining its DC. Though, the team’s receiving situation — now featuring Adam Thielen and DJ Chark — may take multiple years to fix post-Moore. The rest of the NFC South will also include new Week 1 starting QBs. The Saints made the second-most notable veteran quarterback addition this year — in giving Carr what amounts to a three-year, $100MM deal — and will hope this brings the QB stability Drew Brees‘ retirement stripped away two years ago.

While the 49ers lost another coordinator (DeMeco Ryans) to a head coaching job, they gave new DC Steve Wilks superior D-line talent via Hargrave’s $20MM-AAV deal. With the Colts taking Richardson at No. 4, the Seahawks doubled down on the recently re-signed Geno Smith by beginning this year’s receiver run with Jaxon Smith-Njigba at No. 20. Seattle also zagged from its Pete CarrollJohn Schneider M.O. by taking cornerback Devon Witherspoon at 5. This and the Dre’Mont Jones contract headlined a big year for Seahawks defensive investments.

What other teams deserve mention here? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

WR Rumors: Ravens, Chiefs, Giants, Mooney, Lockett, Chargers, Falcons

Although the Ravens gave Lamar Jackson the biggest contract in NFL history — in terms of average annual value — their top two outside investments this offseason have gone to wide receivers. Following their Odell Beckham Jr. signing, the Ravens chose Zay Flowers 22nd overall. Baltimore took calls from teams during the first round, and GM Eric DeCosta indicated teams wanted to move up. Leery of losing their chance to add a first-round-caliber wideout, the Ravens passed on offers.

We had gotten some calls from some teams behind us. It didn’t take a rocket scientist … to tell me that they were coming up for receivers,” DeCosta said during The Lounge podcast (via “We decided to stand pat at that point because we knew there was a legitimate risk that we were going to lose the guys that we coveted. The Giants being one of those teams. The Chiefs were behind us as well.”

Both teams showed interest in wideouts, with the Chiefs being connected to moving up for Jordan Addison. The Giants made an effort to trade up for a receiver — with their target believed to be Flowers — but after the Vikings chose Addison at No. 23, Big Blue moved up one spot (to No. 24) for cornerback Deonte Banks. DeCosta also expected the Chargers to pass on Flowers at No. 21, indicating the Bolts generally like “the bigger receivers, the route runners.” The biggest of this year’s first-round receiver lot, 208-pound Quentin Johnston, went to the Chargers. The Ravens have added Beckham, Flowers and Nelson Agholor to their receiver group, one previously headlined by Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay. Both holdovers are coming off season-ending foot injuries.

Here is the latest receiver news from around the NFL:

  • Darnell Mooney missed the final five games of the Bears‘ 3-14 season due to an ankle injury. The three-year starter underwent surgery, with reporting he had sustained ligament tears. But Mooney is on track to return to football work fairly soon. The contract-year wideout has a chance to be cleared before the end of Chicago’s offseason program, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Should that benchmark not be met, Mooney will be expected to be full-go by training camp. Mooney totaled 1,055 receiving yards in 2021 and will be expected to join D.J. Moore as Justin Fields‘ top targets this season, one that will potentially set him up for a lucrative extension or free agency accord.
  • The Chargers did not retain DeAndre Carter this offseason; the veteran returner/auxiliary wideout signed with the Raiders. They are expecting the other TCU wideout they drafted — fourth-rounder Derius Davis — to pick up the slack in the return game, Lindsey Thiry of notes. Davis posted the second-fastest wide receiver 40-yard dash time (4.36 seconds) at the Combine and tallied six return touchdowns (five on punts) with the Horned Frogs from 2018-22. While Brandon Staley is not limiting the 5-foot-8 rookie to return duty, the Bolts did draft Johnston and are also still rostering Josh Palmer and Jalen Guyton as Keenan AllenMike Williams backups.
  • The Seahawks created some cap space recently by restructuring Tyler Lockett‘s contract. By converting $8.5MM of Lockett’s base salary into a signing bonus, the Seahawks created $5.7MM in space (per ESPN’s Field Yates). As Lockett’s 2023 cap hit drops to $11MM, his 2024 and ’25 numbers balloon to $26.7MM apiece. Lockett is tied to his third Seahawks contract, a four-year, $69MM deal agreed to in April 2021.
  • Former Eagles second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside received a tryout opportunity at the Falcons‘ recent rookie minicamp, according to Fox Sports’ Greg Auman (on Twitter). Arcega-Whiteside has been unable to establish himself as a pro, being tried at tight end and then traded to the Seahawks before last season. The Seahawks cut the Stanford product in November. He remains unsigned.

Bears Sign Round 1 T Darnell Wright

The Bears now have their top 2023 draft choice under contract. Darnell Wright agreed to terms on his four-year rookie deal Monday. This locks the Tennessee prospect down through at least 2026.

Wright’s contract comes with the fifth-year option, which has existed in first-rounders’ contracts since 2011, allowing the Bears to keep the No. 10 overall pick tied to his rookie deal through 2027. Wright will be expected to carve out a starting role immediately.

Although the Bears were believed to have signed off on drafting Jalen Carter, that may have been one of this draft’s smokescreens. Chicago traded down from No. 9 to No. 10, marking its second trade-down maneuver of the first round, and let Philadelphia take a chance on the high-risk defensive tackle. The Bears then made Wright this draft’s second offensive lineman drafted.

Scouts Inc. slotted Wright as this draft’s fourth-best tackle prospect, but the Bears went with the Tennessee alum over local product Peter Skoronski and Georgia’s Broderick Jones. Wright brings plenty of experience to Chicago, having started 40 games at tackle. He brings more experience on the right side (27 starts) compared to the left side (13), something that is not the norm for first-round tackles. The 333-pound blocker served as the Volunteers’ primary right tackle starter in 2020 and 2022, lining up on the left side in 2021. He also made five starts at right tackle as a freshman in 2019.

Wright more than held his own against No. 3 overall pick Will Anderson Jr. in Tennessee’s shootout win over Alabama last season. The first-team All-SEC lineman will be expected to start at right tackle this season for the Bears, who are planning to keep promising 2022 fifth-rounder Braxton Jones at left tackle. The Bears added both Wright and Nate Davis to their O-line this offseason; they will be the favorites to start on the right side of Chicago’s front. Chicago pursued Mike McGlinchey in free agency but bowed out, allowing Denver to sign the five-year San Francisco right tackle. The Bears will now put their trust in Jones, the team’s first Round 1 tackle pick since Gabe Carimi in 2011.

The Bears also signed third-round defensive tackle Zacch Pickens (South Carolina) and fourth-round wide receiver Tyler Scott (Cincinnati) to their respective rookie deals Monday as well.

Falcons Exec Phil Emery Retires

Falcons executive Phil Emery will leave his post with the organization, opting to retire after nearly 25 years in NFL front offices. Emery enjoyed two stints with the Falcons, the most recent beginning in 2016.

Best known for his time with the Bears, Emery, 64, broke into the scouting ranks with the then-NFC Central team in the late 1990s and, after time with other organizations, returned to become the team’s GM in 2012. That tenure lasted just three seasons, with Emery and HC Marc Trestman fired after the 2014 campaign ended.

Emery fired longtime Bears HC Lovie Smith in 2013, hiring Trestman, a veteran offensive coordinator who also enjoyed great success in the CFL. The Bears, who went 10-6 in Smith’s final season, completed 8-8 and 5-11 seasons under Trestman.

Emery assembled the most statistically productive wide receiver duo in Bears history, trading for Brandon Marshall in 2012 and pairing him with 2012 second-round pick Alshon Jeffery. The two worked with Jay Cutler, acquired by a previous regime but extended under Emery, before Emery successor Ryan Pace traded Marshall in 2015. The Bears ranked second offensively in 2013, doing so as a Cutler injury helped foster Josh McCown‘s resurgence, and played for the NFC North title in a Week 17 game against the Packers. Back from injury, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers past the Bears in that game. Chicago’s offense then regressed in 2014, and its defense had nosedived during Trestman’s stay.

Prior to his run atop Chicago’s front office, Emery served as the Falcons and Chiefs’ director of scouting. The Falcons assembled part of their early-2010s core during Emery’s initial Atlanta stint, when the team drafted Roddy White and Matt Ryan. Emery spent much of the 1980s and ’90s as a college strength and conditioning coach.

Following the Bears ouster, Emery returned to the Falcons in 2016, when the team hired both he and ex-Titans GM Ruston Webster as national scouts. Although current GM Terry Fontenot had not worked with Emery previously, he kept the veteran personnel man on upon being hired in 2021. Emery and Webster moved into senior personnel executive roles upon Fontenot’s arrival.

It’s not just the fact you have that knowledge; it’s the willingness to share it,” Fontenot said of Emery. “That was a great thing about Phil. He was great in the room and is passionate about the game and its details. To hear him talk about a player was so valuable. He was open and willing to share his experience, whether something went well, or it didn’t. The wisdom and openness was so huge for us.”

A few Falcons staffers have moved on this offseason. The Titans hired Anthony Robinson as their co-assistant GM, and the Cardinals’ new front office staff now includes ex-Falcons staffer Rob Kisiel.