September 30th, 2022 at 1:19pm CST by Sam Robinson
As we exit September, trade rumors will become a steady NFL topic. This year’s deadline falls on Nov. 1. That will return cap-space discussions to the forefront. Here is how every team stacks up financially going into October, via Over The Cap.
Cleveland Browns: $35.94MM
Philadelphia Eagles: $10.89MM
Denver Broncos: $10.67MM
Carolina Panthers: $10.47MM
Las Vegas Raiders: $10.35MM
Dallas Cowboys: $9.25MM
Pittsburgh Steelers: $8.64MM
Green Bay Packers: $8.57MM
Indianapolis Colts: $7.97MM
Atlanta Falcons: $7.92MM
New York Jets: $6.97MM
Chicago Bears: $6.84MM
San Francisco 49ers: $6.75MM
Miami Dolphins: $6.51MM
Arizona Cardinals: $6.25MM
Los Angeles Chargers: $5.83MM
New York Giants: $5.49MM
Jacksonville Jaguars: $5.41MM
Los Angeles Rams: $5.38MM
Baltimore Ravens: $4.51MM
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $3.87MM
New England Patriots: $3.5MM
Cincinnati Bengals: $3.16MM
New Orleans Saints: $2.86MM
Detroit Lions: $2.64MM
Washington Commanders: $2.58MM
Buffalo Bills: $2.44MM
Tennessee Titans: $2.41MM
Seattle Seahawks: $2.28MM
Kansas City Chiefs: $2.12MM
Houston Texans: $1.64MM
Minnesota Vikings: $1.47MM
The Eagles’ number is certainly far closer to the Vikings’ last-place figure than what the Browns have stockpiled. Cleveland would stand to have room to augment its 2022 roster, via a patient free agent or a trade. That could depend on where Jacoby Brissett has the team stationed going into the Nov. 1 deadline. But the Browns also appear to be preparing for their Deshaun Watson future. Watson’s unprecedented contract spikes from a $9.4MM cap number (2022) to a record-shattering $54.99MM numbers from 2023-26. As that reality awaits, the Browns rolling over cap space to 2023 would be prudent.
With Sterling Shepard‘s ACL tear moving the veteran wide receiver to IR, the Giants will need to both cover that cost ($6.3MM) and add a contract to fill the roster spot. Every team will go through versions of that issue this season, as injuries pile up. The Giants are prepared to eat a significant chunk ofKenny Golladay‘s 2022 base salary ($13MM) to move him, eyeing an escape from his $4.5MM 2023 guarantee. No takers have emerged, though it will be interesting to see if a market for the former Pro Bowler forms once injuries affect more teams’ receiver situations.
September 30th, 2022 at 10:55am CST by Sam Robinson
SEPTEMBER 30: Wilson is officially off the Jets’ injury report, as noted by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). The news confirms that he will indeed make his 2022 debut on Sunday against the Steelers.
SEPTEMBER 28: Zach Wilson received medical clearance after his rehabilitation from arthroscopic knee surgery, Robert Saleh announced Wednesday. This is likely to precede a return to action Sunday.
Last year’s No. 2 overall pick will make his return to the Jets’ starting lineup if no setbacks occur in practice this week, Saleh added. Although Joe Flacco led the team to a Week 2 win and Mike White still has support from a sect of Jets fans, Wilson returning in Week 4 has been the team’s plan from the start.
Considering the injury issues that have affected Wilson’s career thus far, it represents a positive development the second-year passer is tracking toward returning on time. The Jets did not place Wilson on IR, so no roster move will need to be made if/when Wilson suits up against the Steelers.
Wilson sustained a meniscus tear and a bone bruise during the Jets’ preseason opener; he underwent successful surgery days later. The August set back has run the BYU product’s NFL absence count to seven games. Wilson missed four games because of a knee injury last season.
While Flacco has been asked to dial up high-volume passing outings during a 1-2 Jets start, Wilson’s injury effectively put the team’s blueprint on hold. This offseason centered around further equipping the team’s new franchise-QB hopeful. The Jets chased just about every receiver caught up in trade rumors and ended up drafting Garrett Wilson at No. 10 overall. That move came after New York signed free agent guard Laken Tomlinson. The Jets later drafted Breece Hall to bolster their backfield.
One obvious issue ahead of this Zach Wilson re-emergence: the tackle situation. Injuries have led the Jets astray at both tackle spots. George Fant now joins Mekhi Becton and Duane Brown on IR. Fant and Brown are not out for the season, so the team’s preferred tackle configuration still has a chance of surfacing around midseason. Fant, who has been battling a knee injury throughout the season, is shut down until at least Week 8. This development leaves veteran backup Conor McDermott and fourth-round rookie Max Mitchell in place as Wilson’s tackles against the Steelers on Sunday, though the Jets did poach Cedric Ogbuehi off the Texans’ practice squad and add Mike Remmers to their P-squad. Remmers, who has mostly played right tackle as a pro, is expected to be promoted to the 53-man roster soon.
Becton’s injury and subsequent wide receiver absences affected Wilson’s rookie year, but Sam Darnold‘s replacement has plenty to prove as a pro. Wilson, who rocketed onto the first-round radar after a strong junior year for a BYU team (a Division I-FBS independent) that faced a higher-than-usual number of mid-major programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ranked 31st in QBR in 13 rookie-year starts. Only Justin Fields came in below him. The Jets will hope their offseason additions can help Wilson progress. Now that he is on track to be back, that will be the rebuilding team’s central storyline.
Patriots quarterback Mac Joneshas decided to seek a second opinion on his high ankle sprain, according to Mike Giardi of NFL Network. After sustaining the injury on the final offensive play of the team’s loss to the Ravens this week, Jones underwent an MRI to determine the severity of the sprain. It is expected, with the resulting diagnosis, that Jones will have to miss some time.
Jones will go to Dr. Martin O’Malley of the New York Hospital for Special Surgery. O’Malley is the team orthopedist for the Brooklyn Nets, the Team Physician for USA Basketball and Iona University Athletics, and the foot and ankle consultant for the Giants and the New York City Ballet. He notably worked recently on cornerback J.C. Jackson‘s ankle surgery, as well as basketball star Kevin Durant’s Achilles surgery in 2019.
Here’s a few more injury rumors from around the league, starting with an update on one of the Jets’ top defenders:
Jets linebacker Quincy Williams has also been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Williams’ high ankle sprain appears to be a bit less severe than Jones’, as head coach Robert Saleh reported that Williams is currently week-to-week.
Buccaneers wide receiver Julio Joneswas reportedly a game-time decision to play this past weekend, but ended up spending the game on the sideline. It appears that Jones could have contributed, but Tampa Bay decided to hold him out, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. Head coach Todd Bowles broke the news, saying, “I just know he could have played (but) we held him out. We want to make sure he’s healthy and he’ll probably be back out there next week.”
Fantasy football managers of Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey have resumed sweating. The star weapon for Carolina missed practice today with a thigh injury. According to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, the injury has caused a bit of concern for the Panthers, more so than the “previous nicks” that have been reported throughout the season. He’s been able to play through every injury so far this year, but Jones makes it seem like his Week 4 status could be in jeopardy. McCaffrey hasn’t played in all of Carolina’s regular season games since 2019, appearing in 13 games total during the three seasons since. Rumors of an injury being “concerning” is the last thing the Panthers want to hear about McCaffrey. Chuba Hubbard is likely to fill McCaffrey’s role for any potentially missed time, while D’Onta Foreman would serve as the primary backup.
Although Ogbuehi is a former first-round pick, he has started five games since the 2018 season. He landed on Houston’s practice squad IR list earlier this month but will be part of the Jets’ scramble to reassemble their tackle depth chart after George Fant‘s IR trip. Ogbuehi’s Bengals audition seasons came back in 2016 and ’17; the Seahawks used him as a fill-in starter in four 2020 games. Ogbuehi, 30, joins Mike Remmers as Jets tackle additions this week.
The Ravens were interested in adding Luketa off the Cardinals’ practice squad, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. That looks to have prompted the Cards’ decision to move him up to their 53-man roster. The Cards drafted Luketa in this year’s seventh round (256th overall) out of Penn State.
Tennessee’s outside linebacker shuffle included waiving Tuszka, who is now with his third team this year. A former Broncos seventh-round pick, Tuszka spent the offseason with the Steelers. He will move to a Chargers team that has Joey Bosalikely to miss games after suffering what Brandon Staley called a serious groin injury.
September 27th, 2022 at 3:35pm CST by Sam Robinson
A lingering knee injury forced George Fant out of Sunday’s Jets-Bengals game, and the issue will sideline Fant for a while. The Jets placed the veteran tackle on IR Tuesday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
This moves yet another high-profile Jets tackle off the active roster. Fant’s IR shift follows the transactions that sent Mekhi Becton and Duane Brown to the injured list. While Brown will be eligible to return in Week 5, Fant is shut down until at least Week 8.
Robert Saleh classified Fant as “day to day” Monday. Instead, Fant’s IR placement further depletes the Jets at a premier position. The team finished Sunday’s Bengals tilt with Conor McDermott at left tackle. Fourth-round rookie Max Mitchell has played every snap for the Jets at right tackle this season. This is far from the initial configuration Gang Green planned, and Fant’s absence figures to make matters more difficult for Zach Wilson, who is on track to return from his August knee surgery in Week 4.
Fant had a tough day against standout Cincinnati defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who notched strip-sacks against Fant and McDermott. But Fant has been battling this knee problem all season, Brian Costello of the New York Post notes. The issue caused him to miss multiple practices last week.
Fant, 30, has been a vital O-line presence for the Jets since signing with the team as a free agent in 2020. The ex-Seahawk spent the 2020 season as the Jets’ right tackle starter and moved to the left side after Becton’s Week 1 injury last season. The Jets named Fant their starting left tackle before Becton’s training camp injury. After being on the Jets’ extension radar early this offseason, no deal came to fruition. Fant’s return from injury will begin a rather important stretch for the former college basketball player. His contract expires at season’s end.
When Fant returns, the Jets will hope to deploy the Brown-Fant tackle combo that has yet to take the field together. After winning the left tackle gig, Fant saw Brown’s late-summer signing move him back to the right side. The Jets signed veteran Mike Remmersas a stopgap option Monday. Remmers currently resides on Gang Green’s practice squad, but the journeyman right tackle is likely to be moved up to the 53-man roster soon.
September 26th, 2022 at 6:31pm CST by Sam Robinson
Two-time Super Bowl starter Mike Remmers will join a team in need at his position. The journeyman tackle is signing with the Jets on a practice squad agreement, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.
Remmers is expected to be bumped up to the Jets’ 53-man roster soon. The former Chargers, Panthers, Vikings, Giants and Chiefs blocker has not played for a team this season; the Chiefs did not re-sign him after the 2021 campaign.
Remmers, 33, has made 90 career starts. He is probably best known for tough nights against Von Miller (Super Bowl 50) and Shaq Barrett (Super Bowl LV), but the former UDFA brings a level of experience the Jets are lacking right now. Brown is ineligible to play until at least Week 5. Remmers, who played just four games last season before a knee injury led the Chiefs to place him on IR, has worked primarily as a right tackle but did play inside during the 2018 season in Minnesota. The Jets are more solidified at guard, however; the team’s tackle plan veered off the rails once Becton suffered an avulsion fracture during training camp. Signed to a lucrative deal to replace Becton, Brown is rehabbing a shoulder injury.
The tackle uncertainty engulfing Gang Green comes as the team is readying Zach Wilson to make his season debut. Wilson, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in August, was slated to play behind a Fant-Becton tackle tandem. He could begin his sophomore NFL season behind Remmers and either McDermott or Mitchell. The latter has played 100% of the Jets’ right tackle snaps this season.
After initially favoring Isaiah McKenzie in the first few weeks of the season, the Bills moved closer to an even split of snaps between McKenzie and Jamison Crowder in the team’s win last week over the Titans. Buscaglia notes that, in the game, the duo were only on the field at the same time for three snaps, indicating a one-or-the-other situation. In the remainder of the game, excluding garbage time, Buscaglia counted 21 offensive snaps for McKenzie and 16 for Crowder, a stark difference from the snap advantage McKenzie enjoyed to begin the season. This could lead one to believe that Buffalo is becoming more comfortable with the consistency it gets out of Crowder than the all-or-nothing, big play potential it gets out of McKenzie.
This theory failed to hold up in today’s loss to the Dolphins. Though snap totals have yet to be reported, quarterback Josh Allen clearly favored McKenzie today, targeting him nine times to only three for Crowder. McKenzie rewarded the extra attention with seven catches for 76 yards and a touchdown, tacking on a six yard rush, while Crowder only reeled in one pass for nine yards. If the Bills staff needed to see consistent production out of McKenzie, today was a good start.
Here are a few more rumors from the AFC East, starting with some usage notes from the Jets:
There was early concern surrounding New York’s usage of rookie first-round pick Garrett Wilson after the tenth-overall pick only saw the field for 38 of the offense’s 79 snaps in Week 1, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. Two weeks later any concerns have certainly been quelled for the time being. Wilson’s playing time did increase to over 50% of the team’s offensive snaps, increasing to 61% in Week 2. While Jets fans may want to see him on the field even more often, he’s made the most of his playing time, becoming the favorite target for quarterback Joe Flacco. After three weeks, Wilson’s 32 targets and 214 receiving yards outpace Elijah Moore‘s 22 targets or Corey Davis‘ 187 receiving yards, both second on the team, despite both older receivers spending more time on the field.
There’s been an unpredictable fall from grace this year for Jets cornerback Bryce Hall, according to Cimini. Last year, Hall was fourth in the entire league for defensive snaps played. So far this year, it’s been a completely different story. Hall understandably lost his starting job to rookie fourth-overall pick Ahmad Gardner, but after three weeks, it appears that he’s also fallen behind the other four cornerbacks on the roster. Hall only played five defensive snaps in Week 1 and has been a healthy scratch for the past two games.
According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, the Patriots were experiencing some punter-envy today. Reiss reported that Ravens rookie punter Jordan Stout was “highly regarded by the Patriots in this year’s draft.” Stout entered the week ranking 30th in the league for average punt distance, but, even after a dismal 23 yard punt today, he was able to improve to 20th in the league with a 45.9 yard average.
September 25th, 2022 at 9:38am CST by Sam Robinson
SEPTEMBER 25: Wilson is expected to be cleared by doctors next week, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (Twitter link). Assuming that happens, Wilson will be in line to start the Jets’ Week 4 contest against the Steelers.
Per Rapoport, Wilson has experienced no setbacks in his recovery and has continued to make good progress.
SEPTEMBER 22: The highwater marks of the past two Jets seasons have come with their high-end quarterback prospect sidelined. Nearly a year after Mike White‘s 400-yard game keyed an upset over the Bengals, Joe Flacco led the NFL’s first 13-point comeback inside of two minutes in 21 years.
But the development of Zach Wilson remains the team’s objective. While Flacco will start in Week 3, Robert Saleh said the Jets will not hesitate to go back to their second-year starter once he is ready ready to return. Wilson remains out due to the August knee surgery he underwent.
Flacco’s throwback performance in Cleveland (307 yards, four touchdown passes) could prompt calls for the Jets to keep their 37-year-old backup in the mix. This would remind of the brief Jets QB quandary that came about last season after White’s work against the Bengals. White’s four-interception game against the Bills two weeks later quieted the campaigns for him to keep the gig. After one Flacco start, Wilson was back under center for the final games of the season.
Saleh said before the season Wilson would miss at least the team’s first three games. The former No. 2 overall pick returning in Week 4 is not yet a certainty. Wilson will ramp up his activity this week, but Saleh did not guarantee next week will be the BYU product’s return window. That still looks to remain a realistic target, at least, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Week 3 will mark Wilson’s seventh missed game as a pro.
Their Cleveland comeback notwithstanding, the Jets remain a rebuilding team. They added a few pieces on offense to further assist Wilson — from guard Laken Tomlinson to No. 10 overall pick Garrett Wilson — but his injuries and rookie-year struggles have injected some doubt into the team’s quarterback plan. It remains relatively early, however, as Zach Wilson has not yet taken a regular-season snap with Gang Green’s improved offense. A fair amount of pressure could await the young quarterback upon returning, however. It will be interesting to see how long of a leash Saleh provides if Wilson (30th in 2021 QBR) is ineffective when he comes back.