Bryce Huff

Free Agency Notes: Giants, Vikings, Jets, Hawks, Huff, Commanders, Ekeler, Raiders, Dolphins, Jacobs, Rams

The Bryce Huff market did not reach the level of Jonathan Greenard‘s, and Danielle Hunter also scored a better guarantee compared to the Jets‘ contract-year breakout pass rusher. But the Eagles needed to give Huff a three-year, $51.1MM deal with $34MM guaranteed. That came about because, per Huff, the Commanders, Giants, Seahawks and Vikings joined the Jets in pursuing him. The Jets had expressed interest in keeping the former UDFA, who led the team in sacks last season, but their 2023 Will McDonald draft choice appeared to point Huff elsewhere.

Minnesota came in early with its Greenard signing (four years, $76MM, $38MM fully guaranteed), while Washington turned to one of Dan Quinn‘s ex-Cowboys charges — Dorance Armstrongsoon after. The Giants made a bigger splash hours later by trading for Brian Burns, in a deal that involved a second-rounder going to the Panthers and fifth-rounders being swapped, while the Seahawks devoted their funding to fortifying their interior D-line (via the Leonard Williams deal). Huff, 26, led the NFL in pressure rate last season but was not used as a full-time D-end. It should be expected the Eagles, who have Haason Reddick in trade rumors, will up Huff’s usage.

Here is the latest free agency fallout:

  • As Lloyd Cushenberry and Andre James scored nice contracts, the center market has not seen Connor Williams come off the board. It should be a while on that front. Rehabbing an ACL tear, Williams is not expected to sign anywhere anytime soon, agent Drew Rosenahus said during a WSVP interview (via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson). Williams going down in Week 14 certainly has impacted his market. Pro Football Focus graded the two-year Dolphins blocker as a top-five center in each of his two Miami seasons. Ahead of his age-27 season, the ex-Cowboys draftee will probably need to show teams he is healthy or on track to full strength before a deal commences.
  • The Raiders lost their starting running back in free agency, seeing Josh Jacobs join the Packers. Zamir White is tentatively in place as Las Vegas’ starter, but the now-Tom Telesco-run club did show interest in Austin Ekeler, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets. Telesco was with the Chargers when they signed Ekeler as a UDFA and when they extended him, but the GM did not greenlight a second extension last year. That led to trade rumors and a small incentive package. Ekeler signed a two-year, $8.43MM Commanders deal, indicating (via the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala) the NFC East team showed the most interest. Despite leading the NFL in TDs in 2021 and 2022, Ekeler received only $4.2MM fully guaranteed — ninth among FA backs this year.
  • As for Jacobs, his guarantee fell well short of Saquon Barkley‘s and shy of the Bears’ commitment to D’Andre Swift. The Packers signed Jacobs to a four-year, $48MM deal, but Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio notes only the $12.5MM signing bonus is guaranteed (plus a $1.2MM 2024 salary). Beyond 2024, this is a pay-as-you-go deal. Jacobs is due a $5.93MM roster bonus on Day 5 of the 2025 league year, creating a pivotal date for Green Bay’s backfield. The Packers are known for shying away from guarantees beyond Year 1, in most instances, but it is interesting to see the gap between guarantees Barkley could secure ($26MM) and Jacobs’ locked-in money.
  • The gap between Xavier McKinney‘s Packers deal and the Ramstwo-year Kamren Curl pact ended up wider than the aforementioned RBs. Curl agreed to a $9MM accord, per the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala. Curl, 25, has two seasons to show he can command a more lucrative contract. But McKinney (four years, $68MM) showed how valuable an age-25 offseason can be for earning power, making the Curl contract look quite Rams-friendly.
  • Jonnu Smith‘s two-year Dolphins deal came in at $8.4MM, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. Miami will guarantee the former Tennessee, New England and Atlanta tight end $3.96MM. No guarantees are present beyond 2024,’s Albert Breer tweets. Miami’s three-year Jordyn Brooks accord lands slightly lower than initially reported, with Wilson adding the ex-Seattle linebacker signed for $26.25MM. Brooks’ contract features $16MM guaranteed; just $9.5MM of that sum is guaranteed at signing.

Eagles To Sign DE Bryce Huff

Bryce Huff‘s primary wardrobe color will not change, but the ascending defensive end is leaving New York. The Jets will lose their 2023 sack leader to the Eagles.

Philly will pick up Huff on a three-year, $51.1MM deal,’s Adam Schefter tweets. Although the Eagles are big on fortifying their offensive and defensive lines, the Huff addition would seem to point to one of the team’s trade candidates being moved. The team has dangled Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat in potential deals thus far this offseason.

This contract will make Huff the highest-paid UDFA in NFL history, Schefter adds. Huff broke out during a 2023 contract year, leading the NFL in pressure rate. The Jets did not seem to trust Huff as an every-down player, as suspect run defense was an issue for the former post-draft find. But he played well enough last season to advance beyond the “prove it” tier of free agency. The Eagles will bet on Huff on a deal more expensive — on a per-year basis — than Reddick’s.

The Eagles have let Reddick seek a trade and have taken calls on Sweat. Both players are going into contract years, with Reddick having outplayed the $15MM-per-year deal he signed with his hometown team in 2022. While Reddick has not requested a trade, he will certainly take interest in Huff making more than him.

As the Eagles sift through some moving parts here, they will rely on Huff, who had not compiled more than four sacks in a season during his first three years with the Jets. Armed with a quick first step, Huff posted a 21.8% pressure percentage but did so on just 480 defensive snaps. That fell outside the top 70 among edges last year, and Pro Football Focus graded the Memphis alum as a bottom-tier run defender.

It will be interesting to see how the Eagles navigate their DE setup, but after the team saw Reddick and Sweat go cold as its defense cratered late last season, it will invest in a Jets-developed sack artist going into his age-26 season.

Eagles Taking Trade Calls On Josh Sweat

We heard last month that the Eagles were allowing Haason Reddick to seek a trade, and the team is reportedly taking calls on another top pass rusher. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Eagles are “having trade calls on” defensive end Josh Sweat. Dianna Russini of The Athletic adds that the Eagles have been shopping both Sweat and Reddick for “the last few weeks.”

[RELATED: Teams Inquiring On Eagles’ Haason Reddick]

A former fourth-round pick, Sweat has emerged into one of the Eagles’ top edge rushers, compiling 31 sacks over the past four seasons. Following an 11-sack campaign in 2022, Sweat’s numbers took a bit of a step back in 2023, as the 26-year-old finished with 6.5 sacks. Pro Football Focus also seemed to recognize the drop in production; after ranking Sweat ninth among edge rushers in 2022, the site listed him 33rd for his 2023 performance.

Sweat is heading into the final season of a three-year, $40MM extension he signed with the Eagles back in 2021. While his $9MM cap number won’t break the bank in 2024, the team may be looking to prepare for his exit now. As Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer points out, it’s not an “either/or” when it comes to moving on from Sweat and Reddick, as the team would consider dealing both players in the right moves. Further, McLane notes that the organization hasn’t been happy with the duo’s recent production, especially in the second half of last season.

As NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah points out, moving on from Sweat (and, potentially, Reddick) would surely put the Eagles in the market for a pass rusher. Russini points to one potential free agent target: Bryce Huff. The former UDFA had a breakout season for the Jets in 2023, finishing with 10 sacks despite appearing in fewer than 50 percent of his team’s defensive snaps. Thanks to that performance, Pro Football Focus gave Huff a top-10 grade for his pass-rushing ability.

Clearing up the depth chart would also open a spot for Nolan Smith, the team’s first-round pick in 2023. Smith struggled to carve out a role as a rookie. While he got into all 17 games, he was limited to 18 tackles and one sack while playing the majority of his snaps on special teams. As James Palmer of NFL Network points out, Smith underwent “a maintenance procedure on his shoulder” this offseason that should prepare him for a larger workload in 2024. Further, Palmer notes that the Eagles “feel good about the trajectory” of the first-round pick’s development, an indication that Smith could be eyeing more responsibility in his sophomore season.

Jets Not Planning To Tag DE Bryce Huff

FEBRUARY 28: One of the top edge defenders set to be available on the market, Huff will be assured — barring an extension — of reaching free agency. Joe Douglas confirmed Wednesday (via’s Mike Garafolo) the Jets are not planning to use the tag to retain Huff. After the cap spike to $255.4MM, it would cost the Jets $21.32MM to tag their 2023 sack leader.

FEBRUARY 15: This year’s franchise tag outlook appears to feature a higher number of likely recipients compared to 2023. The Jets could factor into this mix, but their roster makeup also might not support it. Absent a tag, the team’s exclusive negotiating rights with Bryce Huff expire March 11.

The Jets have until 3pm CT on March 5 to tag Huff, but as of now, that should not be expected. The Jets are unlikely to use the tag in an effort to keep Huff away from free agency,’s Rich Cimini notes. The team did not make much of an effort to extend Huff during the season, failing to make an offer. But the Jets still want to re-sign the UDFA success story.

They are running out of time to do so, and Huff has said he will not consider a hometown discount in order to keep going as a Jet. Although the Jets have used Huff as more of a rotational rusher, he led the team with 10 sacks — after failing to register four in any of his prior seasons — and paced the NFL in pressure percentage. Huff’s 21.8% pressure rate surpassed second-place Micah Parsons (20.8%), Cimini adds. Though, Parsons’ number is a bit more impressive considering the Cowboys phenom hit that number playing 864 defensive snaps; Huff logged only 480. That makes pinpointing his value a bit difficult, and the Jets’ defensive end depth chart adds to this unusual equation.

Although the Jets were widely believed to be targeting Georgia tackle Broderick Jones in last year’s first round, they wound up with Will McDonald at No. 15. New York held the No. 13 overall pick but sent it to Green Bay as part of the Aaron Rodgers trade. After the Jets slid down two spots, the Steelers climbed up to No. 14 — viewing Jones as Gang Green’s target — to draft the high-end O-line prospect. McDonald played far less than Huff last season, seeing action on only 19% of the Jets’ defensive snaps. Unless the team wants to keep a top-15 pick in that reduced role, it may need to make a sacrifice involving Huff.

I would absolutely hate to lose him,” Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich said (via Cimini), “but he’s a guy that has earned every penny that he’s about to make.”

Pro Football Focus also viewed Huff as one of the NFL’s worst run defenders among edges, injecting some “buyer beware” into this situation. Though, defensive ends are largely paid to pressure quarterbacks. Huff not being tagged will open the floodgates for a team that views the Memphis alum as an untapped resource. Huff’s 480 defensive snaps last season were by far a career-high number. The 6-foot-3 DE also said he wants to be part of a team that views him as a three-down player. His 2023 usage rate and McDonald’s presence makes that a complicated matter for the Jets, who hold just more than $4MM in cap space as of Thursday.

It would cost approximately $23.35MM for the Jets to tag Huff, who played fewer defensive snaps than teammates John Franklin-Myers and Jermaine Johnson. Only the QB tag checks in higher than what it will cost a team to cuff a defensive end. With the Jets needing immediate help at tackle and suddenly in need of a starter-caliber wide receiver — despite the additions of Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman last year — the team allocating the bulk of its free agency budget to helping Rodgers on offense makes sense. Woody Johnson‘s mandate of sorts — as Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas attempt to keep their jobs — all but assured the Jets will focus on offense this offseason.

The Panthers are likely to tag Brian Burns, and the Jaguars are not expected to let Josh Allen hit the market. Quality edge rushers are on track to be available — from Danielle Hunter to Chase Young to Jonathan Greenard to Dorance Armstrong — but Huff will reside as an upper-echelon commodity if he reaches free agency.

2024 NFL Franchise Tag Candidates

A valuable tool for teams to keep top free agents off the market, the franchise tag has been in existence since 1993. This week brought the opening of the 2024 tag window. Clubs have until 3pm CT on March 5 to apply tags. As the Giants’ situation showed last year, most of the tag-related business comes near the close of this window. Teams will continue to work toward re-signing their respective tag candidates, thus preventing a lofty franchise tender from hitting their cap sheet.

The legal tampering period opens March 11, with the new league year (and official free agency) starting March 13. Once a player is tagged, he has until July 15 to sign an extension with his respective team. Absent an extension agreement by that date, the player must play the 2023 season on the tag (or go the Le’Veon Bell/Dan Williams/Sean Gilbert route, passing on guaranteed money and skipping the season).

High-profile free agents remain weeks away from hitting the market. As PFR’s tag recipients list shows, a handful of players are prevented from taking their services to free agency each year. This year looks to present a few more tag candidates compared to 2023. With a handful of teams determining if they will need to use the tag to prevent a free agency path, here are the players who figure to be tagged or at least generate conversations about being franchised ahead of the March 5 deadline:


Josh Allen, OLB (Jaguars)
Tag cost: $24MM

GM Trent Baalke did not leave much suspense when he addressed Allen’s future last month. The veteran exec said the 2019 first-round pick will be a Jaguar in 2024, indicating the team would use its franchise tag if necessary. The Jaguars do have Calvin Ridley as a free agent, but the team would owe the Falcons a 2024 second-round pick if it extended the wide receiver’s contract before the start of the league year. The second pick sent to Atlanta will only be a third-rounder if Jacksonville lets Ridley hit free agency. It makes more sense for Jacksonville to circle back to Ridley after allowing him to test the market. An Allen tag effectively ensures that will happen.

Timing his sack breakthrough well, Allen registered a Jags-record 17.5 during his contract year. The five-year Jaguar has combined for 55 QB hits over the past two seasons and ranks top 10 in pressures over the past three. The tag regularly keeps top edge rushers from hitting free agency, and the 26-year-old pass rusher — while obviously wanting to be paid what he’s worth — expressed a desire to stay in Jacksonville long term.

The Jags have regularly unholstered their tag during the 2020s, cuffing Yannick Ngakoue in 2020 and then keeping Cam Robinson off the 2021 and ’22 markets. The team kept Evan Engram out of free agency last year. Robinson signed an extension in 2022, and the Jags re-upped Engram last July. The Ngakoue situation could be notable, as the edge rusher became disgruntled with the Jags and was eventually traded to the Vikings that summer. No signs of that level of trouble are brewing with Allen yet.

Jaylon Johnson, CB (Bears)
Tag cost: $19.8MM

Johnson is likely to become the first franchise-tagged cornerback since the Rams kept Trumaine Johnson off the 2017 market. The Bears are the most recent team to tag a corner, using the transition tag to cuff Kyle Fuller in 2018. They will almost definitely follow suit with Johnson, who has been rumored to be tagged for several weeks. A Ryan Pace-era draftee, Johnson expressed his desire to stay with the Bears ahead of his contract year. With that platform campaign producing some twists and turns, that price has gone up significantly.

After unsuccessful in-season extension talks, the Bears gave Johnson an 11th-hour opportunity to gauge his trade value. The Bears did not alert teams Johnson, 24, was available until the night before the Oct. 31 deadline. Although the Bills and 49ers engaged in talks about a trade, the Bears held out for a first- or second-round pick. Nothing materialized, which will likely come up during the team’s talks with Johnson. The Bears then extended trade pickup Montez Sweat, leaving Johnson in limbo. But the former second-round pick stuck the landing on an impact season. He is firmly in the Bears’ plans, and the team holds more than $66MM in cap space — plenty to squeeze in a tag onto the payroll.

Pro Football Focus’ top-graded corner in 2023, Johnson displayed a new gear that has made him worthy of a tag. Finishing with four interceptions and allowing just a 50.9 passer rating as the closest defender, the Utah alum soared to second-team All-Pro status. The Bears, who last used the tag on Allen Robinson in 2021, made no secret of their interest in retaining Johnson and will have a few more months to negotiate with him as a result of the tag.

Likely tag recipients

Brian Burns, OLB (Panthers)
Projected tag cost: $24MM

The Panthers hiring a new GM and head coach classifies this as just short of a lock, but familiar faces remain. Carolina promoted assistant general manager Dan Morgan to GM and blocked DC Ejiro Evero from departing. Burns has been viewed as a likely tag recipient since last season, after negotiations broke down. The Panthers have not offered a negotiating masterclass here, as Burns has been extension-eligible since the 2022 offseason. Since-fired GM Scott Fitterer had viewed Burns as a re-up candidate for two offseasons, but multiple rounds of trade talks boosted the 2019 first-rounder’s leverage.

In what looks like a mistake, the Panthers passed on a Rams offer that included two first-rounders and a third for Burns at the 2022 trade deadline. Carolina then kept Burns out of 2023 trade talks with Chicago about the No. 1 pick, ultimately sending D.J. Moore to the Windy City for the Bryce Young draft slot. Carolina also kept Burns at the 2023 deadline, as teams looked into the top pass rusher on the NFL’s worst team. Burns also saw his position’s market change via Nick Bosa‘s record-setting extension ($34MM per year). The 49ers’ landmark accord came to pass after Burns had set a $30MM-AAV price point, complicating Morgan’s upcoming assignment.

Burns, 25, has registered at least 7.5 sacks in each of his five seasons. While he has only topped nine in a season once (2022), the two-time Pro Bowler is one of the league’s better edge rushers. Given the Panthers’ history with Burns, it would be borderline shocking to see the team allow the Florida State alum to leave in exchange for merely a third-round compensatory pick.

Burns has said he wants to stay with the Panthers; he is unlikely to have a choice this year. The Panthers last used the tag to keep right tackle Taylor Moton off the market in 2021; the sides agreed to an extension that offseason.

Tee Higgins, WR (Bengals)
Tag cost: $21.82MM

Seeing their hopes of capitalizing on the final year of Higgins’ rookie contract dashed due to Joe Burrow‘s season-ending injury, the Bengals look to be giving strong consideration to keeping the Burrow-Higgins-Ja’Marr Chase trio together for one last ride of sorts. The Bengals hold $59.4MM in cap space — fifth-most currently — and structured Burrow’s extension in a way that makes a Higgins tag palatable. Burrow’s deal does not spike into historic cap territory until 2025.

While a future in which Chase and Higgins are signed long term is more difficult to foresee, the Bengals still carry one of the AFC’s best rosters. It is likely Burrow’s top two weapons remain in the fold for at least one more year. Higgins, 25, did not come close to posting a third straight 1,000-yard season. Burrow’s injury had plenty to do with that, though the former second-round pick started slowly. A Bengals 2023 extension offer underwhelmed Higgins, but the Bengals kept him out of trades. A tag will give Cincinnati the option to rent him for 2024. A tag-and-trade transaction is viewed as unlikely, as the Bengals load up again.

How the organization proceeds beyond 2024 will be a key storyline, but the Bengals — who kept Jessie Bates in similar fashion in 2022 — are positioned well to run back perhaps the NFL’s best receiving tandem. While director of player personnel Duke Tobin stopped short of guaranteeing Higgins will be a Bengal in 2024, signs point to it.

Justin Madubuike, DL (Ravens)
Tag cost: $22.1MM

Seeing their defensive coordinator depart and once again facing questions at outside linebacker, the Ravens have the option of keeping their top 2023 pass rusher off the market. They are probably going to take that route. Madubuike raised his price considerably during an impact contract year, leading the Ravens with 13 sacks. While Mike Macdonald was able to coax surprising seasons from late additions Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy, Madubuike drove Baltimore’s defensive engine and will likely be guaranteed a high salary by signing his franchise tender.

Perennially interested in hoarding compensatory picks, the Ravens have regularly let breakthrough pass rushers walk in free agency. This dates back to the likes of Paul Kruger and Pernell McPhee and subsequently included Za’Darius Smith and Matt Judon. The Ravens have only been able to replace Judon with stopgap options — from Clowney to Van Noy to Justin Houston — and again must figure out a solution alongside Odafe Oweh on the edge. Madubuike, 26, proved too good to let walk; the former third-round pick will once again be expected to anchor Baltimore’s pass rush in 2024.

Antoine Winfield Jr., S (Buccaneers)
Tag cost: $17.12MM

We mentioned Winfield as the Bucs’ most likely tag recipient around the midseason point, and signs now point to that reality coming to pass. The Bucs want to re-sign Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans. The bounce-back quarterback’s tender price would check in at nearly $36MM, and because Evans was attached to a veteran contract, his tag number would come in well north of Higgins’ — at beyond $28MM. As such, the Bucs cuffing Winfield has always made the most sense, and after the second-generation NFL DB’s dominant contract year, it would be stunning to see the team let him walk.

The Bucs have let their recent top free agents test free agency, only to re-sign Shaquil Barrett (2021), Carlton Davis (2022) and Jamel Dean (2023). Winfield may be on a higher plane, having secured first-team All-Pro acclaim last season. Davis and Dean have never made a Pro Bowl; Winfield’s productive and well-regarded 2023 stands to separate him. Winfield, 25, tallied six sacks and three interceptions while forcing an NFL-leading six fumbles. This included a pivotal strip of DJ Chark in the Bucs’ Week 18 win over the Panthers, which clinched them the NFC South title.

Winfield will undoubtedly be eyeing a top-market safety extension. Derwin James established the current standard, $19MM per year, just before the 2022 season. Last year’s safety market did not feature big-ticket prices, for the most part, but the Falcons made Jessie Bates (four years, $64MM) an exception. If Winfield were to reach free agency, he would be expected to eclipse that.

The Bucs, who have used the tag three times in the 2020s, should not be considered likely to let Winfield follow Davis and Dean’s path by speaking with other teams. Tampa Bay has used the tag three times in the 2020s, cuffing Barrett in 2020 and tagging Chris Godwin twice. The team eventually re-signed both, and while the statuses of Mayfield and Evans (and All-Pro tackle Tristan Wirfs) create a crowded contract queue, the Bucs will certainly be interested in re-upping Winfield.

On tag radar

Saquon Barkley, RB (Giants)
Tag cost: $12MM

Barkley has said he wants to finish his career with the Giants, and the team will meet with the Pro Bowl running back’s camp at the Combine. But a recent report indicated the team is highly unlikely to tag the six-year veteran a second time. The Giants should not be ruled out from reversing course and keeping Barkley, given his importance to an otherwise low-octane offense, but it appears they are prepared to move on if the talented RB does not accept their extension offer this time around. A host of talented backs await in free agency, though Barkley would likely be the top prize were he to reach the market.

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Jets Have Not Made Offer To DE Bryce Huff

Bryce Huff looms as a Jets priority, but now that the ascending pass rusher is weeks away from free agency, the team may need to compete against other suitors on the open market. It does not look like the Jets’ in-season talks with Huff went very far.

Breaking out for 10 sacks in his contract year, Huff said recently he would not consider a hometown discount to stay with the Jets. It would then be difficult to see him pass on testing free agency. The Jets are believed to have discussed the prospect of extending Huff, but SNY’s Connor Hughes notes no offer is believed to have been made.

[RELATED: Woody Johnson Addresses State Of The Jets]

The addition of Will McDonald would stand to complicate Huff’s status. The Jets have now used first-round picks on defensive ends in consecutive years, with McDonald following Jermaine Johnson to New York. Both young rushers join John Franklin-Myers as being under contract for 2024, whereas Huff and Carl Lawson are weeks from free agency. Re-signing Huff would also seemingly lead to a minimal role for McDonald, who logged only 184 defensive snaps as a rookie.

A UDFA in 2020, Huff also might generate some hesitancy due to how much more productive he was in 2023. Huff had never previously reached four sacks or 12 QB hits in a season. His platform-year numbers in those categories: 10, 21. Conversely, teams can look at Huff as an untapped asset. This past season brought a career high with 480 snaps, but 72 edge rushers logged more playing time. Huff has been docked for run-defense issues. Pro Football Focus graded Huff as a top-25 overall edge player but viewed him as one of the worst run stoppers among edge rushers, potentially creating a quandary for interested teams come March.

Although they ended up with McDonald at No. 15 overall, the Jets were widely viewed as interested in drafting tackle Broderick Jones in last year’s first round. The Steelers, who traded up (via the Patriots) for the Georgia blocker, certainly believed this was the case. Gang Green now needs two tackle starters, if Alijah Vera-Tucker is moved back to guard; both Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton are free agents. The Jets are not believed to be overly interested in re-signing the injury-prone Becton, who griped about his standing with the team during the 2023 offseason.

Still, Huff is just 25 and coming off a season in which he led an upper-echelon defense in sacks. Teams will be interested in paying for that. The Jets have other needs, though the desperation associated with this team could certainly prompt it to act aggressively on all fronts this offseason. That still may not include a second Huff contract, with Hughes adding the Memphis product should be considered more likely than not to leave. While the Jets would be in decent shape at D-end if Huff walks, Gang Green letting him hit free agency would bring an interesting pursuit given his production in limited playing time.

Jets Aiming To Re-Sign DE Bryce Huff

Changes on offense will be a key talking point for the Jets this offseason, but the team’s defense is in danger of losing a key piece in free agency. Defensive end Bryce Huff is set to hit the open market in March, but a pact keeping him in New York is still a possibility.

The Jets will attempt to work out an agreement with Huff over the coming weeks, ESPN’s Rich Cimini notes. The 25-year-old upped his market value considerably this season as he comfortably set new career highs in a number of statistical categories. He and the team have already discussed a new deal, but no pact was finalized. General manager Joe Douglas has nevertheless confirmed that Huff remains a target for New York.

Huff has made it clear he will not take a hometown discount on his upcoming deal, and as a result Cimini notes the franchise tag could be in play. In 2024, the tag for defensive ends is projected to cost more than $23MM, a figure which would be cumbersome given Huff’s status as a sack specialist. The former UDFA logged a snap share of only 42% this season, and he has not drawn rave reviews for his run defense. Still, Huff’s production as an edge rusher this year will generate considerable interest if he reaches free agency.

The Memphis product posted 10 sacks, 21 QB hits and 31 pressures in 2023, taking a considerable step forward in each category compared to his previous totals. The Jets could prevent Huff from testing free agency by applying the franchise or transition tag (the latter of which would cost roughly $3MM less than the former). Cimini notes a tag-and-trade scenario should not be considered likely in this case.

As a result, the progress of contract talks between Huff and the Jets will be a key storyline to follow in the near future. New York already has veteran John Franklin-Myers and a pair of former first-rounders in the form of Jermaine Johnson and Will McDonald along the edge. Huff proved himself to be a critical member of that group this year, though, and his absence would be acutely felt in 2024 if he were to land elsewhere.

AFC East Notes: Becton, Jets, Howard, Bills

Mekhi Becton‘s quest to solidify himself as the Jetslong-term left tackle did not come to fruition, but the injury-prone blocker did finish the season without an IR trip. A few other Jets O-linemen could not say the same. Becton’s contract year consisted of 16 games and starts at both right and left tackle. While the 2020 first-round pick would like to re-sign with the Jets,’s Rich Cimini notes the team is unlikely to have a strong interest in a second contract.

Pro Football Focus graded Becton 68th overall among tackles this season, and Next Gen Stats charged the slimmed-down tackle with 12 sacks allowed. That said, the Jets will need to be aggressive in their pursuit of tackle help this offseason. Duane Brown is 38 and played out a two-year contract. He and Becton departing would leave the Jets with two tackle vacancies, though the team has explored the possibility of shifting Alijah Vera-Tucker to right tackle on a full-time basis. But Vera-Tucker, drafted as a guard, has suffered season-ending injuries in each of the past two years.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • A player the Jets look to have more interest in signing, Bryce Huff, will not stay just because he has developed as a Jet. Pointing to his family and those around him, the young defensive end said (via SNY’s Connor Hughes) he will take the best offer he receives in free agency. The Jets, however, do want to re-sign Huff, per GM Joe Douglas. A former UDFA, Huff broke through in his contract year to lead the team with 10.5 sacks despite not starting any games. The Jets and Huff, who has not graded well as a run defender, discussed an extension during the season. The Jets have first-rounders Jermaine Johnson and Will McDonald, along with John Franklin-Myers, but losing Huff would be a blow for Robert Saleh‘s defense.
  • On the same note, Xavien Howard is unlikely to accept a pay cut to stay with the Dolphins,’s Adam Beasley notes. “No matter where I’m going, I’m still going to do my thing,” Howard said. “Whatever comes with it, I’m excited about what will happen.” The Dolphins’ longest-tenured starter, at eight seasons, Howard is signed through 2026 on the contract he agreed to upon voicing issue with Byron Jones out-earning him. Miami gave Howard a five-year, $90MM extension in 2022, but the veteran ballhawk is now 30 and finished the season sidelined with a foot sprain. The Dolphins, who released Jones as a post-June 1 cut last year, can only recoup notable savings by using this designation on Howard. Now employing Jalen Ramsey as its top corner, Miami would save $18.5MM this year by using the post-June 1 designation on Howard.
  • The Bills will be without Gabe Davis in a second playoff game, ruling out the contract-year wideout for their divisional-round game. Davis is battling a PCL sprain,’s Ian Rapoport tweets. Davis represents an intriguing free agent-to-be, having scored 14 touchdowns over the past two seasons, but the Bills have seen 2022 fifth-rounder Khalil Shakir emerge as a player capable of being a low-cost Stefon Diggs complement going forward.
  • Additionally, Buffalo has not ruled out Terrel Bernard for its Kansas City rematch. Bernard was carted off the field against the Steelers, but the Bills’ top tackler only suffered a sprained ankle, Rapoport adds. The second-year linebacker aggravated the ankle injury he sustained earlier this season, per the Buffalo News’ Ryan O’Halloran. While the Bills are already without Matt Milano at linebacker, starter Tyrel Dodson — who missed the team’s wild-card game — is on track to return in Round 2.
  • Leonard Floyd collected an additional $1MM by reaching 10 sacks this season, Field Yates of tweets. The May free agency addition signed a one-year, $7MM deal, one that has been vital due to Von Miller‘s struggle to return to form following his second ACL tear. Floyd, 30, totaled a career-high-matching 10.5 sacks this season.

Jets, DE Bryce Huff Discussing Extension

The Jets have a number of high-end contributors along the defensive front, but Bryce Huff has proven to be an unheralded member of the unit. He may be playing his way into an extended stay in New York.

Huff joined the Jets as an undrafted free agent, and he has established himself as a full-time contributor to their edge rush group. The 25-year-old logged seven starts and a 51% snap share in 2021, though his playing time has dipped since then with New York making draft and free agent investments in the pass-rush department. Still, Huff has made the most of his opportunities, having matched his career-highs in sacks (3.5) and pressures (16) in seven games this year.

The Memphis product is playing on his RFA tender this season, valued at $4.3MM. If his production continues, he could be in line for a raise on a multi-year pact, something which would confirm his status as a key member of the Jets’ young edge group. 2022 first-rounder Jermaine Johnson leads the team in sacks, and the Jets’ top pick this past April (Will McDonald) has made six appearances in a rotational role in his rookie campaign. Huff could soon have a deal in place to keep him on the books alongside those two.

“There’s been some informal conversations with Bryce’s representatives and they’re trending in a positive direction,” general manager Joe Douglas said on the topic of an extension (video link via SNY). “Still a long way to go. Bryce is another… unbelievable player development story. For him to come in as an undrafted free agent and just work and work and work and get better every day. I think the last two years you’ve really been able to see a huge progression for him. Everyone’s excited about Bryce.”

New York currently has two signficant financial commitments along the edge in John Franklin-Meyers and Carl Lawson. The latter was on the trade block given his expiring contract and lack of playing time, but no partner was found for a deal. While Lawson will thus play out the rest of the season with the Jets before a likely free agent departure, it appears Huff will have the chance to remain in place beyond 2023 if talks on a new deal continue to progress. 

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/20/23

Today’s only minor move:

New York Jets


Initially an undrafted pass rusher out of Memphis, Huff will have another year in New York to try and establish a role on the Jets defense. Huff made his presence known after making the 53-man roster as a rookie in 2020 and working himself into the rotation at defensive end. He continued to work hard, earning six starts to open 2021 before a back injury landed him on the inactive list for seven weeks. Since the injury, Huff’s role has been scaled back a bit, but he continues to produce, racking up 3.5 sacks in limited time last year. He’ll be back for Gang Green in 2023 to continue to contribute on defense and special teams.