Trey Hendrickson

Largest 2022 Cap Hits: Defense

After looking at this year’s top salary cap numbers on the offensive side of the ball, here is a rundown of the players counting the most toward their teams’ payrolls in 2022.

As could be expected, the salary figures here start below the quarterbacks. A few pass rushers, however, are tied to notable cap hits. Those numbers that check in within the top 20 leaguewide regardless of position. With the exception of true nose tackles and pure slot cornerbacks, every defensive position is represented here.

Here are the top cap figures on the defensive side for the ’22 season:

  1. T.J. Watt, OLB (Steelers): $31.12MM
  2. Chris Jones, DT (Chiefs): $29.42MM
  3. Joey Bosa, OLB (Chargers): $28.25MM
  4. Leonard Williams, DL (Giants): $27.3MM
  5. Aaron Donald, DT (Rams): $27MM
  6. Jalen Ramsey, CB (Rams): $23.2MM
  7. Deion Jones, LB (Falcons): $20.1MM
  8. Bud Dupree, OLB (Titans): $19.2MM
  9. Justin Simmons, S (Broncos): $18.85MM
  10. Javon Hargrave, DT (Eagles): $17.8MM
  11. C.J. Mosley, LB (Jets): $17.5MM
  12. Cameron Heyward, DL (Steelers): $17.42MM
  13. Robert Quinn, DE (Bears): $17.14MM
  14. Matt Judon, OLB (Patriots): $16.5MM
  15. DeForest Buckner, DT (Colts): $16MM
  16. Shaquill Griffin, CB (Jaguars): $16.44MM
  17. Tre’Davious White, CB (Bills): $16.4MM
  18. J.J. Watt, DL (Cardinals): $15.9MM
  19. Marcus Peters, CB (Ravens): $15.5MM
  20. Carl Lawson, DE (Jets): $15.33MM
  21. Eddie Jackson, S (Bears): $15.1MM
  22. Lavonte David, LB (Buccaneers): $14.79MM
  23. Budda Baker, S (Cardinals): $14.78MM
  24. Romeo Okwara, DE (Lions): $14.5MM
  25. Trey Hendrickson, DE (Bengals): $14.49MM
  • Illustrating how much the cap has climbed over the past several seasons, T.J. Watt is tied to a number nearly twice that of J.J. Watt, who has been tied to $16.7MM-per-year (a defender-record number in 2014) and $14MM-AAV deals as a pro. Trailing his older brother in Defensive Player of the Year honors, T.J. is signed to an edge defender-record $28MM-per-year accord.
  • Jones’ four-year Chiefs deal vaults from an $8.5MM cap number in 2021 to the league’s second-highest defensive figure this year. The standout defensive tackle’s cap hit accompanies Patrick Mahomes‘ $35.79MM number, which is well north of his 2021 figure, on Kansas City’s new-look payroll.
  • After two franchise tags, Williams scored a monster extension in 2021. The well-paid Giants D-lineman’s cap number this year is way up from his 2021 number ($9.4MM).
  • The Rams redid Donald’s contract last month, adding no new years to the through-2024 pact. The all-world defender’s cap hit actually decreases in 2023, dropping to $26MM
  • It is not certain Deion Jones will be back with the Falcons, who have jettisoned other Super Bowl LI cornerstones from the roster since the current regime took over in 2021. But they would save just $1MM were they to release the seventh-year linebacker.
  • To date, this represents the high-water mark for Mosley cap hits on his Jets deal, which at the time (2019) began a sea change for off-ball linebacker contracts. Mosley’s cap hit, on a pact that runs through 2024 because of the linebacker opting out of the 2020 season, increased by $10MM from 2021-22.
  • Hargrave is one of five Eagles pass rushers signed to veteran contracts. The ex-Steeler’s 2021 deal accompanies Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Fletcher Cox‘s new agreement on Philadelphia’s defensive front. As cap hits do not reflect average salaries, Hargrave is the only member of this quartet tied to an eight-figure cap number in 2022.
  • Quinn has also been connected to a departure, with the 31-year-old pass rusher skipping minicamp after it became known he would like to be traded away from the rebuilding team. His cap hit tops the Bears’ payroll. The Bears would save $12.9MM by trading Quinn, should another team sign up for taking on his full 2022 base salary.

Bengals’ Trey Hendrickson Cleared To Play In Divisional Round

The Bengals have received some very positive news on the injury front. Defensive end Trey Hendrickson has been cleared from concussion protocol, and will play on Saturday against the Titans (Twitter link via ESPN’s Ben Baby). 

Hendrickson, the team’s top pass rusher, suffered the injury during last week’s win over the Raiders – Cincinnati’s first postseason victory in over 30 years. He still made an impact, though, registering a sack and one forced fumble prior to leaving the game.

The 27-year-old was one of the biggest additions the team made in the offseason, signing a four-year, $60MM deal in March after a productive start to his career in New Orleans. So far, he has been worth every penny. In 16 games this year, Hendrickson recorded a team-high 14 sacks, along with 34 total tackles and three forced fumbles. In general, he has played a major role in the team’s defensive turnaround from previous years, which is one of the reasons they seemed poised to be AFC contenders for the foreseeable future.

Hendrickson will not doubt have a lot to do with the Bengals’ fortunes, good or bad, in the Divisional Round when they visit the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/4/22-1/5/22

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Jared Cook, LB Damon Lloyd (remains on IR)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Bengals To Sign DE Trey Hendrickson

Trey Hendrickson is getting paid following his breakout campaign. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the defensive end is signing with the Bengals. It’s a four-year deal worth $60MM, including $32MM in the first two years.

The 2017 third-round pick out of Florida Atlantic had spent his entire four-year career in New Orleans, including a 2019 campaign where he collected 4.5 sacks in 13 games (three starts). The Saints inserted him into the starting lineup in 2020, and the 26-year-old responded with a career year.

Hendrickson ultimately started each of his 15 games this past season, compiling 25 tackles, 25 QB hits, and 13.5 sacks. That performance earned him a first-team All-Pro nod following the season. Despite that standout performance, it’s not a huge surprise that Hendrickson isn’t sticking around New Orleans; we heard back in February that the defensive end may be too pricey for the cash-strapped Saints.

Earlier today, we learned that Hendrickson was connected to the Jets, Vikings, Browns, and Bengals. Cincinnati always seemed like a natural sutior for a pass rusher. The Bengals front office did not place its franchise tag on Carl Lawson, who ultimately signed with the Jets. That opened up a clear hole on Cincy’s defensive line.

Jets, Vikings, Browns, Bengals Interested In DE Trey Hendrickson

With Shaquil Barrett off the board after his re-signing with Tampa Bay the group of free agent pass-rushers took a hit, but there are still plenty of quality options available. One of those options is the Saints’ Trey Hendrickson, and we now have details on what the bidding for his services looks like.

The Jets, Vikings, and Browns have all shown interest in signing Hendrickson, a source told Josina Anderson of ESPN (Twitter link). Anderson notes that list is in no particular order. We’ve heard all offseason that the Browns are looking to add a pass rusher next to Myles Garrett, so their interest isn’t surprising.

The Bengals are also interested in Hendrickson, per Anderson (on Twitter). Cincinnati did not place its franchise tag on Carl Lawson, running the risk of letting the emerging pass rusher defect in free agency. It will be interesting to see the prices for Hendrickson and Lawson. The former broke out in 2020, while the latter has been a producer for a bit longer.

Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network followed up with a tweet noting that the Jets view Hendrickson as a “great fit” for new coach Robert Saleh‘s system. New Orleans is in a really tough cap situation, and GM Mickey Loomis seemed to acknowledge last month that Hendrickson moving on was likely.

Hendrickson was a revelation last year, coming out of nowhere to start 15 games and rack up 13.5 sacks. The 2017 third-round pick had previously had only 6.5 sacks total over his first three years in the league, but set himself up nicely for a big payday in 2020. It’ll be very interesting to see what kind of contract he ends up landing. Yannick Ngakoue is another big edge rushing domino waiting to fall.

Saints May Be Unable To Retain DE Trey Hendrickson

Defensive end Trey Hendrickson was a revelation for the Saints in 2020, piling up 13.5 sacks in an unexpectedly strong platform year. Selected by New Orleans in the third round of the 2017 draft, Hendrickson had never started more than three games nor played in more than 38% of the club’s defensive snaps prior to the 2020 campaign, but he started 15 regular season contests and logged 53% of the Saints’ defensive snaps last year.

As a result, he finds himself being mentioned alongside players like Shaquil Barrett, Yannick Ngakoue, and Bud Dupree as quality pass rushers eligible to hit the open market next month. The Saints would certainly like to keep Hendrickson, but it’s unclear if they will be able to make a competitive offer.

Last week, we learned that the 2021 salary cap was likely to fall between $180MM-$181MM, which represents a significant decrease from the 2020 figure of $198.2MM. Even before the drop, the Saints were projected to be well over the salary cap, and while the club has started to reduce its cap commitments by agreeing to a renegotiated deal with retiring QB Drew Brees and releasing OL Nick Eason, there is still a lot more work to be done.

Former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry details how the Saints can bring themselves under the cap with a series of cuts and restructures, none of which seem particularly difficult to pull off (though they do include the type of machinations that have led to the Saints being right up against the cap, or over it, every offseason). His proposals do not contemplate an extension for Hendrickson, however, whom Corry says may have priced himself out of New Orleans.

Indeed, GM Mickey Loomis recently acknowledged that Hendrickson, 26, is “going to be an attractive free agent for anyone” (via Amie Just of NOLA.com). Loomis, who was speaking before the recent reports concerning the 2021 salary cap, said, “I can’t really say how strong a play we can make for that until I understand where the cap’s gonna be this year and as we go through the roster evaluations and start making our choices.”

Assuming the cap does settle in at around $180MM, a franchise tag for Hendrickson would cost about $14.5MM, and it’s unlikely the Saints would be able to carry that full amount on their books in 2021. So the only way for them to retain Hendrickson would be via a multi-year contract, and while the reduced cap could suppress the price tags of some players, it might still be difficult for New Orleans to bring back the Florida Atlantic product.

Hendrickson will doubtlessly be shooting for a deal worth at least $15MM per season, along with guarantees in the $30MM-$40MM range. He does not currently offer much by way of run defense or pass coverage, but the raw sack total he posted will attract plenty of attention, and he should find at least one team willing to meet his asking price. Whether that team is the Saints, who also have decisions to make on fellow free agents Marcus Williams and Sheldon Rankins, is very much an open question.

Extra Points: Nagy, Cowboys, Cards, Pugh

The Chiefs‘ offense bounced back after a rough stretch, going off for 31 points and four Alex Smith touchdown passes in a loss to the Jets. While Kansas City’s defense couldn’t hold up in a shootout, the team will be sticking with the offensive setup that authored the mini-turnaround. OC Matt Nagy will continue to call plays, B.J. Kissel of KCChiefs.com tweets. The 474 yards the Chiefs put up were the most since their 537-yard explosion against the Patriots in Week 1. The Chiefs host the Raiders in what’s close to a must-win game. Nagy has been mentioned as a head-coaching candidate, and these games he has play-calling responsibilities could be a key factor in whether he’ll get that opportunity in 2018.

Here’s the latest from around the league.

  • Despite a 2018 roster that almost certainly will still house Chandler Jones, Markus Golden and Haason Reddick, the Cardinals are interested in bringing back outside linebacker Kareem Martin, Mike Jurecki of Arizonasports.com tweets. Martin’s a pending UFA and has been a part-time starter since being selected in the 2014 third round. Jurecki notes the team likes Martin’s versatility. Although, Arizona has used plenty of capital in stocking this position already.
  • The Cowboys will be without Orlando Scandrick, David Irving and Justin Durant against the Giants on Sunday, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Scandrick suffered two transverse process fractures, while Durant and Irving remain in concussion protocol. The 6-6 Cowboys are clinging to contention and will need to complete a sweep of their NFC East rival to stay in the race.
  • Justin Pugh will be unavailable for the Giants. The upper-echelon blocker now faces the prospect of heading into free agency on a low note. Pugh’s back injury could force him to IR, Tom Rock of Newsday notes. Pugh said he wants to return this season but is also cognizant of his status. “I don’t want to,” he said of the prospect of being shut down for the season. “(But) I don’t want to make (the injury) even worse. It’s not at a point now where I have to get surgery or anything like that, and I don’t want it to get to that point.” Both Pugh and Weston Richburg, who is on IR, will see their contracts expire at season’s end. Pugh’s played in eight games this season.
  • Rookie Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson is expected to miss multiple weeks due to an ankle injury sustained against the Falcons, Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets. A third-round pick, Hendrickson has played in 12 games for the Saints this season as a backup.

Draft Pick Signings: 6/1/17

The latest NFL rookies to put pen to paper on their first contracts:

  • The Saints signed their two third-round picks, linebacker Alex Anzalone (pick No. 76) and defensive end Trey Hendrickson (No. 103), as well as sixth-round DE Al-Quadin Muhammad (No. 196) on Thursday (via Anzalone’s Twitter account and Herbie Teope of NOLA.com). Thanks in part to shoulder injuries, Anzalone didn’t pick up significant playing time at Florida until last season, when he totaled 53 tackles and three sacks. Despite his relatively modest output with the Gators, Anzalone has the talent to be a three-down starter in the pros, per Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. Hendrickson, meanwhile, was quite productive at Florida Atlantic, where he tallied 41 tackles for loss and 29.5 sacks from 2013-16. Most of the damage came over the previous two years, as Hendrickson combined for 30 TFL and 23 sacks in that span. Muhammad, yet another prospect who played his college ball at a Florida-based institution (Miami), is coming off a troubled tenure with the Hurricanes. He missed all of 2014 on account of a suspension stemming from an altercation and then incurred yet another ban last year, one that led to his dismissal from Miami, for a violation of NCAA rules. The last time Muhammad took the field, in 2015, he put up 54 tackles (8.5 for loss) and five sacks.
  • The Packers have signed fourth-round running back Jamaal Williams (No. 134), leaving only one of their 10 picks – third-round defensive tackle Montravius Adamswithout a contract. Williams, the first of three running backs the Packers drafted this year, was a two-time 1,200-yard rusher at BYU. He finished his Cougars tenure with a career year in 2016, amassing 1,375 rushing yards (with a 5.9 yards-per-carry average) and 12 touchdowns in 10 games.