Maag fills the open roster spot vacated by retired tight endBen Ellefson yesterday. After four years at North Dakota, the local native returns home to the Minneapolis area after going undrafted in April. In 49 games for the Fighting Hawks, Maag caught 162 passes for 2,152 yards and 18 touchdowns. He’ll add some depth to a position group in Minnesota headlined by Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, and first-round pick out of USC Jordan Addison.
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:
The Jets’ number is a bit deceiving. They are still working on a restructure withAaron 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 Smithto the Browns. Cleveland, which is one of the teams connected toDeAndre Hopkins, added Smith and did so with help from its Deshaun Watsonrestructure. 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 Bradyrestructure — 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.
The Seahawks have already seen one member of their 2022 draft class go under the knife this offseason, but another one has had a procedure of his own. Head coach Pete Carroll recently provided an update on the status of right tackle Abraham Lucas, who underwent shoulder surgery.
“He’s doing great and his strength is almost all the way back, Carrol said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “There’s no hesitation in that he’ll make it back in our thinking. He’s doing all of the work, all of the walk-through stuff.”
Lucas had his procedure following Seattle’s wild-card loss to the 49ers, a point in the campaign the team reached in part due to the success of his rookie season. The 2022 third-rounder served as the team’s full-time starter at right tackle, giving them a bookend of first-year players on the edge (with first-rounder Charles Crossplaying on the blindside). The former established himself as a key figure of Seattle’s highly-regarded rookie class from last season.
Lucas earned respectable PFF grades in terms of both pass protection and run blocking, doing enough to maintain his spot atop the depth chart after winning out a training camp competition. He allowed nine sacks and 28 pressures, however, so plenty of room for improvement exists in Year 2 and beyond. The Washington State alum is expected to be recovered in full in time for the regular season, Carroll added.
The same is also true of Pro Bowl cornerback Tariq Woolen, who recently had knee surgery. That procedure will cost him time during the offseason, but a clean bill of health in time for September would go a long way in helping the Seahawks’ efforts to repeat their success of 2022. Presuming Lucas is also full-go by that point, their offensive line would likewise be able to enjoy stability at an important spot.
Shepherd has not played in an NFL game since 2020, when he finished a two-season stint with the Packers. Shepherd did go to training camp with the Broncos last year, and he spent time on Denver’s practice squad. This year, the North Dakota State product finished as a top-five receiver in the XFL. Playing for the St. Louis BattleHawks, Shepherd hauled in 48 passes for 519 yards and six touchdowns. Both the BattleHawks’ top two wideouts — Shepherd and Hakeem Butler — have received NFL opportunities. Only Butler’s eight receiving TDs topped Shepherd’s total. The Steelers added Butler last month.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Jackson has toured North America’s non-NFL coalitions, playing in The Spring League, CFL and XFL over the past three years. Jackson played in The Spring League in 2021, was on the Edmonton Elks’ roster last year and was on the D.C. Defenders’ roster during the most recent XFL season. His 573 receiving yards ranked fifth in the XFL. Jackson played collegiately at Western Kentucky, finishing his Hilltoppers career with a 1,133-yard season in 2019. That season included 16- and 17-reception efforts. Jackson’s 209 catches rank second in program history. This will be his first NFL shot.
The injury occurred last week, and surgery was quickly deemed to be necessary. The procedure went “as well as doctors could have hoped,” per ESPN, but it is nevertheless expected to keep Woolen sidelined until training camp. A return by July would put the 24-year-old well on track to suit up for the regular season, but Seattle will no doubt proceed with caution considering his importance to the team.
To call Woolen’s rookie campaign a success would be a dramatic understatement. The fifth-rounder racked up six interceptions (tied for the league lead), returning one for a touchdown. He added 16 pass deflections and three fumble recoveries to his impressive statsheet. Those totals earned him a Pro Bowl nod, and placed him third in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.
They also cemented his status as a long-term foundation of Seattle’s secondary. The Seahawks invested their top pick in this year’s draft on Devon Witherspoon, so their CB tandem should be a formidable one for the foreseeable future. The absence of Woolen for much of the offseason has been met with a depth move as well, though.
The Seahawks brought back veteran Artie Burnson Monday, which will give them a familiar face on the backend. Burns made three appearances in Seattle in 2022, and he could see extra usage in the spring with Woolen sidelined. Despite the timing of his signing, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets that the Seahawks intended to bring back Burns regardless of Woolen’s status. In any event, the latter’s recovery will be a situation to monitor in the build-up to training camp.
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.
MaxPircher will be joining the Lions via the league’s International Pathways Program. The team originally signed Austalian tight end PatrickMurtagh, who had to back out of his deal due to a medical issue, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Pircher played football in Austria and participated on Italy’s National Team before a stint on the Rams’ practice squad in 2021.
Tae Crowder became a popular name after he compiled 130 tackles in 17 starts for the Giants in 2021. He found himself sliding down the depth chart in 2022 before ultimately getting waived. He landed back on New York’s practice squad before being signed by the Steelers, where he didn’t get into a game while sitting on their active roster.