Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will take the 2023 season off and return to the team in 2024
Why It Matters: The team could promote from within and have head coach Sean McDermott call the defense for minimal disruption as the temporary nature of the job could turn off any external candidate. It’s not a good thing for the Bills defense in any event. The team also has cornerstones LB Tremaine Edmunds and S Jordan Poyer headed to free agency. There haven’t been any details as to why Frazier is taking a year off.
General manager Brandon Beane said he is looking forward to what RB James Cook can do with “an expanded workload and more touches.”
Why It Matters: Don’t assume Cook was a disappointment of a draft pick because the team didn’t use him much in his rookie year. The Bills are notoriously slow to trust rookies. Devin Singletary is a free agent, and it’s possible that the Bills don’t add any back of note, leaving Cook and Nyheim Hines as the top two backs. It’s also possible that the team adds a name as big as Bijan Robinson (Texas) in the first round at pick 27.
Jay Morrison of the Athletic believes that Joe Mixon’s release as a cap casualty “is closer to a certainty than a mere possibility.” Director of player personnel Duke Tobin said, “I don’t know” when asked if Mixon will be with the team next season.
Why It Matters: Chris Evans is the top back under contract after Mixon, whose release would free up at least $7.3 million and as much as $10 million in cap room if it is designated as coming after June 1. Samaje Perine is also a free agent, but he is a top candidate to lead the backfield if he returns and Mixon is released after Perine outplayed Mixon at times last season.
Director of player personnel Duke Tobin said, “trading Tee Higgins is not on my mind” and “I’m not in the business of making other teams better”
Why It Matters: After the flurry of wide receiver trades and big contracts last season among players headed into their fourth season, it’s natural to expect Higgins to be the subject of trade rumors with every passing day that he continues to play on his rookie contract. The Bengals seem set on maximizing the Super Bowl window while Joe Burrow is on his rookie deal, so we believe Tobin on this subject.
General manager George Paton said RB Javonte Williams is on track to play in Week 1
Why It Matters: An absence that lasts into the regular season a la 2022 J.K. Dobbins is considered much more likely in other reports, so we wouldn’t use Paton’s words as a yardstick of how Williams' recovery is going. Chase Edmonds will probably stay on a renegotiated contract after the Broncos claimed him during the season following a release by the Dolphins, and the team will also draft or add another back during the offseason. Williams may not be much of a fantasy factor this year, and dynasty teams should tread with caution.
The Jaguars are expected to use the franchise tag on TE Evan Engram
Why It Matters: Engram would cost a modest $11.3 million on the franchise tag, a well-earned raise of over two million. Calvin Ridley will likely get reinstated from his suspension soon and replace free agent Marvin Jones, making this one of the most potent pass offenses in the league. Trevor Lawrence is a quarterback on the rise in fantasy leagues and among NFL power rankings. Engram should be a top 6-8 tight end in fantasy drafts after a strong finish to the season.
Head Coach Andy Reid said wide receivers Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney will probably have bigger roles next season.
Why It Matters: JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman are free agents, so this probably means that at least one will not return next season. We call players “boom-bust” a lot, but few have lived up (or down) to the moniker more than Toney, who is still going in the 8th round in early Underdog best ball drafts. Moore is going in the 13th/14th round and is probably the better investment if you want to dabble in this situation.
Los Angeles Chargers
General Manager Tom Telesco said WR Keenan Allen “isn’t going anywhere”
Why It Matters: Allen’s cap hit this year is $21.7 million, so he might not be going anywhere, but his current contract terms for 2023 are likely going in the trash. The Chargers pass offense definitely suffered when Allen was out last season, so the Chargers should retain him as long as they can push some of that cap number to future years. Allen’s early Underdog ADP around the 5th/6th round is reasonable and bakes in the smallish risk that he won’t be back with the Chargers. DeAndre Carter II and Josh Palmer helped replace Allen when he was hurt last year, but Carter is a free agent this year.
CB Byron Jones posted that he “can’t run or jump because of injuries sustained playing the game.” He also posted “it was an honor and privilege to play in the NFL, but it came at a regrettable cost I did not foresee,” but then quickly deleted both posts. GM Chris Grier said in regard to Jones that the team will let Jones “continue to rehab and see what happens”
Why It Matters: Jones was supposed to give the defense two shutdown corners along with Xavien Howard, who is turning 30 this year and wasn’t as impactful as years past in 2022. The Dolphins pass defense remains one of the more vulnerable units in the league.
GM Chris Grier said the team is open to re-signing RBs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson
Why It Matters: Mostert and Wilson are both thoroughly familiar with Mike McDaniel’s offensive system. They will play for a small salary in 2023, so it makes sense to bring one or both back. Even though they don’t have a lot of cachet in fantasy circles, either or both would be a flex play in Miami next season if the Dolphins don’t add a big name back this offseason.
GM Chris Grier said that he “can not lie and say no” when asked if he’s concerned about QB Tua Tagovailoa’s health
Why It Matters: Tagovailoa’s concussion issues are reminiscent of Austin Collie, among others, and should definitely be considered career-threatening unless we hear otherwise. Even if Tagovailoa has an uneventful offseason, camp, and preseason, the team would be unwise to treat his concussion how they treated the prior ones. It’s still not certain that Tagovailoa will play next season. The team could tip its hand when they decide whether to guarantee his $23 million fifth-year option after the draft.
General manager Ran Carthon said QB Ryan Tannehill “is a Titan and will be a Titan”
Why It Matters: Carthon is the new personnel sheriff in town, and we’ll take him at his word. Tannehill is due 27 million, which is more reasonable than it looked when he signed his current contract in 2020. With an 18.8 million cap hit if he’s released, the Titans wouldn’t gain that much flexibility if they drop Tannehill, although they did take the Chiefs to overtime with Malik Willis at quarterback last year. For now, we’ll write Tannehill as the Titans 2023 starter in pencil.
The Falcons released QB Marcus Mariota
Why It Matters: 2022 third-round pick Desmond Ridder is in line to start at this moment, but his long-awaited 2022 debut was poor and there was no reason in his play to further pursue designs on him being a surprise answer to the team’s quarterback question. They remain a candidate to trade up for a quarterback or take one at #8 in the draft.
Continue reading this content with a 100% free Insider subscription.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, NBC Sports EDGE