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Darren Waller

Darren Waller

TE | NYG

Not certain to return after all

Waller still hasn't decided whether he will return to the Giants for the 2024 season or retire, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post reports.

Early Friday, news emerged that Waller had contemplated retirement during the offseason but ultimately decided to return. However, the veteran tight end subsequently texted the Post to explain that, despite those reports, he is undecided about retirement. New York gave up a third-round draft pick to acquire Waller from the Raiders in March of 2023, and it's safe to assume that the organization was expecting to get more than one season out of him when making that deal. If Waller does decide to retire, it would be a significant blow to the Giants' air attack, as he ranked second on the team with 52 catches and 552 receiving yards last season despite playing in only 12 games.

Mike Evans

Mike Evans

WR | TB

To test free agency

Evans plans to hit free agency for the first time in his career, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports.

While Evans and the Buccaneers remain in contract discussions, the veteran pass catcher wants to explore his options. Thus, it does not mean his time in Tampa Bay is over, but rather, that he plans on hearing from all teams before making a decision. The 30-year-old has been with the team for all 10 years of his NFL seasons and is coming off a campaign where he recorded 1,255 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

Logan Thomas

Logan Thomas

TE | FA

Being cut by Commanders

Washington announced the release of Thomas on Friday, saving the team roughly $6.5 million in cap space.

Thomas' release leaves the Commanders with about $1.7 million in dead cap space. The veteran tight end is heading into his age-33 season but logged a solid bounce-back effort in 2023, having secured 55 of 79 targets for 496 yards and four scores across 16 regular-season games. A proven contributor capable of moving the chains on offense, Thomas should garner real interest on the free agent market, though he's not guaranteed a chance at a true starting role at this point in his career. Washington also released veteran tackle Charles Leno in a cap-saving move Friday.

Darren Waller

Darren Waller

TE | NYG

Expected back in New York for 2024

Waller thought about retiring earlier this offseason, but he'll continue playing football and isn't expected to be a cap casualty, Paul Schwartz and Ryan Dunleavy of the NY Post report.

A midseason hamstring injury cost Waller five games in 2023, his first year with the Giants and third straight season missing at least five contests. He has three years remaining on his contract but no salary guarantees, with the Giants able to add around $11.6 million in 2024 cap space by declaring the tight end as a post-June 1 cut (or waiting until June to trade him). It sounds like player and team want to give things another shot in New York, hoping Waller can stay relatively healthy for the first time since 2020 even though he'll turn 32 in September. He was on pace to catch 85 passes for 923 yards through seven games in 2023 before the hamstring injury derailed his season Week 8. Waller missed the next five games and then played less than two-thirds of snaps on offense in each of the final four weeks of the season.

Mason Rudolph

Mason Rudolph

QB | PIT

Wanted back in Pittsburgh

GM Omar Khan said Thursday that Rudolph knows the Steelers want to re-sign him, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reports.

Kaboly and Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via 93.7 The Fan) both have suggested that the Steelers prefer to re-sign Rudolph and move forward with him and Kenny Pickett as the quarterbacks for 2024, though Khan didn't rule out the possibility of acquiring a veteran starter or drafting a QB. It sounds like Rudolph would get the chance to compete for a starting job if he re-signs, as Khan said Thursday that Picket will be subject to competition even though the Steelers believe in him. The team is sending mixed signals, but it does at least seem clear that Rudolph and the Steelers have already discussed a contract extension. The 28-year-old replaced an injured Pickett late last season and then kept the starting job even after Pickett was healthy, leading Pittsburgh to three straight wins at the end of the regular season before falling to the Bills in the first round of the playoffs.

Trey Lance

Trey Lance

QB | DAL

Sticking with Cowboys in 2024

The Cowboys will pick up Lance's $4.25 million roster bonus for the 2024 season, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Lance didn't play a snap for the Cowboys in 2023 after he was traded by the 49ers late in training camp. However, Dallas is optimistic about the growth he made and reportedly has not considered cutting him. Unsurprisingly, the team will not pick up Lance's fifth-year option, which would have been worth $22.4 million. In the best-case scenario, he'll be the Cowboys' backup quarterback entering 2024.

Ty Chandler

Ty Chandler

RB | MIN

Top running back for now

Chandler is projected to serve as the Vikings' top running back after Alexander Mattison was released Thursday, Dane Mizutani of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Mattison accounted for 180 carries in 2023, while Chandler played a complementary role with 102. Chandler showed flashes of brilliance with the ball in his hands, tallying three rushes of over 20 yards while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. For now, it appears that Chandler will be set for a bigger role in 2024, though the Vikings will almost certainly add to their backfield either through the draft or free agency.

To be released by Vikings

The Vikings informed Mattison they will be releasing him Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Mattison took over as the primary running back in Minnesota after Dalvin Cook was released last offseason. He had a good season from a volume perspective, logging a career-best 180 carries while also racking up 30 receptions. However, Mattison lacked explosiveness, which was evident from the fact that he had just one rush over 20 yards. He'll likely be looking for a short-term deal as a complementary rusher this offseason.

Gus Edwards

Gus Edwards

RB | BAL

Discussing deal with Ravens

GM Eric DeCosta said Tuesday that the Ravens and Edwards are already discussing a new contract, Clifton Brown and Ryan Mink of the team's official website report.

Edwards can become a free agent but might end up re-signing before that happens. If so, it wouldn't necessarily prevent the Ravens from signing one of the big-name RBs available in free agency, though it would at least marginally decrease the odds of that happening. The team also has Justice Hill and Keaton Mitchell (torn ACL) under contract for 2024, though the former mostly played special teams before last season and the latter might not be ready for Week 1. DeCosta also suggested that he'd still have interest in re-signing J.K. Dobbins, who is rehabbing an Achilles' tear after playing only nine games combined the past three seasons.

Wanted back in Baltimore

Coach John Harbaugh and GM Eric DeCosta both suggested this week that they'd like Beckham to re-sign with the Ravens, Clifton Brown and Ryan Mink of the team's official website report. "[Beckham]'s become a great friend of mine and a friend to the Ravens," DeCosta said Tuesday. "I think we'll just kind of assess and see what happens over the next couple of weeks."

Beckham presumably would have to accept a major pay cut after signing a one-year, $15 million contract last offseason. He made some big plays but was never a full-time player after the first few games, ultimately finishing with 35 catches for 565 yards and three TDs in the regular season. Harbaugh has already mentioned viewing Rashod Bateman as a starter for 2024, in which Beckham would be coming back as the third/fourth wide receiver. The team recently re-signed Nelson Agholor, ensuring they'll have a veteran presence behind Bateman and Zay Flowers even if Beckham ends up signing elsewhere.

J.K. Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins

RB | BAL

Posts rehab videos

Dobbins (Achilles) posted a video Thursday that shows him running on turf and then a treadmill.

Meanwhile, GM Eric DeCosta told reporters Tuesday that the Ravens plan to discuss new contracts with both Dobbins and Gus Edwards. The former is still rehabbing the Achilles' tear that ended his 2023 campaign after Week 1, while the latter is nearly four years older but just set career highs for carries (198), rushing yards (810) and rushing TDs (13). Edwards also averaged a career low 4.1 YPC, to be fair, after running for 5.0 or better in each of his previous NFL seasons. The rumor mill connects Baltimore with big-name RBs scheduled for agency like Derrick Henry and Saquon Barkley, but DeCosta made sure to mention Dobbins, Edwards, Justice Hill and Keaton Mitchell (torn ACL), with the latter two still under contract in Baltimore. Re-signing Dobbins or Edwards wouldn't necessarily preclude adding a bigger name, particularly in Dobbins' case given the poor track record of RBs coming back from Achilles injuries and the accompanying likelihood he'll have to settle for a contract without much guaranteed money. The 2020 second-round pick has played nine games since his rookie season, losing all of 2021 to an ACL tear and half of 2022 to ensuing issues with the same knee.

Mike Evans

Mike Evans

WR | TB

Teams seem committed to return

The Buccaneers appear committed to re-signing Evans before the start of free agency, even if there is a financial strain on the team's cap situation, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. "He's an unprecedented player. We want him to be a Buc for life. We're working towards that," general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday at the NFL Combine.

Licht admitted the team would probably have to "strain a little bit" to reach a deal palatable to Evans, who's coming off his 10th consecutive 1,000-yard season. The perennial Pro Bowler also recorded 13 touchdowns in 2023 -- tying for the league lead. "Mike did a heck of a job and he came to work every day," coach Todd Bowles said. "He has been very consistent, very dynamic, yet he's very humble off the field. He's one of my favorite players. I have a lot of respect for Mike and everything he does..."

Tyler Higbee

Tyler Higbee

TE | LAR

Undergoes surgery

Rams general manager Les Snead confirmed Wednesday that Higbee (knee) has had surgery to address a torn ACL and MCL, but a timetable for his return is still uncertain, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic reports.

Higbee suffered ligament damage to his right knee during the Rams' wild-card playoff loss to the Lions on Jan. 14, after taking a low hit on the offense's final drive. The timing of his injury puts his status for Week 1 of the 2024 season in serious doubt, and likewise makes him an unlikely candidate to be cleared for the start of training camp in late July. Behind the 31-year-old veteran on the depth chart are Davis Allen, Hunter Long (knee) and Brycen Hopkins, all of whom now look like candidates to begin the 2024 season in expanded roles, barring other additions to the tight-end room.

Not going anywhere, per GM

Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Wednesday that Pittman will be on the team's roster for the upcoming season, whether via contract extension or the franchise tag, Nate Atkins of The Indianapolis Star reports.

Pittman is approaching free agency for the first time in his NFL career, but the Colts aren't planning on giving him a chance to explore the open market. Indianapolis has until March 5 to decide whether to place the franchise tag on Pittman, which would result in him taking home a salary of approximately $21.8 million for 2024. However, the team seemingly prefers to work out a longer-term extension with Pittman, provided the two sides can come to an agreement. The Colts haven't used the franchise tag since 2013, and Pittman himself has said he would prefer a multi-year contract, per Stephen Holder of ESPN.com.

Jaylen Waddle

Jaylen Waddle

WR | MIA

Wanted long term in Miami

General manager Chris Grier said Wednesday that the Dolphins have "no thoughts of trading [Waddle]," Cameron Wolfe of NFL Network reports.

Grier dismissed recent rumors of Waddle being a trade candidate, saying "he'll be around here for a long time." Teammate Tyreek Hill recently weighed in on social media to dispel talk about such a trade, as did Waddle himself, so it's unsurprising to see the Dolphins' brass take a similar stance. The third-year pro recently became the first wideout in Miami's history to record three straight 1,000-yard seasons, posting a 72-1,014-4 receiving line across 14 regular-season games in 2023. Waddle has one more year on his rookie deal, plus a potential fifth-year option, giving the Dolphins plenty of time to negotiate a long-term contract.

DeVonta Smith

DeVonta Smith

WR | PHI

Not fretting about extension

Smith said in a Feb. 8 interview that he isn't too worried about a contact extension, Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "It's all in God's hands," Smith said. "At the end of the day, extension or not, I'm going to have to come in and do what I have to do."

While eligible for a contract extension following his third NFL season, Smith is almost certain to end up under team control through 2025 via the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. The Eagles will need to officially pick up Smith's fifth-year option by May 2. In Smith's case, he'll be earning a fully guaranteed $15.59 million for the 2025 season, which is well below what he would receive on the open market. A holdout would be more likely in 2025 than 2024, though it isn't entirely impossible that he sits out training camp this summer if he's frustrated with his initial extension talks with the Eagles.

L'Jarius Sneed

L'Jarius Sneed

DB | KC

Franchise tag expected

The Chiefs are expected to use their franchise tag Sneed prior to the March 5 deadline, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Per Rapoport, the Chiefs have yet to officially apply their franchise tag on the cornerback, and in the meantime, Sneed reportedly has permission to seek a trade. In his fourth NFL season in 2023, the 2020 fourth-round pick recorded 78 tackles and two interceptions in 16 games for the Chiefs.

Rashod Bateman

Rashod Bateman

WR | BAL

Step forward expected in 2024

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh reiterated Tuesday that he expects Bateman to "take a big step" forward in 2024.

According to Ryan Mink of the Ravens' official site, Harbaugh made similar comments earlier this month, noting that the 2021 first-round pick will be a starter in 2024 and is expected to take on more snaps. On the other hand, the Ravens have already re-signed wideout Nelson Agholor, and Harbaugh said he's also hoping to keep soon-to-be free agent Odell Beckham around. Neither Agholor nor Beckham would automatically block Bateman from a starting job, but both could be threats to his quantity of snaps and routes, just as they were in 2023. Bateman seemed to get open more often as the 2023 season unfolded, perhaps regaining some explosiveness with time after undergoing season-ending Lisfranc surgery the year prior. A breakout of sorts is certainly possible, but it probably wouldn't translate to much production in fantasy terms, given that the Ravens routinely rank near the bottom of the league in pass attempts and have wideout Zay Flowers and tight end Mark Andrews to account for a large chunk of the targets.

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa

QB | MIA

Optimism about extension

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said Tuesday that he "absolutely" wants Tagovailoa to sign a contract extension this offseason, Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN.com reports.

The lefty quarterback is set to play out the 2024 season under the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, after leading the league in yards per attempt in 2022 (8.9) and total passing yards in 2023 (4,624). Tagovailoa hasn't quite progressed to fantasy stardom despite his success, as he doesn't offer much in the way of rushing production, missed four games in 2022 and then saw Miami running backs rush for 27 of the team's 57 offensive touchdowns in 2023. He still has a path to QB1 value -- at least on the low end -- while throwing passes to elite receiving talents in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in one of the NFL's best-designed offenses. Early reports suggest both the Dolphins and Tagovailoa expect an extension to get done this offseason.

Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson

QB | NYJ

Gets green light to pursue trade

General manager Joe Douglas said Wednesday that Wilson (concussion) has been given permission to seek a trade, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Wilson ended the 2023 season on injured reserve while recovering from concussion symptoms, which cost him the Jets' final three games. The 2021 second overall pick's time being up in New York almost looks inevitable at this point, especially after he was moved back and forth between the starting lineup and bench throughout the 2023 campaign. If a trade partner doesn't emerge for Wilson, the Jets could opt to waive him rather than keeping him in the fold at a cap hit of $11.18 million for 2024. In any case, the Jets seem likely to prioritize an upgrade at the backup quarterback spot behind Aaron Rodgers (Achilles), with Trevor Siemian and Brett Rypien being the other signal-callers on the roster.

Let go by Kansas City

Kansas City will release Valdes-Scantling on Wednesday, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports.

Valdes-Scantling's only chance of remaining with the Chiefs would have been to restructure the final year of his three-year, $30 million contract, but Kansas City will instead cut him loose to save roughly $12 million in cap space. The savings are a necessity for the Chiefs, who are hoping to retain defensive stalwarts L'Jarius Sneed and Chris Jones this offseason on longer-term deals. Valdes-Scantling did little across 16 regular-season games in 2023, with just 21 catches for 315 yards and one touchdown on 42 targets. Back in 2022, he essentially doubled that production in one extra game played. The 29-year-old deep threat will now look to find a complementary role in a wide receiver corps elsewhere in the league.

Jameson Williams

Jameson Williams

WR | DET

Pushing to be 'full-time starter'

Head coach Dan Campbell indicated that Williams is set for an increased role in 2024, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports. "[Williams] is going to push to be a full-time starter and that's what we're looking for. Everybody grows at a different rate. Maybe it's taken him a little bit longer, but he is developing and growing. The kid has come on. We got high hopes for him and see him continuing to grow," Campbell said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Williams technically became a starter in Week 7 of last season, but he never topped 70 percent of the offensive snaps in a single game until Detroit's season-ending loss to the 49ers in the playoffs. The 2022 first-round pick also saw just 3.5 targets per game after joining the starting unit. Given that the likes of Josh Reynolds and DJ Chark have regularly topped 80 percent of the offensive snaps while serving as the No. 2 wideout behind Amon-Ra St. Brown in recent years, Williams at least has considerable room to grow from a playing-time standpoint, especially with Reynolds set to become an unrestricted free agent. However, neither Reynolds or Chark saw more than 4.7 targets per game in a season with Detroit, and none of the top-36 wide receivers in per-game half-PPR scoring saw less than 5.6 targets per game in 2023. With St. Brown and Sam LaPorta presumably the centerpieces for the passing game of a run-first Lions offense, Williams may need to rely upon touchdowns and explosive plays to pay off as a difference-making fantasy asset in 2024.

Austin Ekeler

Austin Ekeler

RB | LAC

Not getting tag

The Chargers don't plan to give Ekeler a franchise tag, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

Ekeler was never a serious candidate for the tag, given the Chargers' hesitance to hand him big contracts in the past and his downturn in production during the 2023 season. He'll hope to convince other teams that his high-ankle sprain was a big part of the problem in 2023, along with general dysfunction in Los Angeles that made it difficult to find running lanes and gain yards. Ekeler seems like a questionable fit under new Chargers offensive coordinator Greg Roman -- best known for powerful running games -- but a return to Los Angeles can't entirely be ruled out at this juncture. If he does end up signing elsewhere, it's hard to say whether Ekeler will be deployed as a lead back or as more of a passing-down guy in a timeshare.

Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry

RB | TEN

Likely to leave Titans

Henry doesn't seem likely to stay with the Titans, though GM Ran Carthon suggested Tuesday that the team will at least have conversations about re-signing the running back, ESPN's Turron Davenport reports.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday that none of the big-name RBs eligible for free agency in March are expected to receive franchise tags, including Henry. New Titans coach Brian Callahan has expressed interest in re-signing the back, but Henry's stated emphasis on winning a Super Bowl could cause him to look elsewhere than Tennessee.

Jonnu Smith

Jonnu Smith

TE | FA

Parting ways with Falcons

The Falcons will release Smith, Terrin Waack of the team's official site reports.

Per the report, the move, which had been expected, will save the Falcons $6.5 million towards their salary cap. In his lone campaign with Atlanta, the 28-year-old hauled in 50 of his 70 targets for a career-high 582 yards and three TDs in 17 games, while logging action on 58 percent of the team's offensive snaps in 2023. In the wake of Smith's looming departure, Kyle Pitts remains atop the Falcons' tight end depth chart, with John FitzPatrick and Tucker Fisk also under contract for the 2024 season.

Brandon Aiyuk

Brandon Aiyuk

WR | SF

Team seeking extension

49ers general manager John Lynch said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that the team wants to sign Aiyuk to a long-term contract extension, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Lynch spoke strongly about Aiyuk's future, saying "we've got a nice track record of extending guys and [Aiyuk] is a guy we'd like to keep around." Now entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, and coming off a standout 75-1,342-7 receiving line across 16 games in 2023, the wideout will be set for a big payday regardless of what team he ends up with. Aiyuk has improved upon his yardage and touchdown totals each season in the NFL, so it wouldn't be unheard of for him to take another step forward during the 2024 campaign.

Jonnu Smith

Jonnu Smith

TE | FA

Being cut by Falcons

Smith is expected to be released by Atlanta, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Smith performed adequately for the Falcons in his debut season with the team, as in 2023 he secured 50 of 70 targets for 582 yards and three touchdowns across 17 regular-season appearances. Nonetheless, entering his age-29 season, Smith carried a non-guaranteed salary of $6.5 million, with just $2.5 million in dead money, making his release a relatively easy decision. Though Smith was the Falcons' fourth-leading receiver in 2023, that came in part due to former head coach Arthur Smith's tight-end heavy deployment, something that seems likely to change under new offensive coordinator Zac Robinson. Kyle Pitts now looks primed to enter the 2024 campaign as the clear top option leading Atlanta's TE depth chart.

Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs

RB | LV

Could stay with Vegas

GM Tom Telesco said Tuesday that the Raiders will make an effort to re-sign Jacobs (quadriceps) even though the running back isn't expected to get the franchise tag, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com reports. "We're going to explore pretty hard and see if we can bring [Jacobs] back," said Telesco.

Telesco all but confirmed a recent Adam Schefter report suggesting Jacobs wouldn't get tagged. That's no surprise given the $14.15 million salary the tag would carry, combined with Jacobs' disappointing 2023 campaign, but it doesn't mean the Raiders aren't interested in bring him back on a cheaper deal. What's less clear is if the team will make a serious effort to re-sign him before free agency or simply let him test the market.

Davante Adams

Davante Adams

WR | LV

No trade planned

Raiders GM Tom Telesco said Tuesday that Adams won't be traded this offseason, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Adams has three seasons remaining on his contract, including a full guarantee on his $16.89 million base salary for 2024. The number is reasonable enough that he'd have considerable trade value, but it sounds like the Raiders are more inclined to keep him around, figuring the 31-year-old wideout can not only help them win games but also help ease the transition for whoever ends up playing quarterback. That said, Telesco might change his mind if another team makes a strong offer.

Justin Fields

Justin Fields

QB | CHI

Trade could come before free agency

General manager Ryan Poles said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that if the Bears decide they will be selecting a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft, the team would attempt to trade Fields before the start of free agency March 13, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Poles' comments could be read as a response to Fields' recently stated desire for clarity on his future in Chicago, and it sounds like a decision could be made more quickly than expected. The official start of free agency is just over two weeks away, while the legal tampering period will begin March 11. If, as expected, the Bears determine they will be selectin a QB like Caleb Williams in the 2024 NFL Draft, trade options for Fields could include the Steelers, Falcons, Patriots, Raiders and Broncos. In 13 games last season, the 2021 first-round pick compiled 2,562 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions, to go with 657 rushing yards and four scores.

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson

QB | DEN

Decision coming within two weeks

Coach Sean Payton said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that a decision on Wilson's future with the Broncos will come "in the next two weeks," Chris Tomasson of The Denver Gazette reports.

Wilson may realistically be released before the start of the new league year March 13, but Payton's comments suggest that a decision on the veteran's future in Denver won't come down to the wire of that deadline. If Wilson is released, the Broncos will eat a massive $85 million dead-money cap hit, but the size of his contract likely eliminates the possibility of a trade. Payton also referenced the Broncos' recent history of QB woes, stating "our job is to make sure this next one doesn't have a line through it," per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. While it doesn't seem like a final decision of Wilson's future has yet been made, the fact that Payton is already thinking about the "next one" under center could be read as a strong hint that the former Seahawk's release is imminent.

Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones

QB | NYG

Resumes throwing

General manager Joe Schoen said Monday that Jones (knee) has resumed stationary throwing and is on track to be ready for training camp, Connor Hughes of SNY.tv reports.

Jones, who is recovering from a right ACL tear, resumed throwing two weeks ago. Schoen added that Jones could take part in 7-on-7 work this spring. The Giants have backed Jones as their starter since the end of the regular season, and he's only one year into his four-year, $160 million contract extension, but the soon-to-be 27-year-old's miserable 2023 campaign also can't be overlooked. In six games before his season-ending injury, Jones compiled just 909 passing yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 108 of 160 pass attempts (5.7 YPA). If a solid quarterback prospect falls to New York at the No. 6 overall pick in April's draft, the team's confidence in Jones will be put to the test.

Tony Pollard

Tony Pollard

RB | DAL

Headed for free agency

The Cowboys aren't expected to use the franchise tag on Pollard and likely will allow him to test free agency, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Schefter is reporting the same thing about Raiders RB Josh Jacobs and Giants RB Saquon Barkley, both of whom received franchise tags last offseason (just like Pollard). Each of the three suffered a statistical decline from 2022 to 2023, especially in terms of yards per carry, though Pollard did better late in the season and ultimately snuck over 1,000 rushing yards for the year. Schefter also reports that RBs Derrick Henry and Austin Ekeler will be allowed to test free agency, with a deep class at the position potentially harming all of them when it comes to salary negotiations.

Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs

RB | LV

Not getting tag

Jacobs (quadriceps) isn't likely to receive a franchise tag from the Raiders and figures to become a free agent in March, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

It would cost the Raiders about $14.15 million to tag Jacobs for a second straight offseason, and this time he's coming off a disappointing, injury-shorted year rather than a career-best breakout campaign. After taking 340 carries for a league-high 1,653 yards (4.9 YPC) in 2022, the 223-pound RB dropped to 233 carries for 805 yards (3.5 YPC) in 2023 before missing the final four games with a quad injury. Jacobs still figures to command starter money when he hits free agency a month after his 26th birthday, but it won't compare to what he would've gotten on the open market last offseason if the Raiders hadn't tagged him. It doesn't help that the upcoming free-agent class is a strong one for RBs, with other potential options including Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard, Derrick Henry, Austin Ekeler, D'Andre Swift and Devin Singletary.

Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley

RB | NYG

Unlikely to be tagged

The Giants will discuss a new contract with Barkley but aren't expected to use their franchise tag on him, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Schefter reports that there are no teams planning to use tags on RBs, including the three -- Giants (Barkley), Raiders (Josh Jacobs) and Cowboys (Tony Pollard) -- that did so last offseason. In addition to those three, the 2024 free-agent class includes six other RBs that got at least 200 touches this past season (Derrick Henry, Austin Ekeler, D'Andre Swift, Devin Singletary, Ezekiel Elliott and Gus Edwards). Some of those players may re-sign with their current teams before the start of the new league year, but most figure to hit the open market. It would cost the Giants about $12.1 million to tag Barkley for a second straight year.

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins

QB | MIN

Encouraged by progress

Cousins, who is recovering from a torn right Achilles' tendon, posted a video Monday which showed him backpedaling and throwing recently in an indoor tennis facility, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com reports.

Cousins, whose 2023 season came to an end when he sustained the season-ending injury Oct. 29, noted in his social media post that he was "encouraged by the progress" he's made thus far. He's eligible to become a free agent next month and said earlier in February that he's on track with his recovery and expects to participate in OTAs and minicamp this spring. According to Seifert, the Vikings and Cousins have mutual interest in a reunion, but for now, the 35-year-old profiles as the best available option at his position ahead of NFL free agency.

Tee Higgins

Tee Higgins

WR | CIN

Officially gets franchise tag

The Bengals applied their franchise tag to Higgins (hamstring) on Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

According to Rapoport, Higgins' franchise tag number is expected to fall around $21.8 million for the 2024 season, but the tag may merely serve as a placeholder as the Bengals work toward a long-term extension with the receiver prior to the July 15 deadline. If the two sides are far apart on an extension, the Bengals also could look to trade Higgins, who would be a highly-sought after receiver given the weak crop of free agents at the position. Higgins was limited to just 11 games in 2023 due to rib and hamstring injuries, but he once again was productive in his fourth NFL season with 42 catches for 656 yards and five touchdowns. He should be back to full health before OTAs get underway in the spring, if he isn't already.

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