Off-Season NFL News and Notes
The Super Bowl was just three weeks ago, but there is no off-season in the NFL. The new league year kicks off on March 13th, and there will be an abundance of storylines that bettors and fans should make note of for the 2023 NFL season. Each week at the Goldsheet, Eric Pauly will analyze key NFL news and notes and give his expert opinion.
2023 NFL Combine
The 2023 NFL Scouting combine began on Tuesday, February 28th, and it lasts until Monday, March 6th. The combine is critical for teams and rookies alike. While combine testing is not the end-all-be-all for prospects, teams focus on a few things during the combine when analyzing players.
For starters, medical testing is one of the most important aspects of the combine. Each team can have its own doctors look at players and give their medical determinations. Another critical aspect of the combine is players meeting with teams. Teams will have to do more work than just having a 15-minute conversation with players, but this is the start of the vetting process for NFL teams.
As for athletic testing, that kicks off tonight. Here is the schedule for this year’s combine:
|Dates Tested||Positions Tested|
|March 2nd||Defensive Linemen, Linebackers|
|March 3rd||Defensive Backs, Kickers/Special teams|
|March 4th||Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Tightends|
|March 5th||Offensive Linemen, Running Backs|
Not only is the combine a way for NFL teams and fans to get to know some of the top collegiate players, but you can also bet on combine events. DraftKings Sportsbook is offering lines on 40-yard dash time, bench press reps, and several other combine events. Check your state’s offerings to see if those wagers are available in your area. I already locked in a PrizePick for the combine.
NFL Franchise Tag Candidates
The franchise tag deadline is just under a week away, so teams need to decide if they want to give a tag to an eligible player. There are a few types of franchise tags, which are essentially one-year contract extensions with the team.
Teams can place either an exclusive tag, a nonexclusive tag, or a transition tag on a player. An exclusive tag restricts other teams’ ability to negotiate with that player, and they will be paid out the average of the top five salaries at their position in the current year.
The nonexclusive tag allows players to negotiate with other teams. Players with this tag are paid either 120% of their previous salary or an average of the top five tag amounts at the same position. This is determined by whichever amount is larger.
The transition tag pays out the player an average of the top 10 salaries at their position. Other teams can negotiate with players on the transition tag, but the tagging team can match any offer from another team.
Once a team decides to place a player on the franchise tag, the player has the option to sign the tag or not. When a player is tagged, the team and the player’s agent can still work toward a long-term contract extension.
Daron Payne of the Washington Commanders was the first player to receive the franchise tag, and Evan Engram of the Jaguars was also franchise tagged. Here are a few other players who are candidates to receive the franchise tag in the coming days:
|Player and Team||Position||Franchise Tag Cost|
|Kaleb McGary, ATL||OT||$18,244,000|
|Lamar Jackson, BAL||QB||$32,416,000|
|Tremaine Edmunds, BUF||LB||$17,478,000|
|Jessie Bates, CIN||S||$14,460,000|
|Tony Pollard, DAL||RB||$10,091,000|
|Dalton Schultz, DAL||TE||$11,345,000|
|Jawaan Taylor, JAX||OT||$18,244,000|
|Dre’mont Jones, DEN||DE||$19,727,000|
|Orlando Brown Jr., KC||LT||$18,244,000|
|Josh Jacobs, LV||RB||$10,091,000|
|Saquon Barkley, NYG||RB||$10,091,000|
|Daniel Jones, NYG||QB||$32,416,000|
|Jakobi Meyers, NE||WR||$19,743,000|
|CJ Gardner-Johnson, PHI||S||$14,460,000|
|Geno Smith, SEA||QB||$32,416,000|
Franchise tag values via Spotrac
Of these players, I expect Geno Smith, Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard, Josh Jacobs, Lamar Jackson, Gardner-Johnson, and Dre’mont Jones to sign franchise tags in the near future.
NFL Player Transaction News and Notes
We have already seen a few players cut for salary cap purposes, and we can expect more players to be cut and hit the free-agent market in the coming days. There are other players, most notably DeAndre Hopkins, who are candidates to be traded.
For all information about transactions from all 32 NFL teams, take a look at our Transactions tracker.
Other NFL Notes
- Potential No. 1 draft pick Jalen Carter has been issued a warrant for reckless driving and racing that resulted in the death of a teammate and a Georgia staffer.
- Commanders owner Dan Snyder does not want to sell the team to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos; more corruption has been reported.
- The Falcons released QB Marcus Mariota, and the Commanders released QB Carson Wentz.
- The Eagles have signed Brian Johnson to be their OC and Sean Desai to be their DC.
- The New York Jets take on the Cleveland Browns in the Hall-of-Fame game on Thursday, August 3rd.
- Buffalo DC, Leslie Fraizer, is taking a leave of absence for the 2023 season.