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Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor rushed 20 times for 86 yards and a touchdown, adding three catches for 12 yards on four targets in the Colts' Week 12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Taylor was consistently ripping off big runs and looked like his elite self. The problem for Taylor, however, is that quarterback Matt Ryan is a shell of his former self and is unable to consistently move the ball down the field. The good news for Taylor is that the backfield, including passing downs, is entirely his. The volume and explosive playmaking keep Taylor ranked as a high-end RB1 heading into Week 13 versus Dallas.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith could be a salary cap casualty this offseason after not playing well in 2022 while playing through injuries. The Buccaneers are in one of the worst cap situations in the league and are currently $55 million over the salary cap. If the team moves on from Smith, the most likely fix would be to move Tristan Wirfs to left tackle. The Bucs would free up $9.95 million if they cut him before June 1, while they'd save $15.25 million as a post-June 1 cut. The 29-year-old former second-rounder in 2015 played in a career-low 13 games this past season and could be on his way out after eight seasons with the team.
University of Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (knee) is still recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered on Nov. 19 of last year, and it's unclear if he'll be able to play in his rookie season in 2023 because team medical staffs tend to evaluate a player's timelines on a different basis. NFL teams might get their first chance to evaluate his knee in a month at the scouting combine and again at his medical recheck before April's draft. Even though he wasn't able to work out at the Senior Bowl last week, Hooker reportedly impressed during his interviews. Despite his knee injury, Hooker could be in line to be taking in the second round of this year's NFL draft.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson is a candidate to have his contract restructured this offseason, although it will be a bit tricky with two years left on his current deal. The Steelers will likely shy away from restructuring him into a bigger dead salary cap number in the final year of his contract in 2024. But if the Steelers are in a pinch against the cap this year, they could add $3.5 million in cap space. Johnson was a big disappointment to the Steelers and fantasy managers in 2022 while working with quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky and rookie Kenny Pickett. He had 86 receptions for 882 yards, but he failed to find the end zone in 17 games after scoring a career-high eight times in 2021. A bounce-back season could be in order for Johnson as he gains more chemistry with Pickett.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky is a potential cut candidate this offseason, even though Mason Rudolph is all but gone and Kenny Pickett already has two confirmed concussions. Trubisky will make $10.63 million in 2023, though, and the Steelers could add $8 million in salary cap space if they release him. The veteran signal-caller has gone on the record about not being happy about how things turned out in 2022. If Pittsburgh cuts Trubisky, they'll need to add another QB behind Pickett. "I expect Mitch will be on the roster next year and be an effective backup if we need him," owner Art Rooney said last week. "I think he showed that he can be that. We can win with him."
The Chicago Bears would love to have something in wide receiver Chase Claypool, whom they acquired at midseason in 2022 from the Pittsburgh Steelers. His first season in Chicago was a disappointment and he missed time with injuries, but the Bears aren't giving up on him just yet. "I don't think we have that figured out just yet, but I see him getting a lot of opportunities," offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said about Claypool's role. "He's someone that we need to play at a really high level, and he's capable of that. He's done that in the past. We've got to get the most out of him, and he wants that, too." The 24-year-old had just 14 catches for 140 yards in seven games with the Bears, but with better health and with more time to develop chemistry with quarterback Justin Fields, Claypool could easily bounce back in 2023 with a big role.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has accrued three NFL seasons and is eligible for a contract extension, which The Athletic's Daniel Popper thinks will get done this offseason. The earlier the Chargers get a deal done, the better. Herbert will likely be looking to top Aaron Rodgers' average annual value at $50.27 million per season. It remains to be seen if he'll reset the QB market, especially after he took a slight step back in his third NFL season from a numbers perspective. The 24-year-old had a career-high 68.2% completion percentage, but he also threw a career-low 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while amassing 4,739 passing yards in 17 regular season games. However, Herbert is still one of the best young signal-callers in the game and will be compensated generously.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen and tight end Gerald Everett are both scheduled to become free agents in March and could be salary cap casualties. Allen would represent $14.8 million in cap savings as a pre-June 1 cut and $17.5 million savings post-June 1. Everett would save $4.25 million before or after June 1. If the Chargers move on from Allen, they'll need to draft a receiver early to replace him. If they don't cut him, the Chargers still need to add more speed at the position. The Bolts need to find a bona fide No. 1 all-around tight end. Donald Parham Jr. only played in six games due to injury last year, and Tre' McKitty took a step back in his second season. Allen, 30, has been a target hog for LA, but he played in just 10 games in 2022 due to injury.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who earned a selection as a first-team All-Pro in 2022, said he'd like to remain with the team. Jacobs played in every game, won the rushing crown with 1,653 yards and led the league with 2,053 scrimmage yards. However, since the team declined his fifth-year option last offseason, he's set to be an unrestricted free agent in March. If Vegas can't come to an agreement with Jacobs on a multi-year contract, they could use the exclusive franchise tag, which is projected to be $16.5 million. Jacobs said he wants to stay in Vegas, but he also made it clear he wouldn't be happy with the franchise tag in 2023. If he's tagged, he could request a trade to a team that would negotiate a contract to his liking. "This is where I want to be," Jacobs said. "I feel like I've left my mark on this organization." Regardless of where he's playing in 2023, Jacobs should be a high-end RB1 in fantasy.
According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the Jets have no plans on trading quarterback Zach Wilson. The 23-year-old was taken No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft and has appeared in 22 games for the club. Throughout his tenure in New York, Wilson has struggled, amassing 4,022 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions while completing only 55.2% of his throws. However, the Jets believe Wilson can be a quality signal-caller, although the team still intends to acquire a veteran quarterback with the hope he'll develop along the way.
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (toe) suffered a dislocated toe during the Pro Bowl Games on Sunday. The 27-year-old had a terrific season, finishing with a career-high 60 total tackles and 16 sacks. Fortunately, the 2023-24 campaign is a ways away, so Garrett should be good to go barring a significant setback.
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