Take Agent: Ten Offensive Candidates Who Came Out To Prove They Still Belong

Each season, a different set of players face a crossroads or have something to prove for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are related to age, contract, salary cap concerns, injury, poor performance, or issues off the field.

Here are 10 attacking players, not quarterbacks, who fall into one of those categories to watch in 2022.

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Elliott has been heading in the statistically wrong direction since becoming the first rider in league history to sign a $100 million contract. The two-time rush champion signed a six-year, $90 million contract, making him the top performer in the NFL, shortly before the start of the 2019 regular season to finish his long pre-season. Elliott, who had two years left on his junior contract, set new benchmarks for repeat with general warrants of $50,052,137 and $28,052,137 fully guaranteed when the deal was signed.

Elliott averaged a low 58.9 yards per game last season. Before Elliott’s contract extension, he averaged 101.2 rushing yards per game. Elliott wasn’t Dallas’ most efficient comeback last season. It was Tony Pollard, who some believe is the best on the Cowboys’ list.

If that proves to be the case this season, it’s hard to imagine Elliott returning with the Cowboys in 2023. Perhaps a split from Elliott to keep Pollard, who is on a contract year, will probably be necessary. There is already speculation that Elliott will be released next season regardless of what happens with Pollard.

Elliott is set to earn $10.9 million on a salary cap figure of $16.72 million in 2023. The Cowboys will have $11.86 million in dead money, a cap fee for a player no longer on the team roster, by letting Elliott go unused. Post June 1 set.

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Thomas missed the 2021 season after suffering a relapse in rehab from ankle surgery he underwent in June. The Saints were already disappointed with Thomas for waiting several weeks before training camp to have surgery on his injured left ankle during the 2020 season.

The 2020 season has also been challenging for Thomas. He was the subject of commercial rumors following a one-game suspension for a training altercation with a teammate and was limited to seven regular season games due to an ankle injury.

Thomas has been an afterthought in the best of wide receiver discussions with several young players appearing in positions over the past two seasons. In 2019, Thomas’ last healthy season, he set the record for only receptions with 149, and was named the NFL offensive player of the year.

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Barkley’s stellar debut season, in which he led the NFL for 2,028 yards of melee (combining dash and receiving yardage) and claimed the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in the process, seems like a distant memory. He had a lackluster 2021 on his return from the 2020 season as he was limited to two games due to a ruptured right anterior cruciate ligament. Barkley had 593 yards with 3.7 yards per carry in 13 games last season. The second overall pick in the 2018 draft is at risk of his five-year rookie contract, averaging $7,682,350 a year, which includes his current salary of $7.217 million in a year option, the biggest deal of his NFL career.

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Robinson’s contract year when he was playing under the $17.88 million franchise label left much to be desired. The 2021 season was Robinson’s worst campaign in the NFL (other than 2017 when he tore his left ACL in the Jaguars season opener). Robinson had 36 catches for 410 yards with one touchdown in 12 games, which can be attributed in part to an injury-strewn season where he never established a chemistry with rookie quarterback Justin Fields.

However, the Rams Robinson signed a three-year, $46.5 million contract (up to $48 million worth of incentives) with a full guarantee of $30.75 million. Robinson could top-year third in 2024 by hitting a combined 2,201 yards in 2022 and 2023. The Rams are counting on 2021 to be an anomaly since Robert Woods, who tore the ACL in his left knee during practice last November, was traded With the Giants in the payroll dump move to accommodate Robinson’s signature.

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Stanley capitalized on the 2019 All-Pro campaign in a five-year, $98.75 million span worth up to $100 million in incentives with record guarantees to hold an offensive line during the middle of the 2020 season. There is just over $65.5 million in total guarantees as Just over $58.8 million was guaranteed upon signing.

Stanley has played only two games since then. He suffered a left ankle injury at the end of the season that required surgery two days after signing his contract. Stanley started the first game in 2021 before eventually having additional ankle surgery during the season. Stanley has just been activated from the list physically unable to perform. Getting back to anything close to his previous level would be a huge boost for the Ravens.

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Golladay was the beneficiary of the biggest pass catcher deal in 2021 after the Lions turned him down as a franchise player. He signed a four-year, $72 million contract (maximum $76 million through incentives) with $40 million in guarantees after miscellaneous injuries limited to five games in 2020. The 2019 Pro Bowl participant had 37 catches for 521 yards and no drop. In 14 games last season. Golladay may need to thrive this season in head coach Brian Daboll’s new offensive system or there won’t be a third year in New York, even though his $4.5 million bonus on Day Three of the league’s 2023 roster (next March 17) is all but assured. . March part.

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Smith exceeded most reasonable contract expectations when the Patriots signed him to a three-year deal averaging $12.5 million per year in free agency for 2021. He set a record for the most money fully guaranteed in a tight final contract of $31.25 million.

Smith is nowhere near living up to the old adage “For to whom much is given, much is expected.” He had just 28 passes for 294 yards and one touchdown in 16 games last season while taking 47.64% of New England’s offensive picks (525 of 1,102 games). Among the tight ends, Smith was 34th in the NFL in receptions and 31st in receiving yards. With another season like 2021, Smith won’t be in 2023 to collect his $12 million salary.

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Brown, who signed Conklin to a three-year, $42 million contract, made a big profit in 2020 as he earned an All-Pro honor. A left elbow dislocation and a right patellar tendon tear restricted Conklin to seven low-profile games last season. Conklin took a $4 million salary cut from $12 million to a fully guaranteed $8 million where he can redeem money through playtime incentives during an off-season period. He recently indicated that he would like to stay in Cleveland after this season. Conklin could reap the benefit of a right-handed market that took off big in 2021 with a return to par in 2020 this season. Four correct wizards signed deals that averaged $17 million or more last year.

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Lukewarm interest in free agency led to Smith Schuster returning to Pittsburgh in a one-year, $8 million “Proof It” deal last season. He was reportedly looking for more than $15 million annually on the open market.

Smith Schuster didn’t prove much when a left shoulder injury sidelined him for the regular season after five games. He had 15 receptions for 129 yards with no touchdowns in those games. Smith Schuster returned to play a wild card playoff against the Chiefs as he had five catches for 26 yards.

There was less interest in Smith-Schuster during free agency this year than there was in 2021. He signed a one-year $3.25 million contract with Chiefs worth up to $10.75 million through incentives. The Chiefs recently modified his contract so that he could earn an additional $510,000 because his $510,000 bonus per existing game ($30,000 per active game) was increased to $1.02 million ($60,000 per active game).

Smith-Schuster has a huge opportunity in Kansas City due to the lack of a No. 1 wide receiver with Tyreek Hill trade to Dolphins. He could be set for the big payday he eluded at free agency next March with the highly productive 2022 season.

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Engram’s disappointing 2021 campaign with the Giants, in which he earned 46 passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns, didn’t stop him from getting a one-year, $9 million deal from the Jaguars, which includes a fully guaranteed $8.25 million. He can make up to $10 million through incentives. The deal’s base value is not much less than $9.293 million, as it would have cost the giants to appoint Engram as their transitional player.

Engram could be in the right place to showcase himself in free agency for 2023. Jaguar’s new coach Doug Pederson’s attack with the Eagles was very friendly. During his five seasons as head coach in Philadelphia, Zach Erts hit nearly 80 times a year, including setting a record reception for one season in the NFL with 116 in 2018.


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