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Agent’s Take: Ten offensive bounce-back candidates who are out to prove they still belong

Each season, a unique set of gamers face a crossroads or have one thing to show for a wide range of causes. The commonest causes are associated to age, contract or wage cap considerations, damage, poor efficiency or off-the-field points. 

Listed here are 10 offensive gamers, who aren’t quarterbacks, who match into a kind of classes to keep watch over in 2022.

Elliott has been trending within the incorrect course statistically since turning into the primary working again in league historical past to signal a $100 million contract. The 2-time dashing champion signed a six-year, $90 million contract extension, which made him the NFL‘s highest-paid working again, shortly earlier than the beginning of the 2019 common season to finish a prolonged preseason holdout. Elliott, who had two years remaining on his rookie contract, established new requirements for working backs with $50,052,137 in total ensures and $28,052,137 absolutely assured at signing within the deal.

Elliott averaged a career-low 58.9 dashing yards per sport final season. Previous to Elliott getting his contract extension, he averaged 101.2 dashing yards per sport. Elliott wasn’t Dallas’ best working again final season. It was Tony Pollard, who some consider is the most effective working again on the Cowboys’ roster.

If that proves to be the case this season, it is onerous to think about Elliott again with the Cowboys in 2023. It might in all probability be a necessity to half methods with Elliott to retain Pollard, who’s in a contract 12 months. There may be already hypothesis that Elliott can be launched subsequent offseason no matter what occurs with Pollard. 

Elliott is scheduled to make $10.9 million on a $16.72 million wage cap quantity in 2023. The Cowboys would have $11.86 million of lifeless cash, a cap cost for a participant now not on a workforce’s roster, by letting Elliott go with out utilizing a post-June 1 designation.

Thomas missed the 2021 season after struggling a setback in rehabbing from the ankle surgical procedure he had that June. The Saints have been already annoyed with Thomas for ready till a number of weeks earlier than coaching to have surgical procedure on the left ankle injured throughout the 2020 season. 

The 2020 season was additionally difficult for Thomas. He was the topic of commerce rumors after a one-game suspension due to a follow altercation with a teammate and restricted to seven regular-season video games due to the ankle. 

Thomas has been an afterthought in the most effective extensive receiver discussions with the emergence of a number of youthful gamers on the positions over the past two seasons. In 2019, Thomas’ final wholesome season, he set the only file for receptions with 149 and was named NFL Offensive Participant of the Yr. 

Barkley’s stellar debut season, during which he led the NFL with 2,028 yards from scrimmage (mixed dashing and receiving yards) and earned 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Yr honors within the course of, looks as if a distant reminiscence. He had a lackluster 2021 in his return from a 2020 season the place he was restricted to 2 video games due to a torn proper ACL. Barkley had 593 dashing yards with 3.7 yards per carry in 13 video games final season. The second total decide within the 2018 draft is in peril of his five-year rookie contract, averaging $7,682,350 per 12 months, which incorporates his present $7.217 million choice 12 months wage, being the most important deal of his NFL profession. 

Robinson’s contract 12 months when he was enjoying underneath a $17.88 million franchise tag left rather a lot to be desired. The 2021 season was Robinson’s worst NFL marketing campaign (aside from 2017 when he tore his left ACL within the Jaguars‘ season opener). Robinson had 36 catches for 410 yards with one landing in 12 video games, which may partially be attributed to an injury-plagued season the place he by no means established chemistry with rookie quarterback Justin Fields

Nonetheless, the Rams signed Robinson to a three-year, $46.5 million contract (price as much as $48 million by incentives) with $30.75 million absolutely assured. Robinson can void out of the third 12 months in 2024 by reaching 2,201 mixed receiving yards in 2022 and 2023. The Rams are relying on 2021 to be an anomaly since Robert Woods, who tore the ACL in his left knee throughout a follow final November, was traded to the Titans in a wage dump transfer to accommodate Robinson’s signing.

Stanley parlayed a 2019 All-Professional marketing campaign right into a five-year, $98.75 million extension price as much as $100 million by incentives with record-setting ensures for an offensive lineman contract throughout the center of the 2020 season. There are slightly greater than $65.5 million in total ensures the place barely greater than $58.8 million was absolutely assured at signing.  

Stanley has solely performed in two video games since then. He suffered a season-ending left ankle damage that required surgical procedure a few days after signing his contract. Stanley began the primary sport in 2021 earlier than ultimately present process further surgical procedure on the ankle throughout the season. Stanley was simply activated off the bodily unable to carry out listing. A return to something near his earlier degree of play could be a giant enhance to the Ravens.

Golladay was the recipient of 2021’s greatest deal for a cross catcher after the Lions declined to designate him as a franchise participant. He signed four-year, $72 million contract (price a most of $76 million by incentives) with $40 million of ensures after assorted accidents restricted him to 5 video games in 2020. The 2019 Professional Bowl participant had 37 catches for 521 yards and nil touchdowns in 14 video games final season. Golladay in all probability must flourish this season in new head coach Brian Daboll’s offensive system or there will not be a 3rd 12 months in New York, though his $4.5 million third day of the 2023 league 12 months roster bonus (subsequent March 17) turned absolutely assured this half March.

Smith exceeded most affordable contract projections when the Patriots signed him to a three-year deal averaging $12.5 million per 12 months in 2021 free company. He set a file for probably the most cash absolutely assured in a good finish contract with $31.25 million. 

Smith did not come near residing as much as the previous saying of “to whom a lot is given, a lot is anticipated.” He solely had 28 catches for 294 yards and one landing in 16 video games final season whereas taking 47.64% of New England’s offensive snaps (525 of 1,102 performs). Amongst tight ends, Smith was thirty fourth within the NFL in receptions and thirty first in receiving yards. With one other season like in 2021, Smith will not be in round in 2023 to gather his $12 million wage.

The Browns signing Conklin to a three-year, $42 million contract paid large dividends in 2020 as he earned All-Professional honors. A dislocated left elbow and a torn proper patellar tendon restricted Conklin to a career-low seven video games final season. Conklin took a $4 million pay reduce from $12 million to a totally assured $8 million during which he can earn the cash again by playtime incentives throughout the offseason. He just lately indicated that he wish to stay in Cleveland past this season. Conklin might reap the good thing about a proper deal with market that took off dramatically in 2021 with a return to his 2020 kind this season. 4 proper tackles signed offers averaging $17 million or extra final 12 months.

Tepid curiosity in free company led Smith-Schuster to return to Pittsburgh on a one-year “prove-it” deal price $8 million final season. He was reportedly on the lookout for greater than $15 million per 12 months on the open market. 

Smith-Schuster wasn’t proving very a lot when a left shoulder damage sidelined him for the common season after 5 video games. He had 15 receptions for 129 yards with none touchdowns in these video games. Smith-Schuster returned for a wild card playoff sport in opposition to the Chiefs during which he had 5 catches for 26 yards.

There was much less curiosity in Smith-Schuster throughout free company this 12 months than in 2021. He signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Chiefs price as much as $10.75 million by incentives. The Chiefs just lately modified his contract so he can earn a further $510,000 as a result of his $510,000 of per-game roster bonuses ($30,000 for every sport lively) have been elevated to $1.02 million ($60,000 for every sport lively).

Smith-Schuster has an incredible alternative in Kansas Metropolis since there is not a longtime No. 1 extensive receiver with Tyreek Hill’s commerce to the Dolphins. He might be positioned for the massive payday that is eluded him in free company subsequent March with a extremely productive 2022 season.

Engram’s disappointing 2021 marketing campaign with the Giants, the place he caught 46 passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns, did not stop him from getting a one-year, $9 million deal from the Jaguars, which incorporates $8.25 million absolutely assured. He could make as a lot as $10 million by incentives. The bottom worth of the deal is not a lot lower than the $9.293 million it will have price the Giants to designate Engram as a transition participant.

Engram might be in the proper place to showcase himself for 2023 free company. New Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson’s offense with the Eagles was tight finish pleasant. Throughout his 5 seasons as head coach in Philadelphia, Zach Ertz averaged near 80 catches per 12 months, together with setting the NFL single-season receptions file for a good finish with 116 in 2018.

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