05 Apr

Here’s what Aaron Rodgers was awarded for four plays in 2023, per report

NFL salaries can be a complex system involving guaranteed money, restructuring and incentives. Players can earn extra money based on their playtime and performance, which ends up benefiting many players and their bank accounts. If a player ends up with a season-ending injury, sees fewer snaps than intended or the wheels start to fall off, they will not earn as much — or nearly anything — from the NFL’s performance-based pay system.

The starting quarterback who played the fewest snaps this past season is feeling the results of his year ending just four snaps into Week 1. That would be New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who earned the lowest amount among all NFL players through the performance-based pay system, per ESPN.

Rodgers’ grand total came out to … drum roll, please … $81.14. Not sure he will even notice the money hit his direct deposit.

For someone worth millions, that is probably like loose change to him and it certainly can’t buy you much in New York. It can get you about four hot dogs and a drink at MetLife Stadium. Rodgers’ small check is due to him playing just 0.33% of the snaps before he tore his Achilles, which ended his season.

To put it in perspective, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy nearly doubled his pay thanks to incentives, taking home an extra $739,765. Former Baltimore Ravens guard John Simpson, who signed with the Jets this offseason, finished first in the program, with an extra $974,613 for playing 99% of offensive snaps in 2023.

The performance-based pay system is in place to reward all NFL players based on both their play time and base salary. A player can earn more if he plays a significant amount of snaps, especially with a low base salary.

Ahead of the 2023 season, Rodgers signed a two-year deal with $75 million guaranteed through 2024. He had $110 million guaranteed on his old contract with the Green Bay Packers, taking a pay cut of $35 million to call East Rutherford, New Jersey his home.

Rodgers is planning to return next season and is likely hoping that his run lasts more than a few minutes. If he is able to stay healthy, his additional paycheck will look a lot different in the 2025 offseason.

05 Apr

CFL team adds former Bears, Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool to negotiating list, per report

Chase Claypool was born in Canada. Now the former Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver has a clear path to resuming his professional football career across the border. Almost a month after hitting 2024 NFL free agency, Claypool has been added to an exclusive negotiating list by the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, according to 3DownNation.

The move doesn’t necessarily mean Claypool is headed for a new league after just four seasons in the NFL. But it does give the Roughriders the exclusive ability to negotiate a contract with the former second-round draft pick in the event he’s interested.

Claypool, 25, most recently played for the Miami Dolphins, who acquired him via trade last October. But he’s seen his NFL stock take a big dip in successive seasons. Originally drafted No. 49 overall by the Steelers out of Notre Dame, he topped 850 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie, only to be traded halfway through his third season. After joining the Bears in exchange for a second-round pick, Claypool logged just 18 catches in 10 games over one-and-a-half seasons before his benching and trade.

What’s next for the 6-foot-4 wideout, who caught another four passes in his short-lived stint with the Dolphins? The British Columbia native hasn’t appeared to draw much interest around the NFL since free agency began. He would be eligible for a CFL offer, seeing as he officially became a free agent in March. CFL teams are permitted to name up to 45 players to a negotiating list, but those players cannot receive a contract offer unless they are no longer under contract with another team or league. If an offer is made but rejected, according to CFLdb, the player is removed from said CFL team’s negotiating list one year from the offer date.

05 Apr

Three things to know about the upcoming release

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Denver Broncos are getting set to make a dramatic change to their uniforms. The Broncos announced on social media that they’ll be wearing a new look for the 2024 season.

The Broncos uniforms haven’t undergone any major changes since 1997 when they unveiled their current look. In the 27 years since then, the Broncos have made a few slight changes: They released a color rush jersey in 2016, and they unveiled a white helmet in 2023, but their main uniforms have stayed mostly intact.

The Broncos also switched from a blue home jersey to an orange home jersey prior to the 2012 season, but that didn’t involve a total redesign of the uniforms — this one will.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. A total redesign is coming. Broncos team president Damani Leech revealed on Monday that the uniform will be a “full redesign.” However, he did add that not everything will be changing. The team will be keeping the “same colors and same logo” in place.
  2. Leech hints at what the redesign might look like. Here’s what Leech had to say about the process of designing the new uniforms: “Part of the process was talking about, what’s important for the Broncos? What’s important for Broncos fans? Wanting to evolve and be new and different but also be respectful of our history and our traditions,” Leech said, via the Denver Post. “Understanding our surroundings from a geographic standpoint, there will be nods to that and I think people be really excited about it.”

When the Broncos unveiled their white helmets last year, the color was a nod to the snowcapped Rocky Mountains and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Broncos fully embrace that theme once again. As Leech notes, the team wanted to make a uniform that shows that the Broncos understand “our surroundings from a geographic standpoint.”

Someone actually made a mock-up of what a Rocky Mountain uniform might look like and you can see that below.

My Denver Broncos concept uniforms for the @sportslogosnet design contest @AndrewMLind #NewBroncosUniforms pic.twitter.com/8p2HpTGiWe

— T (@TimContic) March 19, 2024
This mock up shows the mountains on the sleeve of the jersey, which would be pretty cool if the Broncos actually go through with that.

  1. Release date. The Broncos will be unveiling their new uniforms on April 22, which is just three days before the start of the 2024 NFL Draft. The reason teams generally shoot for the draft as a target release date is so they can show off their new look during the NFL’s biggest offseason event.

The Broncos are one of at least three teams who are expected to unveil new uniforms this year. The Texans have already leaked their new road uniforms and the Jets previously announced that they would be releasing new uniforms in April. The Lions will also be unveiling new uniforms on April 18.

05 Apr

Kirk Cousins’ new backup takes a steep pay cut to stay with Falcons ahead of 2024 season, per report

The Atlanta Falcons paid a pretty penny to lure Kirk Cousins from the Minnesota Vikings in 2024 NFL free agency, committing $180 million to the quarterback in March. Now they’re recouping a small fraction of salary cap space at the position, with backup Taylor Heinicke recently agreeing to a steep pay cut in order to remain under contract, as ESPN reported.

Heinicke initially inked a two-year, $14 million deal last offseason, but his 2024 base salary has been decreased from $5 million to just $1.21 million. The Falcons have guaranteed $1.32 million of his deal in exchange for the restructure, per Over the Cap, but the team has also removed a $40,000 per-game active-roster bonus. This wipes out up to $6 million in potential incentives, while helping the Falcons immediately save close to $4.5 million against the 2024 salary cap.

New coach Raheem Morris has called Heinicke an “elite backup,” but the financial tweaks suggest the former Washington Commanders starter may need to compete for the official No. 2 job this summer. The Falcons are also expecting to add to the position through April’s draft after trading 2023 starter Desmond Ridder to the Arizona Cardinals following Cousins’ arrival.

Heinicke, 31, made four starts for Atlanta last year, going 1-3 while completing just 59% of his passes. The former Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers prospect is best known for his time in Washington, where he logged 25 starts over three seasons, including a playoff appearance against the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

05 Apr

Chiefs bring back former first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire on one-year deal, per report

The Kansas City Chiefs are keeping their backfield intact as they prepare to defend their back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 2024. The club has agreed to a one-year deal to retain running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, according to NFL Media. The 24-year-old had been a free agent after Kansas City declined his fifth-year option last May, but the two sides have decided to keep their relationship going for at least another season.

Edwards-Helaire was selected with the 32nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Chiefs and had been the club’s starter up until midway through the 2022 campaign. The LSU product was drafted to be a dual-threat option out of Kansas City’s backfield upon arrival after helping the Tigers to a national championship during his final collegiate season, but it never reached the peak that most hoped. He totaled 1,100 yards from scrimmage as a rookie, but was limited to 10 games during his sophomore season due to a knee injury.

In 2022, the Chiefs drafted Isiah Pacheco and the seventh-rounder would eventually usurp Edwards-Helaire as the starter due to the latter’s lack of production and injuries. Edwards-Helaire was put on injured reserve in late November of that season, which then paved the way for Pacheco’s full ascent.

After falling out of the starting role, Edwards-Helaire has served as a solid complementary piece in the Chiefs offense. He totaled 411 total yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in 15 games played for the team last regular season.

This reunion between the Chiefs and Edwards-Helaire does come off the heels of the team hosting former Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins on a free agent visit on Wednesday. Given Edwards-Helaire’s latest signing, it would seem like Dobbins wasn’t able to endear himself to the franchise enough to land a roster spot.

05 Apr

Updates on top 100 free agents, where players signed, who’s still available

The 2024 NFL offseason is moving along after a red-hot start to free agency, which featured countless big names changing teams. All 32 teams began negotiations with pending free agents on March 11 and the official start of the new league year kicked off on March 13.

Where are all the top free agents headed? Who’s still available?

Below, you’ll find a running tracker of the top 100 free agents of 2024, compiled from senior columnist Pete Prisco’s annual ranking of the best veterans available. Check back regularly for updates throughout the offseason: