On Monday, the NFL raised the salary cap for the Arizona Cardinals and the rest of the league for the second consecutive season.
Jumping up to $224.8 million from $207.4 million in 2022, all 32 teams will have an additional $16.6 million to play with as they experiment with personnel changes this offseason.
According to OverTheCap.com, Arizona currently has around $14.5 million to work with as of Wednesday. In comparison to the rest of the NFL, the Cardinals have the 11th highest total cap for next season.
Arizona’s cap number is no longer set in stone. When the NFL offseason begins, it will be influenced by a variety of factors, including extensions, retirement(s), free-agent signings, potential trades, and cuts.
There’s also the unknown of how new GM Monti Ossenfort and Arizona’s next head coach will function in their respective roles.
“I’m not sure what was done here previously,” Ossenfort said during his press conference. “I have a system that I believe in and that’s where we are going to focus our time and attention on how we go about scouting players and what we’re looking for specifically.
“First, we have to define what we’re looking for and then we’re going to turn over every rock that we can to build this roster. I believe there will be a lot of evaluation at all levels of the football organization, and we will cross that bridge.”
Defensive end Zach Allen and cornerback Byron Murphy are two potential extensions that are front and center for the organization in 2023. According to ESPN’s Matt Bowen, Allen is the league’s 23rd best available free agent. Murphy landed at position 37.
Allen is coming off his best season as a pro, in which he recorded 5.5 sacks, 19 QB hits, 10 tackles for loss, and eight passes defensed in 13 games.
He thrived under the tutelage of the retiring J.J. Watt and clearly advanced in the final year of his rookie contract. The defensive lineman is at the top of the list of in-house free agents the Cardinals should bring back into the mix.
Murphy, on the other hand, is coming off an injury-plagued season in which he played in just nine games before being placed on injured reserve due to a back injury. He finished with 0.5 sacks, 36 tackles, three for losses, and a quarterback hit. Murphy, on the other hand, has played in all but two games in the last three years, one of which was due to COVID-19.
The fact that he is a homegrown talent from Saguaro High School is a plus. Murphy looked like Arizona’s No. 1 cornerback in 2021, with four interceptions and 12 passes defensed. The back injury should be monitored, but there’s no reason to believe the CB won’t be able to return to those numbers.
If you live in Arizona, you should also consider the franchise and transition tags. The franchise and transition tags for defensive linemen are worth $19.7 million and $17.45 million, respectively. Cornerbacks are worth $18.14 million and $15.79 million, respectively.
Another name to keep an eye on in terms of extension talks this season is wide receiver Hollywood Brown, who is in the final year of his rookie deal after the Cardinals picked up his fifth-year option last season. According to OverTheCap.com, extending the wide receiver in 2023 would result in a $9.8 million cap savings.
While those three are looking to extend their careers, several other 2022 Cardinals are likely to retire.
Watt has already announced his retirement from his illustrious career, taking with him what would have been a hefty price tag coming off his best season since 2018. Watt’s contract has three void years, which will account for a $8.36 million cap hit in 2023 and 2024, according to OverTheCap.com.
He’s not the only Cardinal who could ride off into the sunset, as center Rodney Hudson, left tackle Justin Pugh, and wide receiver A.J. Green are all considering retirement. Hudson’s current contract has two void years and a cap hit of $8.33 million over the next two seasons.
Then there’s the DeAndre Hopkins dilemma Arizona must deal with as it retools.
Given the Cardinals’ current situation and a new general manager, the wide receiver has been a topic of trade discussions since the season ended. There’s also quarterback Kyler Murray’s health to consider, as he recovers from a season-ending knee injury and is expected to miss the start of the 2023 season.
He has a cap hit of $30.75 million in 2023 as of Wednesday.
When it comes to cap savings for Arizona, the timing of any potential trade is critical.
Dealing the No. 1 wideout before or on June 1 would save the Cardinals $8.15 million but come with a $22.6 million dead money hit in 2023. Arizona’s cap space would increase to around $22.6 million next season, with additional savings in 2024, but there would be a $11.3 million dead money hit.
A trade after June 1 would be much better for the Cardinals and their cap situation. Hopkins would cost Arizona $11.3 million in dead money but give them $19.45 million to work with, increasing their cap space to nearly $34 million plus additional savings in 2024.
The second option, however, is much easier said than done, as prospective landing spots are likely to want Hopkins’ services before June.
Another option for the Cardinals to save money is to release wide receiver Robbie Anderson. The Cardinals would save $12 million if he were released before or on June 1.
And, given Anderson’s performance in 10 games (two starts) with Arizona — seven catches for 76 yards — saving money by releasing him may be more beneficial than keeping him on the roster.
There are a lot of different paths the Cardinals can take this offseason to increase their cap space. For the time being, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
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The NFL’s Youngest Starting Quarterbacks
The divisional round of the NFL playoffs has arrived, and for the first time in 13 years, both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have already been eliminated. The absence of the two warhorses, aged 45 and 39, respectively, emphasizes the youth of the remaining eight starting quarterbacks. In fact, none of them is over the age of 30, and only two are over the age of 26.
How much faith should we place in these relative newcomers? They all finished in the top 12 in a telling metric: adjusted expected points added per play this season, according to rbsdm.com, with the minimum set at 200 plays so that the San Francisco 49ers’ Brock Purdy and his small sample size can qualify. Here’s a list that uses just the right combination of advanced statistics and a more traditional look at a quarterback’s career track record to produce an exquisitely authoritative set of rankings for the quarterbacks who will take the field this weekend.
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27 years old | 6 NFL seasons
2022 adjusted EPA/play: 0.306 | QBR: 77.7 | PFF passing grade: 89.0
Sometimes you just have to lay up. Mahomes appears to be a lock to win his second NFL MVP award after leading the NFL in passing yards (5,250) and passing touchdowns (41), as well as EPA per play and QBR for the AFC’s top-seeded team. There’s also the fact that he’s the only starting quarterback left on the field who has won a Super Bowl. Buffalo’s Josh Allen entered the season as the MVP favorite, but Mahomes proved once again that he is simply the best this league has to offer.
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26 years old | 5 NFL seasons
2022 EPA/play adjustment: 0.231 | 2022 QBR: 71.5 | PFF passing grade: 86.1
Allen delivered a campaign that was somewhere between his breakout 2020 campaign and last year’s slight step back in terms of individual quality. He was one interception shy of the NFL lead with 14, and he led the league in turnover-worthy throws with 32, according to Pro Football Focus game charters. He made up for those errant passes in part by rushing for 762 yards (third among quarterbacks behind Justin Fields and Lamar Jackson) and seven touchdowns.
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26 years old | 3 NFL seasons
2022 EPA/play adjustment: 0.181 | 2022 QBR: 58.8 | PFF passing grade: 90.2
Allen and Burrow were a close call because, while the Cincinnati star does not have the same rushing threat, he had a far better 2022 with his arm. Burrow received the highest passing grade from PFF, finished ahead of Allen in passer rating (100.8-96.6), and outperformed his Buffalo counterpart in the first round of the playoffs last week (0.090 adjusted EPA per play vs. Allen’s negative-0.066). Burrow would have pushed ahead in the end, but it’s difficult to be certain of his performance with the Bengals’ offensive line so shaky. This issue will be resolved on the field when their teams meet on Sunday.
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24 years old | 3 NFL seasons
2022 EPA/play adjustment: 0.225 | 2022 QBR: 66.4 | PFF passing grade: 80.6
The possibility that Hurts is still hampered by a sprain in his throwing shoulder isn’t encouraging, but he’s off the injured list and says he’s “feeling good.” In his 15 regular-season games, the former Alabama and Oklahoma star excelled, posting huge gains in passing efficiency metrics while finishing tied for second among all players with 13 rushing touchdowns. Even if he isn’t 100 percent on Saturday, Hurts will be protected by PFF’s top pass-blocking unit. He will, however, want to play much better than he did in his postseason debut last year.
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29 years old | 7 NFL seasons
2022 EPA/play adjustment: 0.183 | 2022 QBR: 57.9 | PFF passing grade: 72.1
What a difference one week can make. Prescott was masterful in a first-round win at Tampa Bay after appearing disinterested at best in a lopsided regular-season finale loss at Washington. His adjusted EPA per play (0.736) against the Buccaneers was the highest of any quarterback in that round, with only Purdy coming close. Prescott threw four touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 143.3 passer rating in his best postseason performance. The problem is that he was only so-so in his first four playoff games, especially in the previous three dating back to 2018.
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23 years old | 1 NFL season
2022 EPA/play adjustment: 0.196 | 2022 QBR: 65.3 | PFF passing grade: 74.4
How is Purdy, the reigning Mr. Irrelevant with only six NFL starts under his belt, not at the bottom of this list? Because given how much confidence he has shown in himself, there is plenty of reason to be confident in him. Last week, he shredded Seattle for 332 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 131.5 rating, so the playoff stage didn’t seem too big for him. His adjusted EPA per play (0.709) was also extremely high, as it was during the regular season, when his mark of 0.196 ranked sixth among all quarterbacks. Purdy may not succeed in the long run, but for now he has the advantage of excellent coaching, an elite group of weapons, and a lack of haunting experiences at this level.
Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence
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23 years old | 2 NFL seasons
2022 EPA/play adjustment: 0.142 | 2022 QBR: 54.7 | PFF passing grade: 73.2
Lawrence looked a lot like the generational talent he was billed as going into the 2021 draft while leading Jacksonville all the way back against the Chargers last week. However, the first half, in which he threw four interceptions, did occur. His initial meltdown must be considered, especially in light of the fact that Lawrence lost a league-high nine fumbles this season, and he deserves credit for pulling himself together in time to stun Los Angeles. Even if the Jaguars do not have a disastrous start on Saturday, Lawrence may have to dig himself out of another hole if the Mahomes-led Chiefs run all over them.
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25 years old | 4 NFL seasons
2022 EPA/play adjustment: 0.119 | 2022 QBR: 60.8 | PFF passing grade: 72.7
He looked extremely impressive in knocking Minnesota out of the playoffs, but it’s important to remember that a) the Vikings were total frauds, especially on defense; b) Jones didn’t have many big games this season, let alone during his previous three seasons, when he had the distinct whiff of a bust; and c) this is a difficult group to stand out from, especially with Purdy getting more credit. All of this is to say that Giants Coach Brian Daboll, who has done an excellent job with Jones this season, could have been saving something for the postseason. In Minnesota, he dialed up 11 designed runs for Jones, seven more than the quarterback’s season average.
The 49ers are the hottest team in football, having won 11 straight games. They’ll try to make it 12 straight when they host the Cowboys on Sunday, with a spot in the NFC Championship on the line.
Brock Purdy’s legend continues to grow. In his first career playoff game, “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2022 Draft class led his team to a big win against the Seahawks last week, going 18 of 30 through the air with 332 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. It continued the rookie quarterback’s meteoric rise, as his team is now just one game away from the conference championship game.
His task will become much more difficult this week as he faces a fearsome Cowboys defense. In the wild card round, Dallas terrorized Tom Brady en route to a dominant 31-14 win, and Mike McCarthy’s team will undoubtedly look to get after Purdy early and often.
MORE: NFL divisional round playoff picks and predictions from Sporting News
Dak Prescott had a monster game in Tampa as well, going 25 of 33 for 305 yards, 5 total touchdowns, and 0 turnovers. However, he’ll have to be at his best to beat this Niners defense. Throughout the regular season, San Francisco allowed the fewest total yards and points per game to opposing teams.
Since 1995, the Cowboys have not advanced to the NFC Championship game. However, until last weekend, they hadn’t won a road playoff game since 1993. Will they be able to break both streaks this year?
Here’s everything you need to know about the Cowboys vs. 49ers NFL playoff game:
MORE: Watch the Cowboys-49ers game live on fuboTV.
What channel is the Cowboys-49ers game on today?
Fox is a national television channel.
KDFW (Dallas) television channel
KTVU (San Francisco) is a television station.
CTV is a Canadian television channel.
FoxSports.com | Bally Sports app | fuboTV (US) | DAZN live stream
The Cowboys vs. 49ers game will be broadcast nationally on Fox in the United States. Kevin Burkhardt (play-by-play), Greg Olsen (color commentary), Erin Andrews (sideline reporting), and Tom Rooney (color commentary) are on the call.
In the 2023 NFL playoffs, the Buffalo Bills will face the Cincinnati Bengals in a divisional round game. The game will take place on January 22, 2023 at 3:00 PM at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. The home team is aware that the visitors have postseason experience.
A trip to the AFC Championship game is on the line. The Bills defeated the Miami Dolphins last week, which is all you can ask for in the NFL playoffs. It’s the same story this time. In the AFC Championship, Kansas City will face the winner of Buffalo and Cincinnati.
Half of the battle for Buffalo may be overcoming the emotions of this game. The Bills and Bengals faced off in Week 17, but the game was called off after Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field. Regardless of Hamlin’s remarkable recovery, the fact that such a terrifying incident occurred against the Bengals is bound to hit different people differently. Emotions are bound to run high.
This game is also about the Bills dispelling some doubts about their ability to return to the AFC Championship game this season. Buffalo has been a Super Bowl contender since the start of the season, but injuries to the team and a turnover problem for Josh Allen have both hurt them. If Buffalo can put all of this behind them for three hours on Sunday, it will be a game to remember.
Josh Allen is the Bills player to watch. Sometimes it’s just that easy. Allen fumbled three times, lost one, and threw two interceptions in the Dolphins’ win. Of course, that doesn’t always translate to winning football, and the Bills are well aware that this must change if they are to reach the Super Bowl. The quarterback battle is the other half of this equation. Obviously, Josh Allen and Joe Burrow will not face off physically, but the competition level will be high between two of the NFL’s top signal callers. A big game (or a bad game) from Allen could answer a lot of questions about the No. 17’s up and down season.