Every year there seem to be a few teams tiptoeing over dangerous waters. Roster construction is a funny thing, as we’ve outlined in our Morning Huddle roster series so far (the five teams with a wide-open championship window, the five teams with a closing championship window, and the five teams that are stuck in neutral).
During the process of looking over every roster in the NFL, it stuck out to me that I could be convinced to shift teams from one category to another given a few simple moves. But one thing that’s clear: Some rosters are way more combustible than others. Particularly, these five:
New York Jets
An obvious choice given the strange timing of their change at general manager. Mike Maccagnan spent an absurd amount of money at inside linebacker, wide receiver and running back and, as it turns out, the head coach wasn’t that excited about it. What happens next, as the scouting department takes shape and a new organizational blueprint is laid out, is anyone’s guess. If I was a player added recently, I would opt to rent, not buy. Think of all the pressure bearing down on the people trying to elevate Sam Darnold. The moment this starts to slide south, Maccagnan’s signings become easy scapegoats.
Jaylon Smith isn’t worried about a payday, even if he’s one of several Cowboys who should think about digging in his heels and staging an early contract coup. We’ve talked about this ad nauseum, but if a roster with young, increasingly expensive wide receivers, running backs, quarterbacks, linebackers and cornerbacks doesn’t perform, there will be changes.
Antonio Brown. Jon Gruden. Richie Incognito. Vontaze Burfict. Hard Knocks. Derek Carr. Move to Las Vegas.
New York Giants
The franchise’s constant lean toward one last Super Bowl run has created an offensive line that is formidable but expensive; Nate Solder just turned 31 and has the second-highest cap number on the team. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins will turn 31 mid-season and is making almost $15 million. There’s going to be a mad rush to not only finalize Eli Manning’s career, but elevate Saquon Barkley’s while he’s still in his (much earlier and much shorter) prime.
The Browns are either going to steamroll teams this year, or suffer at the hand of a few chaotic additions. I feel like there isn’t a ton of wiggle room here, given that 7-9 or 8-8 would be a massive disappointment for this assembly of talent.
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