The subject of frequent trade rumors the past two offseasons, Richardson is set to play out the final year of his rookie contract at the fifth-year option salary of approximately $8 million. With Muhammad Wilkerson already carrying a huge contract and Leonard Williams still on his rookie deal, the Jets aren't expected to work out an extension to retain Richardson beyond 2017. A trade might seem to make sense for the rebuilding franchise, but Richardson's salary and career trajectory would probably prevent the Jets from fetching anything more than a middle-round selection -- which is what the team will get as compensation if he leaves as an unrestricted free agent next offseason. He thus figures to stick around next to Williams and Wilkerson for one more year, giving the Jets a formidable defensive line amidst an otherwise barren roster. Richardson did have 62 tackles, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in 15 games last season, partially making up for his career-low total of 1.5 sacks. His participation at the voluntary offseason program suggests he's fine with staying in New York for another season before hitting the open market next year.
The Patriots clearly want a lot in return for Garoppolo, who is preparing for the final year of his rookie contract after thriving in his two starts last season. Cleveland has been the most frequently mentioned destination, but Houston might actually be a better fit, with the Texans boasting a playoff-caliber roster that doesn't have many weaknesses besides quarterback. Both teams are expected to select signal-callers in the early rounds of the draft, but one (or both) could make a late push for Garoppolo instead. The Browns have plenty of time to develop a young quarterback, whereas the Texans may be worried about wasting a talented roster because of poor play from Tom Savage and a rookie. While such a concern makes a lot of sense, it probably won't be enough to motivate Houston to meet the Patriots' lofty asking price.
Crowell likely is hoping for an extension or a trade, while the Browns probably prefer to wait on any action until they see if they're able to address their backfield during the draft. The team did give Crowell a second-round tender, which would pay him $2.81 million in 2017 while allowing him to hit unrestricted free agency in 2018. Coming off the best season of his his career, the 24-year-old running back may be worried his value will plummet if he has to compete for work against both Duke Johnson and a draft pick. Crowell could probably fetch a middle-round selection in a trade, as he's yet to miss a game through three seasons and is coming off a 2016 campaign in which he set career-best marks for carries (198), rushing yards (952), yards per carry (4.8), receptions (40) and receiving yards (319).
Howard's 2016 campaign ended prematurely after being placed on IR in December due to a hip injury, but he had recently been progressing through rehab with expectations of being fully recovered for training camp. The defensive lineman will now look to catch on with another team after spending four seasons in Kansas City.
Gabriel reported to offseason workouts this past week without a solidified contract situation as a restricted free agent, while no other team offered to match his second-round tender worth $2.746 million in Atlanta. Having officially signed his tender with the Falcons, Gabriel will likely continue seeking a long-term deal given his good standing with the organization.
Smith is making steady progress in his recovery from nerve damage in his left knee and even attended the Cowboys' voluntary workouts this month. While he isn't up to full speed yet -- and may not be until training camp or later -- it seems the Dallas front office is much more concerned over when, not if, their 2016 second-rounder will be fully cleared to resume all football-related activities. Barring any sort of setback, Smith is still expected to make a significant contribution on defense in 2017.
Elston lands in Buffalo after being let go by the Browns on Thursday. An undrafted rookie last year, the Mississippi product is yet to make his NFL debut, but will aim to earn the right to do so by impressing the Bills this offseason.
Smith was tendered by Tampa Bay last month, and although he's yet to sign that offer, he's been participating in the team's offseason program this week after putting pen to paper on a workout addendum. Given that involvement, it's of no surprise that Smith won't be heading elsewhere ahead of the 2017 campaign. After suffering a torn ACL in Week 1 of last year, Smith remains in the process of returning to his best form, which saw him total 39 tackles in 13.5 sacks for the Bucs during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Evans, who signed a reserve/future contract with the Cowboys in January, is yet to appear in a regular season game despite entering the league as a fourth-round draft pick in 2014. He isn't guaranteed a roster spot in Dallas and this suspension will likely only make it more difficult for him to do so.
Thompson remains in Washington after receiving a second-round tender offer from the Redskins as a restricted free agent earlier this offseason. Last year, the 2013 fifth-round selection posted career highs across the board, accumulating 356 rushing yards on 68 attempts and catching 49 passes for 349 yards while totaling five touchdowns. With an average of 5.5 yards per carry since entering the league, and at least 35 catches in back-to-back seasons, Thompson is a great third-down option out of the Redskins backfield, where Rob Kelley and Matt Jones represent his biggest competitors for touches right now.