As Haason Reddick heads towards the end of his one-year contract with the Carolina Panthers, where are the potential landing spots for the talented pass rusher this offseason? Having proven that his 2020 breakout season was no fluke, what sort of contract could Reddick expect, and which teams might be in the free-agent market for the pass rushers?
Haason Reddick’s free-agent profile
After an underwhelming start to his NFL career, Reddick finally broke out in 2020. His 12.5 sacks were more than he posted in the first three years of his career combined. The problem for Reddick is that because his fourth year was such an outlier, NFL teams were hesitant to commit long-term, especially with uncertainty around the cap. That led to him signing a one-year deal in Carolina worth $6 million. Essentially, he needed to prove 2020 was not a fluke.
Well, Reddick has proven that in great style this year. Entering Week 17, Reddick has 11 sacks, which places him 10th in the league. On top of that, he has set a career-high in QB hits with 18 while putting up a solid 65 combined tackles and 12 tackles for loss. Those numbers should put Reddick in line for a sizeable contract in the 2022 offseason.
As it stands, Spotrac has Reddick’s projected market value at $15.3 million per year on a five-year deal. That deal would place Reddick just outside the top 10 outside linebackers in terms of average salary. Quite honestly, it would not be surprising if Reddick manages to get himself over the $16 million mark and into the top 10.
In what should be a far more robust market for the outside linebacker, which teams will be interested in a player who has lined up at both left and right outside linebacker this season? With his versatility and production, Reddick could be a valuable addition this offseason.
Haason Reddick landing spots
If the Panthers don’t hang on to Reddick, where could he go in free agency? Here are a few ideas.
The Denver Broncos could be an ideal landing spot for Reddick
The Broncos traded away Von Miller ahead of him reaching free agency this offseason. However, they do not have a clear succession plan in place when it comes to their outside linebacker group. Reddick would certainly offer them a huge upgrade. He would be the leader of Denver’s pass rush and allow the Broncos to move other players around to find the right fit on different downs.
The issue with this landing spot for Reddick is the potential of an impending coaching change. Heading into Week 17, PFN’s NFL Insider and Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline reported that Dan Quinn could be in line to replace Vic Fangio. That would likely see the Broncos switch to more of a 4-3 style, which would not suit Reddick’s skill set. If Denver sticks with Fangio or decides to go with a 3-4 scheme, Reddick would be a nice fit in this defense.
Could the Los Angeles Chargers add more firepower to their pass rush?
One of the teams that will be linked with a number of free agents this offseason is the Chargers. They have more than $70 million in projected cap space and plenty of areas on their roster they can upgrade. One of those areas would be a pass-rushing option opposite Joey Bosa. Since Melvin Ingram’s decline as a pass-rushing force in Los Angeles, the Chargers have lacked a second legitimate threat.
Having two highly paid pass rushers is a risk. Yet, the Chargers do not have a huge number of glaring needs right now. They have areas they need to address, such as wide receiver and the secondary. But they have some luxury spending room. Reddick would provide a considerable boost to the defense and give them a scary trio of Bosa, Reddick, and Jerry Tillery up the middle. It would certainly be a fascinating combination.
The Miami Dolphins have plenty of cap space to spare and a need for a pass rusher
Alongside the Chargers, the Dolphins are another team that will be linked with several free agents. They have the most projected cap space at around $75 million and have plenty of areas to upgrade their roster. One such area would be the pass rush. Emmanuel Ogbah is set to be a free agent this offseason, and that opens up a spot for a veteran pass rusher to come in and lead the group.
Ogbah enters Week 17 leading the team with 9 sacks, with rookie pass rusher Jaelan Phillips narrowly behind him at 8.5. But behind them, there is no clear option to step up in Ogbah’s potential absence. Jerome Baker has improved this season and won AFC Defensive Player of the Month for December. Whether he would be the guy to step up and be a leader is up for debate. Adding Reddick would allow the Dolphins to rotate Baker, Phillips, and Reddick to good effect in 2022 and potentially beyond.
Reddick could be a good fit with the Jacksonville Jaguars if they utilize a 3-4 scheme in 2022
There is a lot up in the air about the future of the Jaguars, including what schemes they will run. Ahead of Week 17, Tony Pauline reported that Fangio could be in the running for the Jaguars’ DC role if Denver fired him. That would make Jacksonville an ideal landing spot for Reddick.
In a Fangio-led unit, the Jaguars would likely look to switch to a 3-4 front. Reddick could lineup opposite Josh Allen to form what would be a frightening pass-rushing duo. A rotational trio of Allen, Reddick, and Dawuane Smoot would be an intriguing group and give the entire NFL something to think about when going up against the Jaguars. Jacksonville may decide to prioritize Allen and Smoot, both free agents in 2023, but Reddick could immediately provide a huge boost in 2022.
Cap space could be an issue for the Rams, Giants, Buccaneers, and Titans
Reddick ideally needs to slot into a 3-4 scheme, reducing his potential landing spots. However, further limiting his options could be the cap space troubles of a number of teams. The Rams and Giants are projected to have under $10 million in cap space, while the Titans are at a projected $14.4 million. All three teams may have bigger issues to address than bringing in a player looking for an average of $15 million or more a year.
The Buccaneers are certainly an interesting potential landing spot for Reddick. With Jason Pierre-Paul set to become a free agent, Tampa Bay could look to add more pass-rushing talent. Yet, while they have around $32 million in projected cap space, they only have 34 players under contract. Therefore, with Shaquil Barrett signed long-term and 2021 first-round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka in tow, Reddick might not be a priority for the Bucs this offseason.