While the NFL offseason drags on like tumbleweeds moving through the desert, things over in the National Hockey League are looking extremely busy.
The NHL is getting set to add a 31st franchise next season, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The roster for this team new is being comprised of players from the other 30 sides currently in the league.
Each of the original 30 teams can protect 11 total players, ten skaters and a goalie. Las Vegas can choose one player from each of the remaining teams, and those 30 players join the expansion team. Players in the first two years of their career are automatically protected and will remain with their current teams no matter what.
This got our team of writers thinking, what would a new NFL team made up in such a way look like?
We decided to find out.
The group decided on ten players that each of the 32 teams would choose to protect, and then who the hypothetical expansion team would draft of the remaining unprotected players.
Firstly, the ten protected players from each team. Remember, anyone within the first two years of their career are automatically protected.
With those players plus first two year players safe from leaving their current teams, now it’s time to see who the 33rd team would select from the pool of available players, taking one from every team in the league.
Cleveland Browns: SS – Ibraheim Campbell
Taking the 11th best player from the Browns is a tough task, but Campbell is still on a team-friendly rookie contract. He can start at strong safety from day one.
San Francisco 49ers: WR – Jeremy Kerley
Kerley can play in the slot for our team and provide a decent target while the showstoppers on the outside hog the attention from cornerbacks.
Chicago Bears: RT – Bobby Massie
The Chicago right tackle will be the starting man for our new team.
Jacksonville Jaguars: RB – T.J. Yeldon
This might be a controversial pick for some people, but with his current contract, he can be a solid RB2 for this team. He won’t get the full workload of carries either.
Los Angeles Rams: G – Jamon Brown
The Rams have used Brown sporadically in his first two years, playing in 20 out of the 32 games. He could at least do a job while this team stabilizes itself in the early days.
New York Jets: CB – Marcus Williams
After a career year in 2015, Williams regressed a little bit, but can be a rotational cornerback with a little bit of ballhawk in him.
Los Angeles Chargers: WR – Dontrelle Inman
Wide receiver number two won’t be protected with the plethora of receivers in LA, but Inman approached 1,000 yards last season and started all 16 games for the Bolts.
Carolina Panthers: DT – Star Lotulelei
Two years removed from a trip to the big game, this talented squad had to leave the man from Tonga exposed. This was an easy choice for a mountain in the middle of the defense.
Cincinnati Bengals: WR – Brandon LaFell
The third wide receiver out of four total comes from Cincinnati. The Bengals had to protect Dalton, Green, and Eifert on offense plus some talented defensive players, so LaFell will instantly become one of the offensive leaders on the squad.
Buffalo Bills: ILB – Preston Brown
Brown just had a career season and is entering a contract year. This works out well for the 33rd team.
New Orleans Saints: FB – John Kuhn
Our team needs a fullback. Kuhn is dirt cheap and one of the better ones in the league.
Philadelphia Eagles: C – Jason Kelce
In one of the bigger shocks in this experiment, the Eagles don’t protect their starting center. The expansion team has an easy choice for who will be snapping the ball.
Arizona Cardinals: QB – Drew Stanton
In the event our starter gets injured (more on him later), we need a backup. Stanton has at least started games before and has a cheap deal.
Minnesota Vikings: S – Andrew Sendejo
Sendejo is a strong tackler who is under contract through 2019 and can play as a 3rd safety if one of the starting two suffers an injury.
Indianapolis Colts: OLB – John Simon
I tried my best to avoid new signings for this, but our team still needs an outside linebacker and Simon fits the bill.
Baltimore Ravens: CB – Ladarius Webb
Webb is a little bit of a jack-of-all-trades that has played corner and safety. He had his career best season in tackles last season too.
Washington Redskins: DT – Terrell McClain
He’ll play in the heart of the defensive line and is making less than $4,000,000 a year until after the 2020 season.
Tennessee Titans: DT – Sylvester Williams
This is our third defensive tackle, but being able to rotate the big guys up front is crucial for success in this league. He started all 16 games last season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE – William Gholston
A pass rusher who has only missed three games in the last three seasons who can get after the quarterback and is under contract through 2021? Perfect for this team.
Denver Broncos: FS – Darian Stewart
Any other team would protect this guy, but Denver’s supremely talented defense means that some very talented players have to be unprotected. Stewart will be picked off from the Mile High City and by an instant starter.
Detroit Lions: OLB – Tahir Whitehead
Whitehead had by far the best statistical season of his career in 2016 and has one more year on his contract.
Miami Dolphins: DE – Andre Branch
The Dolphins just drafted Charles Harris, meaning Branch could be one of the odd ones out in South Beach. He had 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last year for the Phins.
New York Giants: G – John Jerry
Jerry fits right into the puzzle of our offensive line.
Oakland Raiders: CB – David Amerson
Oakland’s dominant offensive line plus Khalil Mack and Derek Carr needing protection meant that some of their secondary players were available for selection. The Hawaiian born corner would be under team control through 2020.
Houston Texans: TE – Ryan Griffin
Our starting tight end is cheap and can be somewhat of a red zone threat.
Seattle Seahawks: CB – Richard Sherman
Easily the biggest shock of the draft. Our resident Seahawks fan Joe Hulbert believes that his team wouldn’t protect Sherman in an expansion draft because Seattle’s scheme doesn’t need top cornerbacks. It could also free up cap space for the Seahawks to sign a much-needed guard.
If he were available, the expansion team would have an easy choice to take arguably the best cornerback in the league.
Kansas City Chiefs: K – Cairo Santos
Santos is one of the best kickers in the league, but KC can’t afford to use a protection slot on him.
Dallas Cowboys: DE – Benson Mayowa
Mayowa recorded six sacks last season and has decent speed for a big defensive end.
Green Bay Packers: WR – Randall Cobb
Green Bay is littered with offensive talent, leaving an odd man out. Cobb would become the WR1 for the 33rd franchise.
Pittsburgh Steelers: CB – William Gay
Gay can provide some veteran leadership to a team full of young guys.
Atlanta Falcons: RB – Tevin Coleman
The starting running back here makes up half of the best running back duo in Atlanta. The Falcons really can’t protect both of them if they want to keep their offensive line together and young defensive core in place, so this will be a casualty for the current NFC Champions.
New England Patriots: QB – Jimmy Garoppolo
Protecting a backup quarterback would be a waste of a slot, but that kind of makes this a no-brainer for our expansion franchise. Garoppolo will be under center for at least the first season.
Obviously this team isn’t perfect. The big miss is that they don’t have a proper left tackle, since most of the teams protected their own. This GM would also be up against the salary cap trying to fill out the remaining spots on his roster.
What do you think of this hypothetical expansion team? What would their record be in real life? Did I miss any obvious players to select or protect?
Leave a comment below or tweet us @ReadAmFootball.