NFL Disaster Ratings: Retirement and Injury

Kirk Cousins



This is a new feature where I’ll list Disaster Ratings (one being the least problematic, to 10 being code red) for NFL teams involving offseason retirements and injuries. With some of the recent players going down or calling it quits, I thought it would be nice to have a new section where I can discuss and rate everything.

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June 13 Updates

Falcons Falcons docked fifth-round pick (tampering): 3/10 Disaster Rating
The Falcons didn’t have the best 2024 NFL Draft, thanks to their disastrous No. 8 overall pick. Their 2025 NFL Draft isn’t off to a good start either, as they’ve been docked a fifth-round pick for tampering with Kirk Cousins, Darnell Mooney, and Charlie Woerner. I get Cousins, and maybe Mooney, but why Woerner?

A fifth-round pick has somewhat of a chance to become a role player for the team that drafts him, so this loss is somewhat significant. It’s not the end of the world, however, as Atlanta’s ability to win in the playoffs will have much more to do with eschewing an elite edge rusher than losing a fifth-round pick.

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June 12 Updates

Jets Jets QB Aaron Rodgers, DE Haason Reddick not reporting to minicamp: 2/10 Disaster Rating
Much is being made about Aaron Rodgers declaring that he would not be reporting to minicamp at all. This, however, is because the media hates Rodgers and won’t report about him fairly. Rodgers had already planned to be away from minicamp well in advance, so this is not news to the Jets. Rodgers’ absence won’t impact New York’s season at all. By the way, you can get Rodgers-Butker Make Football Great Again Shirts by clicking the link.

Haason Reddick, on the other hand, is a trickier situation. The Jets traded for Reddick, but haven’t been able to negotiate a deal with him. As with the Amari Cooper story below, Reddick is about to turn 30, so giving him the sort of huge contract he covets is incredibly risky. The Jets are in a difficult situation, which is something they should have recognized prior to making the deal for Reddick.

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Browns Browns WR Amari Cooper holding out of minicamp: 2/10 Disaster Rating
Amari Cooper has not reported to mandatory minicamp in hopes of receiving a new long-term contract. While it’s still only June, the Browns are in a bit of a pickle. Cooper turns 30 in five days, so giving him a big contract would be extremely risky. If they don’t pay him, however, they’ll risk throwing away a chance to make a deep playoff run in 2024.

It’s early in the summer, so I’ll only give this a 2/10 Disaster Grade at the moment. If Cooper is still holding out by August, the situation will obviously become more dire.

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March 21 Updates

Lions Lions CB Cameron Sutton released (warrant for arrest): 2/10 Disaster Rating
Cameron Sutton had a down year, but it was recently known that this was the least of his troubles. A warrant for his arrest has been issued for an alleged domestic battery by strangulation. Authorities have reportedly been searching for Sutton for two weeks and even went to social media to locate him.

The Lions, understandably, cut Sutton. While it would usually be detrimental for a team that struggles against the pass to cut a cornerback with talent, this isn’t going to be very painful for Detroit. First of all, as mentioned, Sutton had some struggles this past season. He wasn’t a total liability, but he was burned enoguh for the Lions to need an upgrade. Second, Detroit already added Carlton Davis and Amik Robertson to help the secondary. And third, the 2024 NFL Draft class is packed with talented corners to further replace Sutton. Check out the 2024 NFL Draft Cornerback Prospect Rankings.

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Oct. 30 Updates

Bills Falcons DT Grady Jarrett out for season (torn ACL): 6/10 Disaster Rating
The Falcons made a number of key upgrades to their woeful defense this past offseason. This helped transform the unit into a top-15 defense. One crucial holdover was Grady Jarrett, who was originally drafted by Atlanta in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Jarrett’s season-ending injury hurts, but it’s not as damaging as it would have been in past years. The Falcons are deep on the defensive line, while Jarrett was having a bit of a down year. He was still playing very well, but he wasn’t his usual, dominant self. If the Falcons acquire a defensive lineman at the trade deadline, they can survive this injury.

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Bills Vikings QB Kirk Cousins out for season (torn Achilles): 9/10 Disaster Rating
Regardless of what you thought about the Vikings’ playoff chances, this is a devastating blow for the team. If you thought they could make the playoffs, Cousins’ injury derails that. If you thought they were a fraud, then this is also devastating because Minnesota can’t trade Cousins anymore.

I think the Vikings had a legitimate chance at the postseason. Their defense was improving each week, while Justin Jefferson’s eventual return would transform Minnesota’s receiving corps into a prolific unit with Jordan Addison emerging in the wake of Jefferson’s injury.

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Updates

Bills Bills LB Matt Milano out for season (leg): 8/10 Disaster Rating
The Bills looked like an unstoppable force when they destroyed the Dolphins a couple of weeks ago. They’ve suffered some catastrophic blows since, however. Tre’Davious White was ruled out for the season initially, and now Matt Milano will miss the rest of the year with a leg injury.

Milano’s absence will be the greater blow. Buffalo has played well without White recently, but the defense is never the same without Milano. It’d be one thing if the Bills still had Tremaine Edmunds on the roster, but he signed with Chicago last offseason. Thus, the Milano injury will be even more impactful than it would have been a year ago.

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Bills Bills CB Tre’Davious White out for season (torn Achilles): 7/10 Disaster Rating
This is a shame for Tre’Davious White, who worked so hard to return from a torn ACL he suffered in 2021. He’ll now have to recover from a torn Achilles, which will knock him out for the rest of the season.

The Bills aren’t very deep at cornerback, so this is a problematic injury. White is a talented player and will be sorely missed, especially when Buffalo takes on some of the prolific passing attacks in the AFC playoffs. The Bills should consider acquiring a cornerback ahead of the trade deadline because of how thin they are at such a crucial position.

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Chargers Chargers WR Mike Williams out for season (torn ACL): 4/10 Disaster Rating
I can’t imagine that anyone is too surprised by this injury. The Charger receivers have an extensive track record of getting hurt, so Mike Williams’ season-ending torn ACL can’t have been shocking to anyone.

Williams is an incredible talent, but there are two reasons why this injury doesn’t warrant too high of a Disaster Grade. First, the Chargers are very deep at receiver, so they can survive with Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnston complementing Keenan Allen. Second, the Chargers’ defense stinks and won’t give the team much of a chance to win anyway. Perhaps the best course of action is for the team to tank and land an elite defensive talent in the 2024 NFL Draft.



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Browns Browns RB Nick Chubb out for season (torn ACL): 5/10 Disaster Rating
This injury won’t do running backs any favor in contract negotiations. Nick Chubb was supposed to be the safest of all the best running backs this year, yet he tore up his knee in Week 2.

Chubb is an incredible talent, but running back is one of the most replaceable positions in the NFL. Obviously, the Browns won’t have the same upside as they had with Chubb, but Jerome Ford has shown that he can play well behind his terrific offensive line. Thus, I can’t issue too high of a Disaster Grade even though Chubb is one of the top players at his position in the NFL.

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Jets Jets QB Aaron Rodgers out for season (torn Achilles): 10/10 Disaster Rating
Four plays. That’s all it took for the Jets’ season to end. New York came into the year with so much optimism because of Aaron Rodgers’ presence on the roster, yet Rodgers was able to play just four offensive snaps before tearing his Achilles.

I don’t need to tell you that this is incredibly devastating for the Jets. They surrendered so many resources to obtain Rodgers, so to not even have him for a complete drive was absolutely crushing. Because of the Rodgers trade, the Jets don’t have the money or draft picks to find a viable replacement.

The worst thing is that this was supposed to be Rodgers’ F-U season. He was eager to prove the Packers wrong for getting rid of him. Will he have the same fire 12 months later? More importantly, will Rodgers even be the same quarterback at 40 than he was supposed to be at 39? There’s not even a guarantee that Rodgers will return to play in 2024, so this is an obvious 10/10 Disaster Grade.

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July 28 Updates

Dolphins Dolphins CB Jalen Ramsey out several months (knee): 6/10 Disaster Rating
Two major players were carted off the field in the past couple of days. Joe Burrow was diagnosed with just a calf strain, so he should be good to go for the season opener. Jalen Ramsey, conversely, had to undergo a full meniscus repair surgery, meaning he won’t be playing until December.

This is obviously a huge blow for the Dolphins, who invested a third-round pick into the stud cornerback. Ramsey was supposed to fix Miami’s poor secondary, which ranked 20th against the pass last year. Second-round rookie Cam Smith will have to fill the void.

The one silver lining here is that there’s a decent chance Ramsey will be available for a playoff run. However, his absence could negate that possibility, given that there are so many terrific passing offenses in the AFC.

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June 29 Updates

Jaguars Cam Robinson suspended four games (PEDs): 1/10 Disaster Rating
It’s safe to say that Jacksonville’s offensive tackle situation is a concern. The team lost Jawaan Taylor to the Chiefs in free agency, and now it won’t have Cam Robinson for the first four games of the season because he violated the NFL’s PED policy.

I’d normally give a team a higher Disaster Grade for losing both of its tackles from the prior season, but this is an exception. First of all, three of Jacksonville’s first four opponents – Colts, Chiefs, Texans, Falcons – don’t have a great edge rush, and Jacksonville should still be able to beat them. The other team is the Chiefs, and the Jaguars probably weren’t going to win that game anyway. Second, even if the Jaguars get off to a bit of a slow start, they should still be able to win their weak division, so I don’t think this suspension matters very much, especially given that it’s only for four games.

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