The 2022 NFL Draft is just a week away but a handful of teams still have decisions to make that will ultimately impact their strategies in the first round. Here are five current NFL players with futures hanging in the balance:

Jets OT Mekhi Becton

Throughout the draft process, the Jets have been attached to offensive tackle prospects despite having George Fant and Becton. The third-year pro out of Louisville has struggled with injuries through his first two seasons. If New York sees that as being a long-term issue, it could bring in a first-round offensive tackle and start over. There has been some buzz that is something that could play out next Thursday night but no one truly knows outside of the Big Apple.  

Giants CB James Bradberry

The Giants need salary cap relief to sign their draft class. Bradberry remains a good player and the team would like to hang on to him if it made sense. As reports suggest, they have come to terms with the idea that they must move on from him. If that happens, then it clears a path for New York to take either LSU's Derek Stingley Jr. or Cincinnati's Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner in the first round. It is not to say that they could not take one of those players with Bradberry still on the roster but odds increase if he is gone.

It is difficult to get a read on what kind of a return New York should be expecting. Fans should consider a sliding scale like GPAs and SAT/ACT scores coming out of high school, the more a team is willing to eat of his $21.9 million salary, the lower the draft compensation that the Giants will get in return. 

Browns QB Baker Mayfield

Seattle and Carolina are the two most likely teams to trade for Mayfield. One or both could determine that they are looking to maximize win potential this season; the latter being an ideal situation for the Browns looking to maximize trade value. Any team that acquires the former No. 1 overall selection is likely going to be asked to part with future compensation tied to conditions. If either the Seahawks or Panthers acquire Mayfield prior to the draft, it signals their intention of not taking a quarterback in the first round. A deal does not necessarily need to be done prior to either selection, however, unless at least two parties are interested. It would be a huge blunder for a team to not land Mayfield and then not use that first-round pick on a quarterback.

The biggest sticking point in trade conversations is Mayfield's contract. Similar to Bradberry, how much of his $19 million will Cleveland be willing to eat to preserve some of its return? 

Seahawks WR DK Metcalf

Seattle has reportedly rebuffed offers for Metcalf to this point but deadlines spur action. The Seahawks need to be honest with themselves and self-assess where they are as an organization right now. Are they going to commit to a rebuild? Are they looking to win now? If they are looking to win now, then it is a tough sell with Drew Lock or Geno Smith starting the season. If they are hoping to rebuild, then a $25-plus million average annual salary is not going to be of any help. It would make more sense to take the draft assets in a return now as opposed to waiting a year into playing with Lock or Smith when one would assume his production will be down. 

49ers WR Deebo Samuel

Samuel has requested a trade from the organization and San Francisco has to act quickly. They have a roster ready to compete so removing a vital piece to the offensive success without effectively replacing it for the upcoming season is just not an option. In all likelihood, he will be traded prior to the 2022 NFL Draft and the 49ers will use that return to minimize the loss. 

There was also the thought of putting Texans offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil on this list but his future is not in jeopardy for the coming season. Houston could theoretically wait until next year to address his situation. They restructured his contract in a way that he carries a $35.2 million salary cap hit in 2023 whereas cutting him would save the team $18.5 million in space.

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