Matt Waldman, who pens his annual Rookie Scouting Portfolio, put a contest together for his readers. On the surface, the task seemed rather simple, but when I dug into the players and their associated salaries, it became that much tougher. The objective? Build a complete 53-man NFL roster with a $160 million salary cap.  After spending hours scratching my head and tinkering with my roster, I was able to field a team of 53 that will hopefully make Mr. Waldman proud. Without further delay, here is Matt Vereb’s RSP Project team on offense:

My philosophy on offense: Put together a team of young, high upside players that would thrive in a passing offense. As we’ve seen, the NFL is rapidly involving into a pass-heavy league where quarterbacks can dominate their opposition. While passing offenses are taking over the league, a stable, hard-nosed running attack can keep defenses honest.

Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers ($20), Graham Harrell ($1), Dennis Dixon ($1)

At 28-years-old, Aaron Rodgers is the league’s most valuable player. Rodgers is a deadly accurate, proven winner. By selecting Rodgers, not only do I have quarterback stability for the next decade, but I have a player that can get the most out of his skill position players. The price is steep, but my team wants to win now and no one is better than Rodgers. Harrell and Dixon provide insurance in case of an injury. Currently, Harrell is Rodgers’ understudy in Green Bay. Harrell can fit passes into tight windows and has the ability to throw the ball down the field. Dixon has great pocket awareness and can escape pressure. Hopefully, I won’t need to rely heavily on Harrell and Dixon, but they are worth stashing and developing on my bench.

Running Backs: Trent Richardson ($7), LaMichael James ($3.5), Tashard Choice ($2), John Kuhn ($2), Lex Hilliard ($1), Xavier Oman ($1)

In Richardson, I have the league’s most decorated prospect since Adrian Peterson. Richardson is a true-blue, three-down running back that can catch passes out of the backfield. He’ll need to improve his pass blocking ability, but for $7, I thought Richardson was an absolute bargin. At $3.5, LaMichael James gives me a lot of flexibility. James can be utilized on special teams as a return man and can step in on third downs. Tashard Choice has never been given a fair chance to succeed, but he is a great pass blocker and can be a three-down running back. John Kuhn is an absolute moose of a full-back that can score in short yardage situations. Kuhn is also a punishing blocker and will pave the lane for Richardson in off-set I-formations. Hilliard and Oman are strickly depth picks that will help out on special teams.

Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson ($10), Malcolm Floyd ($4.5), Titus Young ($4), Danny Coale ($3), Mohammad Sanu ($2.5), Julian Edelman ($2.5)

The Rodgers-Johnson connection unconciously produces drool from a head coach’s mouth. At 26-years-old, Johnson is the league’s best wide receiver. Given Rodgers deadly accuracy and Johnson’s ‘My Ball’ menality in the red zone, 20+ TDs is not out of the question. In addition, the mere presence of Johnson will open up the middle of the field. In turn, Floyd should relish in 1-on-1 opportunities on the opposite side. Both Johnson and Floyd can stretch the field, giving Coale and Sanu space to work the middle. Titus Young is the X-Factor in this set-up. Young has Percy Harvin-like ability and is not afraid of making tough catches in the middle of the field. Finally, Edelman is a jack of all trades and can help out on offense, defense, or special teams.

Tight Ends: Jacob Tamme ($2), Adrien Robinson ($1.5), Matt Spaeth ($1)

Many will forget that Tamme was the apple of Peyton Manning’s eye in Indy. Tamme can stretch the middle of the field and excels at running steam routes. Rodgers will often look towards his tight ends and Tamme should earn his trust very quickly. During the NFL Combine, Adrien Robinson was coined the ‘JPP of Tight Ends’. Robinson is uber athletic and profiles to be a Jermichael Finley-Antonio Gates type. He is a project, but if he can polish his route running, he can become a force in this offense. Finally, Matt Spaeth will serve as our blocking tight end. He has some value near the goaline, but he’ll pave the way for our running backs to score.

Offensive Tackles: Tyron Smith ($4.5), Eric Winston ($4.5), Mike Adams ($2.5)

Tyron Smith is the prized tackle in this group. Smith will be saddled with the job of protecting the blind side of our prized investment. Smith is an excellent pass blocker and is extremely agile in the running game. Eric Winston will anchor the right tackle position while Mike Adams will serve as the swing tackle/development project. Adams is an absolute load (6’7″, 340 pounds) and was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft. However, there are some character issues. If he can get them resolved, he’ll be on our team for a long time.

Offensive Guards: Alex Boone ($2.5), Peter Konz ($2.5), Ryan Lilja ($1.5), Kevin Boothe ($1)

I really like the versatility in this group. Boone has the ability to play both guard and tackle while Konz played center at Wisconsin. In addition, Lilja and Boothe are veterans and will help bring the younger players up to speed. All four of these players can thrive in either zone or man blocking scheme, providing even more flexibility for this unit.

Center: Mike Pouncey ($4.5), Peter Konz

Older brother Maurkice has set the bar pretty high for Mike. However, Mike displayed toughness and grit in his last season with the Gators. In turn, Pouncey was a first round pick and will be asked to anchor our offensive line. Konz will backup Pouncey and may even relieve him if he struggles early. That’s the beauty of having a versatile group of linemen.

Overall, I have a strong downfield passing attack that is led by the NFL’s most valuable player. I have receivers in Calvin Johnson and Malcolm Floyd that will stretch defenses on the outside, giving our possession receivers and tight ends room to operate in the middle of the field. In addition, I have a young, prized running back in Trent Richardson that will be my horse. I won’t ask Trent to take 300+ carries per season, but I will ask him run hard between the tackles, catch screen passes, and improve his passing blocking. I believe this team has a lot of upside and youth on its offensive line. So far, I’ve spent $91.5 of my $160 on 26 players. I still need 27 more players to fill out my roster and have limited funds to do it!

Check back tomorrow as I reveal my selections on defense and special teams!