As we wrap up the craziest season in sports history, we have to appreciate the success of the NFL operating in a global pandemic. Besides only a few hiccups in the regular season, the league was even able to get fans in for the tail end of the 2020-2021 season. We all needed something to help us get through what seemed to be the longest year ever, football was one of those things. Tom Brady solidified that he is the GOAT 🐐 right? Let’s move onto next season and see what has to be done in this offseason for some teams trying to get to the top, and others trying to stay there. Here are a few categories and who fits in them:
Teams that need QBs:
New Orleans Saints:
(Image via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports)
What will New Orleans look like as one of the greats, Drew Brees, likely ends a legendary career? We don’t know for sure but Brees just reduced his contract to the league minimum which is a sign that his retirement may be soon. Does the front office trust Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill to start for the Saints next season? Or will we see a blockbuster trade for a guy like Carson Wentz?
The Houston Texans:
Less than half a year after Deshaun Watson signed a 4 year extension with the Texans, he gets pissed off and demands a trade. What’s going on in Houston? I don’t even know if the front office knows. I’d expect a good QB or some high draft picks to come out of this deal and fill Watson’s role as starter. Both Wentz and Sam Darnold are contenders for the spot.
After carrying the Colts to the playoffs, Phillip Rivers has decided to retire leaving Indianapolis left with Jacoby Brisset. He didn’t get it done for the Colts last time given a starting chance, hence Phillip Rivers arrived, so what will they do now?
Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins:
The question at stake for these teams is: Do you trust your young quarterback? In Philly, it doesn’t seem like they do quite yet. They let Wentz give the Eagles a losing record and didn’t let Jalen Hurts start until their season was over. With a new coach, we’ll see how (and if) they structure their new offense around Hurts. Down in Miami, Tua had some promising wins, but also some losses that make you wonder. They have named Tua 2021 starter, but the Dolphins are still in talk about landing Deshaun Watson.
New York Jets:
The Jets don’t necessarily need a QB because they have some promising young talent in Sam Darnold. However, Darnold underperformed this year (mostly because of injuries and the fact that they have the worst OL in the league) and they have been in the conversation to land Deshaun Watson. Could the Jets' high draft pick be changing locations sooner than expected?
Players to Watch for:
Deshaun Watson: As mentioned above, Deshaun Watson is a hot commodity on the trading block. Probably the most anticipated deal of the near future. Where will the 3x Pro Bowl QB land?
Will the Packers resign their #1 RB? He had a breakout season, ran great, but there has been lots of talk he may be leaving GB. If he goes, he will be an asset. And if he does, young AJ Dillion will have a shot to shine next year at Lambeau. Recently, the office in GB said they would love to keep Jones, but the question is: Is that realistic?
Richard Sherman: Will a team take a shot at a veteran corner to bring some experience to their defense? I could see it.
(Image via CBS Sports)
He’s getting traded out of Philly, and probably very soon. (Right?) Who’s going to take a shot on the 5-year quarterback. The Bears are favored to land him at -150 but the Colts, Panthers, and Broncos are all in the conversation.
This dude is a baller. He’s been putting up incredible stat lines in each of his first 3 seasons. However, it may be time for him to seek an All-Pro QB to sling him the ball and come out of the shadows of one of the league's best WRs.
Russel Wilson: Coming out in very recent news, Russ is not too happy with things in Seattle. There is frustration with his pass protection and how many times he’s been sacked in his career (394). He expressed his concerns in recent interviews and when asked if he will stay in Seattle he said he believes Seattle has gotten calls about him and isn’t sure whether he is available or not. Could the MVP candidate relocate?
JuJu Smith Schuster:
JuJu had a great season this past year, however, he was surrounded by controversy. He was too busy doing dances for 13-year-olds on Tik Tok and couldn’t focus on the game. Mike Tomlin was not happy about this distraction getting in the way towards the end of their season. There have been talks the Jets are interested in JuJu. Could this Tik Tok controversy be enough for Pittsburgh to not resign?
Adrian Peterson: In recent news, Adrian Peterson said he would like to play with Tom Brady for the Bucs. Last season they took in Fournette, AB and brought Gronk out of retirement, and subsequently won a Super Bowl. Will Tampa Bay become a hub for free agents to land?
Late last week, JJ Watt requested to be released by the Texans and his wish was granted. Now on the signing block, Watt has options and he said he, “wants to play for a Super Bowl contender of a team.” My pick? Bring him home to Wisconsin and put him in the Green and Gold. Give him a short deal and try to get Rodgers another superstar before his prime is over. (Did you forget I was a Packers fan?)
Dak Prescott: Dak’s season was unfortunately cut short after a traumatic ankle injury that took place in week 5. Dak is a free agent but you can expect the franchise player to be re-signed and (hopefully) have a great and healthy comeback season.
Teams To Watch Out For:
San Francisco 49ers: San Fran had a 6-10 record, but their team is a hell of a lot better than that. The reason why their season was so rough was that they were unlucky early in the season with injuries. If they can get healthy, and stay healthy, they could become a contender again.
Los Angeles Chargers:
Led by Rookie of the Year, Justin Herbert, the 7-9 Chargers need some restructuring in their staff. An unclutch stat: 7 of the 9 losses they took were one-possession games, and most were blown leads. The Chargers need to hire a staff that can be confident in their ability when the games go down to the wire.
The Cleveland Browns got a playoff win this season. I wouldn’t have believed you if you said that was going to happen this season. The thing about this team is that they are young. Myles Garrett just resigned on the defensive side of the ball, if they can tie up a few loose ends on D, the Browns may become a powerhouse these next few years.
What’s Up With the Big 4:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
This is a legit team. They assembled together in one year and not only went to the playoffs but won the whole damn thing. Tom Brady is coming back, Mike Evans said he’d give up some of his money to keep other players on board… expect them to be back and as good as they were this year, if not better. This offseason will be their chance to strengthen team chemistry.
Kansas City Chiefs:
Although they faced a blowout in the Super Bowl, the Chiefs are still some bad MFers. Andy Ried is a brilliant coach and Patrick Mahomes is still one of the most talented players to ever play the game; plus his career’s just started. Expect them to draft or sign some young cheap players to surround their all-stars. They’ll be back.
Green Bay Packers:
The Green Bay Packers have one main objective: GET AARON RODGERS HELP! They don’t necessarily need to get him a WR; he proved he can have an MVP season with what he’s got. But another big-time playmaker, maybe on defense, could be what the Packers need to help compliment Rodgers better. Take some of the load off the reigning MVP.
Not much to say here for Buffalo. A devastating loss to a great team in the AFC Championship. Most of these guys are tied up in contracts and they want revenge. All I can imagine is seeing the picture of Diggs watching the Chiefs celebrate the AFC Championship side by side to him holding the AFC Title (see above); it seems like a fairytale tweet for Bleacher Report. Expect another MVP candidate season by Josh Allen and the Bills to be eager for another shot at the ship next year.
To conclude, it should be a fun off-season. There’s nothing better than waking up to check the feed and a blockbuster deal happened overnight and getting a text from your buddy that says, “BRO! The Jets ?!?!?” Hopefully, COVID is less of an issue next season, there’s nothing like a sold-out stadium in the NFL. On a personal note, my wallet could use this off-season and the lack of 10 leg hail mary Sunday parlays.