Image: Adrian Curiel
There has been a flurry of activity but this season’s free agency period may be marked by the transactions that have not happened yet and does not look like it will happen any time soon. Quarterbacks have moved and even changed conferences.
Have the balances of power shifted in the NFL this offseason? We shall see.
The best quarterback of the last generation has retired, and a four time MVP is on the back nine of his career and a deal to move him is in the making even if it’s taking an excruciatingly long time. The elephant in the room is why a young MVP winning quarterback that wins 70% of the regular season games he starts can’t find a team that wants to make an offer for his services.
This is a recap on some of the biggest moves that will move the needle this season.
First the two moves that have not happened yet.
- Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. The Jets arrived a year early last season being in playoff contention almost all season despite having terrible quarterback play from Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco and Mike White. With the enigmatic Aaron Rodgers who is just a year removed from winning back to back MVPs. The Packers have expressed they are ready to move, and Rodgers has expressed that he still wants to play even though before he went into his darkness retreat he contemplated retirement. There’s almost no backing out for either team now. Trade compensation is the sticking point that the teams are working through now.
- Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have been negotiating over two years on an extension. The team and player have not been able to come to terms, and the Ravens slapped the non exclusive Franchise tag on him. All 31 teams are allowed to negotiate with him, with the Ravens able to match their offer sheets. Shockingly every quarterback hungry team all at the same time said they had no interest in Lamar Jackson. This smells like collusion, but it could just be everyone coming to the same conclusion. One where they don’t believe Jackson, either isn’t worth an all guaranteed contract, or that the deal that Deshaun Watson signed with the Browns in 2022, is a mistake and an outlier contract that most of the league has agreed silently that it doesn’t want to repeat.
- The third transaction not to happen yet is the sale of the Washington Commanders. The Commanders/Washington Football Team/Redskins have been poorly run, and have had lots of internal scandals over the last two plus decades. Fans have been rejoicing since November when Daniel Snyder and his wife Tanya are said they were exploring a sale. The sale is expected to be finalized at some point this spring. The leading contenders to land the team are Josh Harris (owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and Philadelphia flyers), Tillman Fertitta (owner of the Houston Rockets and many high end restaurants), Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Steve Apostolopoulos a Canadian Real Estate mogul.
Moves that have happened that will move the needle of the 2023 season.
- The Chicago Bears trading away their #1 pick to the Carolina Panthers for four draft picks including two first round picks. This puts the Panthers in position to have their preference of the four top quarterbacks coming out in this year’s draft, including Bryce Young (Alabama), Will Levis (Kentucky), Anthony Richardson (Florida) and CJ Stroud (Ohio State).
- Derek Carr to the Saints – Carr gives them Saints a steady hand and as it stands he would be the best quarterback in the NFC South division.
- Jimmy Garoppolo to the Raiders – Josh McDaniels has a very complicated system that Carr had a very difficult time picking up that offense, and Garrapalo has familiarity with the system due to his time in New England with McDaniels. If the Raiders can improve their defense, they might have an opportunity to be competitive in the AFC west.
- Darren Waller – The New York Giants traded a 3rd round pick for Darren Waller giving the Giants a huge target for newly re-signed Daniel Jones. The Giants weakness last season was not having any premium pass catchers for their QB. Now they have taken a step towards filling that need.
- Stephon Gilmore – The Dallas Cowboys already had a strong defense, but trading relatively little in assets to get a pretty solid addition at cornerback. He should work well opposite Trevon Diggs.
- Panthers acquiring weapons for their soon to be Franchise Quarterback. Carolina signed WR Adam Thielen from the Vikings, and RB Miles Sanders away from the Eagles. Frank Reich wants to make sure the cupboard is not bare for his new QB.
With most free agents finding home we are all waiting on what will happen with Lamar, when the Commanders will have a new owner and who it will be and what the return will be for Aaron Rodgers.
https://youtu.be/_P-cCRe97Qc – Vikings emerging as team interested in Lamar.
https://youtu.be/n5WuJ55yeHM Aaron Rodgers expressing his interest in playing for Jets.