NFL Free Agency Frenzy

This NFL offseason has been nothing short of entertaining as fans from across the league are trying to catch up with the blockbuster moves going down seemingly every day. New teams are emerging as Super Bowl contenders, and a handful of teams are experimenting with new quarterbacks. Some of the league’s biggest names will be playing in new homes next season, so the landscape of the league has certainly been altered.

     A great deal of moves came out of the AFC West, with all four teams showing capability to compete next season. The Denver Broncos made one of the biggest moves this offseason, acquiring Pro Bowl quarterback Russel Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks missed the playoffs for just the second time in the past 10 seasons, with Wilson missing time due to a hand injury. Missing a great deal of star players, the Broncos finished last in their division this past season. With a revamped and healthy lineup led by a former Super Bowl champion, the Broncos could make some serious noise this season.

     Competing with the Broncos in the AFC West are the Los Angeles Chargers, who made two massive improvements to their defense. In a trade with the Chicago Bears, the Chargers landed All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack, while also signing cornerback J.C. Jackson to a five-year deal. Jackson leads all cornerbacks with 25 interceptions over the past four seasons, making him an elite addition to the Los Angeles secondary. Along with Justin Herbert and the offense, the Chargers are going to be a force on both sides of the ball.

     The Las Vegas Raiders, after overcoming a plethora of obstacles on their way to a playoff appearance, made a major splash this offseason, trading for Packers wide receiver Davante Adams. Adams is reuniting with former college teammate Derek Carr, granting the quarterback an immensely skilled primary receiver. This move came as a shock to many, as Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers decided he was going to re-sign with the team with a record-setting annual salary. 

     The Kansas City Chiefs made a shocking move when they traded wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. Hill had been a major component to the high-pace offense of the Chiefs, helping lead the team to two Super Bowls. As salary became a concern, the team found it best to move on from the Pro Bowl receiver, who is signing with the Dolphins for an annual salary of $30 million. Hill was yet another explosive addition to a Miami offense that is looking to make a leap in 2022.  The Chiefs received five draft picks in return for Hill.

“Hill will improve Tua Tagovailoa’s play and provide a more dynamic offense for the Dolphins,” said senior Aidan Tessler. “This can open up the run game along with Edmunds and Mostert.”     

Another surprising move came from the Cleveland Browns, who traded for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson, who did not play during the 2021 season, signed a five-year contract worth $230 million with Cleveland. The move was certainly interesting, especially when considering the hot water that Watson has been in for the past year. Watson is still battling 22 sexual misconduct allegations, but he was recently cleared of criminal charges. With widespread belief being that Watson will serve a suspension for these allegations, the Browns have held onto quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Along with the move for a new quarterback, the Browns struck gold in a deal with the Cowboys, landing wide receiver Amari Cooper in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. It was evident that the Cowboys were parting ways with the star receiver, and Cleveland was able to land Cooper for a relatively low cost. The Cowboys, on the other hand, had to sacrifice one of their star offensive players due to a salary cap dilemma. 

“The Amari Cooper trade was a terrible move for the Cowboys,” said history teacher Eric Finder. “They had too many bad contracts, and they did not receive enough compensation based on other receivers that were traded. They should have restructured his contract.”

     The quarterback carousel continued with the Falcons trading former MVP Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts recently moved on from quarterback Carson Wentz, trading him to the Washington Commanders after just one season. Ryan will be the team’s fifth starting quarterback in just five seasons.

     The most anticipated move from this offseason was Aaron Rodgers’ decision on where he would play next season. Belief was that the reigning MVP was frustrated with the Packers organization along with a lack of postseason success. All rumors were put to bed as Rodgers returned to the Packers with a three-year contract extension that will pay an average of $50 million. With Rodgers coming back to the Packers, the assumption was that Adams would remain with the team as well, making his trade all the more shocking. Fans still have faith in this Packers team, which will look to continue to dominate their division without one of their premier players.

“I still have confidence in them,” said senior Anthony Macchia. “I believe they will draft well this year and find a suitable replacement receiver.”

     This offseason has certainly been anything but calm. With star players being sent all around the league, no one can be certain their favorite player will be playing for their favorite team next season. There are plenty of big names still available in the market, and this wild offseason has only just begun.