We’re only a month removed from the Super Bowl and the most exciting playoffs in a long time. So far into the offseason, we’ve seen some crazy things happening, and we’re not even to the best part of the offseason.
The offseason started with a bang with the retirements of future Hall of Famers Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady. These two men combined for 9 Super Bowl rings, 14 conference titles, 84.4 miles worth of passing yards, and 6,534 points from touchdowns (passing and rushing). I’m not a big fan of either quarterback, but I definitely appreciate their greatness and I’m grateful for the football memories from both of them. Needless to say, the Hall of Fame class of 2027 is going to be special.
The coaching carousel spun like crazy this offseason. Nine franchises were looking for a new coach this offseason. There was the big surprising firing of Brian Flores by the Dolphins that a lot of people didn’t see coming. This firing combined with Flores not getting another job led to his lawsuit. Sean Payton decided to hang up his whistle after 15 successful seasons. The remaining openings weren’t much of a surprise, including the coaches that left during the season, the Raiders and the Jaguars, considering the drama surrounding their now former coaches. The AFC West will have two coaches though. Josh McDaniels returns to the AFC West after previously coaching the Broncos from 2009 to 2010. Nathaniel Hackett is set to begin his first head coaching job and will do so with Russell Wilson as his quarterback in Denver.
The 2022 NFL scouting combine saw some fast 40-yard dash times. The combine saw 31 players record a sub 4.4 40 yard dash. For comparison, the 2020 combine, which was the most recent one since there was no combine in 2021 because of COVID-19, there were only 11 sub 4.4 40 yard dash times. Twelve offensive linemen ran a 40-yard dash time under 5 seconds compared to 3 in 2020. Speed is going to dominate the NFL for several years and that is not changing anytime soon.
Free agency hasn’t even begun and we’ve already seen some major transactions. While none of these trades are officially completed or confirmed by the teams yet, they are agreed to and should be completed on the 16th. There was the big blockbuster trade that sent Russell Wilson and a 2022 4th round selection to the Broncos in exchange for quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, 2nd round selections in 2022 and 2023, and a 5th round selection in 2022. Another quarterback changing teams is Carson Wentz. He was traded to the Commanders along with a 2022 2nd round pick in exchange for a 2nd and 3rd round pick in 2022 and a conditional 3rd round selection in 2023 that becomes a 2nd rounder if Wentz plays 70% of the Commanders’ plays in 2022. Other major transactions have included former Raider Khalil Mack being traded back into the AFC West to the Chargers and the Seahawks releasing future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Our beloved Chiefs have been relatively silent so far this offseason. They franchise tagged Orlando Brown and he intends to start negotiations for a long-term contract shortly, but he’s deciding if he wants to represent himself in negotiations or hire an agent. The Chiefs also signed Josh Gordon to a 1-year contract and released Anthony Hitchens. As of writing this article, no pending free agents have agreed to terms and the Chiefs are still $6,250,465 over the cap. They do have to be under the cap by the opening of free agency so we’re likely to a contract restructure or two. The Chiefs have 4 different players they can restructure to get themselves under the cap. Long-term negotiations with Tyreek Hill can potentially save cap room because they can reduce his $20,685,000 cap hit he’s set to have this season. Tyrann Mathieu is expected to test the market but this could be just to get a little extra money with the Chiefs. We’ll see come the 14th when teams can start negotiating and the 16th when they can start signing what he does.
The offseason is an exciting time in the NFL, we’ve already seen a lot of interesting things happening. It’s only going to get better once free agency starts on the 16th.