Analysts have been quick to call the 2022 NFL offseason one of the most influential in history with reshuffles of the league’s best talent leaving some teams with little hope and others with a brighter future than they’ve seen in decades.
The 2022 offseason reshuffle opened with the retirement of Tom Brady following the Buccaneers heartbreaking playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion the Los Angeles Rams.
Without Brady in the building, Tampa Bay was quickly preparing for a clean house in free agency. Many of their stars were set to find big pay-days elsewhere as without Brady, there wasn’t much to convince them that a Super Bowl could still be on the horizon for the team.
Then, just two months later, the 44-year-old quarterback announced his unretirement, confirming that he would be with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the foreseeable future. This surprise move immediately put Tampa Bay back on the map, once again ranked as one of the top teams in the league.
In an immediate chain reaction, the Buccaneers were then able to extend star receiver Chris Godwin, star running back Leonard Fournette and star center Ryan Jenson as well as signing wide receiver Russell Gage and making a plethora of other moves to build yet another Super Bowl roster.
For other teams, such as the Green Bay Packers, the return of star quarterbacks did spell an inevitably great free agency period. In fact, following the 3-year, $150-million extension of Aaron Rodgers, the team lost easily its best receiving threat, Davante Adams, to the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Packers didn’t make any headlining free agency splashes in the following weeks, and thus, the Packers offense only got worse in the wake of Rogers’ resignation.
Similarly to the Buccaneers, the promise of a champion-level team
and stellar quarterback play from Mathew Stafford led the reigning champion Rams to several newfound stars. The biggest of the bunch came in the form of former Bears lead receiver Allen Robinson along with longtime Seahawk star defender Bobby Wagner.
Some teams were left in dire straits at the quarterback position though, with longtime Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson heading to Denver and longtime Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan making his way to Indianapolis.
Both of these moves came at the birth of sumo-rebuilding eras for both Seattle and Atlanta, with their then-quarterbacks still proving worthy of a Super Bowl roster.
Other teams made splashy moves outside of the quarterback position, with the Cincinnati Bengals bolstering their infamously poor offensive line and the Miami Dolphins creating one of the fastest offenses in NFL history with the additions of Raheem Mostert and Tyreek Hill.
Jacksonville and Pittsburgh have found themselves in awkward outlooks, with the Jaguars spending much of their cap space on relatively unproven players while the Steelers pulled in Mitchell Trubisky, a quarterback many label as a 1st round draft bust, to follow Ben Roethlisberger ’s retirement.
With several star players yet to be locked into future contracts such as Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and former Patriots corner Stephon Gilmore, there are still many splashes to be made in the coming weeks.