The 2022 NFL offseason has seen an unprecedented amount of player mobility. Going into the offseason, it was clear that several teams were looking to make some big additions to their rosters in an effort to compete for a championship. Huge question marks surrounded the future of several high profile players such as Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Deshaun Watson. So far, the NFL offseason has seen teams spending big money and dealing high amounts of draft/player capital to improve their rosters. As the offseason progresses and teams make more roster improvements, here are some of the biggest moves of the NFL offseason thus far.
One of the biggest moves to start the NFL offseason was Russell Wilson getting traded to the Denver Broncos in exchange for quarterback Drew Lock, tight-end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, two first-round picks and two second-round picks. There appeared to be tension between Wilson and the Seahawks for quite some time, and it seems like both sides were content with the divorce. Even though they gave up a bunch of assets, the move is huge for the Broncos as they have built up a championship caliber roster over the last few years, but have severely lacked consistent play from the quarterback position. The addition of Wilson certainly puts the Broncos in a position to make a championship push and challenge the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West crown.
A few big name quarterbacks who were rumored to be on the move stayed on their respective teams. Aaron Rodgers, who despite being rumored to want to leave Green Bay, signed a three-year, $150 million extension with the Packers. The deal will make him the highest paid player by annual value in NFL history, and seems to have somewhat repaired the rift between Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who initially announced his retirement in February, recently announced his intentions to return to the Bucs in 2022. This move obviously takes the Bucs out of the quarterback market, as they were originally a team that was looking to add a veteran quarterback to the roster to replace Brady.
Other teams in the quarterback market were able to make moves at the position via trade. The Houston Texans traded quarterback Deshaun Watson for three first-round picks and a third-round pick. The Washington Commanders acquired Carson Wentz in a trade with the Colts for two third-round picks and a second round pick. The Colts then acquired Matt Ryan, BC alum, from the Falcons in exchange for a third-round pick. This move gives the Colts a proven starter on a talented roster, while also giving the Falcons the largest dead money cap hit from a single player at $40 million for the 2022 season.
Other Notable Trades
While the quarterback movement took up most of the major headlines of the offseason, many other big names were moved across the league. In an effort to save cap space, the Dallas Cowboys traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a sixth-round pick. The move saved Dallas $16 million in cap space, and provided Cleveland with an elite wide receiver who will eventually get paired with newly acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson.
In one of the biggest trades of the offseason, the Packers traded Davante Adams, arguably the best receiver in the NFL, to the Las Vegas Raiders for a first and second round pick. Adams, who was placed on the franchise tag by the Packers in the beginning of the offseason, did not want to play on the tag. He instead wanted a long term deal that would make him the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. The Packers and Adams were not close on a contract, and the move to make Aaron Rodgers the highest paid quarterback in football made it nearly impossible for the Packers to pay a top dollar contract for Adams while also keeping their roster intact. Once traded to the Raiders, Adams was given a new five year, $141.5 contract that makes him the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL.
One of the most surprising moves of the offseason included former Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Hill was traded to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a first and second round pick as well as a pair of fourth-round picks and an additional sixth-round pick. Hill wanted a new contract extension, given the increased wide receiver market, but his camp and the Chiefs could not agree on an extension, and he thus requested a trade. The Chiefs lost a huge asset and speed demon in Tyreek Hill, but were handicapped by the salary cap and could not give Hill the contract he wanted. Hill will be a huge addition to the Dolphins, a team that still has question marks at the quarterback position and lacked efficient offensive production in 2021.
Free Agent Signings
The free agent market was filled with many big name players looking for some big paydays. Former New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson signed a five-year, $82.5 contract that includes $40 million guaranteed with the Los Angeles Chargers. Jackson was second in the NFL in interceptions with eight in 2021, and has been one of the elite corners in the game over the last two years. The Patriots offered him a deal, but in the end his market was too big and the Chargers were able to offer him more money. His addition along with Khalil Mack will provide a huge boost to the Chargers defense as they attempt to contend in the AFC West and compete with the other elite quarterbacks in the division.
Viewed as the best free agent wide receiver, Allen Robinson signed with the defending Super Bowl Champion Rams on a three year, $46.5 million contract with $30.25 fully guaranteed. Even though he had a down year in 2021, Robinson provides a strong number two receiving threat behind Cooper Kupp, and comes at a very reasonable price tag for a Rams team that never falls short of making big roster moves.
Even though he is 32 years old, Von Miller signed a six year, $120 million contract with the Buffalo Bills. Miller provided a solid veteran presence for the Rams, and served as a missing piece for the Rams in their Super Bowl run in 2021. The Bills, who are easily one of the frontrunners to win the Super Bowl, view Miller the same way and believe he can make key plays in the postseason that can propel the Bills to that elusive Super Bowl victory.