BLOG: Tony Dunst Breaks Down NFL’s Offseason Shakeups

Mar 23, 2022

WPT commentator Tony Dunst forecasts a stacked AFC West and new homes for many of the league’s biggest throwers. (Joe Giron photo)

By Tony Dunst

Most off-seasons, the NFL free agency period is relatively quiet, with the most notable transactions being a handful of talented players at skill positions changing teams for a bigger contract. This off-season, however, has been the most chaotic and eventful in memory, headlined by several quarterbacks landing with new teams and the best receiver in the NFL leaving Green Bay for Vegas. And it hasn’t slowed down; just this week, longtime Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was traded to the Colts after Atlanta lost out on Deshaun Watson. With so much movement in such a short period, lets look at some of the biggest changes in the NFL landscape over the last couple weeks.

  1. The power resides in the west: The AFC West to be specific. I can’t remember a division more loaded with talent and contenders after all four teams made major acquisitions. The perennial Super Bowl favorites in Kansas City made the least moves but still added a much-needed third option in their passing game by signing Juju Smith-Schuster, who’s positioned for a bounce-back year after rehabbing injury and playing with a washed Roethlisberger. The Chargers made a small move on offensive by signing TE Gerald Everett and two huge moves on defense by signing elite corner J.C. Jackson and trading for edge-rusher Khalil Mack. The Raiders spent a first and second round pick trading for my all-time favorite Packer Davante Adams, then signed him to a five year, $140 million dollar contract. And the Denver Broncos made the biggest move of all, trading a package of picks for Russell Wilson and landing the team’s first serious QB since John Elway.

  2. Quarterback carousel: I doubt this many starting quarterbacks have ever changed teams in a single off-season. We already mentioned Russell Wilson moving from Seattle to Denver, and though he took the most draft capital to acquire I’d argue he doesn’t carry the highest risk and price tag. That dubious honor belongs to Deshaun Watson, who had a half-dozen teams lining up for his services the second it became clear he wouldn’t face criminal charges for (allegedly) harassing 22 women during massages. Watson decided on the Browns when they offered him a massive and fully guaranteed $230 million dollar contract; which is paid in full regardless of whether he faces suspension to begin the season. Meanwhile, the Colts dumped Carson Wentz on the newly named Washington Commanders, then upgraded by trading a third-round pick for Matt Ryan. Lastly there’s Baker Mayfield eyeing the exit in Cleveland, with Seattle rumored to be the team most likely to sign him. All that action leaves a lot of kids wanting new jerseys to rep their team come September.

  3. The MVP and GOAT return: If you’d told me five years ago I’d be sad when Brady retired and ready for Rodgers to GTFO already I’d never believe you, but time makes fools of us all. After so much talk about playing until 50, it felt awful sudden when Brady announced his retirement following a season when he led the league in passing yards and touchdowns. It’s tough to say whether he wanted out of the game or just out of Tampa, but he’ll be there for his improbable 23rd season when we kick-off this fall. Meanwhile, everyone expected Rodgers to depart Green Bay after winning his second consecutive MVP but falling short of the Super Bowl again, but he instead signed an extension that’s likely to keep him in Wisconsin until retirement. Perhaps the loss of favorite target Davante Adams will throw a wrench in those plans, but for now Packer fans can anticipate another season of perfect passes and cringe-worthy interviews. 

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