The first 10 weeks of the NFL offseason has been fueled by blockbuster moves and rumors of other deals likely set to go down before Week 1 of the 2021 season.
Now that the NFL Draft has taken place and the league released its schedule for the fall, the expectation is that things will die down ahead of training camp.
Not so fast. “Diva” quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson have requested to be moved and could be involved in blockbuster trades. Future Hall of Fame receiver Julio Jones is firmly on the trade block. Meanwhile, one quarterback from the 2018 NFL Draft class will likely sign a long-term contract here soon. Below is a look at five big moves we can still expect during the offseason.
Josh Allen nets huge contract extension from the Buffalo Bills
The likes of Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield are quarterbacks from the 2018 NFL Draft class now eligible for contract extensions for the first time in their careers. Right now, it seems like the Browns want to see Mayfield prove that his 2020 season was not a fluke. As for Jackson and his Ravens, things are slow going on that front.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane noted earlier in the offseason that his organization would focus on an Allen extension following the 2021 NFL Draft. That time has now come. Allen, 24, has proven to be among the most-electric young quarterbacks in the game. Last season alone, the former Wyoming star put up nearly 5,000 total yards with 45 total touchdowns against 10 interceptions en route to leading Buffalo to a 13-3 record. The expectation here is that he’ll join Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott as the only $40 million per year quarterbacks in NFL history.
Julio Jones trade to the San Francisco 49ers
It has become clear that Jones will be traded by the Atlanta Falcons after 10 Hall of Fame worthy seasons. Atlanta is not in a great cap situation. It just added generational tight end prospect Kyle Pitts to team up with receiver Calvin Ridley. At this point, Jones and his bloated contract are a luxury the Falcons can’t afford.
We also know full well that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is salivating at the idea of adding Jones to the mix for rookie No. 3 pick Trey Lance. He’s made no bones about it. The two formed a heck of a duo in Atlanta from 2015-16 and would be a great fit come Week 1. Adding Jones to the mix for a second-round pick and change to team up with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle would legitimately be football porn.
Deshaun Watson trade to the Washington Football Team
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a fine old quarterback. Heck, his recent on-field performance is only outmatched by the Ivy League grad’s sexy mountain man look and high IQ. He’s still not the long-term solution in the nation’s capital. In an attempt to find their first franchise quarterback since Joe Theismann (that’s a thing), Washington was in on Matthew Stafford before he was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams.
What does this mean? General manager Martin Mayhew has been looking to pull off that blockbuster trade for a quarterback. Should Deshaun Watson’s off-field issues become a thing of the past here soon, he’d be a perfect fit in D.C. Offering up offensive tackle Morgan Moses, a stud defensive tackle in Jonathan Allen and a future first-round pick could make this possible as the NFL offseason continues.
New England Patriots release Stephon Gilmore
After failing to find a trade partner for this former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, there’s now an off-chance that the Patriots cut their losses and release Gilmore. If they were to move off him after June 1, the team would save nearly $8 million against the cap. New England could then use that savings to add at other positions of need. It would also enable the Pats to sign young corner J.C. Jackson to a long-term deal.
Of course, there’s still a chance Gilmore could be traded. Despite some struggles a season ago, he brings a recent track record of success. Either way, I am not expecting the cornerback to be a member of the Patriots once training camp gets going.
Las Vegas Raiders trade for Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers living it up in Sin City with Jon Gruden. Three months ago, the odds of this happening seemed to be more remote than hitting the jackpot on a penny slot. Now that it’s known Rodgers has requested a trade from the Packers and with the Raiders among those on his wish list, it could very well be even money that he lands in Vegas.
Betting puns aside (I got many more of them), this almost makes too much sense for both sides. In return for Rodgers, Green Bay gets three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carr to act as a stopgap in front of Jordan Love. It also adds multiple future first-round picks in this hypothetical blockbuster NFL trade. For the Raiders, it would represent Gruden finally moving on from Carr after what can be defined as a Sam and Diane relationship (aging myself there a bit).