The 2020 NFL Draft is over, but this does not mean that the offseason will go quietly into the night. There are still a number of top-end free agents available heading into the month of May.
An offseason that has been defined by some blockbuster trades will likely culminate in a few big-name players being moved. Will the Patriots go into full-scale rebuild mode by moving one of their best-known players? Where will Cam Newton land?
Below, I provide eight bold predictions for the remainder of the NFL offseason.
Patriots trade Julian Edelman
New England’s 2020 NFL Draft was a clear indication that the team is building more for the future than this coming season. Bill Belichick and Co. opened the post Tom Brady era by going with a small-school product in the second round and continued the draft by selecting the first kicker of the class. All the while, Jarrett Stidham seems to be favored to earn the starting job next season.
We’re looking at the very earliest stages of a complete rebuild for the Patriots. That could potentially lead to the team tanking for Trevor Lawrence. If so, Edelman might be moved ahead of Week 1. He’d net the team a decent draft pick in return and has hinted he might want out of dodge. If that is indeed the case, I can’t envision a scenario that includes Belichick hanging on to the frustrated veteran.
Andy Dalton lands within the division
There was absolutely no trade market for this former Pro Bowler leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft. While things could potentially change on this front as teams reassess their quarterback situations, it seems more likely than not that the Bengals are going to release their longtime starter. He’s not going to sit behind Joe Burrow.
Enter into the equation the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers. General manager Kevin Colbert and Co. must find a capable backup for Ben Roethlisberger, who is coming off a serious elbow surgery. Devlin Hodges and Mason Rudolph proved they were not the answer last season. Look for Pittsburgh to add Dalton as insurance in case Big Ben doesn’t return to form or suffers a setback.
Star receiver traded to the Packers
One of the most shocking developments of the 2020 NFL Draft was the fact that Green Bay avoided wide receiver altogether. Given that it was an historically deep class at this position, there’s no excuse for this. Heck, the Packers went running back in Round 2 after seeing Aaron Jones lead the league in touchdowns last season.
General manager Brian Gutekunst has to have a plan moving forward, right? After all, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that Aaron Rodgers is unhappy about the current events in Green Bay. It’s with this in mind that I boldly predict the Packers add Alshon Jeffery in a trade with the conference rival Philadelphia Eagles. It might not move the needle in a big way, but he’d team up with Davante Adams to form a decent duo for Mr. Rodgers.
Lions make a play for the future
Detroit surprisingly passed on a quarterback throughout the entire 2020 NFL Draft. This, despite the fact that Matt Patricia and Co. had been linked to at least one big-name signal caller leading up to the annual event. They are now set to ride with Matthew Stafford under center in 2020 and moving forward.
Look for the Lions to buy low on former top-10 pick Josh Rosen, who doesn’t seem to have a place in the Dolphins’ quarterback room now that Ryan Fitzpatrick is returning to tutor rookie top-five pick Tua Tagovailoa. Entering his third year in the NFL, Rosen could be had for a mid-to-late round draft pick. It makes too much sense for Detroit not to kick the tires on this possibility.
Jadeveon Clowney lands in Indianapolis
As has been noted multiple times over the past several weeks, Clowney has been met with a less-than-stellar market after an injury-plagued first season with the Seattle Seahawks. His initial asking price of $20 million annually on a long-term deal will not be close to being met.
While Clowney could return to the Pacific Northwest on a short-term deal, I expect him to seriously entertain a prove-it deal with his former division rivals in that of the Colts. Indy is simply a better situation than Seattle for Clowney to succeed in 2020 and cash out next March. Pro Bowlers Justin Houston and DeForest Buckner will help him show out on a short-term deal with the Colts.
All-Pro running back lands with the 49ers
The draft-day trade of Matt Breida complicates things further for the defending NFC champs. San Francisco is set to head into the 2020 season relying on Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and the injury-plagued Jerick McKinnon at running back. While it seems like a deep backfield, that’s just on the surface.
Having made a major play for Le’Veon Bell last offseason, look for San Francisco to kick the tires on this possibility by calling up the Jets. He was on the trade block back in October. Jets head coach Adam Gase was said to have preferred Coleman to Bell ahead of free agency last year. San Francisco nets the former All-Pro in a player-for-player trade while seeing Bell restructure his contract to help out from a cap standpoint.
Patrick Mahomes gets $250 million contract
We already know that Kansas City is doing what it can to lock up the former NFL MVP and defending Super Bowl champion to a long-term deal. Once it does become official, we’re looking at a contract that will reshape the quarterback market moving forward.
As of right now, Matt Ryan’s $150 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons is the top of the market. The $35 million Russell Wilson is earning annually with Seattle ranks No. 1 in that category. Mahomes will shatter both marks with a five-year, $250 million deal valued at $50 million annually. His historical first two seasons as a starter coupled with the increased future salary cap stemming from an imminent television deal is the perfect storm for Mr. Mahomes.
Cam Newton signs with the Dallas Cowboys
Jameis Winston’s decision to take a short-term deal in New Orleans to potentially be the Saints’ No. 3 quarterback shocked the football world over the past couple days. It’s also a clear indication that this former NFL MVP is not going to land a starting job in free agency. The Carolina Panthers’ decision to release Newton so late in the process guaranteed this.
With that said, Newton lands on his feet with a Cowboys team that is in desperate need of a legitimate backup behind Dak Prescott. Cooper Rush simply isn’t that man. Signing Newton could also light a fire under Prescott as he continues to be in a contract stalemate with the Cowboys and will hold out of off-season activities until a new deal is signed.