Three NFL Off-Season Bold Predictions
Legendary quarterback Tom Brady after a Buccaneers game this season
After a wild finish to Super LVI with the Rams winning on a game-winning drive capped off by a Cooper Kupp touchdown, we are in store for a crazy NFL off-season. It's not even March, and guys like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Kirk Cousins, and Amari Cooper have already been linked to trade rumors. While most of this is just gossip, here are three bold predictions for moves I see happening this offseason.
1. Carson Wentz is the Steelers starting quarterback for Week One
Let's flashback to February of 2021 when a disgruntled Carson Wentz requested a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles. This came after a late-season benching in which, at the time, rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts filled in for a struggling Wentz for the last four games of the season. Wentz was traded from Philadelphia to Indianapolis for a conditional pick that turned into a first-round selection. Statistically, Wentz had a solid season with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. However, an unexpected late-season meltdown cost the Colts a playoff spot and has angered outspoken owner Jim Irsay and general manager, Chris Ballard. The Colts leadership group seemed noncommittal towards Wentz after the season ended. And it became clear that the time was going to move on as ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported, on ESPN's NFL Countdown, that Wentz's future with Indianapolis looks "bleak," and he is likely to be released or traded before March 19. And no team is more desperate for a quarterback than the Pittsburgh Steelers after future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement following the team's first-round playoff exit. I expect Wentz to hit the open market since it will be hard for Indy to find a trade partner for him. In that scenario, I see Pittsburgh giving him a cheap one-year “prove it” deal. This kind of deal means they aren’t married to Wentz for a longer contract, and it gives them the flexibility to draft a quarterback and develop him for a year.
2. The Bengals make Terron Armstead the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.
Joe Burrow was sacked seven times during the Super Bowl. It was honestly a miracle that the Bengals got so far in the playoffs with how horrid their offensive line was this year. But imagine if the Bengals could get Burrow some help upfront. They have 48 million dollars in cap space, and this free agent offensive linemen class is stacked. The Bengals need to make a splash with guys like Brandon Scherff, Cam Robinson, Ryan Jensen, James Daniels, and Terron Armstead on the open market. Terron Armstead to the Bengals makes too much sense not to happen. He's a perennial pro bowler and likely a future Hall of Famer amid his prime. I believe the Bengals will give him 24+ million to help protect Joe Burrow and to prevent another Andrew Luck situation from occurring.
3. Tom Brady is a starting quarterback week one of the 2022 NFL seasons.
Maybe this is just my fanboy Brady side coming out, but I genuinely believe the GOAT isn't going to walk away after an MVP season from the NFL. I get it; he wants to spend more time with family and doesn't want to miss watching his kids grow up. However, I think a perfect scenario will make him want to come back to football this year. Brady grew up in the Bay Area and was a 49ers fan as a kid. I think a Kyle Shanahan offense would be a dream situation for Brady. And this would only be a one-year thing as Trey Lance could take another year to develop. My theory might be entirely off, but Profootballtalk's Mike Florio did have this to say, "I'm telling you, it's unavoidable. He's going to work it all behind the scenes. I think he's going to be with the 49ers in Week 1. I'm rooting for that so badly." This will undoubtedly be fascinating to see play out over the next few weeks.
Photo Credit - CBS Sports