With the avalanche of NFL news that we have been inundated with since the big game, it feels like decades ago since the Los Angeles Rams prevailed over the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl.
There may not be any NFL games tonight, but the season is around the corner and the news keeps flowing in. This NFL offseason has seen the retirement of, arguably, its greatest of all time — only for him to unretire, another quarterback accused of sexual misconduct received a contract loaded with guaranteed money and a team closed a deal for a new stadium.
As one can guess, it was difficult to fit only 10 stories into this list, but here are the biggest stories of the NFL’s offseason — that we are nowhere near finished with.
Brady Comes Back
After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were eliminated by the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams in the second round of the playoffs, speculation was abound regarding Tom Brady’s future and if he had indeed thrown his final pass in the NFL.
At first, he announced that he was retiring from the game, only to do an about-face and decide that he would be returning for another season. In addition, he declared that he would, once again, wear the red and pewter of the Buccaneers for the 2022-23 rendition.
Deshaun’s Big Deal
After a storied career at Clemson, Deshaun Watson established himself as one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL before sexual misconduct accusations from 22 women raised questions about his character.
A grand jury decided to not proceed with criminal charges against Watson, and the NFL front offices no longer viewed Watson as radioactive. Despite interest from teams, such as the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers and Watson’s hometown Atlanta Falcons, the Cleveland Browns inked him to a 5-year, $230 million contract to win the Watson sweepstakes.
As expected, the move led to palpable backlash.
Brian Flores’ Lawsuit
Around the time when the sports world was anticipating this year’s Super Bowl, the sporting landscape was rocked with explosive details from a lawsuit filed by NFL coach Brian Flores, formerly of the Miami Dolphins.
Among the accusations leveled by Flores that teams scheduled sham interviews with Black coaches only to satisfy the Rooney Rule, that Black coaches who were hired were only buffer coaches and that the owner of the Dolphins offered him money to lose games.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin later hired Flores as part of his staff.
Whether it was Brady, Watson or Ben Roethlisberger, much of the news surrounding the NFL’s offseason has pertained to marquee quarterbacks. The Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers is another one of those.
Despite a litany of fan chatter that Rodgers could play, presumably, the final years of his future Hall of Fame career with a different team, such as the Denver Broncos or the Tennessee Titans, Rodgers decided to stay with the Packers — and in a division that is all but his as long as he chooses.
Green Bay later traded one of Rodgers’ more reliable offensive stars, wide receiver Davante Adams, to the Las Vegas Raiders.
It has been a few seasons since Russell Wilson led the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl championship in what was a dominant performance at MetLife Stadium over the Denver Broncos.
But over the years, as the Seahawks regressed as a team and the notable names that produced that championship left the Emerald City, speculation was abound regarding Wilson’s future. That made it all the more ironic when it was revealed that Wilson would be the Broncos’ quarterback for the 2022-23 season.
A Tale of Two QBs
The Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons attempting to pursue Watson left both of their quarterbacks feeling disgruntled. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield even posted a message on Instagram that read very much like he would be soon saying farewell to Cleveland.
As for the Falcons’ Matt Ryan, who is a former NFL MVP and Super Bowl participant, he has been on an Atlanta team that has also regressed since its collapse in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. The Falcons traded Ryan in a deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
Anyone but Urban
It has been well documented that the Jacksonville Jaguars hiring Urban Meyer to be their coach was a debacle from the beginning. At this point, your name could be literally anything but Urban Meyer, and that would make you a better hire.
How about if your name was Doug Pederson? How about if your name was Doug Pederson, and you were the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles when they beat Brady and the Patriots en route to a Super Bowl? That is who the Jaguars hired as its new coach.
New Bills Stadium
In recent years, the Buffalo Bills have been tagged as a potential franchise to move to nearby Toronto. The Bills’ current stadium is in a Buffalo suburb, and the chances of getting a new one built near downtown Buffalo were low.
Recently, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a deal for a new Bills stadium in Orchard Park. New York state will contribute $600 million toward the effort.
The Bills made a big move on the field as well, with the signing of future Hall of Fame defensive end Von Miller.
Miller previously won championships with the Broncos and Rams, and the move surely bolsters Buffalo’s defense.
Washington’s football team has a new name in the Commanders but many of the same public relations problems.
The Commanders are a franchise that has come under fire for sexual misconduct allegations involving women — including cheerleaders. A Congressional investigation is now taking place regarding financial impropriety by the organization, including speculation that owner Dan Snyder held back ticket revenue that was meant to be for the NFL.
Until we can say ‘when are the NFL games tonight?’ there will be a lot of new stories to follow. Keep up with the latest updates here.