With the 2021 NFL season in the books, it’s time to start thinking about NFL offseason predictions for 2022.
This is the time of year when we can get creative with where the best NFL free agents this offseason will end up and what kind of trades will be among the biggest NFL offseason moves in 2022. In a way, the bolder the better when it comes to NFL offseason predictions for 2022.
NFL offseason predictions 2022
For what it’s worth, we wanted to be somewhat realistic with our NFL offseason preview. But as we’ve seen in the past, you never know what’s going to happen, so there could be NFL offseason moves in 2022 that nobody saw coming. That’s why we weren’t afraid to be a little bold or perhaps even a little crazy with our NFL offseason predictions for 2022.
Jimmy Garoppolo traded to Commanders
It’s a given that Jimmy Garoppolo will be traded this offseason, although where he ends up remains to be seen. While several teams could make a play for him, Washington seems like a safe destination.
The Commanders need a quarterback and they will probably prefer the safe option rather than take a chance on a rookie or sell out for one of the better quarterbacks available. That should lead them straight to Garoppolo.
Von Miller re-signs with Rams
It was such a good marriage between Miller and the Rams that our NFL offseason predictions for 2022 view the two sides as a fit when Von Miller hits free agency this year.
Granted, a variety of teams will want to sign Miller. But this late in his career, he might prefer a place where he can win another Super Bowl, and he knows that he can do that with the Rams.
Steelers trade up for Kenny Pickett
For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Steelers are in need of a quarterback. Why look any further than someone who has spent the last five years playing at Heinz Field?
Pickett was a Heisman finalist last year and looks ready to try his luck in the NFL. The only caveat is that he may not last until Pittsburgh’s first pick, which is 20th overall.
In theory, the Steelers and Pickett are a match made in heaven, but the Steelers may have to trade up a few spots to ensure that happens.
Derek Carr traded to Panthers
The Raiders might follow in the footsteps of the Rams this offseason. While Derek Carr is a steady quarterback, they think they can do better, much like when the Rams traded Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford.
Of course, landing a big-time quarterback in a trade won’t be easy. But one way or another, the Raiders look intent to move on from Carr this offseason with Carolina being a possible landing spot for someone like Carr who has established himself as a winner.
Stephon Gilmore signs with Jets
Stephon Gilmore has already played for both the Bills and Patriots, so it’s reasonable to think that he’ll continue his tour of the AFC East as a free agent this offseason.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Jets have plenty of financial flexibility and an obvious need at cornerback, among other places.
If the Jets are willing to pay for a quality corner like Gilmore, he should have no problem returning to the AFC East and getting to face two of his former teams twice every year.
Vikings and Browns swap Kirk Cousins for Baker Mayfield
This could end up being one of the bigger surprises of the NFL offseason. The Browns don’t appear to be sold on Baker Mayfield, so something has to give with one year left on his deal.
The Vikings are in a similar position, as Kirk Cousins has one year left on his contract.
These two teams will view the other team’s quarterback as a potential solution to their problems. Both quarterbacks will get an extension following the trade, making them the long-term answer in their new home. Of course, neither quarterback is good enough to be a significant upgrade over the other, so neither team will make much progress with this trade.
Calvin Ridley traded to Jets
One way or another, something will have to give with Calvin Ridley this offseason. His situation is a little unprecedented after he took time away to focus on his mental health. Since the Falcons don’t seem to be going anywhere, it might be good for both sides if the team trades him.
There will be plenty of suitors, but as part of our bold NFL offseason predictions for 2022, we think Ridley lands with the Jets. New York needs a big-play receiver and might be willing to give him an extension one year away from free agency.
Cardinals use Franchise Tag on Chandler Jones
This might be one of the easier NFL offseason predictions for 2022. The Cardinals are clearly close to being a Super Bowl contender, which means they can’t afford to let a player as important as Chandler Jones get away.
Arizona probably doesn’t want to commit to Jones long-term; if they did, the Cardinals would have signed him to a long-term deal before last season. But they will hope to get one more season out of him with the hope that he can continue to be a difference-maker for one more season and help make Arizona a Super Bowl contender.
Marcus Williams signs with Lions
Let’s face it, Detroit isn’t the most appealing place for free agents, especially players like Marcus Williams that should have several suitors. But money does talk and Dan Campbell did impress plenty of people throughout the league with how the Lions fought and scratched last season.
He was also a long-time assistant with the Saints, so he will have some familiarity with Williams that could help during the recruiting process. If the Lions are going to become competitive, they know they have to make a splash in free agency, and signing Williams could be that splash.
Texans release Deshaun Watson
One of the easiest NFL offseason predictions for 2022 is that Deshaun Watson won’t be with the Texans next season. Of course, it’s hard to know where he’ll end up. Houston would prefer to trade him, but that won’t be easy with so many other quarterbacks on the trade block and Watson’s off-field issues.
In the end, we suspect that the Texans will just have to release Watson if they want to move on from him, which is the right decision.
Packers Cut Za’Darius Smith
It’s not going to feel good for the Packers, but it’s something that they have to do. Green Bay’s salary cap situation is dire, especially if they hope to make room for Davante Adams and prove to Aaron Rodgers that he can win a Super Bowl in Green Bay.
In order to make those moves, the Packers are going to have to cut Za’Darius Smith and hope that they can replace his production in other ways.
Russell Wilson traded to Giants
In the end, Russell Wilson might be the second-best quarterback to get traded this offseason, but it’s still a big deal that he could be on the move.
There are still a lot of possibilities for where Wilson could go in a trade, but perhaps the Giants will finally make a good decision that moves the franchise forward. Frankly, Wilson ending up with the Giants is one of our boldest NFL offseason predictions for 2022. But it’s not that farfetched because there’s a strong possibility that Wilson won’t be in Seattle next season.
Michael Thomas traded to Raiders
The winds are changing in New Orleans and it’s possible that Michael Thomas is traded as a part of those changes.
Granted, the team is saying that he won’t be moved, but it’s far too early in the offseason to know that with any certainty.
With a new coach and a new quarterback in place, and following a lost season for Thomas, it makes sense for both sides to move on from one another. As for the Raiders, they need a big-play receiver who can help open things up for the rest of the offense, making Thomas the ideal option if they can’t land an elite receiver in free agency.
Packers re-sign Davante Adams
The Packers are going to pull out all of the stops to re-sign Adams. They know that bringing him back is the only chance they have of convincing Aaron Rodgers to stay.
Whether that’ll be enough remains to be seen.
But if the Packers have to turn the page and go with Jordan Love next season, they can’t afford to lose their best receiver, so they will do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Aaron Rodgers traded to Broncos
In one way, this will be shocking, and in another way, it seems inevitable. It will be difficult for the Packers to repair their fractured relationship with Rodgers, who can force his way out of Green Bay if that’s what he wants.
The Broncos were connected to Rodgers last offseason and Denver hiring former Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as its new head coach will only add to the speculation that Rodgers will end up with the Broncos.
Plus, Denver has an exciting contingent of young wide receivers, so with Rodgers arriving, the Broncos immediately become contenders in the AFC.