The NFL is a league that manages to stay relevant for 52 weeks a year. Even though the offseason is by far the longest of any of the major sports, there's rarely ever a quiet news cycle in the NFL. So there's no need to question the obvious fact that there's plenty of continuous speculation in the NFL at just about any given time of a calendar year.
The NFL season is coming to an end and the NFL postseason will be dominating the sports landscape over the month of January. NFL rumors regarding trades, possible free agency signings and possible retirements that float around up until the start of NFL free agency is the most interesting time of the year for football fans. However, things can backfire and end up as the most disappointing time of the year for the football fans who are essentially left in the cold as their respective teams actually acted upon the reports that likely weren't going to benefit the 53-man roster and/or coaching staff.
Whether or not we buy into the hype, we all realize that this is professional football and anything could happen on any given day. You don't have to be a daily tabloid tracker who is constantly glued to news feeds to see that NFL reports surface seemingly every day in the offseason.
With all that said, please sit back and check out this list as we take a look at 10 current NFL reports we hope aren't true and 10 we hope are. As always, feel free to leave us a comment with your thoughts on these possibilities.
20 Hope Isn't True: Kyler Murray Will Forego NFL Draft, Play Baseball
There's a debate over whether Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray should play football or baseball. The debate has only intensified since Murray took home the Heisman Trophy this season.
The more calculated choice seems to be that Murray will stick to the Oakland Athletics, the MLB team who drafted him ninth overall in the 2018 MLB Draft. But as football fans, obviously many will want him to enter the 2019 NFL Draft. The quarterback class coming up is far weaker than this past year's class was and Murray would likely be a late first round pick. It'd be a shame if football fans wouldn't get to see what Kyler Murray could do at the pro level.
19 Hope Is True: Jaguars Moving On From Blake Bortles
Even the staunchest Blake Bortles defenders must face the music and hope that reports of the team moving on from Bortles turns out to be true. Why's that? Bortles, a third overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, was benched this season in favor of backup quarterback Cody Kessler.
Bortles hasn't really proven to be the franchise quarterback that the Jags were searching for. The Jags made a big mistake in signing Bortles to an extension last winter. With that kind of money owed to Bortles, there's a possibility the Jags could pull off a Brock Osweiler-type trade in the near future. For the Jags' sake, this is a team talented enough to contend for a Super Bowl, but they definitely need an upgrade at QB.
18 Hope Isn't True: Rob Gronkowski Set To Retire
Remember when Rob Gronkowski admitted that he nixed a trade to Detroit by threatening to retire? That was on top of Gronk openly admitting after last year's Super Bowl that he was considering retirement.
Sure, Gronk has also brought up that he refuses to play for any other team not named the New England Patriots, but he can only spark so many discussions before he has to make a decision. Considering how Gronk has looked this season, it's likely that we're seeing him for the last time. While fans of rival teams will probably be happy to see Gronk retire, it's still a case of one of the best tight ends of all time, leaving the game at a relatively young age.
17 Hope Is True: Buccaneers Moving On From Jameis Winston
The Buccaneers QB situation has been quite the rollercoaster of a ride this season. With Jameis Winston suspended for the first three games, out came Ryan Fitzmagic, who stunned the football world by going on an incredible hot streak to start the year. Right on cue, Fitzpatrick's play regressed once Winston returned from suspension, so the Bucs went back to the 2015 no.1 overall pick. Winston was benched again in a Week 8 game against Cincinnati.
Finally, Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched in Week 11 and Winston took over once again. Reports have surfaced the Buccaneers will be looking at other QB options this offseason. Whether or not they move on may depend on how many QBs declare for the 2019 draft.
16 Hope Isn't True: Alex Smith's Recovery Not Going As Expected
Regardless of your team affiliation, you shouldn't wish bad things to happen to Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith for obvious reasons. Smith, while criticized to be a game manager, has been able to find success in the NFL after being labeled a draft bust for several years in San Francisco.
Smith, however, sustained the worst looking leg injury since Joe Theisman on November 18, 2018. The injury has been speculated to be career threatening and recent reports have stated that his recovery hasn't been going as expected. While no one's ready to say he won't return to football, his hopes of returning to 100% next season don't look good.
15 Hope Is True: Green Bay Packers Pursuing Josh McDaniels
Many Green Bay Packers fans (including myself) had hoped for the firing of head coach Mike McCarthy and that much-anticipated day came just hours after a stunning 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on December 2, 2018. As a result, offensive coordinator Josh Philbin took over as the interim head coach.
So where do the Packers go from here? Obviously, they have to find a new head coach for the 2019 NFL season...and that replacement could be New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Seeing how well McDaniels and Tom Brady have done together, fans everywhere are curious to see what McDaniels and Aaron Rodgers could do together.
14 Hope Isn't True: Aaron Rodgers Is To Blame For Firing Of Mike McCarthy
On the topic of the Green Bay Packers, we can't help but wonder if quarterback Aaron Rodgers was to blame for the firing of head coach Mike McCarthy. In a New York Post article, former Packers tight end Mark Chmura didn't hold back in his thoughts on Rodgers, comparing the Cal alumnus to the "prima donna basketball player who wants his coach fired."
Rodgers took playful shots at McCarthy throughout the years, and that might've worsened the offensive play of the Packers. Rodgers claimed to be surprised when McCarthy was let go, but given how his play immediately improved once McCarthy was let go, one has to wonder what kind of role Rodgers played in McCarthy's job status.
13 Hope Is True: Jon Gruden Plans To Part Ways With Derek Carr
So there's the question of whether or not Derek Carr is the Oakland Raiders' quarterback of the future for John Gruden. There's also the question if there's tension between the quarterback and head coach. While Carr has been putting up good stats in recent weeks, we won't know if he has freed himself from any inhibitions imposed by Gruden. That being said, there has been times where we had hoped that the Carr-Gruden saga will end sooner than later.
For Carr's sake, it just doesn't seem like Carr will be able to thrive in Oakland, considering the team is essentially starting from zero this offseason. For Carr's sake, it might be best for him to go to a talented team just needing a QB to get to the next level.
12 Hope Isn't True: Jordy Nelson Set To Retire
As if the Oakland Raiders' season has already been bad enough, there's a possibility that wide receiver Jordy Nelson can quit pro football by the start of next season. We've seen plenty of reports surrounding this topic ranging from Nelson not wanting to play for the Raiders anymore to Nelson wanting to move on from football altogether, so this is a hot-button topic for the fans and media alike.
During his tenure in Green Bay, Nelson was one of Aaron Rodgers' go-to targets on a high-profile Packers roster. It's sort of difficult to imagine Nelson out of the NFL, no matter how good he's play or how bad he's struggling. Moreover, Nelson remains a fan favorite, so there's that too.
11 Hope Is True: Jim Harbaugh To Coach In The NFL Again
We all remember just how successful Jim Harbaugh was as a head coach in the NFL. Harbaugh currently serves as the head coach for his alma mater Michigan. The Harbaugh era in San Francisco, Calif. was pretty good except for the final season in 2014. Harbaugh led the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII against his brother's Baltimore Ravens in 2013. Due to some tension in the 49ers organization, Harbaugh and the team parted ways. Many 49ers fans are still bitter about it, because the organization has been in shambles ever since. Harbaugh has stated he plans on returning to Michigan next year. However, if the Wolverines falter again next season, we may very well see Harbaugh back in the NFL.
10 Hope Isn't True: Kareem Hunt To The Philadelphia Eagles
Lately, there has been a couple of reports speculating that free agent running back Kareem Hunt could go to the Philadelphia Eagles. This particular rumor has attracted a lot of attention and NJ.com has unofficially debunked the rumor in a recent article telling the masses to not count on that.
Regardless of how fans now feel about Hunt, the Eagles signing Hunt wouldn't work out in terms of a longterm deal. Hunt has the talent to help a struggling Eagles team, but the Eagles already have some chemistry issues. Doug Pederson has taken a big stand on how he feels about players with Hunt's history and it wouldn't be a good idea for the Eagles to mess with that, even if Hunt would solve their running game woes.
9 Hope Is True: Packers New Coach May Be An Uninspiring Hire
With Mike McCarthy gone from Green Bay, the coaching search is well underway in Lambeau and with Joe Philbin having served as the team's interim coach for the final few weeks of the season, names for the permanent head coaching job have started to pop up. So far, names like Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano, which seem like pretty uninspired choices. With Aaron Rodgers only having a few great years left, this next hire is crucial to the Packers cashing in on one final Super Bowl while having arguably the most talented QB in the league.
8 Hope Isn't True: Cam Newton's Shoulder Worse Than Anticipated
If you're a Carolina Panthers fan, then you've seen the team have some success in recent years, but you've also felt your fair share of heartbreaks and hardships. Anyone watching Panthers games this season can clearly tell that Cam Newton's shoulder has been bothering him for quite a while. There have also been reports that Newton played through the injury essentially all season and will require surgery for it in the offseason. We hope this isn't an Andrew Luck type of situation where it means Newton will have to miss extensive playing time. He's one of the league's most exciting players and the NFL product is better with him on the field.
7 Hope Is True: NFL Putting An End To Sham Interviews
The NFL has had the Rooney Rule in place for quite a long time, but in recent years, teams have found ways to circumvent the rule. The biggest example would be that of Jon Gruden's hiring by the Oakland Raiders last offseason. It was clear the Raiders had their sights set on Gruden from the second they fired Jack Del Rio. To fulfill the Rooney rule, the team interviewed Tee Martin and Bobby Johnson. Both were seen as token interviews to fulfill the requirement.
It's been reported that the NFL will be expanding the Rooney rule requirements this offseason. We hope it will lead to less sham interviews in which coaches who have no chance of being hired are brought in just to fulfill the rule.
6 Hope Isn't True: Mike Tomlin On The Hot Seat
To think that Mike Tomlin would be on a hot seat is ridiculous. Yes, the Pittsburgh Steelrs have underachieved as an organization considering the amount of talent they've had at the skill positions and Ben Roethlisberger still being one of the NFL's premier quarterbacks. However, when you look around the league and see which coaches have stayed employed by accomplishing far less than Tomlin, it's ridiculous to think that Tomlin's job would be in jeopardy. Obviously, a deep playoff run would put an end to the nonsense, but it's a little baffling that someone with Tomlin's track record would be on any hot seat.
5 Hope Is True: Le'Veon Bell To The Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is on the younger side of the NFL's spectrum, but he's nowhere near short of the seemingly never ending dramatic headlines he has sparked on a regular basis in the mainstream media. As fans should already know, Bell has held out since the start of the 2018 NFL season and it appears there's no way he's back in Pittsburgh next season. He even liked a post of the Steelers' loss to the Oakland Raiders in Week 14.
Lately, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin explained to NESN why he doesn't miss Bell. Add in the Bell to the Colts hints dropped by Bell himself, and we've got an obvious solution. The Colts have the cap space and a combination of Bell and Luck really is something that would be fun to watch.
4 Hope Isn't True: Raiders To Play In San Diego Next Season
The Oakland Raiders' home for next season is in serious question. With the Raiders set to move to Las Vegas as soon as their stadium is built, there's a huge problem ongoing for them in Oakland. Due to the Raiders backing out of their lease on the coliseum, the city has not guaranteed them that they'll be able to take a one-year lease on the coliseum. This would leave the Raiders without a home for a year, prior to their Vegas move.
The irony here is that the Raiders' division rival Chargers, left San Diego with an empty stadium. With the Raiders looking for a venue on the west coast, reports have floated around that SDCCU Stadium in San Diego could serve as the temporary home for the Raiders. Hopefully this doesn't happen, as it would feel very out of place for the Raiders to be playing in San Diego.
3 Hope Is True: Lincoln Riley To Take An NFL Job
Lincoln Riley, the Oklahoma Sooners head coach and former Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback, has been a hot topic of discussion as of late. There has been a lot of reports speculating and believing that Riley is the perfect fit for the NFL and vice versa, but is the Texas Tech alumnus ready for the NFL? After all, the Sooners are a pretty darn good program in the college football world.
247 Sports also listed Riley as a candidate favorite in the search for the next Green Bay Packers coach. That would be an interesting choice, as having a rookie NFL head coach would certainly create a new dynamic for the veteran Aaron Rodgers.
2 Hope Isn't True: Jaguars Shopping Jalen Ramsey
Jalen Ramsey is one of the league's most talented corners and due to his outspoken nature, he's made the Jaguars somewhat relevant in the NFL. After a surprise AFC Championship appearance last season, the Jaguars have completely fallen apart this season, but they still have the talent to bounce back next year, provided they upgrade at QB. Reports surfaced in November that Jalen Ramsey would be on the trade market this offseason, but that would be a mistake by Jacksonville. The Jags would be better served to bring their defense back at full capacity next season and focus on upgrading the offense.
1 Hope Is True: Marvin Lewis To Move On From The Cincinnati Bengals
It's long overdue for the Cincinnati Bengals to part ways with its head coach and defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. Things have really gone downhill in 2018, as the Bengals' defense completely collapsed as the season went on, which has always been Lewis's forte.
Lewis has been in Cincinnati for 15 years and has yet to win a playoff game. Obviously, it's hard to imagine any head coach in this league surviving that long on a job with that hanging over their heads. The only negative for Bengals fans is that Hue Jackson's name has floated around as Lewis's possible replacement. With a coaching stint in Cleveland that produced a 3-31-1 record, that's obviously not what Bengals fans want to hear.