As the salary cap continues to rise, and teams continue to make bigger and bigger contract offers, NFL players are going to continue to change teams more frequently than ever before. Last year saw a tremendous amount of movement from many of the league's top free agents including Andrew Norwell, Jarvis Landry, Tyrann Mathieu, Kirk Cousins, Dion Lewis, Star Lotulelei, Jimmy Graham, Nate Solder, Trumaine Johnson, Allen Robinson, and Sheldon Richardson.
There are even more names but we believe you got the point so let's move along, shall we?
The constant movement will continue to get worse as players become less loyal and more worried about their livelihoods. The sport is dangerous, that should not be a shocker to anyone. So no one should get angry when a star NFL player leaves town for a bigger, more guaranteed, paycheck.
Going back a few seasons, the NFL has seen a rise in the number of players who sustain season-ending injuries. In 2015, it was 387 players. 2016 had 402 and 2017 had 443. So far in 2018, they are already at 361 but with two weeks remaining, many of the players not on injured reserve could be moved before the season ends, increasing that number above last year's.
Keeping all that in mind, let's take a look at the 20 possible surprise moves we could see during the 2019 offseason.
20 Mark Ingram Re-Signs with New Orleans Saints
How can the New Orleans Saints keep their backfield together after this season's amazing performance?
More importantly, where can they find the money to pay Mark Ingram enough to make him remain in New Orleans?
If there is any GM in football that can do it, it's Mickey Loomis. He has figured out ways to make contracts work when it looked nearly impossible. The deal also goes against everything the Saints have been doing, which is similar to the Patriots. They find cheaper players and coach them up.
19 Jimmie Ward Signs with Indianapolis Colts
As talented as Jimmie Ward is in the defensive secondary, and as valuable as he has been for the San Francisco 49ers since his rookie season in 2014, he still remains a big risk for any team willing to take a stab at him next summer.
In his five seasons, he has only played all 16 games once, in 2015. He played in 11 and seven games over the two years after that and has already missed a few games this season as well. So even though he can play just about any position in the secondary, he might not be worth the risk.
That said, if there is any team that could use his help, it is the Indianapolis Colts, who have big needs all over their defense but a ton of cash to spend in 2019.
18 DeMarcus Lawrence Given Second Franchise Tag
Everyone fully expects DeMarcus Lawrence to get a long-term deal to remain a Dallas Cowboys. However, things do not always happen exactly like we want them to and there is a slight chance Jerry Jones decides to place a second straight franchise tag on him in 2019.
DeMarcus already stated that he was fine with the one-year tag so he could prove himself but if they tag him twice, regardless of the amount of money he would receive, this could turn into a major issue in Dallas.
He could end up sitting out the year if that happens because we all know Jerry Jones is not going to back down to a player.
17 Tevin Coleman Signs with New York Jets
We can safely assume that Le'Veon Bell is smart enough to sign with a team that is playoff-ready in 2019 and not one that is a few years away like the New York Jets.
Even though we do not expect big things from the Jets anytime soon, they have one of the best young QBs in the league, Sam Darnold. He is a player you can build around and after losing out on Bell next summer, they are going to wind up chasing another free agent running back in Tevin Coleman. They might even make an offer that is a bit over the top just to make sure they can land him.
16 DeSean Jackson Traded to Oakland Raiders
Earlier this season, DeSean Jackson requested to be traded after struggling to click with Tampa Bay's starting QB Jameis Winston. This came just weeks after his amazing start to the season when Ryan Fitzpatrick was running the offense. With him as the QB, DeSean Jackson had 17 receptions for 424 yards and three touchdowns. He also had three games of 100 or more yards.
He has not been able to come close to that level of production over the rest of the year. If history has taught us anything, the Bucs are going to be better off to unload him next summer and take whatever they can get. One of the best suitors would be the Oakland Raiders now that they have glaring holes all over the field. Adding a deep ball threat like Jackson could help them steal a few wins next season.
15 LeSean McCoy Signs with Philadelphia Eagles
Between 2013 and last season, LeSean McCoy has averaged 314 touches per season (270 carries and 44 receptions). That is a total of 1,571 touches, the most in the NFL in that time span. He has been the most consistent running back in the NFL for quite some time, so it comes as a complete shock to see what the Buffalo Bills are doing to him this season.
Through Week 14 of this season, LeSean McCoy had been averaging 12 carries and two receptions per game, the worst since his rookie season. Even though he has been battling a hamstring injury, the relationship between him and the Bills might be all but done as he will be 31 next year and has little to show for it.
He knows what he is worth and he knows that he is no longer going to be able to carry the ball 300 times a season. So maybe he gets a little nostalgic and heads back to the place where he started it all.
14 Ndamukong Suh Signs with Kansas City Chiefs
The Los Angeles Rams knew that this was going to be their best shot at a Super Bowl run so they spent a ton of time and money going after defensive stars like Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Sam Shields, Dominique Easley, Dante Fowler Jr., and Ndamukong Suh. Many of which were only on one year contracts, including Suh.
Next year, he will be 32 years old and looking for a long-term deal that could end up being his final NFL contract. So he is going to go to a team that can pay him and also compete. The Kansas City Chiefs are going to have a good chunk of change in 2019 and need to beef up their defense, specifically on the defensive line.
13 Teddy Bridgewater Signs with Denver Broncos
Although we still think the New Orleans Saints are in the best position to sign Teddy Bridgewater next year, it will all come down to Drew Brees.
Teddy will be just 26 years old and a ton of talent that he has not been able to display since 2015 because, during a team practice in 2016, he dislocated his knee and tore his ACL. It was one of the worst leg injuries in NFL history and he almost ended up losing his leg because of it.
But he can still throw the football and he has been working hard to get back to his previous form, making him a pretty solid free agent for anyone looking for a QB. The Denver Broncos could use one since Case Keenum turned out to be a dud.
12 Golden Tate Signs with Arizona Cardinals
During his tenure in Detroit, Golden Tate turned into one of the most productive wideouts in the NFL. When he joined the Lions, in 2015, they had the league's best wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, and the two of them caused plenty of chaos around the NFL. But they just managed to play together for one year.
After staying in Detroit over the past five seasons, he was traded just before the trade deadline to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he has been nothing but average, at best. But the Eagles will not be able to franchise him while possibly having to do so with Brandon Graham. So he will hit the open market and might end up in Arizona where they have both money and a big need for him.
11 Will Grier Drafted by Jacksonville Jaguars
NFL scouts tend to fall in love with certain aspects of a rookie quarterback and it carries over from the time he declares for the draft until the day of the draft. In that time, the so-called "experts" that overanalyze and undervalue prospects end up using those scouting reports to position these kids through various rankings and mock drafts.
The one guy they are already missing on is Will Grier. He is being projected anywhere from the second to fifth rounds because of some of the technical aspects of his throwing mechanics. However, he is very good at placing the ball in the perfect spots while also being able to anticipate the defense.
After spending the last few years with Blake Bortles, the Jaguars are going to waste no time at drafting Will Grier in the first round, surprising everyone but walking away with the best QB in the draft class.
10 Landon Collins Signs with Indianapolis Colts
After signing Odell Beckham Jr. to a five-year extension before the 2018 season, the New York Giants made it very clear that they plan on keeping their offensive superstars in blue and white for as long as possible. But what about their defensive stars?
Landon Collins is going to be seeking his first non-rookie NFL contract next season and it will be a pretty big one. Unless the Giants decide to put the franchise tag on him, he is going to go with the biggest deal and that should come from the team that passed on him during the 2015 draft, the Indianapolis Colts.
9 Derek Carr Signed by New York Giants
For some reason, Jon Gruden and Derek Carr have grown to despise one another, regardless of what they say to the press. It is apparent each and every time Derek comes to the sidelines after a dismal three and out and the two cannot help but mouth off to one another.
This has caused the rumor mills to start swirling and many NFL insiders believe that Derek Carr is not going to be playing for Oakland in 2019. Their relationship is part of it but Carr's contract is the other part. If they cut him before this season ends, they will only get a $7.5 million salary cap hit. Or they can keep him around until 2022 and continue paying him $20 million per season.
Jon Gruden has already traded Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack, that should be proof enough that he is going to do the same with their other big star.
8 Anthony Barr Signs with New England Patriots
The Minnesota Vikings could have spent $80 million on an entire offensive line but instead seemed to have wasted it on Kirk Cousins, who has led them right into the middle of the pack. If not for their outstanding defense, the Vikings could be way worse off.
So when Anthony Barr becomes a free agent after this season, it would be vital for them to find a way to sign him for the long term. But that could be very difficult because of his asking price and his recent injury history. They might just let him walk because they can sign someone that is a little less talented for a fraction of the cost.
When that happens, his next stop could be to New England, where he would not mind taking a pay cut to play with Tom Brady in one of his final seasons.
7 Trey Flowers Signs with New York Jets
Only a few players deserve long-term deals in New England and Trey Flowers is one of them. This guy has done nothing but improved year-after-year and is now in a prime position to become another high-paying defensive end.
Unfortunately for Trey, he plays on the one team in the NFL that handles contracts like they are rewarding their players for having a chance to play for the New England Patriots. In other words, they will not try and sign him to a long term deal at the same rate other teams around the league will be able to.
The New York Jets, a division foe of the Patriots, will have plenty of cap space to make him an offer he can't refuse.
6 Joe Flacco Traded to Buffalo Bills
When the Baltimore Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson in the first round of last year's draft, people started wondering how long before he replaced Joe Flacco as the team's starting QB. Since he is nothing like Joe Flacco, he was drafted to develop and eventually take over the Ravens offense.
But then Joe Flacco got hurt and the Ravens no longer had to make a tough choice, it was made for them. Since that week 11 game, Lamar's first career start, he has taken over the role and does not look to be giving it up anytime soon.
That leaves Joe Flacco and a large contract just sitting on the bench, wasting away. The Ravens will make a move and find a team willing to take him and his contract in hopes he will provide some fast help. The 49ers would be a perfect spot in case Jimmy Garoppolo is not ready for the start of next season.
5 Eli Manning Retires
The fans in New York are as fickle as the wind. They can go from loving you to despising you in the matter of hours. That is part of the reason why so many players dislike playing in a major market like New York. It is very tough to handle the constant scrutiny that the fans put you through week after week. But Eli Manning found a way to do it, for 15 seasons.
Although he has always had the talent, he was never someone you could consider the best in the NFL. He might have won two Super Bowls but he has only made his way to four Pro Bowls and has thrown 237 interceptions, including throwing more than 16 in a season seven times.
However, all good things come to an end and next summer is going to be the end of the Eli Manning and New York Giants relationship. The time to move on has come and he might just hang up the cleats instead of having to start all over somewhere else.
4 Patrick Peterson Traded to New York Jets
Of all our projected moves next summer, this is one that stands out because of how surprising it would be, if it were to really go down. Especially since Patrick Peterson released a statement this year that he wants to stay in Arizona and finish his career there.
But he cannot do it all on defense and the Cardinals could grab some much needed draft picks from the New York Jets in exchange for the elite cover cornerback. It might also cost them a player or maybe they could build a package that involves their first and second round picks this year.
The Jets have the money, they just need to find a way to make it work.
3 Nick Foles Signs Miami Dolphins
We recently found out, from Nick Foles, that he is going to test free agency next offseason instead of sticking around to be a backup with the Philadelphia Eagles. Can anyone even blame him?
He has to be the greatest backup QB in NFL history being that he helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl and even won the Super Bowl MVP award himself. He has the experience to become an instant starter and the Miami Dolphins are a team that is in need of a change at the QB position.
2 Earl Thomas Signs with Kansas City Chiefs
Before his injury, Earl Thomas was considered the league's best free safety and was heading into his contract year with the Seahawks. But then he gave Seattle an ultimatum to renegotiate his contract or trade him, just before the season began. They did nothing.
So when he broke his left leg in Week 4, the entire reason of why he wanted a new deal was realized and he is now setting himself up to become the highest paid safety in the NFL next summer.
The best place he could end up is the Kansas City Chiefs as they try to rebuild their defense and fix a lot of their pain points from this past season.
1 Le'Veon Bell Signs with Houston Texans
The future is going to be very bright for Le'Veon Bell's bank account once he inks a deal next summer. Even if teams are afraid of his previous suspensions and injuries, he is still one of the league's elite running backs and will get the guaranteed money he was hoping for last summer.
The Houston Texans could make a move and bring him in to transform their offense into one of the league's scariest. Imagine Deshaun Watson, Le'Veon Bell, DeAndre Hopkins, and Demariyus Thomas all being on the field at the same time. That is the type of offenses that can win Super Bowls.