Some crazy moves have already gone down this NFL offseason, but the most best of the NFL’s offseason transactions are yet to come. We all love the NFL offseason because gamechanging moves go down that affect the entire NFL landscape for the upcoming season. Some moves drive you crazy while others keep your focus all the way until Week 1. It largely matters what side of the fence your on. When we look at New England’s acquisition of Brandin Cooks, those who root for New England were surely ecstatic while the rest of us wonder who’s going to beef up their offense enough to contend with the Patriots powerful offense.
Recent transactions have seem to solidified a lot of the available talents spots for next season. But that isn’t the case for everyone who has signed. You’ll come to find out later on that two quarterbacks you thought were set with a team – Kirk Cousins in Washington and Brock Osweiler in Cleveland – will actually be traded away to other organizations.
Those types of organizational flip flops and surprise transactions are what make the NFL offseason so entertaining and they’re the reasons we have a reason to follow sports outside of football season. Maybe that’s a little over dramatic, but there’s no better time than when the NFL is back in action. At least they keep us guessing in the offseason to keep our focus on possibly the most entertaining professional sport. This list projects the top 15 huge NFL offseason moves that are still going to be coming our way before the start of the season.
15 JOHNNY MANZIEL SIGNS WITH THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Not many teams can handle the media circus that will show up once Johnny Manziel shows up to play. Heck, most teams that can take that type of attention likely won’t have any spot for Manziel on their roster. But the troubled young athlete will find his way back into the NFL. And who’s going to be the guy giving Manziel his next shot – well that’s going to be Bill Belichick. The New England coach is looking for another challenge and there’s no better F-you to Roger Goodell and the league than signing Manziel and putting him on one of the NFL’s most followed teams.
Don’t expect Manziel to take over for Brady. Heck, Manziel may not even be second in line for the quarterback position. But that’s what he needs. Manziel needs a good system to get him back into NFL shape and he needs some time to learn on the bench. There’s no better fit than New England.
14 JIMMY GAROPPOLO TRADED TO THE NEW YORK JETS
Although it seems like New England is planning on holding on to Jimmy Garoppolo since he’s still on the roster, the backup quarterback will eventually be traded because he deserves a shot as a starting quarterback. And there are teams out there willing to shell out quite a bit to secure that option. The team that’s most willing and in need of this type of quarterback is the New York Jets. The Jets have been floundering for years and mostly because of a lack of consistency at their quarterback position.
Although Garoppolo may not be the veteran quarterback that the Jets would like, he’s a much better option than risking next season on an entirely unproven rookie from the draft. That’s not to say the Jets should avoid quarterbacks in the draft. They just shouldn’t select a quarterback and toss him into action in front of one of the most critical fan bases in the league.
13 COLIN KAEPERNICK GOES UNSIGNED
This won’t come as a major surprise to most people out there. Colin Kaepernick seems to be a guy teams are trying to avoid, and that trend will continue throughout the rest of the offseason. At some point he’ll get another shot at professional action, but that won’t come before Week 1. We still don’t know if Kaepernick will ever perform like he did when he first entered the league and it’s unsure if he’ll be a starting quarterback.
Part of the reason Kaepernick is still on the market and will remain on the market is because he’s surely looking to sign a quarterback relative to those who are starters and not bench warmers. Unfortunately for Kaepernick, most people view him as a bench warmer at this point in time. Soon enough though, injuries will begin to affect teams and Kaepernick will get a chance during the regular season. He’s just got to stay football-ready long enough to perform well when that opportunity presents itself.
12 LOS ANGELES CHARGERS DRAFT A QUARTERBACK
The Chargers just can’t seem to win with the turnover prone Philip Rivers (he’ll be part of a huge trade that we’ll talk about later). Rivers led the team to just five wins last season, and the team needs to change directions. That’s why with the seventh pick in the draft, the Chargers opt for a quarterback. And Deshaun Watson will prove to be that guy, partly because his stock will drastically rise come his pro day.
Watson will be fueled to perform as he started the offseason as a potential high first round draft pick and is now talked about falling to the third round. That will change come Draft Day. By the time Los Angeles is on the clock, the team will have no issue selecting Watson as the first quarterback drafted this year. Now, this may seem like a shocking surprise, but once Rivers is traded off and Watson stock rises, it will be blatantly obvious that this is the right move for the Chargers. Although the Chargers won’t likely make the playoffs next season, they’ll improve on their recent dismal five-win season.
11 BROCK OSWEILER TRADED TO THE CHICAGO BEARS
Did you think Brock Osweiler found his next home when he got to Cleveland. Well, think again. Cleveland is obviously using Osweiler as some part of tricky maneuver. The Browns will be trading off Osweiler well before he ever suits up in a Browns jersey. Although the Browns are in desperate need of a new quarterback, they are well aware that Osweiler isn’t going to be the guy who will change things up. Cleveland saw Osweiler’s dismal play in Houston and there’s no reason to think he’ll do better on a team with more issues.
Part of the reason that the Browns acquired Osweiler was because he came with a second-round draft pick. The Browns are stockpiling for the future, and they’ll manage some more top draft picks as they dump Osweiler off on the Chicago Bears. The Browns currently have eight first or second round picks in the next two drafts, and this move will surely get them some more.
10 DEMARCUS WARE RETURNS FROM RETIREMENT
Luckily DeMarcus Ware won’t stay true to his word on this statement. Ware said he’s retiring, but give him a couple more months. He’ll be back on a roster before you know it. Ware will be back by Week 1. He’s going to come back even though no one would question his greatness if he would go through with retirement. Ware is a Super Bowl champ who has been selected nine times to the Pro Bowl, has been the Defensive Player of the Year and has led the league in sacks twice. Ware has also been named to the 2000s All-Decade Team and it wouldn’t be surprising if he was named to the next decade’s team when that time comes.
Ware will be a first ballot Hall of Famer no matter what. But his career will be so much sweeter competing for one last Super Bowl with a team like the Dallas Cowboys. Ware will likely have his choice for where to go next, and we hope he’ll add some additional veteran talent to the Cowboys defensive front.
9 DARRELLE REVIS SIGNS WITH THE CAROLINA PANTHERS
Yeah, Darrelle Revis is likely far passed the days of his lockdown capabilities. But you still want this veteran superstar on the field for your team. But he’s still up for grabs because of the high pricetag he’s likely setting, which is risky for teams as there’s no way in telling if he’ll produce at any type of respectable level. But the longer he goes unsigned the more it will fuel his return to the field. And this used-to-be superstar could be washed up, but we’re betting he still has another year or two left of locking down the opposing receivers.
Revis had some criminal charges, which are gone now but the league could still decide to impose some sort of punishment. That alone shouldn’t keep teams away from Revis. But it seems that when you factor in his age along with his below-average time with the Jets last season, Revis becomes a tough sell. But he does have potential upside and his name alone will bring some attention to any teams defense. Plus, Revis can still add a lot of experience and upside to a defense. The Carolina Panthers would be a perfect fit as they have a need for a defender like Revis and they’ve already shown they don’t mind implementing veterans on their defense.
8 TONY ROMO HEADS TO DENVER
This is one of the most interesting and fluid possible transactions coming up in the NFL offseason. Tony Romo could play in a lot of places as the starter, but Jerry Jones may opt to keep his golden boy in a Dallas uniform. For some reason it seems like it seems like the Cowboys owner does not want get rid of the quarterback. But Dak Prescott has proved to be too good to bench and Romo is too good to remain sitting on the sidelines.
Denver can really benefit from starting a quarterback like Romo. Last year the Broncos went 8-6 in the 14 games that Trevor Siemian started. With how good the Broncos defense is, they really need a solid starting quarterback to lead the team to the postseason. Siemian isn’t terrible (he tossed 3,401 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season), but he hasn’t proven to be good enough to take a team like Denver deep into the postseason.
7 PHILIP RIVERS HEADS TO THE CHIEFS, JEREMY MACLIN JOINS THE CHARGERS
Kansas City will need to give up some later round draft picks in addition to the wide receiver to get this trade through, but that won’t be an issue for the team as it’s becoming obvious that Alex Smith isn’t the quarterback leading this team to a postseason run. Philip Rivers throws a lot of interceptions, but he scores a lot too, and Kansas City’s defense is much more equipped than the Chargers to stump the opposition’s offense. Let’s face it, Kansas City becomes a scary team with Rivers, though the Chiefs will need to draft a wide receiver or pick someone up to help out Rivers as the team will need to trade Jeremy Maclin.
Maclin has proved to be a great wide receiver, he’s just often stumped on the Chiefs lackluster offense. It will be a challenge working with a rookie quarterback in Los Angeles, but running routes beside Keenan Allen (when he’s healthy) will prove to be a tough combo to defend. Again, the Chargers won’t likely be a playoff contender with all of these moves, but they will be soon enough as they continue building for the future.
6 JAY CUTLER SIGNS WITH THE HOUSTON TEXANS
Jay Cutler has received some of the most negative reviews and so much criticism since he’s been in the NFL. Some of it is deserved, but not nearly to the extent that Cutler has seen. Cutler has been one of the most over-criticized players since his start in the league, which is probably why teams are hesitant to bring him on. But you’ve got to sift through all of the criticism that has been dealt because of his 68-71 record as a starter.
Cutler has thrown for more than 30,000 yards and has 208 passing touchdowns with just 146 interceptions. Of course, stats aren’t the only thing that defines a quarterback. But those stats are really good and should gain Cutler some appreciation throughout the league. But because of his negative reviews, Cutler needs to be on a team where he competes for the starting job. There’s no better place than the Texans. The Texans have been criticized for giving too good of a contract to that Brock guy, so why not sign Jay for one year and let them duel it out for the starting spot.
5 CLEVELAND TRADES DOWN, DRAFTS MITCH TRUBISKY
Cleveland coach Hue Jackson recently said that the Browns would not trade their first overall pick in the upcoming draft. It seems that Jackson truly cherishes the No. 1 pick, but come draft day, you’ll see the Browns opt for more picks as they move down in the order. Especially because a guy like Myles Garrett isn’t going to change anything for the team that has been struggling for years. The Browns really need a quarterback, but there’s no one in the draft worthy of a pick that high. Cleveland will likely trade its top pick for some additional firepower and use its No. 12 pick to take a quarterback.
The best fit for Cleveland looks to be Mitch Trubisky, who played high school football just a short drive down the road from Cleveland. Trubisky, though, won’t be ready to play by Week 1 and needs some time to grow before he’s implemented in the offense. That’s why Cleveland needs a guy to lead the offense for a year or two. That guy will be revealed in just a moment.
4 CLEVELAND ALSO TRADES FOR KIRK COUSINS
With all of the draft picks Cleveland has acquired, it won’t be much of a loss to get rid of some talent for Kirk Cousins. Plus, the Browns should be able to get Cousins for relatively cheap since the quarterback recently asked Washington owner Dan Snyder to trade him. Although he won’t be utilized as the quarterback of the future, he’s a great placeholder for Mitch Trubisky. The true value in this pick will be getting a quarterback that the young rookie can learn from and grow behind until he’s ready to get into the game. And when that time comes, Cousins will likely be a great trading tool to get some extra weapons for Trubisky.
Sure, Cousins just signed with Washington, but the Redskins have got to realize that even if Cousins puts up good numbers like he has in the past couple years, there’s just too many holes on that team to make a postseason run. The thing is, though, that Cousins won’t put up those types of numbers we’ve been seeing in Washington because he’s lost most of the weapons he’s gotten used to throwing too. Washington fans will be upset to see Cousins go, but it will be the right move in the long run.
3 TAMPA BAY ACQUIRES NO. 1 PICK, SELECTS MYLES GARRETT
Tampa Bay is poised to make a deep run in the postseason if the team can find an impact player to join its defensive attack. Let’s face it, the Buccaneers have one of the best young quarterback/wide receiver pairs in the game right now, and there’s no reason to think that they can’t outscore any team in the league … well, if they can get some help on defense there’s no reason to think they can’t outscore any team in the league.
Tampa Bay will be giving up its first pick next year and a couple of later round draft picks for this one, but it will prove to be worth it as this addition will make them one of the scarier teams in the league. By adding Myles Garrett, who is clearly the best talent in the draft, the Buccaneers solidify themselves as a playoff team. And not just that, they also solidify themselves as one of the best teams in the league before any of the guys even get on the field. Sure, a lot can effect these statements, but Tampa Bay will be in a great position once the team secures the top spot in the draft.
2 ADRIAN PETERSON SIGNS WITH THE OAKLAND RAIDERS
Although last season was a slow year for Adrian Peterson, he is one of the best athlete that remains on the market. Adrian Peterson can bring the biggest type of change to a team, but that is only if he can remain healthy. Peterson may not have much time left in the league, and that’s why he’s going to be looking to play for a playoff contender. The Raiders will be a playoff contender with or without Peterson in the backfield, and that’s what makes this fit so perfect.
This would just be such a good choice for both Peterson and the Raiders. Even if Peterson gets injured and is out for a good chunk of the season, he still knows that if he can return, he’ll be competing in the playoffs. Realistically, this move would be solely for that reason – a postseason run. And this combination could provide Derek Carr and the Raiders with a shot at a Super Bowl ring. That would be a good parting gift for Oakland if it turns out the Raiders are heading to Vegas.
1 MARSHAWN LYNCH SIGNS WITH THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Marshawn Lynch is going to return to the NFL. Those around him say he’s itching to get back and it’s been reported that Lynch is all recovered from his injuries and in better health than he has been in a while. But Lynch isn’t signing up to join a struggling squad and the options for teams that are a sure bet for the playoffs are tough to find in the NFL. Especially teams that are in need of a running back. But the Patriots fit both of those descriptions.
The Patriots will surely be fighting for a late postseason run and they can use a star running back to lead the rushing attack. Like the Raiders, the Patriots are going to be in the playoffs regardless who is in the backfield for them (well as long as the star quarterbacks for these squads stays healthy). So, this is a no brainer for Lynch. Once he makes the decision to return, he’ll be a perfect fit in New England.