The 2023 NFL offseason and free agency period has begun and many major moves have been made. The piece of news that sent shockwaves around the league was the retirement of Tom Brady. The former New England Patriot and Tampa Bay Buccaneer won seven Super Bowl trophies, five SB MVPs, three league MVPs and is widely considered the greatest quarterback ever. He is slated to join Fox Sports as an analyst. Many could not be happier that he is no longer terrorizing their favorite team, while others are sad to have witnessed his greatness for the last time.
Multiple quarterbacks got off big multi–year deals for big money, including Daniel Jones staying with the New York Giants with a four-year $160 million extension. Big Blue also signed his teammate and star running back Saquon Barkley to the franchise tag. Another big money move at the QB position was former Raider Derek Carr signing a four-year contract with the New Orleans Saints for up to $150 million after a decade with Oakland/Las Vegas. Replacing Carr in the silver and black is former Patriots and 49er Jimmy Garoppolo on a team-friendly, three-year $67.5 million deal. The final move of a starting quarterback that has moved at the moment has been Baker Mayfield to replace Brady in Tampa Bay on a one-year deal for up to $8 million dollars.
Two other big-name quarterbacks could be on the move with Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson. Rodgers’ move to the New York Jets is essentially confirmed but not etched into stone. All parties involved have said that the deal will get done. Rodgers has expressed that he would like to have some of his familiar Green Bay teammates come to New York and one has already joined in receiver Allen Lazard. Another weapon to join the Jets is Mecole Hardman from Kansas City. It seems more of a when rather than an if of Rodgers being traded to New York, just like his predecessor Brett Favre. Their career paths have been eerily similar with nearly two decades for the Packers, lots of MVP awards but only one championship, forcing their way to the Jets, and being replaced by a young player from the bench. Hopefully in Rodgers’ case, he could do something Favre never did: lead the Jets to the playoffs and win another Super Bowl.
Lamar Jackson is 26 years old, a former MVP and one of the league’s most electrifying players. However, injuries have forced him to miss 11 games over the last two years, including a playoff game this year. He is a restricted free agent and Baltimore just signed him under the non-exclusive franchise tag, which means he could negotiate with other teams but they would have to give up two first-round picks. There seems to be no interest in that market as of now. The Ravens have been very reluctant to give Lamar a lengthy big-money deal for injury concerns. Jackson has a legitimate gripe because other QBs who are not as good as him are getting paid $30 to 40 million per year. Many believe that the two sides will come to an agreement at some point but the long–term picture remains unclear.
There are plenty of big-name free agents or trade options that are still available. Odell Beckham Jr. is looking to make a comeback after not playing in 2022 after tearing his ACL. The Cowboys released running back Ezekiel Elliott and he has claimed he wants to sign with the Eagles, Jets or Bengals. As many as five teams are inquiring about All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins including the New England Patriots.
Speaking of those Patriots, they have made some moves this offseason. There have only been marginal improvements to the roster. The team released Jonnu Smith and brought in Mike Gesicki from Miami to improve their tight-end position. They also had a switch of receiver, having lost Jakobi Meyers to the Raiders, and in came JuJu Smith-Schuster from Kansas City. They signed for the same contract (three years and $33 million), which could be seen as a slight of Meyers. Safety Devin McCourty retired after 14 seasons and three championships with the team. No other moves have been made besides resignings. The offseason is not over but I believe the team is done with major moves, and the direction of the franchise is unclear.