Squawka NFL

AFC West, Rodgers and Brady: Winners and losers of the NFL offseason

By Squawka NFL

Published: 11:00, 10 April 2022

It is nearly two months since the Los Angeles Rams’ triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals at Super Bowl LVI and the NFL offseason is now in full swing as teams continue to prepare for the 2022 season.

Contract renewals, player trading and one of the greatest to ever play the game retiring, then unretiring – it has already been an eventful offseason – so we have decided to take a look at the current winners and losers from the NFL offseason so far.

AFC West – Winners

Having won the previous six AFC West titles, Kansas City Chiefs will be looking for a seventh straight division win next season, but will most definitely face challenges from the Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders – who have all strengthened in the offseason.

The Chargers have added former New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson and six-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Khalil Mack to their roster, while wide receiver Mike Williams has agreed to a three-year deal to remain with the franchise.

After a nine-year stay at the Seattle Seahawks, which included winning Super Bowl XLVIII, quarterback Russell Wilson decided to move to the Broncos in one of the NFL’s biggest trades ever.

The Broncos relinquished two first-round draft picks and sent Drew Lock, Noah Fant and Shelby Harris to the Seahawks in return for star quarterback Wilson – who has set his sights on at least three more Super Bowl appearances.

Elsewhere, the Las Vegas Raiders have also added real quality to their roster – with two-time All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams signing a five-year contract with the franchise, worth $141.25million – making him the highest-paid receiver and non-quarterback in the NFL.

Cincinnati Bengals – Winners

After being minutes away from a first Super Bowl win, the Bengals will be looking to go one better next time around and finally lift the Lombardi Trophy.

Their offensive line gave up 51 sacks on their way to NFL’s showpiece event in February, and have used the free agency market to improve the unit – signing center Ted Karras, right guard Alex Cappa and right tackle La’el Collins.

Bengals fans will now hope this much-changed O-line will give quarterback Joe Burrow, now entering his third year with the franchise, the freedom to pick out his teammates on a more frequent basis.

Wide receivers’ bank balances – Winners

It has been a pretty lucrative offseason for wide receivers in the NFL – underlined by the eye-watering deal Davante Adams signed with the Raiders.

Adams’ fellow wide receiver Tyreek Hill has also switched teams during the offseason – leaving the Chiefs to pen a $120million four-year contract at the Miami Dolphins, meanwhile Stefon Diggs has signed a $104million contract extension with the Buffalo Bills and Christian Kirk has agreed a $84million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

NFC South – Losers

A month after announcing his retirement, the seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady made a sensation U-turn to confirm his intention to play on in 2022.

Brady, now 44, will enter his 23rd season – and third with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – who agreed a three-year $39million deal with center Ryan Jensen on the same day their star quarterback ended his 40-day retirement.

It spells bad news for the rest of the NFC South, who will all face an uphill struggle to wrestle the division title off the Bucs.

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Aaron Rodgers – Loser

With the Green Bay Packers trading Davante Adams off to the Raiders, it now means quarterback Aaron Rodgers is without any wide receivers.

To add to this, the Packers have had issues with their salary cap, with the franchise $28.25million over the limit in February, resulting in the likes of Rodgers having his salary-cap number reduced to $28million as part of a new four-year contract.

There is hope however that the Packers can strengthen their roster and provide Rodgers with the wide receivers he will need to retain their NFC North title as the franchise go into this month’s draft with no fewer than 11 picks.

Baker Mayfield – Loser

Having been replaced by Deshaun Watson as the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback, it has not been a good offseason for Baker Mayfield so far. The Browns gave up a mammoth haul – including three first-round draft picks – to secure the former Houston quarterback.

Mayfield, meanwhile, sits on the roster as a back, and with no franchise showing any interest in the 26-year-old, it looks like No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft is facing a season on the sidelines.

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