At just over two months into the NFL offseason, we’ve had plenty to discuss and analyze. Not sure if it is due to the uncapped year we’re entering or if certain teams just have decided to put their respective franchise’s pedal to the metal and start making a push towards playoff and Super Bowl stardom. It’s probably both.
Like any long, twisty and otherwise unchartered trip through unfamiliar territory, it is helpful to have a map or GPS or something to help navigate. Our first attempt at helping with this was my cheatsheet to the 2010 offseason, complete with a slew of predictions of what would happen.
As we approach the NFL draft, and as you check out our ninja-rific mock drafts by Jay-Mo and Consigliere along with ep’s analysis of how well each team drafts and our refurbished and newly kickstarted message board/forum discussions on the upcoming draft, it is a good time to look back at the predictions made back in January and then to boldly step forward with some discussion on NFL moves yet-to-come.
Predicting the future is not an exact science. Otherwise, we all would have had Butler and Michigan State in our respective NCAA Final Four brackets. We all would have put our money on New Orleans in the Super Bowl. How boring would that be?
So, my January 28th prediction the NFL’s offseason is laced with big hits and similiarly big misses.
I nailed the predictions that Kurt Warner would retire … although at the time of writing that post, it was looking more and more like a foregone conclusion. I correctly suggested that Brandon Marshall would wind up in Miami and Anquan Boldin in Baltimore.
I’m confident that Brett Favre will play another season with the Vikings. There’s no way the purple people eaters sit on their hands while Donovan McNabb is actively shopped unless they are totally certain that No. 4 will be back under center. Favre’s Wrangler jean gifts to Viking teammates is another indicator of a return.
Michael Vick did not land with the Rams. Yet, at least. It may look a lot less feasible now considering all we know about Vick and the Rams and with McNabb in Washington. The Eagles still say they’ll deal Vick, and I personally am not in the majority in thinking that the Rams would be best suited to draft Mr. Suh first overall and then taking best available QB to kick off the second round of drafting. In this scenario, they’d likely want a veteran QB to handle the team in 2010 while the young buck studies at the NFL level. Vick QBing the team would sell tickets. Not one to go back on my word, so I’ll still say Vick winds up in St. Louis … just not feeling it as strongly as before.
I said Marion Barber would stay in Dallas and so far that is still correct. They are still considering a trade, but I think logically they stick with Barber and use a more committee-esque approach to running the football to keep their trinity of talented, yet oft-injured backs as healthy as possible longer into the season.
I figured the Warner-less Cardinals would make a play for Jason Campbell to backup/compete with Matt Leinart. Instead, the Cardinals acquired Derek Anderson. Campbell will definitely be moving somewhere this offseason after Washington put its eggs in the McNabb basket. We’ll talk about Campbell in a minute.
Got the conference right on LaDanian Tomlinson … he did stay in the AFC. He just moved to the New York Jets instead of the Houston Texans. Like I said, youcan’t get them all right for fear of being just plain old boring.
No one in their right mind expected Santonio Holmes to fall so quickly from grace in Pittsburgh and for the ensuing deal to the Jets for a fifth-round draft pick. That’s Butler-in-the-NCAA-championship game caliber of craziness.
And so we now look to the looming NFL draft and all the potential maneuvers that could happen. You’ve all seen the mock drafts and where players could be picked. Many expects avoid predicting draft-day trades just because they are so hard to nail down. I could look into my crystal shuriken and give you all the answers ahead of time, but some experienced in due time.
What I’d like to discuss briefly are the other potential fantasy-shaping offseason moves that have yet to take place involving current NFL players.
For example, I mentioned Jason Campbell above. No one knows where he’ll officially wind up. The Buffalo Bills desperately need a QB. The Cleveland Browns need a long-term solution, and adding Campbell to Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace doesn’t make a ton of sense. I can’t imagine Seattle feeling totally confident in Charlie Whitehurst moving forward under center. As I mentioned with Michael Vick, the St. Louis Rams need someone … either as “their guy” or to tutor a young Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy. A lot of where Campbell winds up depends on where rookie QBs go. Will Jimmy Clausen wind up in Buffalo or San Francisco or Seattle? Who takes a chance on Tim Tebow? Deciding where Campbell winds up is a real crapshoot at this point, but it wouldn’t be a bold prediction if I waited for ESPN to break the story beforehand. I’ll wager that Campbell lands either in St. Louis or Buffalo in a one-year starter/tutor type persona.
Brian Westbrook continues to be homeless after all the other veteran halfbacks find homes. Some feel Westbrook could wind up back in Philly. Others wonder if he’ll wind up with a squad like Houston or San Diego. The thing with either of those franchises is they already have backs in the mold of Westbrook on their squads. Both of those teams need big, bruising backs to tote the rock. There were rumors for a little while that he could wind up in Green Bay. Mike McCarthy prides himself on overlooking backs in the rookie draft. Current starter Ryan Grant was obtained for a sixth-round pick traded to New York. Westbrook’s skillset doesn’t exactly complement Ryan Grant’s super-well, but I still think there will be some movement from Green Bay in this matter, and that Westbrook will be in green and gold in 2010.
Marshawn Lynch rumors have been swirling around Buffalo like a turkey buzzard around a roadkill raccoon. I still think he’ll wind up on a different roster in 2010, despite what Buffalo brass has to say in its next attempt of a smokescreen. Lynch is a holdover from the old regime that is sucking funds from Bills-land and contributing to the mess. However, he is also really young (23), very muscular and has plenty of potential on the field. At the moment, his skill set matches up really well with what Houston and San Diego both need, and if there wasn’t an NFL draft to cloud things, I’dbet dollars to doughnuts that he’d be playing in one of these two cities. I am pretty certain that one of the two teams will draft Ryan Matthews (probably the Texans) and while there are other big backs available in the draft, I’ll take an educated guess that Lynch winds up in San Diego (although they seemed happy to get rid of vocal Tomlinson and may not be thrilled with another potential headache?)
Was thinking recently that Terrell Owens has really altered his legacy over the past couple years. We now have a new generation of football fans who think Terrell Owens is synonymous with trouble making, running his mouth and not following it up with solid performances on the field. Seems more and more are forgetting how dominant he once was. Playing for yet another team in 2010 will likely add to the vast disparity between his Hall of Fame-clinching dominance with the 49ers and his current inability to land a consistent job in the NFL. Plenty of teams have checked Owens out this offseason, but he continues to get passed over, including by the Cincinnati Bengals, who chose Antonio Bryant over Owens. The experience is likely humbling for Owens, as he realizes his options are dwindling. If he signs anywhere, it will likely come after the draft as teams finalize their receiving plans and may decide to take a flier on him. Rumors are currently flying around that Donovan McNabb is lobbying for Owens in Washington, but how many aging, downside players can one team field at a time. There’s some sort of NFL regulation on this, right? Seriously, it is ways too much of a crapshoot to tell where Owens will land at this point, and plenty of concern that no matter where he may play (if anywhere), he will not provide any fantasy value, anyway.
Some think that Vincent Jackson will be dealt out of San Diego this offseason. Regardless of his current discontent over his contract situation and that he is sitting out of offseason workouts in an attempt to prove a point, the Chargers have too many questions in other areas of their team to disrupt their high-powered receiving game.
What do you think of these players? Where will they wind up? What sort of fantasy value will they have? Which other players do you see getting moved yet this offseason? Would love to hear your comments.