10 crazy NFL offseason predictions: Tom Brady jumps ship, Jim Harbaugh returns and Commanders get new owners

Last offseason had to be the wildest one in NFL history. The wide receiver market got completely reset while multiple star wideouts were traded, we saw plenty of quarterback movement, Tom Brady retired and then unretired, and Sean Payton stepped down from his post as head coach of the New Orleans Saints. It’s going to be difficult to surpass the craziness from last offseason, but expect this upcoming offseason to be interesting as well.

What does the future hold for Brady? For Aaron Rodgers? What kinds of changes are coming to the league this offseason, and what will be the most surprising head coach headline? Below, we will make and break down 10 crazy predictions for this NFL offseason.

With the San Francisco 49ers’ decision to tab Trey Lance as the starting quarterback and the emergence of Brock Purdy, it appears Jimmy G’s days in The Bay are numbered. The quarterback carousel this offseason is going to be interesting, and could be just as wild as last year. Garoppolo is going to be one of the most intriguing signal-callers looking for a new home.

After all of us witnessed Zach Wilson’s struggles, the Jets are going to be looking to add another quarterback. With Robert Saleh’s familiarity with Garoppolo, it could be a match. The Jets have underrated talent in the backfield and at wide receiver. Adding a quarterback who can be a consistent game manager would make New York better immediately.

player headshot

The Commanders love making questionable quarterback decisions. From allowing Kirk Cousins ​​to walk, to signing Mark Sanchez out of desperation in 2018, to trading for Carson Wentz, to benching Taylor Heinicke for the aforementioned Wentz and throwing away the 2022 campaign, Washington has virtually done it all. Carr signing with Washington sort of feels like a “Commanders” decision.

Washington isn’t in a position to seduce Tom Brady or choose one of the top signal-callers in the 2023 NFL Draft. So, in steps Carr. The former Raider isn’t bad, but he’s not a young gun who’s going to rejuvenate the franchise either. Some fans will really like this decision, while others won’t.

8. Tony Pollard draws major interest in free agency, leaves Cowboys

player headshot

There are several intriguing running backs looking for new deals this offseason, including Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and David Montgomery. The one I predict will receive the most interest, however, is Tony Pollard of the Cowboys.

Pollard picked up Pro Bowl honors this season by racking up a career-high 1,359 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns in 15 games played. Whether it’s working in the pass game, beating defenses to the corner off a jet sweep or just operating as your typical back in between the tackles, Pollard is a versatile weapon who teams are going to be bidding on — more so than Barkley, Jacobs or Montgomery.

Spotrac projects Pollard will sign a three-year, $25.40 million deal that carries an average annual value of $8.4 million. My prediction is it’s going to be higher than that, with his new AAV surpassing $10 million.

7. Dan Snyder sells team to Jeff Bezos, Jay-Z, Matthew McConaughey

This offseason, it finally happens. After more than two decades, the Washington NFL franchise will be under new ownership, as Snyder sells his beloved Commanders to a group headed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, musician Jay-Z and actor Matthew McConaughey.

The Commanders announced Nov. 2 that the Snyders had hired Bank of America Securities to “consider potential transactions.” League sources estimated to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones that the full franchise would sell between $5.5 and $6.5 billion, but some believe it could go for even more.

After being spurned by the Cowboys this season, OBJ is going to sign with his former team. It seemed like the Cowboys were all-in on signing Beckham, then he showed up for his visit and Dallas signed … TY Hilton. Despite all of the reports saying both sides were/are still talking, we haven’t seen anything come to fruition, and it’s fair to wonder if anything ever will.

Another reason why Beckham could be interested in his former team is because it appears to be on the rise. Brian Daboll was clearly a good hire, Saquon Barkley is back to being a star and Daniel Jones may be a franchise quarterback. At the very least, he’s earned the right to be the guy in 2023. The Giants have a need at the wide receiver position, and OBJ has remained in touch with some of his friends there.

player headshot

After the season, Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens will again enter contract negotiations. It didn’t go too well last year thanks to those dang Cleveland Browns, who gave Deshaun Watson a fully-guaranteed contract. ESPN reported that Jackson turned down a five-year extension worth over $250 million with $133 million guaranteed at signing before the start of the 2022 season.

That fully guaranteed contract is a huge obstacle to overcome in this situation, which will lead to tension between the two sides — who both want the same thing. My prediction is that Jackson will demand a trade after not getting that fully guaranteed deal. Armed with the franchise tag, the Ravens will use it. Per CBS Sports cap guru Joel Corry, the exclusive franchise designation will be most likely. Four of the last five times quarterbacks have been designated as franchise players, the exclusive tag has been used.

Now, the question will be Jackson actually want out of baltimore? I say no — and there’s no way the Ravens actually field offers for their star quarterback. Ultimately, Jackson will play on the tag, but the fanbase will not have a fun offseason.

4. Sean Payton doesn’t return to the NFL

As we inch closer to the end of this regular season, my prediction is that you’re going to see it Payton hype train leave the station at full speed. The former Saints head coach is going to be that “big fish” every NFL team in need of a new leader is going to be after, and it will turn into a sweepstakes of some sorts.

However, I predict Payton shocks everyone by not returning to the sideline. There will be multiple factors why Payton ultimately does not return, but one is because his top job was not available. There’s been plenty of noise surrounding Payton and his level of interest in Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers. With them making the playoffs, Brandon Staley won’t be going anywhere.

3. NFL makes roughing the passer even worse

It was reported last month that the NFL is going to discuss the possibility of making roughing the passer a reviewable penalty. The league has made touching the quarterback a frightening task for defenders, as sack artists are not even allowed to allow the natural force of gravity to affect them — like when they momentarily put their weight on the quarterback while taking him down to the ground. Instead of reversing course with these rules, my prediction is that the NFL is indeed going to make the penalty reviewable — which will be a disaster.

Remember when the NFL made pass interference reviewable for one year back in 2019? It sounded like such a great idea in theory, but it didn’t work out that way. Only 13 of 81 pass interference challenges were successful in 2019, per SI.com. There were two reasons why, in my opinion. One, I hypothesize the league wanted officials to lean towards their original call, and two, slowing down these kinds of plays in the review process really muddled things.

Basically, we paused games to see what we perceived to be clear and obvious pass interference penalties in slow motion, only for the official to turn on his mic and announce that there was no penalty. It was maddening, and that’s what will happen with roughing the passer.

It’s become an annual tradition: “X NFL team interested in Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.” I thought the Harbaugh stuff was going to be easy to ignore this offseason since he spurned the Minnesota Vikings last year and returned to the University of Michigan “with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!” while telling the athletic director that this NFL flirtation was a “one-time thing.” Well, here we go again.

According to The Athletic, if offered a job to return to the pros, Harbaugh is expected to take it.

“I think it’s a done deal if he gets an offer,” one source close to Harbaugh told The Athletic.

Harbaugh played for the Colts from 1994-97, and is in their Ring of Honor. While he went just 20-26 as a starter in the regular season, Harbaugh helped the Colts get to the AFC Championship game during the 1995 campaign while picking up Pro Bowl honors and winning Comeback Player of the Year. We already know Jim Irsay likes his former players. Harbaugh would be a better option than Jeff Saturday.

1. Tom Brady jumps pirate ships

player headshot

The 2022 campaign started off poorly for Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he and the offense rebounded, and could be set to make a playoff run in a tough-to-predict NFC. What happens in 2023 though?

Brady will be a free agent, and I’m sure he will retire again. Ultimately, I say he decides to head to the west coast and join the Las Vegas Raiders — jumping one pirate ship for another. The Raiders have some pieces on offense with Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow and Davante Adams, plus Brady has plenty of experience working with Josh McDaniels. The AFC West is loaded with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, but Brady doesn’t care. He’s going to try to win one of the best divisions in the NFL before hanging up the cleats.

Leave a Comment