What you might have missed during the 2022 NFL offseason

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What you might have missed during the 2022 NFL offseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It’s that time again, folks… football is back.

The offseason, as usual, was long and arduous. Players from across the league swapped teams. Coaches were fired and hired. Youngsters were drafted and placed in random new cities.

Now, it’s time to begin the battle for Super Bowl LVII. Before the preseason gets started, it’s important to inform yourself. Most offseason transactions happened well before April Fools’ Day, so it’s easy to forget what went down. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered, so you don’t show up to your fantasy football draft and pick Rob Gronkowski.

Here’s a recap of every move from the 2022 offseason:

NFL superstars on the move in 2022

Some of the NFL’s biggest stars changed teams this offseason. From big-armed quarterbacks to menacing pass-rushers, there was no shortage of player movement among the league’s elite.

Russell Wilson: SeahawksBroncos

Denver sent five draft picks and three players to Seattle for its Pro Bowl quarterback. Wilson spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Seahawks, defeating the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII in 2013.

Matt Ryan: Falcons → Colts

The longtime Atlanta quarterback was traded to Indianapolis for a third-round pick. Ryan’s best season with the Falcons came in 2016, when he won league MVP before losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

Davante Adams: Packers → Raiders

After eight years with Aaron Rodgers, Adams is reuniting with his college quarterback Derek Carr in Las Vegas. Adams is widely considered the league’s best wideout after going First-Team All-Pro in 2020 and 2021.

Tyreek Hill: Chiefs → Dolphins

Similar to Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes lost his No. 1 receiver this offseason. Hill was traded to Miami for five draft picks, and he subsequently signed the biggest wideout contract in the NFL.

A.J. Brown: Titans → Eagles

It took a first-round pick, but the Eagles gladly paid up for Brown, a 25-year-old Pro Bowler. He also received a hefty four-year contract extension from Philadelphia.

Amari Cooper: Cowboys → Browns

Before the three aforementioned receivers were dealt for huge price tags, Cooper was sent to Cleveland for a fifth-rounder as a cost-cutting move for Dallas.

Khalil Mack: Bears → Chargers

Von Miller: Rams → Bills

Chandler Jones: Cardinals → Raiders

These three veteran pass-rushers all switched teams this offseason. Mack was traded after a down season in Chicago. Miller secured a massive payday from Buffalo after winning his second ring with the Rams. Jones, a former Patriot, reunited with Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas where he’ll be paired with Maxx Crosby.

J.C. Jackson: Patriots → Chargers

Stephon Gilmore: Panthers → Colts

Tyrann Mathieu: Chiefs → Saints

Several star secondary defenders were also on the move. Jackson, who was undrafted in 2018, signed a lucrative five-year deal with the Chargers after a breakout season in New England. Gilmore – Jackson’s former teammate – joined the Colts on a two-year deal as he’ll try to prove he is still worthy of star status. Mathieu signed with his hometown Saints on a three-year pact after three seasons in Kansas City.

Deshaun Watson: Texans → Browns

Cleveland took a huge risk by trading for Watson, who still had over 20 pending civil cases of sexual misconduct. The risk became even larger when Watson was given the largest guaranteed contract in NFL history. But on August 1 he reportedly was suspended for only the first six games of the season.

Other notable offseason player movement

Beyond just the stars, plenty of intriguing players changed teams over the past few months. Some of these moves won’t work out, while others could potentially shift the balance of power if things break the right way.

Baker Mayfield: Browns → Panthers

Carson Wentz: Colts → Commanders

Marcus Mariota: Raiders → Falcons

Mitch Trubisky: Bills → Steelers

Teddy Bridgewater: Broncos → Dolphins

OK, so none of these quarterbacks are going to lead their new team to a title in 2022 (barring some chaos). But that doesn’t mean these moves aren’t meaningful. Four of these five (sans Bridgewater) are expected to begin the season as their team’s starter.

Chase Edmonds: Cardinals → Dolphins

Sony Michel: Rams → Dolphins

Ronald Jones: Buccaneers → Chiefs

Phillip Lindsey: Texans → Colts

Edmonds, Michel, Jones and Lindsey are the types of players you see on the fantasy waiver wire every Tuesday morning. One or more of them could pop this season if a starter goes down.

Allen Robinson: Bears → Rams

Robert Woods: Rams → Titans

Marquise Brown: Ravens → Cardinals

DeVante Parker: Dolphins → Patriots

Russell Gage: Falcons → Buccaneers

JuJu Smith-Schuster: Steelers → Chiefs

Marquez Valdes-Scantling: Packers → Chiefs

Christian Kirk: Cardinals → Jaguars

Cedrick Wilson Jr.: Cowboys → Dolphins

D.J. Chark: Jaguars → Lions

Robinson, Woods and Brown are the biggest names of this group, but Parker, Gage and Smith-Schuster could be integral weapons with their new squads. Valdes-Scantling, Kirk, Wilson and Chark are all looking for bigger roles in new offenses.

Noah Fant: Broncos → Seahawks

C.J. Uzomah: Bengals → Jets

Evan Engram: Giants → Jaguars

O.J. Howard: Buccaneers → Bills

Austin Hooper: Browns → Titans

Gerald Everett: Seahawks → Chargers

Fant stands out after being included in the Wilson trade, as does Uzomah after finally breaking out with the Bengals. Engram and Howard look to improve as they move on to their second team, while Hooper and Everett jump to their third teams.

Terron Armstead: Saints → Dolphins

Alex Cappa: Buccaneers → Bengals

Ted Karras: Patriots → Bengals

La’el Collins: Cowboys → Bengals

Brandon Scherff: Commanders → Jaguars

A number of impact offensive lineman moved this offseason, and a trio of them went to Cincinnati. Armstead signed for the most money among the position group, but the Bengals’ revamped security blanket for Joe Burrow is the key takeaway.

Yannick Ngakoue: Raiders → Colts

Randy Gregory: Cowboys → Broncos

Akiem Hicks: Bears → Buccaneers

Sebastian Joseph-Day: Rams → Chargers

These four defensive linemen all joined contenders after posting varying results in 2021. Ngakoue and Gregory were the most productive, though the former Cowboy has struggled to stay on the field. Hicks is a veteran who will fit right in with Tampa Bay, while Joseph-Day reunites with head coach Brandon Staley and doesn’t have to leave town.

Bobby Wagner: Seahawks → Rams

Haason Reddick: Panthers → Eagles

Foyesade Oluokun: Falcons → Jaguars

Kyle Van Noy: Patriots → Chargers

Wagner and Reddick highlight the linebackers. It was hard not to include the former Seahawk in the superstar group, but he was a touch slower in 2021. Reddick, meanwhile, is coming off his best career season. And don’t forget about Oluokun, who led the NFL in total tackles last year.

D.J. Reed: Seahawks → Jets

James Bradberry: Giants → Eagles

Darious Williams: Rams → Jaguars

Charvarius Ward: Chiefs → 49ers

Malcolm Butler: Retired → Patriots

Each of these players should have solid seasons in 2022. None of them are changing your fortunes, but it’s important to have these types of quality players when you’re building a good defense.

Marcus Williams: Saints → Ravens

Justin Reid: Texans → Chiefs

Marcus Maye: Jets → Saints

Jabrill Peppers: Giants → Patriots

Williams is another player who could’ve been included in the superstar group, but he instead headlines this group of safeties. Reid will replace Mathieu in Kansas City, while Maye will replace Williams in New Orleans.

New NFL head coaches for 2022

Movement this offseason wasn’t limited to just players. A record-tying 10 teams made a head coaching change this offseason, including two playoff teams from 2021.

Buccaneers: Bruce Arians → Todd Bowles

Saints: Sean Payton → Dennis Allen

Arians and Payton stepped away from their gigs, and both NFC South teams promoted their defensive coordinators to the big seat.

Raiders: Jon Gruden (Rich Bisaccia) → Josh McDaniels

Jaguars: Urban Meyer (Darrell Bevell) → Doug Pederson

Texans: David Culley → Lovie Smith

McDaniels, Pederson and Smith will all get another chance at being a head coach after varying degrees of success in their previous stops. Pederson won a Super Bowl with the Eagles in 2017, and Smith made it to the big game with the Bears in 2006. McDaniels is finally freeing himself from Bill Belichick, 12 years after he was fired by the Broncos.

Broncos: Vic Fangio → Nathaniel Hackett

Dolphins: Brian Flores → Mike McDaniel

Vikings: Mike Zimmer → Kevin O’Connell

Giants: Joe Judge → Brian Daboll

Bears: Matt Nagy → Matt Eberflus

These are the five first-time head coaches for 2022. Hackett, McDaniel and O’Connell are under pressure to win quickly, while Daboll and Eberflus were hired to help facilitate rebuilds.

Rookies to know this season

It was a unique draft this spring, where only one quarterback was selected in the first two rounds (Kenny Pickett to the Steelers at No. 20 overall). There are plenty of potential breakout players worth monitoring during their rookie seasons, though.

Here are the top 15 picks:

  1. Travon Walker, DE, Jaguars

  2. Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Lions

  3. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, Texans

  4. Sauce Gardner, CB, Jets

  5. Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Giants

  6. Ikem Ekwonu, OT, Panthers

  7. Evan Neal, OT, Giants

  8. Drake London, WR, Falcons

  9. Charles Cross, OT, Seahawks

  10. Garrett Wilson, WR, Jets

  11. Chris Olave, WR, Saints

  12. Jameson Williams, WR, Lions

  13. Jordan Davis, DT, Eagles

  14. Kyle Hamilton, S, Ravens

  15. Kenyon Green, OG, Texans

NFL players who retired in 2022

Some players didn’t make it through the offseason, opting to step away from the game rather than run it back for another year. 

  • Tom Brady, Buccaneers (for a few weeks before announcing his return)

  • Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick, Commanders

  • Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers (second retirement)

  • Jack Doyle, Colts

  • Andrew Whitworth, Rams

  • Ali Marpet, Buccaneers

  • Brandon Brooks, Eagles

  • Alejandro Villaneuva, Ravens

  • Alex Mack, 49ers

  • Brandon Linder, Jaguars

  • Mitchell Schwartz, Chiefs (last played in 2020)

  • Richie Incognito, Raiders (second retirement)

  • Stephon Tuitt, Steelers

  • Whitney Mercilus, Packers

  • Malcolm Jenkins, Saints

  • Eric Weddle (second retirement)

  • Jason McCourty, Dolphins