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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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:
Travon Walker, DE, Jaguars
Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Lions
Derek Stingley Jr., CB, Texans
Sauce Gardner, CB, Jets
Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Giants
Ikem Ekwonu, OT, Panthers
Evan Neal, OT, Giants
Drake London, WR, Falcons
Charles Cross, OT, Seahawks
Garrett Wilson, WR, Jets
Chris Olave, WR, Saints
Jameson Williams, WR, Lions
Jordan Davis, DT, Eagles
Kyle Hamilton, S, Ravens
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