Aaron Rodgers’ decision to stay with the Green Bay Packers was the first (and perhaps the least exciting) thing to happen in what turned out to be a wild 2022 free-agency period. Now that the league has appeared to have settled before the upcoming draft, lets take a look back at five landscape-altering trades, and how the teams involved will respond.
Wilson swaps Seattle for Denver
The Broncos gain their franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future allowing them to use the draft to address other teem needs. With 8 picks in the draft, the first not until round 2, Denver is potentially looking to improve their secondary and find a tight end who can help replace the production of Noah Fant, who was involved in the Wilson trade.
Seattle now joins the ranks of teams who have questions at the quarterback position, but they also have other concerns on both sides of the ball – concerns they should look to address with their new draft picks. Offensive line help and replacing Bobby Wagner should take priority to adding a 4th quarterback to the mix, especially if there are no stand out prospects at quarterback.
Raiders strengthen offense with Davante Adams
By making the trade for Adams, the Las Vegas Raiders reunited Derek Carr with his Fresno State teammate, meaning there should be no concerns about fitting in. With only five picks in this years draft, the earliest of which doesn’t arrive until the third round, Las Vegas should look look for defensive prospects to solidify their defense and give them another playoff run.
“Raider Nation, I’m here. It’s real.”
The best quotes from @tae15adams‘ introductory press conference ⬇️
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) March 23, 2022
The Packers have not selected a wide receiver in the first round since Javon Walker in 2002. Look for that streak to be broken in this years’ particularly-talented draft selections at WR. With two selections in the first round and five total in the first three rounds, Green Bay should be able to find Aaron Rodgers some help to replace the giant hole left by Davante Adams.
Deshaun Watson replaces Baker Mayfield in Cleveland
Tempers in Cleveland flared up quick and DeShaun Watson was brought in to replace a disgruntled Baker Mayfield. The Browns also made a trade with the Dallas Cowboys for wide receiver Amari Cooper, putting them just a few pieces away from returning to their 2020 form when they made the playoffs. Defense line help should be the target for this years draft, especially if they are unable to resign Jadeveon Clowney.
The Texans are finally able to move on from their off-field issues and turn their focus to the future on the field. Davis Mills will get his shot to lead the team this year, so Houston doesn’t need to worry about selecting a quarterback. Instead, they should use their accumulated 11 picks – including a third overall pick – to address their numerous other positional concerns.
Ryan moves to Indianapolis in search of Super Bowl success
For the third straight year, the Colts are turning the reins over to a newly-acquired veteran quarterback, hoping to put an end to the Titans’ AFC South reign. They should attack defensive and skill position players in this years draft, a luxury for a team that feels as if it has filled its most glaring gaps.
Immediately after trading away Ryan, the Falcons signed Marcus Mariota allowing them to avoid total desperation at the position. They can still use the 8th overall pick on Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett if they like him; playing in a dome could alleviate concerns about his hand size. But I see them going after a wide receiver to replace the suspended Calvin Ridley and strengthening on the defensive side of the ball.
Dolphins level up offense with Tyreek Hill acquisition
Tyreek Hill gives the Dolphins good depth at the skill position, so it’s time for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to set up and show he is the franchise quarterback. With no picks until round three, Miami will looks to shore up the defensive and offensive line to make sure Tua has time to hit the Cheetah.
Trading Hill raised many eyebrows. But with 12 total picks in the 2022 draft, six of which are in the first three rounds including back-to-back picks in the first, the Chiefs are in prime position build up their already solid team. A bold strategy, but one that could well pay dividends.
It’s unlikely that any one player will make up for the loss of the Cheetah’s production, so expect Kansas City to get greedy with WR picks. Elsewhere, strengthening the defensive side of the ball – an Achilles’ heel of the Chiefs over the past few seasons – will be a priority.
Some honourable mentions…
Khalil Mack traded from Chicago Bears to Los Angeles Chargers
Chargers continue to build up their defense in the hopes of keeping up in the stacked AFC West. They should use the draft to solidify the offensive side, maybe give Justin Herbert more weapons to throw to.
Chicago continues their rebuild, giving up a major piece of their defense they spent so much on getting. With only 6 picks in the draft and none until round 2, Bears are just looking for some improvement in the draft.
Carson Wentz traded from Indianapolis Colts to Washington Commanders
Wentz is a good place holder at quarterback while the team builds a base around him for the future. But does Wentz completely alleviate all QB concerns? With an 11th overall pick, the Commanders may wish to hedge their bets by selecting another QB to wait in the wings.