Who doesn’t love fearless predictions? Especially within the dog days of May, with the draft now every week ago and real football still months away? The prime free agents are already signed. We have seen more blockbuster deals than anyone could have anticipated. Rosters are well taking shape. We will begin to think we all know things in regards to the 2022 season, right?
Actually, more information will likely be available next week when the schedules are revealed. It tends to be a major factor, as it is not just who you play, but if you play them. But for these purposes I don’t think it might sway much. There are some things I’m beginning to consider – or talk myself into – and a few hunches I’m willing to play, and what higher time than now to share them (and open myself up for ridicule and derision I the method!).
So after much deliberation and consternation, I’m willing to place these 10 daring predictions into the universe. Be at liberty to throw them back at me:
I’m Team Russ. At all times have been. At all times will likely be. Dudes like this do not get dealt of their prime. And make no mistake, he remains to be very much in his prime. That is the very best forged he has had around him in a protracted time. It is a coach who’s going to be the other of Pete Carroll and will likely be skewing the whole lot possible in favor of the passing game. It’s go time. They’ve speed. They’ve big targets. They are going to have a scheme that has worked splendidly well in Green Bay and with the L.A. Rams, amongst others. I see Denver as being a really real think about a loaded AFC, and Russ goes to get his cookies.
2. David Ojabo can have a monster season … in 2023
I like the Ravens’ choice of the Michigan pass rusher in Round 2 as much as any pick on this draft. He’s a top 10 talent and he has natural pass rush instincts and moves and a ceiling as high as any pass rusher on this draft, including the highest two picks. He will likely be an quick slot in Baltimore’s evolving scheme under latest coordinator Mike Macdonald. He’s going to be the primary impact pass rusher the Ravens have developed and cultivated since Terrell Suggs. However it ain’t gonna be this yr. Not less than I figure it won’t be. After his horrible pre-draft injury, and given the Ravens’ massive injury woes lately and multiple issues with players getting back from surgery, a redshirt yr and a monster season a yr from now is smart to me.
3. Aaron Rodgers will retire after the season
Green Bay won’t be the identical this season. He keeps losing increasingly more of his guys. Davante Adams is gone and his offensive line is likely to be standing to look much different in 2023. Yes, walking away from one other $60M guaranteed in 2023 sounds crazy to most of us. But I anticipate some real regression from this group they usually will likely be in decline and this cat does his own thing and revels in it. Would it not really be out of character to place the Packers through all this drama the last two offseasons simply to hang it up in the midst of a latest extension? And would not it’s much more quintessential Rodgers if he did it after …
Someone will get desperate. This kid goes to need to play. He should get a probability to play. Sitting three years is ridiculous and someone goes to want a QB in some unspecified time in the future on account of injury, even when Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield are dealt.
5. Lamar Jackson will likely be on a franchise tag by this time next yr
An extension has proven to be elusive and the QB market goes to maintain changing dramatically once Wilson gets his latest deal (and doubtless Kyler Murray, too). Jackson will likely be okay with playing things out unless the Ravens drastically alter the scope of what they’re willing to do. Neither side will press the problem within the short term. A tag will seem inevitable. And once it comes it is going to only drive the value up more and can only further complicate the flexibility to get something done long-term unless someone blinks.
6. Deshaun Watson will play fewer than eight games
Nobody knows exactly what the NFL will resolve here. But I am unable to imagine any decision coming until right before the season and I do not think the NFL will likely be anxious about looking too stringent. They seemed perfectly positive with Watson within the shadows all of last season and won’t be anxious about it this yr, either, especially after how the Browns reworked the QB’s contract to reduce the financial hit of a suspension. Higher to look like taking these allegations very seriously than not seriously enough, he got a full salary to not play last yr and won’t lose much irrespective of how longer he’s suspended this yr. Thus the one option to signal intent is with the length of the penalty. I expect it to be considerable.
7. Browns will eat $12M of Baker Mayfield’s contract
They don’t have any real alternative in the event that they need to get anything for him. It will only get more messy and more ugly the longer it goes. They need to bite the bullet and they’re going to eventually bite the bullet. Have done it before and can do it again and this can be a case of addition by subtraction. They’ll have enough drama with Watson. Cannot have it from the No. 3 QB, too.
8. The Lions won’t be a final place team
Low bar to clear but they’re finally able to clear it. I like their draft, as is well documented at this point. I hated the Bears draft and, well, principally their entire offseason. Justin Fields is gonna get clobbered. Detroit is definitely going to get well. They are going to play a weak schedule. They’re poised to make gains.
9. The Eagles will likely be within the NFC title game
I was big on them a yr ago and telling you guys in October that they are going to surprise people. They made the playoffs. They’re ascending and have had an amazing offseason. The remaining of the conference is basically in regression. I believe Jalen Hurts has some ‘it’ factor to him. They are going to have more bite on defense and may play keep-away on offense.
10. The Patriots are in trouble
Mac Jones losing Josh McDaniels (and now having a mystery coordinator) and this franchise adding next to nothing a yr after spending big won’t fare well. A front seven that fell apart down the stretch a yr ago doesn’t look significantly better to me. The Dolphins and Jets won’t be easy to walk throughout next season. A sophomore slump or two could be damning. I even have my reservations.