The NFL offseason may be over, but it’s certainly not too early for some big-named players to
seek a new home as soon as possible.
For whatever reason, things aren’t working out between an ultra-talented young NFLer and his
current team. At this point, it’s quite obvious that a fresh start is the best option for these 10
After some awkward negotiating, the Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray agreed to a five-year extension worth $230.5 million in the 2022 offseason. The deal curiously featured a mandatory independent study clause, but the Cardinals removed it following plenty of rightful public backlash.
Murray oftentimes seemed agitated and fed up with the Cardinals during a trying 2022 season that hit rock bottom when he suffered a torn ACL late in the season. Instead of trying to build a winner around Murray, the Cardinals went quiet in free agency and even released All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins when they easily could have gotten a nice haul for him.
Clearly, the Cardinals are trying to tank — which means they don’t really want Murray long-term and are hopeful about winning the Caleb Williams sweepstakes.
Hiring a defensive-minded coach in Jonathan Gannon to replace the offensive-minded Kliff Kingsbury also served as a hint that Arizona isn’t sold on building around Murray. They’re obviously eyeing a clean slate and a long-term future without Murray.
The first overall pick of 2019 deserves better than this. See what Matt Stafford did when he finally got out of a dysfunctional Detroit Lions organization? What if Murray went to a team that may soon need a starting QB like Atlanta, Washington or even Minnesota? Las Vegas even?
We don’t want to see Murray’s prime years go to waste on an Arizona team that, quite frankly, never seems to know what they’re doing. The best bet is for him to demand a trade and restructure his deal for a new team…and for the Cardinals to start from scratch.
The San Francisco 49ers gave up a king’s ransom to the Miami Dolphins for the No. 3 pick in 2021, dealing the No. 12 pick in that year’s draft along with 2022 first-and third-rounders and a 2023 first.
With the No. 3 selection, the 49ers took North Dakota State QB Trey Lance. Fast forward to 2023, and it couldn’t be more obvious that Lance and the 49ers are better off calling a divorce and moving on.
Lance unfortunately suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 of last season. Jimmy Garoppolo took back the starting reins before suffering a season-ending foot injury in Week 13, prompting Kyle Shanahan and company to turn to rookie Brock Purdy.
Mr. Irrelevant 2022 looked like a seasoned veteran and won all seven starts – including the playoffs – and led San Fran to another NFC Championship Game appearance. Shanahan has made it clear that this is Purdy’s team, and understandably so.
Lance was the No. 3 pick for a reason. His dual-threat style of play and slick arm release made him a hot-shot prospect two years ago. But with only four career starts under his belt, it’s impossible to know who he is until he gets the chance to start elsewhere.
A QB-needy team may as well take a flier on Lance and see if he can be their QB of the future. The 49ers have every reason to move forward with Purdy as long as he keeps winning, and it’s only fair that they let Lance try to become a starting QB elsewhere.
The young QB needs a new home. Here’s hoping the 49ers are willing to help supply it.
The 2021 rushing champion sought a trade from the Indianapolis Colts following a meeting with Jim Irsay. The Colts’ owner made it clear to Taylor that the club wasn’t going to hand him a contract extension as he heads into the final season of his rookie deal.
You can see both sides here. Taylor is the Colts’ best offensive weapon and wants to be paid what he’s worth. But the Colts know that the running back is a devalued position, and that lucrative RB contracts rarely end well.
Taylor is basically where Christian McCaffrey was with the Carolina Panthers a year ago: The best player on a terrible team with no realistic championship dreams in the near future. Run CMC got traded to the 49ers, played like an All-Pro and got them to the NFC Championship. Win-win for all parties.
It only makes sense for the Colts and Taylor to go down a similar path. He’s obviously not here to stay beyond 2023, and there’s no way they can watch him leave for nothing in free agency.
So for GM Chris Ballard, it should be an easy call to trade Taylor for a draft pick or two — he’d surely get at least a third-rounder! — and find a new and much-cheaper starting RB for 2024.
Either way, it’s obvious that both sides would benefit from a change.
Akers showed promise in 2020 when he rushed for 625 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games, sharing the duties with Darrell Henderson. He was supposed to miss the entire 2021 season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon, but Akers had a remarkably quick recovery and was able to assist the Rams in their Super Bowl 56 championship journey.
In 2022, Akers played all but two games and finished with 786 yards and seven touchdowns on a lousy Rams’ squad. Good numbers, given the circumstances, but you also just get the feeling that Akers would be able to do better elsewhere.
Akers is entering the final year of his contract, and it’s hard to envision the Rams committing long-term to him beyond this year. Los Angeles seems high on second-year RB Kyren Williams, plus they used a sixth-round pick this year on Zach Evans.
It makes sense to go with the younger and healthier options while giving Akers the chance to compete for the RB1 job on an actual contender. So why not trade Akers and see what the kids can do in the backfield?
For some reason, it just hasn’t fully come together for Queen in Baltimore. At the time, it felt like a steal for the Ravens when the LSU linebacker fell to them in the No. 28 spot in the 2020 NFL Draft.
But Queen has been an average-to-below-average starter over his first three years in the NFL. As a rookie, Pro Football Focus graded him at a horrendous 29.7. A year later, he graded out at 43.5.
And according to Pro Football Reference, Queen allowed a passer rating north of 100 when targeted in both 2020 and 2021. He’s been a massive liability in coverage and hasn’t exactly made up for it with big-time plays, recording just three interceptions and 10 sacks.
The Ravens traded for — then eventually extended — star linebacker Roquan Smith. They used a third-round pick on Clemson product Trenton Simpson. Those are both strong indicators that they’re ready for life without Queen, who had the fifth-year option on his rookie deal declined.
Queen has a very high skill set and could easily flourish in the right system…New England Patriots or San Francisco 49ers, anybody? But it’s clear that he’s not a fit with John Harbaugh’s Ravens, and Queen simply needs a fresh start sooner rather than later.
After a stellar rookie season, the No. 5 selection of the 2019 draft went into “beast mode” as a sophomore. White racked up nine sacks, four pass defenses, one forced fumble and 140 combined tackles.
In the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ run to a Super Bowl 55 championship, White had two interceptions, as many pass defenses, two fumble recoveries and 38 combined tackles. It simply felt like the first of what would be several all-star-level seasons for White.
But nope. He had a miserable PFF grade of 36.2 in 2021, and an uninspiring grade of 45.5 in 2022. As well, had just nine total sacks over those two seasons and zero interceptions. And finally, White allowed a 104.9 passer rating when targeted last season.
White actually requested a trade from the Bucs earlier this offseason, but he walked back on it when it became clear that the organization wouldn’t grant his wish.
The Bucs are simply being selfish here. They’re holding onto their championship glory from three seasons ago and keeping fading veterans instead of rebuilding. White obviously doesn’t want to be here long-term, and his declining production should make a trade a no-brainer for GM Jason Licht and company.
So…the Bucs are okay watching White likely walk for nothing in 2024 free agency? Or how about trading him for a mid-round pick and getting SOMETHING that might help them for their inevitable rebuild?
To us, the answer is obvious. But the Buccaneers are making this a lot harder than they need to. Just sayin’.
CEH had a productive rookie year for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020, rushing for 803 yards and contributing exactly 1,100 yards of offense. Had he not missed three games, Edwards-Helaire could have easily exceeded 1K rushing.
Edwards-Helaire was unable to build off that promising year after missing seven games in 2021. Then in 2022, he lost his starting duties to rookie and seventh-round pick Isiah Pacheco, who finished with 830 rushing yards.
For KC, it was a no-brainer to decline the fifth-year option on CEH’s rookie deal. Pacheco is younger, cheaper and simply better. And they have a serviceable backup option in veteran Jerick McKinnon, making Edwards-Helaire expendable.
Like Cam Akers in LA, it just feels like Edwards-Helaire won’t get the workload nor the opportunity to reach his full potential in 2023. Of course Edwards-Helaire could become a 1,000-yard rusher, but it’s not happening in a Patrick Mahomes-led offense.
Edwards-Helaire should be keen on a fresh start at some point here in 2023. It would also give him the chance to enhance his market value for next year. He would be a good fit for an RB1-needy team like Miami, Tampa Bay, Arizona or even the Rams.
There was a great amount of hype around Simmons when the Cardinals drafted him eighth overall in 2020. This ultra-athletic freak of nature played corner, safety, linebacker AND defensive end for the Tigers, and the sky felt like the limit for him in Arizona.
But over-his-head coach Kliff Kingsbury never found a way to properly utilize Simmons, who hasn’t graded higher in a single-season at PFF than 67.9. Though he started 13 games in 2023 and had two picks, seven pass defenses and four sacks, Simmons was alarmingly a liability in pass coverage — something he’s supposed to excel in.
Per Pro Football Reference, he allowed a 77.1 percent completion percentage when targeted and four receiving TDs. As well, he allowed a 104.3 passer rating to opposing QBs.
With JJ Watt and Zach Allen gone, Simmons has precious little help in the front seven. With additional responsibility on his watch, can we really expect Simmons to suddenly break out after three uninspiring years to begin his career?
It couldn’t be more obvious that Simmons needs a fresh start. With such a high skill set, you simply gotta think he just needs to find the right system. Spit-balling here, but wouldn’t a team like Baltimore, Kansas City, Dallas or New Orleans make sense?
Bottom line: Simmons needs the opportunity to shine elsewhere, because it ain’t happening in AZ.
The Ravens used the No. 27 selection in 2021 on the big 6-foot-2, 210-pound Minnesota wideout. Unfortunately, injuries have limited Bateman to 18 total games through two seasons — including just six altogether in 2022.
The Ravens’ offseason moves suggest they’re not waiting on Bateman anymore. They signed former Pro Bowler Odell Beckham Jr. and the shifty Nelson Agholor before using their first-round pick on another wideout in Jordan Addison.
Baltimore will always be a rush-first offense with Lamar Jackson. Superstar tight end Mark Andrews will always be the No. 1 pass-catcher. And then there’s OBJ, Agholor and Addison.
So Bateman might be what…the No. 4 or 5 receiving option for Lamar? The Ravens didn’t draft the Minnesota kid to be a depth piece. And Bateman surely didn’t sign up for the idea of being near the bottom of a team’s depth chart.
If the Ravens aren’t featuring Bateman early and often in their offense, they should be keen on dealing him to a receiver-needy team. Almost any club should be content to take a chance on a recent former first-round pick who just might reach a Pro Bowl-like level in another offense.
Jeudy has been a good-not-great receiver up to this point. But remember the high expectations surrounding him back in 2020? He was supposed to be something close to a top-10 receiver in the NFL by now.
Despite Wilson’s awful play in 2022, Jeudy turned in a career year with 67 receptions for 972 yards and six touchdowns. Still, you can’t help but wonder what more Jeudy could do with an actual top-10 level QB.
His numbers have been on par with a decent WR2. But again, he’s supposed to be a superstar by now. Jeudy’s potential is limitless, but it hasn’t come together in Mile High City. Just imagine if he was traded to a Super Bowl contender with an elite QB. Hey, the Buffalo Bills make perfect sense!
Which other NFL players need a fresh start ASA
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