We made 32 audacious NFL predictions: A Watson change, plus shock suitors in the QB market

We made 32 audacious NFL predictions: A Watson change, plus shock suitors in the QB market

Feb 11, 2021

  • NFL NationESPN

With Immense Bowl LV in the rearview, the 2021 NFL offseason is here, albeit an irregular one. Amid the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, great — if no longer all — of the offseason would possibly be digital.

While the annual scouting mix is truly scrapped this yr, the NFL draft will high-tail on as planned at the end of April. And even sooner than that, teams will navigate the salary cap on this yr’s mid-March free company. Various teams would possibly possibly well even bask in novel quarterbacks by subsequent season, too. It guarantees to be a busy few months, and one thing else can happen. Question the unexpected as all 32 NFL teams gear up for the 2021 season.

With that in solutions, let’s enlighten outdoor the box a puny bit. We requested our NFL Nation journalists to present us one large and audacious prediction for the 2021 offseason. Nothing is off-limits, nevertheless decide into consideration that these are adventurous solutions of what would possibly possibly happen, slightly than obvious and even extremely probable outcomes. Our journalists imagined every little thing from an infinite Alabama reunion in Miami to the signing of an elite receiver by one AFC South personnel to an NFC East personnel collectively with a pass-rusher who tormented it this season to a form of QB movers and shakers. Let’s jump in.

Soar to:




NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF



Buffalo Bills

The Bills is never any longer going to re-signal Matt Milano.

The outdoor linebacker hits free company this offseason and is Buffalo’s third dwelling walk from its 2017 class alongside with Tre’Davious White and Dion Dawkins — both of whom bask in already bought obtained contract extensions. The Bills can no longer afford Milano, on the opposite hand, without shedding sufficient salary to make room for his projected $13.8 million-a-yr salary. With a declining salary cap in 2021, Milano would possibly possibly be the first valuable homegrown player to high-tail away Buffalo under Brandon Beane. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins reunite an Alabama trio, drafting DeVonta Smith and Najee Harris to pair with Tua Tagovailoa.

Roll Fins? The Dolphins spent the 2020 offseason building the trenches and discovering their QB, and we’re having a bet on Miami going all-in on Tagovailoa whereas surrounding him with two of the supreme offensive weapons in the draft. Miami for the time being has the No. 3 and No. 18 picks — supreme touchdown spots for Smith and Harris, respectively, and possibly the Dolphins even change back a pair of spots to nab them — nevertheless it completely provides Tagovailoa a pair of great-wanted explosive playmakers in two guys he had large chemistry and relationships with at Alabama. — Cameron Wolfe

Recent England Patriots

Jimmy Garoppolo would possibly possibly be the Patriots’ quarterback in 2021.

This banks on the 49ers being titillating to portion with Garoppolo, a combination of his $25 million salary and smash historical previous leading them to make a decision out into consideration skill upgrades in an offseason when the QB scramble throughout the NFL would possibly possibly well even be absorbing. If they assassinate, it makes sense to enlighten the Patriots would be at the entrance of the twin carriageway to bring Garoppolo, who changed into the authentic succession understanding to Tom Brady, back to Recent England. — Mike Reiss

Recent York Jets

The Jets will change QB Sam Darnold to the 49ers for 2nd- and third-spherical picks.

Shopping for a frail placeholder, the Jets will signal 49ers UFA C.J. Beathard, who performed under novel Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur in San Francisco. Capping the quarterback makeover, the Jets will gain BYU’s Zach Wilson with the 2nd general gain. — Properly off Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens will signal Joe Thuney, among the tip guards in free company.

The greater splash would be touchdown large receiver Allen Robinson II. But the greater precedence is bolstering the offensive line, per what coach John Harbaugh and favorite supervisor Eric DeCosta said this offseason. Thuney, who performed in Recent England final yr under the franchise stamp, has been among the many most underrated inside linemen in the league. With his sturdiness, grit and excessive personality, Thuney would support catch the void of retired Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, which Baltimore never truly did final yr. He is additionally an elite technician, permitting three sacks in the previous three seasons. This can high-tail a long formula in improving the pass security for Lamar Jackson. — Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Cornerback William Jackson III will assemble a huge contract — and defensive end Carl Lawson walks.

Lawson stayed healthy in 2020 and confirmed how disruptive he would possibly possibly well even additionally be. On the opposite hand, he’ll be a free agent this offseason and would possibly possibly well even be in line for an infinite contract from a personnel that can enable him to set up large numbers. That leaves more cash for Jackson, a 2016 first-spherical gain who performed neatly final season. Cincinnati has but to ogle how the defense seems with Jackson and Trae Waynes as the beginning corners. — Ben Cramped one

Cleveland Browns

The Browns will extend quarterback Baker Mayfield, making him among the NFL’s absolute top-paid players.

Coming into final season, Mayfield had a lot of doubters following a rough 2nd season. But after guiding the Browns to their first playoff hang in 26 years, whereas throwing 20 TDs with handiest 3 INTs after Week 6, Mayfield confirmed he is the franchise QB whom Cleveland has longed for these previous two a long time. In consequence, the Browns will make obvious he remains in Cleveland for the foreseeable future. — Jake Trotter

Pittsburgh Steelers

J.J. Watt will signal with the Steelers.

Optimistic, the Steelers bask in more pressing wants than a defensive end and their cap downside in most cases affords them the budget to herald a famous person, even an aging one. But with the Watt brothers’ emphasis on family and the vocal have to play collectively, it be no longer that far fetched. With Watt already incomes a huge amount of money in his decade in Houston, it be no longer unreasonable to enlighten he would possibly possibly well even decide a family bargain to play his final years alongside with his brothers. Have faith a Steelers defense that has both Watt brothers. Or no longer it is no longer as far-off a chance because it once changed into. — Brooke Pryor

Label: This prediction has been modified after heart Maurkice Pouncey offered his retirement on Friday.


Houston Texans

The Texans is never any longer going to change quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Honest a pair of months in the past, this don’t bask in even counted as a prediction, nevertheless issues bask in taken a flip for the more severe this offseason in Houston. Given how lickety-split the connection between Watson and the personnel soured, it seems deal with this mini soap opera would at final end in a change. But the Texans desire Watson to be their quarterback, and as an alternate of procuring and selling him this offseason if he refuses to document, this is in a position to possibly well even additionally end with Watson sitting out the season if the connection is never always truly repaired. — Sarah Barshop


1: 02

Steve Young and Booger McFarland analyze why the Texans dispute Deshaun Watson would possibly possibly no longer be traded.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts will change up from the No. 21 spot to gain their quarterback of the long walk.

That is that if they fabricate no longer land Philly’s Carson Wentz or the Jets’ Sam Darnold through change. The Colts can no longer continue to make a decision out the one-yr Band-Support come at the quarterback disclose and hope it’ll support assemble them additional in the playoffs whereas core players a lot like Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson continue to change into old. — Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars will signal large receiver Chris Godwin in free company.

The Jaguars bask in essentially the most money on the market (roughly $74 million) and so that they’ll exhaust a correct chunk of it collectively with one more weapon for whichever QB they hang first general. Godwin turns into the No. 1 in a group that entails DJ Chark Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr. and Collin Johnson. — Michael DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

The Titans will add a total of 4 edge rushers through free company and the draft.

Overall supervisor Jon Robinson is neatly conscious of the Titans’ void at pass-rusher after the personnel done with 19 sacks (30th in the NFL). Tennessee had handiest three outdoor linebackers packed with life on sport day for some of the season. The Titans will signal a mid-upper-level free-agent pass-rusher alongside with a bargain player and gain two pass-rushers from this yr’s deep draft class. — Turron Davenport


Denver Broncos

The Broncos will re-signal security Justin Simmons.

He represents every little thing they enlighten they bask in got to assassinate. At some level, if a franchise continues to expose the players in the locker room they’ll be rewarded if they play large, are quality ambassadors in the group and are frontline leaders in the building, then the personnel truly has to expose it with the checkbook. Simmons is the player who gets all americans’s consideration inside the building; if the Broncos fabricate no longer re-signal him then many will shock what, exactly, can they assassinate to be portion of the personnel long-time duration if Simmons can no longer. — Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs will gain a formula to re-signal large receiver Sammy Watkins without reference to a tight salary-cap downside.

The Chiefs fought laborious to assemble Watkins in 2018, after they signed him as a free agent, and fought laborious to retain him final yr on a restructured contract. Watkins is nonetheless handiest 27 and the Chiefs have not made it a behavior to transfer on from key players after they’re at this form of young age. — Adam Teicher

Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr is never any longer going to handiest dwell a Raider, he’ll signal an extension with Las Vegas.

You wanted audacious, correct? Yeah, a theory has surfaced that Carr would possibly be a “sizzling commodity” in the upcoming quarterback carousel, so desired he would possibly possibly well even expose two first-spherical picks in change. If that is the case, what are the Raiders looking ahead to? Or no longer it is Carr Speculation Season and it’ll end, again, with the franchise’s all-time passing chief staying put with the personnel that made him a 2nd-spherical draft gain in 2014 and signed him to that five-yr, $125 million extension in 2017. — Paul Gutierrez

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers will draft a novel left form out to make obvious Justin Herbert is neatly safe and produce a more decent kicker this offseason.

More manufacturing up entrance will enable Herbert, who threw for an NFL rookie-file 31 touchdown passes final season, to continue his pattern. An strengthen from Michael Badgley, who associated on handiest 72.7% of his field goal attempts (24-of-33) and omitted three additional suggestions, would possibly possibly well even support the Chargers assemble over the hump in end video games. — Shelley Smith


Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott is never any longer going to signal a contract extension.

Despite both facets announcing they bask in got to occasion with a multiyear dedication, the instances to assemble one accomplished this offseason are great more hard with a disturbed salary cap. How can they destroy the roadblock that has been there the previous two offseasons? With out a long-time duration deal, Prescott will play the 2021 season on the franchise stamp for the 2nd straight yr, incomes $37.7 million and all nevertheless cementing a departure in 2022 with the franchise stamp rising then to more than $52 million. — Todd Archer


0: 58

Domonique Foxworth makes the case that Dak Prescott would be better off leaving the Cowboys.

Recent York Giants

Free-agent edge rusher Haason Reddick will catch a huge Giants gap.

The tip of this yr’s draft would not necessarily align with Recent York’s need at edge rusher, so the Giants stare to free company and add an ascending player with explosiveness. Reddick confirmed in their Week 14 matchup (5 sacks) what he can bring to the table. And as Joe Come to a option likes to disclose, expose me what a player can assassinate, no longer what he can no longer. Reddick can walk the passer and offer velocity off the threshold. He had 12.5 sacks this previous season. The Giants need that. — Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia will draft a quarterback in the first spherical to compete with Jalen Hurts.

Would the organization truly end one quarterback controversy by procuring and selling Carson Wentz, factual to invite one more? That would possibly be a anticipate to grapple with between now and April’s draft. The alternative would possibly possibly well even be too correct to pass up. The Eagles retain the No. 6 gain and clearly hope they’re no longer selecting that excessive again anytime soon. If they title a franchise QB, they’ll also pounce whereas they bask in got the likelihood. — Tim McManus

Washington Football Group of workers

Quarterback Alex Smith will want to retain taking part in — nevertheless he would possibly possibly no longer be doing it in Washington.

Smith changed into clearly rejuvenated by returning to the field final yr — and buoyed by how his leg felt, and the perfect intention he changed into transferring in the pocket, prior to the bone bruise smash. Washington went 5-1 with him and valued his leadership. But the franchise desires to strengthen at the disclose and there are concerns if he can final all 16 video games and play at a consistent level. Or no longer it is nonetheless doable he returns, at a diminished salary, if Washington can no longer gain one more quarterback to pair with Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke (or Steven Montez). And it would possibly possibly possibly no longer mortgage the long walk to land one. — John Keim


Chicago Bears

The Bears will let large receiver Allen Robinson II stroll in free company.

Robinson has been an infinite player for the Bears, nevertheless the personnel balked at extending the 27-yr mature receiver final yr. Robinson is shopping for top large receiver bucks. Chicago values Robinson, nevertheless clearly no longer at that designate. The Bears seem impart material to enable Robinson to take a look at the market. If Robinson finds a personnel titillating to pay large money, he is long previous. — Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

With Jared Goff on the roster, the Lions would possibly possibly no longer draft a quarterback.

Brooding concerning the total wants Detroit has because it reconstructs its roster, procuring Goff in the Matthew Stafford change no longer lower than provides the Lions a competent quarterback for the instant future. And if Goff can rejuvenate his career with Detroit — one thing no person will know unless the end of 2021 no longer lower than — then the disclose turns into great less obligatory. But with gaping holes at receiver and every disclose on the defense rather than cornerback, the Lions focal level on young, affect defenders in the draft and push the quarterback anticipate to the 2022 offseason, where the personnel for the time being has two first-spherical picks. — Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers will skip the offseason workouts — assuming there are any.

Rodgers has participated every yr — and sure, he has a $500,000 workout bonus — nevertheless if he truly desires to exercise his leverage and assemble the Packers to commit more guaranteed money to him over the final years of his deal, then this is in a position to possibly well even be his direction of action if nothing gets accomplished sooner than the offseason program begins. — Deem Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings would possibly be portion of the quarterback carousel in free company.

If Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers truly need Kirk Cousins, now is the time for Minnesota to tug off a change that can make freedom to reconstruct other system of the roster. The Vikings would possibly possibly well even assemble out of the financial dedication they made to Cousins when he signed a two-yr extension final March that features a $31 million cap hit for 2021 and high-tail a particular route at the disclose. If that is on the market in the create of Jimmy Garoppolo and a 2nd-spherical gain (they for the time being fabricate no longer bask in one), the Vikings would possibly possibly well even nonetheless jump at the alternative. — Courtney Cronin


Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons’ first draft gain would possibly be a quarterback.

Matt Ryan is 36. Even if he is nonetheless taking part in at a excessive level and has a lot of more productive years before him, it be time to originate getting prepared for the long walk. Recent GM Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith bask in the fourth general gain; if the Jets pass on a QB at No. 2, they’ll snag Justin Fields and let him study for a yr or so under Ryan. — Michael DiRocco

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers will gain a formula to change for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

He wants out of Houston even supposing the organization insists he would possibly possibly no longer be traded. The Panthers will assassinate without reference to it takes, although meaning offering three first-spherical picks and possibly a famous person player, although collectively with Christian McCaffrey seems no longer possible. But as ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said, it would possibly possibly possibly be worth throwing in McCaffrey if obligatory to assemble a franchise quarterback. — David Newton

Recent Orleans Saints

Jameis Winston will hang the Saints’ beginning quarterback job — and high-tail on to hang his first playoff sport.

Sean Payton has made no secret concerning the Saints’ have to re-signal Winston and enable him to compete with Taysom Hill for the beginning job after Drew Brees retires. And there’s clearly nonetheless a ton of skill there with Winston, who factual grew to change into 27, if they’ll cure his turnover factors. It would not distress that Recent Orleans nonetheless has among the NFL’s deepest and most talented rosters. — Mike Triplett


1: 17

Dan Graziano sees the Buccaneers extending Tom Brady’s contract in expose to land other free brokers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Multiple excessive-priced Bucs players will restructure their existing contracts to retain as great of the personnel collectively as doable.

Mike Evans, Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith and Ryan Jensen are among the many six absolute top-paid players on the personnel under contract in 2021 and are candidates to restructure. At this level, anybody would possibly possibly well even additionally be a restructuring candidate, although the amount of labor they need to assassinate would possibly possibly no longer be known unless the novel salary cap comes out. — Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals is never any longer going to re-signal cornerback Patrick Peterson.

Which formula they need to rebuild a key portion of their secondary. Peterson, who’ll be 31 when subsequent season begins, wants one more large deal, nevertheless the Cardinals are no longer possible to present him the form of money he is hunting for. By no longer re-signing, Peterson will hit free company and the open marketplace for the first time in his career. Without Peterson, the Cardinals need to gain his alternative, which is more uncomplicated said than accomplished since he changed into an elite nook — and among the supreme in the league for a pair of years. — Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams, without reference to a lack of cap station and draft capital, will part collectively the formula to herald a like a flash receiver.

They need one who can stretch the field for novel quarterback Matthew Stafford. This changed into subsequent in line after the boldest doable prediction has already merely about fruition, when the Rams moved on two weeks after the season from franchise quarterback Jared Goff, sending him — alongside with two first-spherical picks and a third-spherical gain — to the Lions in change for Stafford. — Lindsey Thiry

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers will draft a quarterback a whereas in the first three rounds to push and offer depth at the back of … Jimmy Garoppolo.

With the 12th gain, the finest route would be for among the tip four signal-callers to tumble to the Niners, nevertheless if that does no longer happen, they’ll also be in placing distance for a change up or they’ll also goal any individual else by transferring back from 12 or up from one of their other spots. Regardless, the Niners bask in to gain any individual with long-time duration upside who can push Garoppolo and be in a position to stepping in would possibly possibly well even nonetheless Garoppolo continue to battle with injuries. — Reduce Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks will either make Jamal Adams the NFL’s absolute top-paid security or change him.

The possibly outcome is Seattle conserving Adams long time duration on an extension that tops Budda Baker‘s $14.75 million life like, nevertheless how great more than that can he dispute on making? Adams will presumably want to be paid more deal with a pass-rusher than a security after atmosphere the league’s single-season sack file for a defensive back. When the Seahawks obtained Adams final summer season and delay extension talks unless this offseason, they figured that if they couldn’t assemble a deal accomplished, they’ll also change him as a final resort. — Brady Henderson

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