By: Drew Feinberg
When the Super Bowl ends, it takes a long time for life without football to really start to sink in. As the cold and crisp air from the frozen tundra turns to sad, gloomy rain, the only thing that us, as football fans, have to hold onto is hope. And with hope, come rumors; and boy do NFL fans love their rumors.
With the 2021 NFL offseason fully underway, and most Twitter-folk having already exhausted their hot takes scheduled for mid-July, you’d think there’s not much to be excited about as a football fan; but I’m here to remind you that things are only getting started.
The NFL draft is right around the corner, so don’t worry; there are still plenty of opportunities for the league to be turned on its head. However, before the NFL draft, it’s my duty to lead you through some of the top stories developing or yet to develop in the 2021 offseason. Let’s dive in!
1.) Who are the 49ers going to pick at No. 3?
At first, when the San Francisco 49ers acquired the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft from the Miami Dolphins, Head Coach Kyle Shanahan backed starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, calling him “our guy”. However, as the dust has settled, reality has begun to set in as far as Garoppolo’s future in San Francisco goes.
Now, the only question that remains is who will be the quarterback drafted by the Niners?
Top quarterback prospects Justin Fields and Mac Jones workout in their respective pro day’s on Tuesday morning, with Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch being in attendance at Jones’ workout. Obviously one man can’t be in two places at once, but it does seem interesting that the coach chose to attend Jones’ pro day over Fields’. A smokescreen? Possibly. A juicy rumor that will surely make people mad online? Absolutely; and that’s what we’re here for.
2. ) What is going to happen with Deshaun Watson?
The Deshaun Watson saga of the past few weeks is a very sad one. Obviously I have to preface this by saying that everybody is innocent until proven guilty, and my heart goes out to all victims involved, but things are not looking good in terms of Watson’s off-the-field situation.
Watson currently has 19 sexual assault lawsuits against him, and the number continues to rise. Considering these allegations were made public after Watson said he wanted to be traded out of Houston, this makes it much more difficult for newly hired General Manager Nick Caserio to discern what’s best for the team. As of this very second, the Texans have no leverage, even if they did want to trade Watson.
I’m sure no NFL GM will make a significant offer for Watson’s contract, not with the legal process in the early stages and the looming possibility of a league suspension. The man who was the most coveted item in the league one month ago won’t even sell for peanuts. Not exactly the best situation for Caserio and new Head Coach David Culley to walk into.
This “rumor” story is truly a sad one. An organization looking to rebuild can’t because their star quarterback may not be who we all thought he was. The sooner Watson’s case gets situated, the sooner the Texans can begin rebuilding what is a franchise in the fall. However, the legal system hill is a steep one to climb, so stay tuned.
3.) Are the Russell Wilson trade rumors dead?
Multiple reports this offseason have indicated that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wants to move on from the team, who reportedly have also been upset with their franchise quarterback.
However, the Wilson trade rumors have seemed to all but cool off since the frontrunner Chicago Bears decided to force another year of mediocrity, as the team signed Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback.
There is still a lot of offseason remaining before the start of the 2021-22 NFL season, so anything could happen in terms of Wilson being traded, the price just has to be right.
The Bears tried and failed to bring Wilson to Chicago, so it remains to be seen if other teams will be willing to meet Seattle’s seemingly steep price tag on Wilson.
4. ) How will a 17-game season affect all-time records?
The NFL announced Tuesday that it will move to a 17-game regular season in 2021. This marks the first time the NFL has stretched the regular season since 1978, when it increased from 14 to 16 games.
This expansion will surely change the game and the league’s record books as we know them. The 17th regular season game will give players the ability to break records like Peyton Manning’s passing yards record (5,477) and Eric Dickerson’s rushing yards record (2,105) with more ease.
While it is incredibly exciting as a football fan for there to be an extra week of games, the effect on record books and players health is something to take note of.
5. ) What are the Jets going to do with Sam Darnold?
With all the quarterback moves we’ve seen around the NFL in recent weeks, like Joe Flacco signing with the Eagles, there is still no real information on a potential Sam Darnold trade.
Reports have surfaced that it’s almost certain the New York Jets will move on from Darnold in favor of the incoming number two pick, but let’s be honest; we have absolutely no idea what general manager Joe Douglas is thinking.
The Darnold situation with the Jets feels eerily similar to that of Garoppolo and the 49ers. A quarterback who the franchise personally likes a lot and doesn’t want to give up for cheap; however, teams will only offer under market value and there’s a stalemate.
It’ll be interesting to see where Darnold lands, and if he would be able to compete for the starting job. One thing’s for sure, it won’t be back in New York.