The Sports Editors’ 2023 NFL Offseason Predictions


AP / Matt Ludke

Where will Aaron Rodgers play next season?

The Sports Editors

Stuzin: New York Jets Acquire QB Aaron Rodgers 

As a huge Jets fan, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about this, despite the fact that I’m not sure I would feel great about it. Don’t get me wrong, Aaron Rodgers is obviously one of the best quarterbacks I have seen in my life. However, he is 39 years old now, and he’s not even sure he wants to play in 2023. On top of that, I’m not so sure he’s someone you want on your team anymore, after the several problematic things he has said over the last couple of years.

Rodgers had one of the weakest seasons of his career last year, with the 26th-best QB rating in the league (39.3). Yes, Rodgers lost star receiver Davante Adams in the offseason and was lacking a stable passing option, but you would still think he would be able to perform with his outstanding arm talent. 

It’s obvious that the Jets are done with Zach Wilson— how could they not be? Now it’s just a matter of which veteran QB they go to in the offseason, and with the hiring of OC Nathaniel Hackett, who has worked with Rodgers before, I see this as a real possibility. There are certainly other options that I would prefer over Rodgers at this point (Carr or Garoppolo, particularly), but if the Jets do give him a shot, it would be interesting to see what he could do with a bunch of young, dangerous weapons around him.

Martin: Chicago Bears Trade No. 1 Overall Pick

With University of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young gaining hype as the top prospect in the draft, the Bears are in a great position having the first overall pick without needing to select a quarterback. Bears QB Justin Fields looked much stronger in his second year — rushing for over 1,000 yards and scoring 27 combined touchdowns — and has solidified himself as the starter for 2023. If they choose to trade the pick to a QB-needy team, they can gain a major haul of top  draft picks for future drafts as well as a top pick in this year’s draft. Such teams who may be willing to give up picks for Bryce Young include the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Bears could stay put and draft University of Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter or Alabama edge Will Anderson, the highest ranked defensive players in the draft. However, I think the Bears are most likely to trade the pick. As the worst team in the league this past season, the Bears are frankly devoid of blue-chip players and need as many early selections as they can get. Ultimately, selecting one player at #1 will be less valuable for the Bears than multiple picks in future years. 

The expected return for a potential trade down for the Bears can be seen from Tennessee Titans’ trade down from No. 1 with the Los Angeles Rams in the 2016 draft. The Titans received the Rams’ 2016 first-round pick, two 2016 second-round picks, 2016 third-round pick, 2017 first-round pick and 2017 third-round pick. With a return like this in mind, I imagine the Bears commit to the rebuild and prioritize the future over selecting one player— especially with such a high demand from teams to select Bryce Young.

Fischer: 2020 Quarterback Draft Class Extensions

After being selected in the NFL Draft, players sign four-year rookie contracts with their respective teams. However, regardless of a player’s immediate impact on their team and star potential, contracts and potential extensions cannot be renegotiated until the conclusion of a rookie’s third NFL season. For this reason, the 2023 offseason will be very important for franchises looking to secure their quarterback selected in the 2020 NFL Draft or move in a new direction. 

As the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Joe Burrow quickly exceeded Bengals fans’ expectations and transformed the franchise into an AFC contender. Even after suffering an ACL tear in his first season, Burrow recovered to lead the Bengals to a Super Bowl and AFC Championship appearance in the next two seasons. With an already established resume, Burrow is the face of the Bengals and will undoubtedly receive a contract extension. The only question that remains is how much the contract will be for and whether it sets a record for the highest quarterback contract in the NFL. 

Another franchise quarterback set to receive an extension is Justin Herbert, the dynamic sixth pick in the 2020 NFL Draft from the University of Oregon. In 2022, Herbert only trailed Patrick Mahomes for passing yards as he totaled 4,739 yards on the season with an injury-depleted offense and a revolving door of wide receiver options. For the Chargers franchise, securing Herbert’s future will be the first step to building a postseason contender that will look to rebound on this year’s historic collapse to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Wild Card round. 

When discussing the 2020 NFL quarterback draft class, I would be remiss to not mention Jalen Hurts and his remarkable journey to dominance. In the 2018 College Football Playoff (CFP), Hurts was replaced by Tua Tagovailoa on the national stage and relegated to a backup position. By the next season, Hurts transferred to the University of Oklahoma, led the Sooners to a CFP appearance and was selected with the 53rd pick by the Eagles. This year, Hurts earned the respect of the entire league and nearly capped off a historic season with a Super Bowl victory. Now, the responsibility lies with the Eagles’ front office to give Hurts a deserved extension.

Finally, onto one of this season’s most notable headliners for the wrong reasons, Tua Tagovailoa. During a 2022 season riddled with head injuries and controversy, the Dolphins will be conflicted to quickly re-sign Tagovailoa to a long-term contract. I predict that the Dolphins will pick up his fourth-year option but continue to stall long-term negotiations until his health is and future playing potential is fully understood. For Tagovailoa’s sake, I hope both parties take this offseason to debrief, recover and weigh the risks of continued head trauma.