NFL Off-season 2023: What preparing for the next year looks like

Even though football isn’t on your tv, there is still a lot that has to happen before it starts up again in the fall


photo from CBS Sports

Adrian Ramos, General Editor

With the 2022-23 NFL season coming to an end, all the big talk is around the possible moves to happen during the off-season. There are a lot of holes that teams are needing to fill going into the next season which is what makes the off-season such an interesting time for the NFL. There are opportunities for teams to expand their rosters via trades, free agency, or the draft.

There are a lot of big names entering free agency this year which makes for an intense setting to begin the off-season. The first deadline for off-season moves is on March 7th for the franchise tag deadline. This is where teams will have an opportunity to extend a player for another year before they become an unrestricted free agent. Teams will have a choice of an exclusive or non-exclusive franchise tag which would allow the player to negotiate with other teams if given the non-exclusive tag. The amount of money for which the franchise tag is valued is based on the salary of the highest paid players in that position over the past 5 years. These are the franchise tag amounts for 2023, QB: $32,416,000 LB: $20,926,000 WR: $19,743,000 DE: $19,727,000 DT: $18,937,000 OL: $18,244,000 CB: $18,140,000 S: $14,460,000 TE: $11,345,000 RB: $10,091,000 ST: $5,393,000. Notable names to be franchise tagged before the deadline are Lamar Jackson, Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Tremaine Edmunds, Tony Pollard, Jessie Bates III and Daniel Jones. 

With the free agent market opening up on March 15th, many teams are eager to add new pieces to their teams to take them to the next level. There have already been early free agency moves concerning the QB room of some teams. This is seen with the signings of Geno Smith and Derek Carr. Geno Smith is returning to his team in Seattle where he performed well last season and he received a 3-year contract for $75 million. Derek Carr has been a popular name on the free agent market for those teams missing that thrower they need, he was signed by the New Orleans Saints for a 4-year contract worth $150 million. There are many other big names waiting to find their landing spot during this free agency. These are names such as Jordan Poyer, Javon Hargrave, Frank Clark, Lavonte David, James Bradberry, and others. 

Trade talks are always a part of the NFL off-season with many players trying to find the right situation for themselves. This year there are many crucial players looking for a trade to a new home. Among these players are Aaron Rodgers, DeAndre Hopkins, Cameron Jordan, Brandin Cooks, Shaquill Griffin, and others. Teams that are looking for these players will have to give up assets in return which can have major effects on a team’s decision to pursue a player. The most controversial name among these players is Aaron Rodgers, he is an all-time great quarterback and is unhappy with his recent situation with the Green Bay Packers. There are very few teams that would say no to having Rodgers as their quarterback but there are other factors that are preventing teams from pursuing him such as his large contract and having to give up valuable assets to get the player. Currently, the New York Jets seem to be the front runner in the Aaron Rodgers sweepstakes and this can be a detrimental move as the Jets were a decent team last year missing that quarterback to lead the team.  

The NFL draft is one of the most important events of the off-season. The draft brings in a lot of new young talent that teams want to invest in. These talents are scouted from their college film or from things like the scouting combine or pro day. The scouting combine was held from March 2nd-6th. The top prospects from every position were evaluated in different drills such as the 40-yard dash, bench pressing, vertical jump, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle, 3 cone drill, 60-yard shuttle, and some position-specific drills. There was a lot of very impressive talent displayed during the combine.

Some of the standout players at the combine were QB Anthony Richardson, DE Nolan Smith, LB Owen Pappoe, CB DJ Turner, CB Christian Gonzalez, and there were many more impressive performances. The draft stock of many players rose and fell because of their performance during the combine. Anthony Richardson was one of the biggest winners of the combine showing impressive displays of his physical ability along with his arm talent. There have been many questions around whether Anthony Richardson is an elite talent or not because of his limited amount of play during his college career. Richardson prior to the combine was projected to be a mid-first round pick but has potentially become a top 10 pick in the draft after running a 4.43 40-yard dash and 40.5 inch vertical while being 6’4 240 pounds. This is a great example of how the combine or any pre-draft workout can affect the draft stock of these young talents.

This NFL off-season is one to be watched, there are many crucial players that may be moved around and added to the league which will prepare for an interesting lead into the 2023 NFL season. Not only does this provide interesting football news though, it is an interesting way to view life. These players can love where they’re at and the team can love the player just as much but some of them still end up leaving or getting moved because it is a business before it is anything else. It is often in the sports scene where you see money breakup great relationships on teams, but at the end of the day everyone has a family to feed, so they’ll take the money and find that friendship somewhere else. There are real life applications that are all over sports and it gives you a better understanding of the nature of the world and the people in it.