The NCAA isn’t the Only League Full of Madness During March

A look inside one of the craziest off-seasons in NFL history… and it has barely begun.


Tom Brady” by Jeffrey Beall is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0

Paul Flicek, Staff Writer

March 16 starts the new league year in the NFL. Contracts expire, free agency begins and the trading window officially opens. We begin to see the business side of the NFL take over as players who were with their team for years are looked at as nothing more than a jersey number.

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks mutually agreed it was time to part ways. The 33-year-old quarterback spent 10 years in Seattle, winning a Superbowl in 2014. Wilson signed with the Denver Broncos, where he will join the already stacked AFC West division, with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr. Despite finishing last in the AFC West this past season, the Broncos believe Wilson will bring the competitive edge needed to get back to the top of the division. 

Wilson isn’t the only quarterback making headlines. Deshaun Watson agreed to a 5-year, fully guaranteed, $230 million deal with the Cleveland Browns. Watson’s signing indicates Baker Mayfield’s time with Cleveland is coming to an end. The deal set a new record for the largest guaranteed contract in NFL history. Watson will be joined by four-time pro-bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper, who was recently traded from the Dallas Cowboys. The QB/WR duo will team up just as another dominant duo decided to split. 

Aaron Rodgers signed a 3-year $150 million deal to stay with the Green Bay Packers. His favorite target, Davante Adams, decided to walk away from Green Bay after eight record-setting seasons. Adams signed a contract worth $141.25 million with the Las Vegas Raiders over the next five seasons, making him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. The Packers reportedly offered more money than the Raiders, but Adams decided his time in the green and gold was over. He will now be teaming up with his college quarterback, Carr, hoping to revive the winning tradition in Las Vegas. 

The Chicago Bears have also gotten in on the free agency fun. Chicago has signed both Lucas Patrick, an offensive lineman, and Equanimeous St. Brown, a wide receiver, from the Green Bay Packers. However, the players they have gotten rid of have been much more notable names. After four seasons with the Bears, Khalil Mack was traded to the L.A. Chargers for 2022 2nd-round and 2023 6th-round draft picks. Allen Robinson agreed to a 3-year $46.5 million deal with the Super Bowl-winning Los Angeles Rams. Chicago seems to be in the midst of a rebuild, focusing on acquiring younger talent to surround Justin Fields. 

The biggest news around the league came on Sunday, March 13th. After only six weeks in retirement, Tom Brady announced via Instagram that it wasn’t time to hang up his cleats quite yet.

 “These past two months I have realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” Brady wrote. “That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. Without them, none of this is possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. We have unfinished business.” 

Brady will join the reloaded Buccaneers team in hopes of his eighth Super Bowl victory. 

With the new league year having just begun, we are bound to hear more groundbreaking news that will create a more competitive league for all 32 NFL teams. Stephon Gilmore, Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones are all still on the market for teams to sign. I expect the Packers to take a run at Jones or Beckham to fill the void left by Adams’ departure. Without Adams, the Packers are left without a clear number one receiver, an issue that will need to be addressed before training camp. I predict Stephon Gilmore to sign with the San Francisco 49ers, a young defense in need of depth and experience at the cornerback position. 

The NFL raised its salary cap from $182.5 million to $208.2 million, an increase of $25.7 million. This increase gives teams more money to spend on more advanced players, who they hope will lead them to Super Bowl 57.