The 2021-2022 NFL season was definitely some of the most wild football I’ve ever seen. With underdogs covering the spread more than the favorites and so many blockbuster trades, the intensity and impatience of the NFL is growing. Draft picks and the future of teams suddenly seem less indispensable in exchange for short-term solutions in hopes for a title.
In this two-part column series, I will give you my biggest winners and losers of the 2022 offseason. After nailing my Super Bowl prediction, I intend to pick up right where I left off in the NFL and start with this offseason’s winners, next week you get the losers.
Biggest Winner: Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos
Russell Wilson travels to Denver as the only thing the Broncos lack — a quarterback. Denver has been a team with phenomenal depth and young playmakers throughout the years, but without being able to find a franchise quarterback, they’ve been kept out of the playoffs since 2015. Their quarterback in the 2015-2016 roster was Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, who retired in 2016.
Having missed a mere three games in his entire 10-year career and throwing for more than 3,100 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of his seasons, Wilson is arguably the most consistent quarterback in the NFL.
Since the Seahawks lost Super Bowl XLIX against the Patriots in a last-minute end zone interception by cornerback Malcolm Butler, their team has never been the same. Their offense and defense have both declined with the years, and as they’re ready to hit rock-bottom, Wilson exits for a now Super Bowl contending team.
Winner: Joe Burrow
Despite being sacked a record nine times in a playoff game against the Titans Jan. 22, Burrow was still capable of leading his team to the Super Bowl. However, the issue persisted all the way until the final game of the season, where Burrow was sacked seven times to tie an all-time Super Bowl record, and cost Cincinnati the Lombardi trophy.
This offseason, the Bengals finally realized they have to protect the piece they want to build around. Cincinnati signed offensive linemen La’el Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras to give Burrow’s protection a fresh new start and have a first round pick in the draft to select whatever other lineman is available for them.
Winner: The city of Los Angeles
The already star-studded city of Los Angeles gets more superstars added to both of their teams — the Rams and Chargers.
The Super Bowl champions did an excellent job of keeping their most important players — Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp all remain in Los Angeles and are onboard to win a second consecutive Super Bowl title.
The Rams did lose three time All-Pro defensive end Von Miller, but replaced — and arguably upgraded — with six-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner. Though their roles are different, Wagner’s versatility allows him to play in the defensive end position and his ability to read offenses compensates for the explosiveness Miller brought to the team.
The team also added Allen Robinson, an elite wide receiver that’s been suffering under the yearly case of the Chicago Bears not being able to find a franchise quarterback. Robinson now gets Stafford, and Stafford is happier than ever with a stellar receiver corps.
The Chargers have been resting patiently in the depths of the AFC West under the Kansas City Chiefs regime. This year, they went from a wild-card contender to an actual Super Bowl contender with the rise of quarterback Justin Herbert and their offseason signings.
The problem with the Chargers has never been the offense. What they’ve needed is a strong defense to combat the blazing offenses in the AFC West. The addition of three time All-Pro Khalil Mack and Super Bowl winning nose tackle Sebatian Joseph-Day to an offensive line that already contains four time Pro-Bowl selection and 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa makes for the Chargers a scary team on both sides of the ball.
The Chargers also went big on the most coveted cornerback of the offseason — J.C. Jackson. The pairing of Jackson with Derwin James Jr. gives the Chargers a strong defense in the trenches and out in the backfield with their new acquisitions.