Buying or Selling Latest Buzz, Rumors from 2021 NFL Offseason Workouts
The latest buzz coming out of NFL offseason workouts has taken on a different, more interesting feel this year.
Some teams will have full-blown mandatory minicamps. Others, like the Philadelphia Eagles, won't, or they have changed the structure of their workouts and OTAs.
A diversion from the norm before training camps in July won't stop the noise, though. Roster battles, notable faces in new places, trade drama and more are the centerpieces of the action.
Here's a look at the latest rumors and buzz from offseason workout season, plus a verdict on whether onlookers should buy or sell them.
QB Brett Hundley to Sign with Cowboys?
One can't undersell how important the position of the Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback is these days.
Last year, Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury early, and the offense mostly sputtered under the guidance of Andy Dalton, in addition to appearances from Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci.
Dallas might have a solution, though. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported Friday that the Cowboys hosted Brett Hundley for a workout and that he could be an option after his visit went well.
A UCLA star who fell to the fifth round of the 2015 draft, Hundley makes a ton of sense for Dallas based on his experience. He's appeared in 18 pro games, including 11 in 2017.
He also played under current Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy in Green Bay in 2016 and '17, meaning it should be a comfortable fit.
Foster Moreau Primed for a Breakout in Las Vegas?
The Las Vegas Raiders brought in several notable players in free agency this offseason, including Kenyan Drake and Yannick Ngakoue. They also drafted offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood at No. 17 overall, though many considered that a reach.
Foster Moreau, who was already on the squad, hasn't gotten much attention.
But according to The Athletic's Vic Tafur, teammates are "gushing" about the tight end, and Moreau should see an uptick in playing time next season after the second retirement of Jason Witten, who spent one year in Vegas.
The 2019 fourth-round pick has recorded 28 catches for 314 yards and seven touchdowns over 29 games, with five of his scores coming as a rookie. But that rookie year may be a preview of what's to come now that Witten won't be soaking up snaps in the red zone.
With defenses needing to focus on some combination of Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards, Willie Snead IV, John Brown and Darren Waller—along with Josh Jacobs and Drake out of the backfield—it's easy to see Moreau breaking out.
Ryan Kerrigan to Make Big Impact on Eagles Defense?
Few players are generating more buzz than Ryan Kerrigan right now—and rightfully so.
One of the most underrated defenders of his generation just hopped across the NFC East to join the rival Philadelphia Eagles. The 2011 first-round pick had spent his entire carer with Washington, missing just four games and tallying 95.5 sacks over 156 games.
Now he's joining a pass rush that already boasts Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett. Offensive lineman Lane Johnson is one player who expects Kerrigan to provide a big boost.
"I was honestly surprised that Washington let him go," Johnson said, according to Mike Kaye of NJ.com. "But having him on our side now will do us a lot of good, I think, later down the road in the season."
Kerrigan told NBC Sports Philadelphia that Philadelphia's scheme is one thing that lured him to town. The Eagles produced 49 sacks last year (third-most in the league), so Kerrigan will help the depth, but he might only provide a huge impact if injuries elsewhere force him into a bigger role.
Patrick Mahomes to Jell with O-Line Early?
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes underwent surgery to repair a torn plantar plate in his foot in February.
He suffered the injury during a postseason win over the Cleveland Browns, and his recovery timetable suggested he'd at least be ready for training camp.
It turns out he could be ready for OTAs this week.
According to James Palmer of NFL Network, Mahomes is ahead of schedule and will "do some stuff" at OTAs on May 25.
That's an incredible development for the Chiefs, who would love to get Mahomes in sync with new offensive linemen Orlando Brown Jr. and Joe Thuney as quickly as possible. Last year, Mahomes had another huge performance with 4,740 yards and 38 touchdowns against six interceptions.
The O-line was decimated by injuries, however, and according to Next Gen Stats (h/t Seth Walder of ESPN), Mahomes ran nearly 500 yards before his passes and sacks in the Super Bowl LV loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This offseason, it seems Mahomes will be able to jell with his O-line earlier than planned.
Russell Wilson Drama Is 'Old News'
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was in a dramatic spotlight earlier this offseason.
He seemed like a candidate to find a new home this offseason, in part because he expressed frustration with the franchise, including the amount of times he'd gotten hit. Wilson's agent, Mark Rodgers, floated four teams the quarterback would accept a trade to, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
But it appears the quarterback and the franchise have smoothed things over, as Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told The Rich Eisen Show (h/t Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk):
"It seems like really old news to talk about this because it's been such a long time. The little bit he said carried so much air time that it became bigger than life. Throughout the whole process, Russell, we've always been connected. We've always been talking. We've never not been in communication, and we weren't at all in this time either. A couple things that came out got magnified and the questions came out, and there was a couple things. He was frustrated when he was talking, just like any of us can sometimes emphasize something that’s on the top of our mind, and it can be played differently than it really played itself out."
Disgruntled or not, Wilson was again elite in 2020, completing 68.8 percent of his passes for 4,212 yards with 40 touchdowns against 13 interceptions, albeit while getting sacked 47 times.
At this point, though, Carroll's comments feel like coach-speak. Wilson was candid publicly about his issues with the team's approach to the offensive line, and the only new projected starter up front is Gabe Jackson. If Wilson takes too many hits over first half of the season, his frustration could be anything but old news.
Zach Ertz to Miss Team Workouts This Summer?
It feels like a matter of time before the Philadelphia Eagles and tight end Zach Ertz split.
Ertz has seen the team go through a regime change this offseason, including with the departure of head coach Doug Pederson. Quarterback Carson Wentz is gone too.
Last year, the veteran tight end only played 11 games and had just one touchdown. Ertz is now 30 years old, and the Eagles haven't been able to find a trade partner that will take on his $12.7 million cap hit.
In an attempt to force the team's hand, Ertz didn't show up for voluntary workouts and doesn't plan on showing up for anything else, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Any interested team will likely wait until Ertz hits free agency rather than cough up assets in a trade and take on his contract. That means Ertz might have to sit at home for most of the summer.
Falcons Want to Move On from Julio Jones
Given the Atlanta Falcons' long-term cap outlook, it was safe to presume they would at least consider ways to offload star wideout Julio Jones.
On Thursday, Jeff Schultz of The Athletic reported the "Falcons would like to trade" their star wideout for some cap relief. He noted the Tennessee Titans could show interest.
While the Titans would make sense as a would-be contender seeking an upgrade, the fact that the organization has just $3.6 million in cap space makes it difficult.
That said, it's easy to see Atlanta wanting out of Jones' deal. The front office already has 1,000-yard receiver Calvin Ridley on the roster, and it ignored the quarterback position at No. 4 this year—taking tight end Kyle Pitts instead—even though Matt Ryan is heading into his age-36 campaign.
Julio Jones and Cam Newton?
Could head coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots come out of nowhere to acquire Julio Jones via trade?
It sounds Madden-esque, but given how aggressive the Patriots were in free agency this offseason, maybe we shouldn't put it past the minds in Foxborough to make it happen.
According to NBC Sports Boston's Michael Holley, Jones wouldn't mind linking up with Cam Newton in New England. And NFL Network's Mike Giardi later reported the Patriots have kicked around the idea of making such a move.
Cliches about smokes and fires exist for a reason. New England went all-in on building the offense around the returning Newton this offseason. Adding Jones would be the exclamation point on that goal. The seven-time Pro Bowler was still elite last year despite missing seven games because of a hamstring injury, posting 771 yards and three scores while averaging 15.1 yards per catch.
Atlanta, by the way, would benefit by getting Jones out of the NFC and saving roughly $15 million if the trade happens with a post-June 1 designation. While this chatter could just be a leverage play by one of the parties involved, it feels like onlookers should keep a close eye on Belichick and the Patriots, who currently have the sixth-most cap space in the league.