The NFL rumor mill is picking up with trade winds blowing and the start of free agency less than a month away. As teams look to address needs ahead of next season, what's the wildest offseason rumor you want to believe?
Find a way to get Watson to Carolina
Andy Behrens: If Deshaun Watson can somehow land with the Carolina Panthers at the end of the miserable, thoughtless de-build that's playing out in Houston, then he might just enter 2021 as my overall QB1. Let's just please keep CMC out of the (unlikely) deal entirely. Carolina would probably need to send half-decade's worth of first-round picks to the Texans, but if it gets us a few seasons of Watson, McCaffrey, Moore, Anderson, and Samuel (if he doesn't leave via free agency) ... well, wow. That's a party. Watson is coming off a season in which he led the NFL in passing yards (4,823) and yards per attempt (8.9) while setting new career highs in completion percentage (70.2) and rating (112.4). Upgrade his receiving weapons and his offense could be nearly unstoppable.
Broncos and Watson a Super pairing
Dalton Del Don: I want to believe Deshaun Watson gets traded to Denver, because right now the Broncos at 66/1 to win the Super Bowl looks like one of the better futures opportunities in recent memory. Denver had a top-15 defense in DVOA last year despite Von Miller missing the season, and the team’s receivers include Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler, and Noah Fant (and Albert Okwuegbunam). Watson led the NFL in YPA last season by a mile with incompetent coaching and one of the league’s weakest supporting casts, so the Broncos' Super Bowl odds would dramatically change (lock in +6600 now!) if they traded for the superstar to replace Drew Lock. Watson would also make all those receivers a lot more fun for fantasy managers.
Russ gets to cook with Washington
Matt Harmon: I can’t really comprehend a universe where Russell Wilson plays anywhere but Seattle next year — and for the next five-plus seasons, if we’re being honest. That said, I’d love it if he could somehow find his way to turn frustration into action and force a trade to Washington. Not the team you were expecting? Fair enough. I’m ready to root for Wilson being moved just about anywhere purely for chaos’ sake. Look, folks, I’m going to be wish-casting any average to slightly solid quarterback to The Football Team this offseason. Terry McLaurin is a true superstar-caliber alpha receiver and just plain deserves a high-end passer to prove it to the rest of the sheep out there. Logan Thomas is on the come-up and a kick in the rear for Washington’s offense would only improve the already bright outlook for Antonio Gibson. Washington is a team that’s ready to compete right now with a strong defense and steady coaching staff. Granted, they’d probably need to do a little offensive line investing since sacks (even if they’re a bit his fault) seem to be one of the sources of Wilson’s ire. This destination might not check all of No. 3’s boxes, but it does check mine.
Darnold gets the fresh start he deserves
Scott Pianowski: Sam Darnold probably is headed out of New York, as the Jets take another swing at a first-contract quarterback in the draft. But Darnold is still young enough for a rebound; heck, he doesn't turn 24 until July. Most of his failure with the Jets can be attributed to circumstance and bad luck; it's time to hug Darnold and assure him it's not his fault.
Although Washington and Chicago are common landing spots mentioned for Darnold, I wish him onto a team with more fun offensive pieces. Denver has the most toys to play with, San Francisco could offer the best mentoring, and Pittsburgh could set him up to succeed for 10 years. I don't know how much it's percolating in the rumor mill, but I'm steering Darnold to the Rocky Mountains. Nobody craves more of the Drew Lock experience.
Packers clear the way for Dillon
Liz Loza: The hottest tea often involves signal-callers, but I would happily sip on some clarity involving fantasy's most volatile position. If Aaron Jones leaves the snow for the south (think Miami, Atlanta, or even Tampa Bay) and Jamaal Williams also takes his talents elsewhere (maybe New England) then give me all the AJ Dillon shares.
Often compared to Derrick Henry (who possesses a skill set that Matt LaFleur has obvious familiarity with and an affinity for), Dillon showed off his workhorse appeal in Week 16 when both Jones and Williams were banged up. In that effort, the Boston College product (who holds the Eagles' all-time rushing record) posted a season-high snap share of 58 percent, touching the ball 22 times for a total of 129 yards and two scores (RB6). A former second-round pick paired with an offense that was top-12 in rushing attempts last year could make for fantasy gold ... and I'm here for it.