NFL

Many options looked intriguing, but so far have fallen short of the hype.

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) hands the ball during an NFL game between Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday, October 30, 2022 (AP Photo / Ian Walton)
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Outside of the 2022 season, it was not a fruitful period for NFL players looking for new playmakers.

Many options looked intriguing: Russell Wilson unwanted in Seattle, Matt Ryan’s career ends in Atlanta, and Carson Wentz ends sour in Indianapolis. The Denver Broncos swapped for Wilson, the Colts sold Wentz to Washington, and took over Ryan.

All three teams had high expectations. All three moves turned out to be the opposite.

From the Broncos-Wilson struggle to the Colts on Ryan’s bench to Wentz’s inconsistency and another injury, most of the changes have failed. Two coaches – Matt Rhule from Carolina and Frank Reich from Indy – even lost their jobs.

The so-called sellers were the most successful. The Seahawks 6-3 lead their division after trading Wilson and going to Geno Smith, while Falcons remain in the playoffs 4-5 after switching from Ryan and signing with Marcus Mariota.

Here’s a look at what happened.

DENVER BRONCOS

New QB: Russell Wilson

Old QB: Teddy Bridgewater

Price Paid: Three Players, Five Draft Types, and $ 245 million add-ons guaranteed to be $ 165 million, including a $ 50 million sign-up bonus.

How it started: General manager George Paton wanted to solve the team’s long-standing quarterback dilemma and believed the answer was Wilson, a nine-time bowling pro in a decade in Seattle. He was Denver’s sixth starter in six seasons.

How’s it going: Wilson wasn’t like the star he was in Seattle, and rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett didn’t help with so many shotgun formations. When Wilson is in the center, he is a textbook example of mechanics and footwork. He’s everywhere in the shotgun, and he doesn’t see open receivers often enough.

Where he’s going: Wilson stays on a big deal. Hackett is in a hot spot, though Paton gave him a vote of confidence in London before Denver’s victory over the Jaguars spurred four matches on October 27.

KOLTY INDIANAPOLIS

New QB: Matt Ryan

Old QB: Carson Wentz

Price paid: selection of the third round in 2022.

How it started: Indy broke down on Wentz when he refused the COVID-19 vaccine, and his poor performance in the last two games, after testing positive for the virus, cost the Colts a place in the playoffs. GM Chris Ballard sent Wentz to Washington, then waited for Atlanta to begin looking for Ryan’s successor. Indy believed he made a coup by earning a proven leader who continued to play well.

How’s it going: What looked like a good match was nothing else. Ryan fought behind the rebuilt and weak offensive line. He made nine steals, had 11 fumbles and 12 total losses – all league records. He was also fired 24 times and received 59 hits before being transferred in favor of Sam Ehlinger. Result: Offensive coordinator Marcus Brady was fired last week and Reich joined him on Monday on the unemployment line.

Where it’s going: Ryan’s future at Indy looks bleak. He has one more season on his contract, and cutting him off would cost Indy $ 18 million in dead money. Can it be traded? Maybe. But how much interest is there in the 37-year-old quarterback after his worst professional season?

COMMANDERS OF WASHINGTON

New QB: Carson Wentz

Old QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick / Taylor Heinicke

Price Paid: Round Two & Third 2022, Conditional Third Round 2023 (Received Later, Second Round 2022 back from Wentz)

How It Began: Wentz went to training camp as an undisputed starter ahead of Heinicke and rookie Sam Howell. Wentz and coach Ron Rivera dismissed several inaccuracies in training. Wentz then bounced off throwing steals one after another in the opening season to lead commanders to victory against Jacksonville.

How’s it going: Wentz threw 10 TD passes, six steals, and played via a broken finger in Chicago to break the losing streak of commanders. He hasn’t played since surgery while Heinicke led Washington to a 2-1 score with Wentz on the injured reserve. The team did not say when Wentz might return, and Rivera is not going to make a decision until Wentz returns.

Where it’s going: Wentz’s contract is structured to give commanders an exit after this season with no wage penalty, but a lot will depend on the rest of this season and whether Rivera will remain coach. Howell is relegated to the fifth round but may be next in a long line of Washington’s future quarterbacks.

KAROLINA PANTERA

New QB: Baker Mayfield

Old QB: Sam Darnold

Price Paid: Conditional Selection of Fifth Round in 2023.

How it started: After a failed attempt to capture Desha Watson, the Panthers chased Mayfield but didn’t take him out of Cleveland until July. It cost him practice snaps and time to learn the rules, but Mayfield beat Darnold for a # 1 job before the season opened.

Here’s how it goes: Mayfield was counterproductive, scoring 1-4 as a starter and posting the league’s worst QB result. PJ Walker took the helm when Mayfield injured his left ankle in week 5. Even after Walker’s terrible game at Cincinnati, interim coach Steve Wilks stayed with him.

Where he is going: Mayfield could be relegated to third place and maybe even sacked, and Darnold would be activated from an injured reserve. The Panthers are very unlikely to re-sign Mayfield when he becomes Unrestricted Free Agent in March – if he has been for that long.

BROWN CLEVELAND

New QB: Jacoby Brissett / Deshaun Watson

Old QB: Baker Mayfield

Price paid: First round elections 2022, 2023 and 2024, third round 2022 and fourth round 2024.

How it started: The Browns did not offer Mayfield a long-term deal after losing a shoulder injury in 2021. His status on the team has suffered and a poor 21 put his market value down. When Watson became available, the Browns entered the auction late and were initially rejected by a three-time Pro Bowler. But owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam changed Watson’s mind by offering a fully guaranteed five-year contract worth $ 240 million despite his legal problems. Mayfield was eventually sold to Carolina for the fifth round – after the Browns agreed to eat most of his 2022 salary.

How It Goes: Knowing that Watson could be suspended by the NFL, the Browns signed with Brissett, a former Indianapolis starter, as a free agent. Brissett was better than expected and provided invaluable leadership. Knocking on his own: He had a few costly turns.

Where it’s going: Watson is expected to return once the 11-game league ban for violation of personal behavior is over. He was accused of s*xual misconduct by more than two dozen women while playing for Houston. He is eligible to resume exercise next week, and if reinstated, could make his Browns debut on December 4 against the Texans. He has not played in a regular season match since January 3, 2021.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

New QB: Geno Smith

Old QB: Russell Wilson

Price Paid: $ 3.5M, 1-year contract

How It Began: Seahawks re-contracted with Smith to compete with Drew Lock after trading with Denver. Wilson’s long-standing backup had an edge throughout the off-season and training camp, and when Lock missed the pre-season start after testing positive for coronavirus, it was clear Smith would be the starter.

How’s it going: Smith is one of the best contenders for the return of Player of the Year. For the first time since 2014, he is competing full-time and leading the NFL by percentage of completion, third in the ranking of passes and fifth in TD applications. He was the biggest surprise for Seattle.

Where it Goes: It was seen as bridge season as the Seahawks tried to draw a new franchise quarterback in April. It can happen, but Smith may be your best short-term solution. Leading NFC West Seattle, 6-3, is facing the decision to either re-sign with him or test a free agency.

PITTSBURG STEEL

New QB: Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky

Old QB: Ben Roethlisberger

Price Paid: $ 14 million 2-year Free Agent Contract for Trubisky, 20th choice in the 2022 draft for Pickett

How it started: Following Roethlisberger’s retirement, Trubisky was declared a starter at the end of training camp. He spent 3½ games largely avoiding mistakes but had trouble throwing down and was transferred to the bench in the week 4 defeat of the Jets.

How’s it going: Pickett showed a ton of fighting, but the Steelers’ only victory since replacing Trubisky faced Tampa Bay on October 16 when Trubisky fired Pickett (the shock) and threw a 144 yard and decisive TD pass. Pickett kept his starting position and looked good in the ’20s, but struggled to generate points and made eight steals.

Where he’s going: Pittsburgh is busy with Pickett, but also refused to explore Trubisky’s trading options, who said and did everything right since he was relegated. Trubisky’s presence gives the Steelers a reliable back-up, but Pickett’s initial job for the foreseeable future.

JUICES OF ATLANTA

New QB: Marcus Mariota

Old QB: Matt Ryan

Price Paid: $ 18.75M two-year free agent contract with $ 5M signing bonus and $ 6.75M guaranteed, with $ 12M option for 2023 and $ 3M premium due in March.

How it started: Desmond Ridder from the third round, who served as Mariota’s support, thought Mariota would have a short leash. Instead, he took every appetizer and has Falcons first in NFC South.

How’s it going: Mariota fit in well with coach Arthur Smith’s offensive. He won’t be leading the league in passing, but has 10 TD passes with six steals and added a double threat that Ryan couldn’t. Mariota has 340 yards of run and three TD gears.

Where is she going? Mariota clearly has Smith’s trust and support. Smith dismissed the question of playing Ridder with the sarcastic reply that the rookie passed the ball only to make the critics happy. Even so, there is an expectation that Ridder will play at some point, but it will be support as Mariota seems firmly embedded as a starter.

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