Agents, teams, and players were all allowed to try to start working out the NFL trades updates 2022, on March 14, which was the two-day tampering period before the start of free agency. Once the veil was lifted on March 16, the carousel started. While many of the early NFL trades involved disgruntled star players who were always going to be moved, those were only a fraction of the moves made.
Here’s a look at some recent player movements and how they will impact the bigger picture of the league. Teams are betting on these players to provide their teams with a lift instead of having to pursue other options in the NFL draft.
Heyward Heads to Atlanta
Former Pro Bowler Casey Hayward Jr. signed with the Atlanta Falcons on a two-year, $11 million contract. Hayward will provide immediate depth to the Falcons’ secondary, even if his best days may be behind him. Hayward, who will be 33 in September, played last season with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Hayward started all 17 games for the Raiders last season and intercepted one pass. Hayward’s best season came in 2016 with the San Diego Chargers, where he intercepted a league-high seven passes for 102 yards and scored a touchdown.
Von Miller Shuffles Off to Buffalo
Von Miller was a part of one of the most notable NFL trades last season. He was dealt to the Rams in the middle of the season and was a key contributor for Los Angeles’ 24-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl. Miller was rewarded by Buffalo with a six-year, $120 million contract to join the Bills.
Miller, who will be 33 by the time the season starts, is an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time first team All-Pro pass rusher, could be valuable to Buffalo if he is able to maintain his production and stay healthy. Miller recorded 9.5 sacks with the Bills and Rams last season, while he has compiled 115.5 for his career.
Maybe Rodgers Will Retire?
All offseason, the Green Bay Packers battled through a contentious contract negotiation with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Once everything was ironed out, Green Bay decided to deal away safety blanket wide receiver Davante Adams. Out of all the NFL trades made this offseason, Adams being dealt to Las Vegas for a first and second-round picks may have topped the list.
Adams had 1,300 or more receiving yards in three of the past four seasons. In 2021, Adams had a career-high 1,553 receiving yards and also had 11 touchdown catches. The trade gives Derek Carr another weapon while putting Green Bay into a search for a top receiver for their veteran quarterback.
Brady Gets the Band Back Together
Shortly after Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady announced he was returning from his retirement, Tampa Bay traded for guard Shaq Mason from the New England Patriots. Tampa Bay had to give up their fifth-round pick in 2022 for the guard, who had previously played with Brady.
Mason has started 111 games for the Patriots over the past seven seasons. While never making the Pro Bowl or being selected All-Pro, Mason had been durable in New England. Mason only missed five games, including the postseason, during his time with the Patriots.
Browns Get a New Quarterback
Despite the still pending civil legal action against quarterback Deshaun Watson, Cleveland dealt for Watson as their hopeful quarterback of the future. The Browns gave away three first-round draft pickings, including a first rounder this year and a 2023 third round and 2024 fourth round selection. What Cleveland is getting is unknown.
Watson sat out last season on the commissioner exempt list. During four years in Houston, Watson was 28-25 as a starter. He has passed for 14,539 yards and thrown 104 touchdowns to 36 interceptions.