This NFL offseason isn't waiting to heat up the headlines, with quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff switching places and Carson Wentz being shipped away to the Indianapolis Colts. But that's seemingly just the beginning of what's to come -- considering it all happened before the month of February expired. The Houston Texans are still standing firm on not trading a wildly disgruntled Deshaun Watson, at least for now, but they made other news by releasing future Hall of Fame pass rusher J.J. Watt, who quickly and unexpectedly found a new home with the Arizona Cardinals.
This all sets the stage for what could be one of the craziest offseason stretches in recent NFL memory, especially considering there are several other stars -- quarterbacks along with a myriad of other positions -- who might find themselves suiting up for a new team in 2021. Some of the more intriguing players include a mix of the obvious and the maybe not so much, so let's take a look at a few players and some potential landing spots, assuming their current teams decide to part ways.
You might've heard about the unpleasantness occurring in the Pacific Northwest. What began as an offseason with headlines swirling around the futures of several other franchise quarterbacks suddenly now exists in the world of Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. While the Pro Bowler has not demanded a trade, -- should he waive his no-trade clause and the Seahawks decide to eat $39 million in dead money to divorce him. One such team was the Cowboys, but Dallas remains locked in on signing Dak Prescott to a long-term deal and that's not the only encumbrance to Wilson heading to North Texas, leaving the other three on his wish list as the only feasible destinations. The expectation is Wilson will remain in Seattle, but it is possible the relationship continues to devolve, and all the NFL can do is wait with bated breath to see which way the road winds.
This is the type of situation the Seahawks are trying desperately to avoid, because as it stands, Deshaun Watson is utterly and completely done with the Texans. The team, however, isn't done with him and is refusing to entertain any potential trade calls for Watson's services. He recently met with newly-hired head coach David Culley for the first time, but it didn't go as the team hoped it would. For instead of Culley being able to convince Watson to buy into the team's plan going forward, he was met with a reiterated request for a trade and, reportedly, Watson made it clear he'll never suit up in Houston again. And so the stalemate continues, with the possibility of it dragging out into training camp and beyond, but there is no shortage of teams who'd go hard at landing Watson and he already has several he would enjoy playing for in mind.
Top potential destinations: Bears, Texans, Patriots
Wilson and Watson are far from the only quarterbacks still in play for a potential trade this offseason, as the Jets try to figure out what they'll do next with Sam Darnold. Robert Saleh was allegedly brought in with the expectation of helping to repair Darnold but since the hiring, recent rumors indicate New York will launch a full evaluation of the incoming class of quarterbacks before making the final call on Darnold -- who has . There's also the matter of Watson, who's future is now tethered in a way to that of Darnold, considering the Jets are reportedly one of Watson's potential interests. If general manager Joe Douglas can pull off a blockbuster trade to land Watson, Darnold is toast in New York, but he might be even if Watson doesn't land with Gang Green -- considering the Jets have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Top potential destinations: 49ers, Saints, Bears, Jets
But wait, there's more QB speculation to be had, despite your NFL cup running over with it already. The Panthers are disappointed in what they saw from Teddy Bridgewater in 2020, which is to say they expected much more than a game manager when they signed him to a multi-year deal in 2020. They're not wasting any time in working to correct their error, being open to moving Bridgewater this offseason and adding what they hope will be an upgrade of some sort. Ideally, much like the Jets and others on this list, the Panthers would love for the replacement to be Watson, but they'll first have to convince the Texans to set him free. As for Bridgewater, there are still those outside of Charlotte who could benefit from his services, including the team he played for before taking his talents to their NFC South rival last season.
Top potential destinations: Patriots, Panthers, Bears, Texans
On one hand, the 49ers seem committed to keeping Jimmy Garoppolo around for 2020. On the other hand, they know he's battled durability issues and, as such, there are reports they've recently reached out to the Panthers to discuss a possible trade for Bridgewater. That hints at the likelihood they've also put in calls to some other teams mentioned on this list for a feeler on their respective QB, which puts Garoppolo on the block for any possible deal that might go through. It's wild to consider he was in Super Bowl LIV and one quarter away from helping the team secure its sixth championship, only to be unsure of his future just 13 months later. But that is the situation, and considering Bill Belichick wasn't a fan of letting him go via trade to San Francisco in the first place, it just makes sense New England would at least have some sort of interest in reuniting the two -- with other teams willing to make a call for him as well.
Quiet as it's kept, quarterbacks aren't the only ones on the trade block this offseason. After reportedly being on it ahead of the NFL deadline last season, Stephon Gilmore might again find himself in the mix -- and he'll garner plenty of interest. Entering the final year of his deal with the Patriots, Gilmore is set to hit the team's salary cap for $15 million in 2021 and if they're not interested in offering him another multi-year deal to his liking -- trying to get assets in return for losing him makes sense. One of the best corners in the league, and arguably the best, the Patriots should be able to get a quality piece or two in return for him, assuming they decide it's time to let the All-Pro head out of town by their hand and not by his own. Having lost James Bradberry in 2020 free agency, the Panthers would love to have Gilmore in Charlotte, but so would a Browns team thirsty to take their defense to the next level.
Top potential destinations: Seahawks, Browns, Titans, Panthers, Raiders
The Washington legend might've played his last snap for his beloved Football Team, setting the stage for a possible move this offseason, but any team that trades for him needs to understand his top priority. If Ryan Kerrigan is traded, he wants to be somewhere he'll be guaranteed a starting role, considering those days are likely behind him with his current team. Washington has a young stable of horses led by former second-overall pick Chase Young, and Kerrigan is seeing his playing time reduced quite a bit because of it. The team would love to keep him onboard in the final year of his contract as a still-dynamic situational edge rusher, but he has much more left in his tank than to be relegated to rotational duty. With the Cardinals signing J.J. Watt, count them out of any race for Kerrigan but, as a result of that landing, count in several others who should give Washington a call to make an offer.
It feels like it was forever ago when Zach Ertz was viewed as one of the best tight ends in all of football and he and the Eagles could not have more love for each other. That was then and this is now, though, because for a long time there's been a fracture in the relationship that's now spider-webbed into all-out irreconcilable differences. Ertz felt disrespected by offers lobbed his way by the Eagles prior to now, and there haven't been any discussions recently that would imply the two have made up. Instead, Ertz made it known he was focused solely on playing in 2020 and no longer any contract talks, and the Eagles have reportedly had talks with both the Seahawks and Colts regarding the three-time Pro Bowler. It feels like a move is coming for Ertz soon, and time will tell if he's reunited with Carson Wentz or not.
Top potential destinations: Washington, Seahawks, Colts, Chargers, Rams
It's no secret David Njoku is ready to make his way out Cleveland. It's something he's said outright at one point and, although he walked back those comments not long after, he remains noncommittal on remaining with the Browns going forward. A recent public statement thanked Browns fans for their support but also admits he has no clue what will happen next, and it simply feels like it's time the organization parted ways and got something in return for the talented young tight end before they lose him outright to free agency in 2022. Njoku is entering a contract year that'll pay the former first-round pick a salary of $6 million, so unless they're looking to extend him or, at minimum, to utilize him much more than they have been -- there's no time like the present to start taking calls.