For a lot of teams, the season is over and the NFL is ready for an offseason of movement. Lamar Jackson is facing an uncertain offseason with his future in Baltimore unclear, yet the quarterback isn’t the only player who could be traded in 2023.
We will learn more about possible moves once the 2023 NFL draft draws nearer. But with the current campaign not yet over, there is a lot of speculation going around.
Certain players have already had their situations made clear to them by teams, especially if they didn’t make the postseason. These players are now working with their agents to try and find a new landing spot once the new league year begins.
There is also the small matter of the first-overall selection in the 2023 draft, which belongs to the Chicago Bears. The reality is that with Justin Fields present they don’t need it. Therefore, they will likely trade down to a team that is desperate for a new franchise quarterback.
Trades that could stun the NFL world this offseason
#5. Derek Carr to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh McDaniels has given Derek Carr the Jay Cutler treatment. He has decided that the quarterback isn’t for him, despite his popularity within the locker room, amongst Las Vegas fans and the wider NFL world.
Carr’s 2022 season was forgettable, but it wasn’t all down to him. The Raiders offense struggled throughout the year and McDaniels did little to improve that.
Despite claiming to have learned from his ill-fated spell with the Denver Broncos, it feels like there's something more to the Carr storyline. McDaniels could be falling into the trap of letting his ego run the footballing decisions, or maybe he needed a blood sacrifice to save his job.
Carr was benched for the final two games of the NFL season and even remained distant from the team’s facility to avoid being a distraction. It was clear the end was coming at that point and Carr had to prepare for life away from Vegas.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to be the perfect landing spot. They have a lot of veterans on their team and the defense is solid. Tom Brady is likely to leave as a free-agent, which leaves space for a QB on a promising NFL team.
Lamar Jackson may be considered, but it would require a total rewrite of the team’s offense. For Carr, that wouldn’t be the case. He knows how to lead a team, is a good character and he’s far more reliable than Brady’s predecessor, Jameis Winston.
Finally, Carr wouldn’t be a long-term solution in Tampa Bay, but they know they are a franchise that will need to rebuild in a few years. Veterans, whilst they add experience and quality, don’t play forever. Tampa Bay probably have two years left in their current success window, even if a Super Bowl looks beyond them.
Adding 31-year-old Carr to the team is sensible, especially for two or three years. The team can then work on finding their next franchise QB.
#4. Cameron Jordan to the Kansas City Chiefs
Cameron Jordan is one of the NFL's elite pass rushers. The Kansas City Chiefs’ biggest need is an edge rusher. This is a trade that makes too much sense not to happen.
The New Orleans Saints are in salary cap hell once again in 2023 and will need to shed salaries. Jordan is one of the highest earners on the team and thus be allowed to leave. Kansas will gladly take on another playmaker for their defensive line, especially with the offense having proven to be equally as effective even without Tyreek Hill.
Jordan had a down year with just 5.5 sacks in 2022, but he will bounce back in 2023 and could double that return with the Chiefs.
#3. Brandin Cooks to the New York Giants
Despite having publicly stated he didn’t want any more trades after arriving in Houston, Brandin Cooks will be on the market once more in 2023. Having almost left the ailing Texans at the trade deadline, you can expect the receiver to be moved even before the NFL draft.
He is an elite receiver and still has two or three years left in his prime, given his current age of 29.
The Texans will continue their rebuild in the offseason, starting at the QB position. Cooks is in no mood to play with a rookie at the position as he hopes to win a championship.
The New York Giants have been brilliant in 2022, reaching the Divisional round of the playoffs at the time of writing. Not only has Brian Daboll turned around a team that has done nothing but lose over the last few years, but he has also turned Daniel Jones into a dangerous quarterback.
Giving Jones more options is a must heading into 2023 and if the Big Blue want to take the next step, a veteran receiver like Cooks would be perfect.
#2. Chicago Bears trade the #1 overall pick to the Indianapolis Colts
Whilst a player isn’t strictly involved in this move, it has the potential to be the biggest trade of the 2023 NFL offseason. The Bears have no real use for the pick given Justin Fields' presence and the demand for quarterbacks at the top of the draft.
Bryce Young is the object of desire for both the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts. They will both look to trade into the first-overall selection and select Bryce in the NFL draft.
Chicago, despite fans wanting them to explore the Lamar Jackson market, will stick with Fields and play the Colts and Texans off against each other. They want to recoup maximum value for the pick and will eventually trade it to the Colts, with Jim Irsay desperate to finally get the team’s QB mess sorted once and for all.
#1. Lamar Jackson to the New York Jets
Zach Wilson is not the guy in New York. Whilst there hasn’t been any public acknowledgement of this, there is an underlying message that the Jets are in the QB market big-time in 2023.
Jimmy Garoppolo was the initial favorite, but a dynamic playmaker like Lamar Jackson would be impossible to pass up. The core of young, confident players being built by the Jets fits perfectly with the Ravens QB.
Jackson is an MVP winner and a genuinely elite quarterback. He would almost certainly be the best the Jets have had at the position since Broadway Joe.
The package will be expensive and may require draft picks and players (maybe even Zach Wilson). But you don’t think about that when you have the chance to bring in a player like Lamar Jackson.
Cap space isn’t a problem for the Jets in 2023. With their young defense improving, adding Lamar Jackson makes them a serious Super Bowl threat in the 2023 NFL season.