The 2022 NFL season officially ended Sunday night when the Chiefs defeated the Eagles (38-35) in Super Bowl LVII. Both contenders will be dominating the headlines for the foreseeable future, with Patrick Mahomes and company confirming themselves as a rising dynasty and Jalen Hurts making a historic appearance as the Philly face of the franchise. Soon enough, however, the spotlight will turn to the rest of the league when the 2023 off-season begins.
The start of next season may still be a long way off – just under seven months, but who’s counting? — nevertheless, it is never too early for a small foretaste of what lies ahead. Here’s a rundown of some key off-season storylines, teams to watch in 2023, and early predictions from oddsmakers:
Five key offseason storylines
What’s next for Aaron Rodgers? Tom Brady has already retired, this time “for good”. Now we are waiting for another legend of the game to decide his future. The longtime Packers QB hasn’t indicated one way or another if he will return, but if he does return, a Green Bay split seems more likely than ever. The team are reportedly open to trading Rodgers, apparently ready to approach former first-round pick Jordan Love and there would be no shortage of suitors.
What happens to Lamar Jackson? The Ravens keep saying they want Jackson as QB for the long haul, and they consistently fail to meet the QB’s contract demands or bring him back to the negotiating table. A franchise tag could keep him under team control through 2022, assuming Jackson doesn’t stage a holdout to be dealt. But with reports that Baltimore are poised to move the injury-prone former MVP, a split is suddenly out of the question.
Which of the other elite QBs will be extended? Four different QBs from 2020 are eligible for new deals: Joe Burrow (Bengals), Jalen Hurts (Eagles), Justin Herbert (Chargers) and Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins). Burrow could/should break the bank as perhaps the NFL’s most clutch signal-caller this side of Mahomes, while Hurts — now nearing a year of contract as a former second-rounder — has quickly earned his own mega deal with an MVP candidacy and Sterling Super Bowl shows.
Who drafts a QB early? QBs, QBs, QBs, we know it. But that’s the name of the game, isn’t it? Just look at the best players from the best teams in Super Bowl LVII. Assuming the Bears stay with Justin Fields, there are still seven teams in the top 10 of the 2023 NFL Draft that could reasonably target a signal caller: the Texans (No. 2), Colts (4), Seahawks ( 5), Lions (6), Raiders (7), Falcons (8) and Panthers (9) may be battling for three or four prospects, including Alabama’s Bryce Young.
How will Sean Payton restore the Broncos? Payton isn’t the only well-known trainer in the business; Frank Reich (Panthers) and DeMeco Ryans (Texans) are respected leaders now leading fledgling clubs. But the ex-Saints manager is easily the most accomplished of the new hires and his outspoken approach will make for an intriguing mix with QB Russell Wilson, who flopped under Nathaniel Hackett in 2021 and is likely to be in make-or-break territory after one long, flawless run in Seattle.
Five teams to see
Patrick Mahomes Getty Images
Yes, Super Bowl LVII just ended. But oddsmakers are already predicting the best of the best for the 2023 season plus the 2024 playoffs, including Super Bowl LVIII, which will be broadcast on CBS from Paradise, Nevada.
Here are the top 10 candidates, listed in order, to win the AFC or NFC:
AFC: Chiefs, Bills, Bengals, Chargers, Jaguars, Ravens, Dolphins, Jets, Raiders, Patriots
NFC: 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Lions, Giants, Rams, Packers, Vikings, Buccaneers, Saints
Super Bowl LVIII Odds
And here are the top 10 contenders for next year’s Lombardi Trophy (odds via Caesars Sportsbook):