Training camps are underway across the NFL. Now it’s only a matter of time before the real games begin. Until then, all eyes are on the big names and tight position battles around the league. Some clubs boast more drama than others, especially when it comes to quarterback competitions. But all 32 enter the summer believing they can make some level of noise in 2022.
With that in mind, here are five bold predictions from all across the NFL as camps kick into high gear:
Deshaun Watson gets suspended for 12 games
The predictions on the polarizing Browns quarterback’s expected suspension have ranged from light to historically severe. But if the NFL has pushed for an indefinite ban, as many reports have indicated, it stands to reason Watson won’t escape without discipline that affects most of his 2022 campaign. Consider other starting QB suspensions stemming from sexual assault allegations: Ben Roethlisberger got four games (after an initial six-game ruling) and Jameis Winston got three, but they resulted from single incidents, whereas Watson at one point faced civil lawsuits from 24 different women. A 12-game suspension would deal a major blow to Cleveland’s prized addition without totally erasing his chance at a fresh start late this year.
49ers cut Jimmy Garoppolo
It might not seem that bold, considering Garoppolo never had a strong trade market this offseason and San Francisco waited this process out perhaps a year too long. But outright releasing Jimmy G would be a bold statement regardless — one that signals true, irreversible investment in 2021 first-rounder Trey Lance, who’s yet to even remotely prove himself as a passer. At the end of the day, however, they aren’t gonna wanna impede on Lance’s emergence as both an on- and off-field leader for a pricey backup with injury issues. Garoppolo’s departure will save them over $25 million, even though it’ll inevitably lead to …
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Seahawks sign Jimmy Garoppolo
It just makes too much sense. This is the last place the 49ers want to deal him, but at some point they’re gonna have to pay for retaining Garoppolo so long. And sure, Seattle has reportedly been lukewarm about other veteran QBs, but they know Jimmy G, and he also just so happens to be cut from Pete Carroll’s preferred cloth — a point guard at his best when he’s leaning on the run. Maybe he could be Carroll’s Carson Palmer. At the very least, he could make the position more palatable until 2023.
Patriots trade Nelson Agholor to the Packers
They unloaded N’Keal Harry already, yes, but New England would save almost $9.9 million by dealing Agholor, and their depth chart leaves little wiggle room for his services, with Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Tyquan Thornton and the tight end duo of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith set to headline Mac Jones’ receiving corps. Green Bay, meanwhile, could learn quickly in camp how much of a gamble it is to have Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb as starting wideouts in 2022.
Jessie Bates III skips all of Bengals camp
It’s no surprise Bates reportedly won’t report to the start of their practices this week. CBS Sports HQ’s Josina Anderson previously noted that the All-Pro safety has no plans to sign the franchise tag Cincinnati exercised this offseason. And the reality is, the Bengals have failed to meet his asking price, as a core building block for a title contender, for two years now. Maybe he shows up at some point during the season, to retain 2023 free agency eligibility, but a trade is just as conceivable.