UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

With another Super Bowl in the books, what’s next for football?


Image of a stadium. Image sourced from CalMatters.  

Super Bowl LVII has officially concluded the 2022 NFL season, and it did so in an exciting fashion. The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs battled it out in the biggest American sporting event of the year at State Farm Stadium in Arizona. A high-scoring match that showed off the elite capabilities of Eagles’ Quarterback Jalen Hurts and the resilience of Chiefs’ Quarterback Patrick Mahomes ended in a 38–35 Chiefs victory.
Mahomes’ unprecedented start to his NFL career continues to impress fans all across America, and despite the loss, Hurts has more than solidified himself as the future in Philadelphia. These two teams seem like they are going to be in contention for a long time, but now that this season has ended, what should fans expect from the always-eventful offseason?
A lot of money is going to be dished out this offseason, as some huge names are due for large contract extensions. Young stars such as the aforementioned Hurts, Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow, Los Angeles Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert, and Minnesota Vikings’ wide receiver Justin Jefferson are expected to break the bank and sign extensions worth hundreds of millions. Whereas some teams are fairly confident about their financial plans, this isn’t the case for others.
The future destinations of quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson and the recently released Derek Carr are sure to stir up the free agent market. The hall-of-fame bound Rodgers has been involved in rumors for the past few seasons now, but many think this could finally be the year that he leaves the Green Bay Packers. The popular pick is for him to reunite with his former star receiver, Davante Adams, in Las Vegas on the Raiders, who now have the position opened with Carr on the way out.
The four-time Pro Bowler Carr has spent his entire career on the Raiders, but lack of playoff success has caused the two parties to part ways. Carr has drawn interest from many teams including the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers and New York Jets, all of whom are in search of a quarterback upgrade. Although, the situation with Lamar Jackson in Baltimore seems to be the most intriguing.
Despite being the youngest MVP ever, Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have struggled to see eye-to-eye in contract negotiations. It seemed to be assured that Jackson would be the Ravens’ quarterback for years to come, but after extending the recently-acquired linebacker Roquan Smith just weeks after his arrival, frustrations on both sides have emerged. Teams should keep tabs on this situation, as the young star may find himself on the move in a short time.
Outside of the quarterback drama and amongst the free agency class, one position stands out. Several major running backs are on expiring deals, and a carousel is to be expected. The reigning rushing yard leader Josh Jacobs, former college standout Saquon Barkley, Swiss army knife Tony Pollard, and several other big names will be available for teams to look at. There’s a very real chance that the entire NFL rushing scene will get flipped on its head, and we’ll see teams’ offenses totally shift with their new acquisitions.
However, despite all the chaos that comes with free agency, the NFL draft stands tall as the talk of the spring. This year’s class will feature something that doesn’t happen very often, a bidding war for the first pick. The Chicago Bears were rewarded with the number one overall draft pick in the 2023 NFL draft. In a league where teams are desperate to find their franchise quarterback to lead their team, the Bears are fairly confident that they already have one in Justin Fields.
Chicago, desperately needing upgrades in other places, is already receiving phone calls from teams interested in trading for their pick. The University of Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, University of Kentucky’s Will Levis and University of Florida’s Anthony Richardson are among the number of quarterbacks expected to turn franchises around. The Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and possibly others want the opportunity to choose from the pack of signal callers, and the Bears are expecting a haul in return. It will be interesting to see where these college standouts land.
The draft is loaded with talent at other positions as well, especially on the defensive side of the ball. University of Alabama’s Will Anderson and University of Georgia’s Jalen Carter lead a class of star-studded Edge Rushers and Defensive Linemen. The defensive back class is as deep as ever with University of Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon and University of Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez opening scouts’ eyes around the league.
Even here in Boston, there lies a prospect whose stock is rising by the day. Boston College Wide Receiver Zay Flowers is up there with the top players pursuing a career in the NFL this year. His blazing speed and elite ball-tracking ability have drawn comparisons to former All-Pro Antonio Brown, and he’s expected to be one of the first guys off the board.
The NFL offseason, as always, is going to shake up the league immensely. New faces will arrive in new places, and championship windows will open and close. Although teams like the Chiefs, Eagles, Bengals, Bills and 49ers will more than likely pick up right where they left off, rising franchises such as the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets look to make a leap toward greatness. Contrary to that, for other teams such as the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Ravens, this season may be the beginning of the end. No matter what team you’re a fan of, the offseason will certainly keep you engaged during the seven-month football drought.

About the Contributor
Liam Crampton, Sports Writer