Super Bowl LIII is in the books -- which means it's time for some juicy offseason drama! Wondering how the next chapter of player movement and draft machinations will play out? Don't fret. Jeremy Bergman has you covered with nine headlines from THE FUTURE.
1) Kyler Murray to skip spring training, focus on football
February 14, 2:22 p.m. CT
With less than 24 hours to go before the Oklahoma two-sport titan is required to report to MLB spring training with the Oakland Athletics, Kyler Murray -- or his representation, or his Twitter intern -- will release a statement via social media confirming his desire to enter the NFL draft instead. This storyline will persist through the NFL Scouting Combine (which he won't attend), the Sooners' Pro Day (where he'll draw hundreds of credentialed media) and into late April's draft (when a team in the first round will take the biggest of swings on sports' most mysterious switch-hitter). In the meantime, marketing deals will roll in and Murray's promotion blitz will roll on, all to the detriment of the A's and prospective NFL suitors who have to decide whether the apparently fickle athlete is worth their capital commitment.
During what will go down as the most stressful week of arms transportation since the Cuban Missile Crisis, Foles and Philly will play a procedural game of chicken, as RapSheet alluded to last week.
Step 2: Foles says nuh-uh and buys his way out for a tidy $2 million.
Step 3: Philly puts a stop to that and hands Foles a franchise tag worth roughly $29.2 million.
Step 4: Foles and the Eagles work together (#teamwork) to find a worthy trade partner outside of the NFC East or even outside the NFC. Eventually, Philly will land on -- if it was not already fixated on -- Jacksonville, which is set to move on from Blake Bortles and just hired John DeFilippo, who was Foles' QB coach in Philadelphia in 2017, to be offensive coordinator. The cap situation for both clubs will be tight going into the offseason, but this match is too good not to work out, at least for one season.
After losing out on the Foles-stakes, Washington will pursue another former Super Bowl MVP on the Acela corridor. With Alex Smithlikely shelved for the 2019 season, the Redskins are desperate for a signal-caller to lead an otherwise-solid roster. Pressured to act by reported pursuit of Flacco from Miami and Denver, Bruce Allen and Doug Williams will overpay for the 34-year-old QB before Baltimore releases him, taking on Flacco's $18.5 million salary. The 'Skins have eyes on the QB prospects working out at the combine, and Washington's front office will spend its remaining draft capital to try to find the QB of the future. But in the meantime, while Smith's leg heals and a competitive Redskins outfit waits for a leader, Washington will employ a humdrum son of the mid-Atlantic.
Attempts at working out a long-term deal between the Cowboys and Tank will ... tank, at least in the short-term, as the Dallas front office opts to take care of franchise faces Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott before its top edge rusher. Panic won't set in on either side for some time, though. Lawrence will have until mid-July to sign the multi-year deal he so desires.
5) Rob Gronkowski calls it quits after nine seasons
March 6, 6:09 a.m. ET
This one could come at any time, even in the next few days, while the tight end is cleaning out his locker following his heroic efforts in New England's latest Super Bowl triumph. Hell, Gronk could announce his exit from the game from atop the Gronk Party Ship, flanked by Roman Reigns and three scantily-clad mermaids, and it would be as apropos as anything. Whenever it comes, it won't be a surprise. I foresee Gronkowski doing something very Gronk-like, and waiting for exactly the right time, literally, to announce his departure from the league and his entrance into the world of entertainment and its many continents. New England will move on. In fact, Bill Belichick is already plotting a trade for one of Baltimore's 19 tight ends.
It's over for Tannehill in Miami; that much we've known since the Adam Gase era ended in December. The Dolphins are entering a true rebuild with new coach Brian Flores, and they are not expected to pay top dollar (around $20 million) for another quarterback as a one- or two-year rental. With few teams needing starting QBs next season, Miami can snag a cheap option worthy of a starting role right away. Teddy is that guy. Bridgewater will likely be pursued by the Saints on another backup contract, but he is worth more than the $6 million attributed to him in 2018. The Fins will offer him a two-year deal worth around $14 million per year, with a team option for 2020, bringing the product of Miami Northwestern back to his home county.
This offseason's No. 1 drama will broadcast its season finale in the third week of free agency and on the first day of the Annual League Meeting. After nixing offers from gentleman callers unwilling to part with a second-round pick for the mercurial Brown, Pittsburgh will finally find a trade partner in San Francisco. 49ers GM John Lynch will aggressively offer the Steelers the 67th overall pick in 2019, which is basically a second-rounder, PLUS the services of San Francisco's current No. 1 receiver in Goodwin, while Brown travels to the 49ers along with a 2020 conditional sixth-round pick. The 49ers wideout said just last week that he saw himself as "the A.B." of San Francisco. With A.B. in San Francisco (well, Santa Clara), Goodwin's services will no longer be necessary -- in fact, they'll be desired by Pittsburgh, suddenly down a wideout.
8) No rule changes regarding replay; Competition Committee rejects "God provision"
March 26, 4:11 p.m. MT
On a contentious first day at the Phoenix Biltmore, the NFL Competition Committee -- led by Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay and including Netflix-and-ice-cream binger (and Saints coach) Sean Payton -- will come to a conclusion as to what to change regarding replay and judgement calls: nothing. No alterations to which fouls can and cannot be reviewed. No changes to the bylaws. The committee will even reject a proposal that allows 345 Park Avenue to review any penalty under two minutes, as is allowed in the NBA, by buzzing down to the refs on the field, preemptively labeled by this writer as the "God provision." Instead, the Commissioner will put forward a proposal to the NFL Referees Association that eliminates the "all-star crew" from Championship Games and Super Bowls, ensuring better in-game communication and deliberation between refs and their regular judges.
9) Cardinals take Nick Bosa with the first overall pick
April 25, 7:16 p.m. CT
I mean, it's way too far out to tell which defensive lineman Arizona will take with the first overall pick -- Daniel Jeremiah has only written one mock so far, that slacker. But we can pretty well guess that the Cardinals will grab one, barring a trade down by Arizona with the desperate GM of a QB-needy team enamored with, say, Murray following a gangbusters pro-day performance. At this point, however, we're expecting a boring beginning to the 2019 NFL Draft, full of trench stuff, just as we all would have guessed from the beginning of hot-shot Kliff Kingsbury's regime.