2022 NFL trade rumors: Latest updates on contract, trade drama with Kyler Murray, Deebo Samuel, others

The 2022 NFL offseason has been chock-full of blockbuster moves, from surprise trades to abrupt comebacks. The draft, just around the corner, should present even more headlines. We don’t blame you if you’ve struggled to keep up with all the drama. That’s why we’ve compiled a handy tracker for all the latest, lingering storylines around the league.

Here are the big names still circulating in contract or trade rumors, plus updates on where they stand:

The drama: He’s not going anywhere this year, abruptly returning from “retirement” to retake command of the ship in Tampa Bay. But there’s been too much smoke about his interest in another fresh start to rule out a 2023 relocation, especially with Bucs brass admitting this week there have been no extension talks with the 44-year-old QB, who’s entering a contract year. Multiple reports have indicated Brady and the Dolphins had been eyeing a team-up before his return, which directly or indirectly resulted in coach Bruce Arians’ abrupt resignation. If another Bucs title run isn’t in the cards, it’s not hard to envision Brady exploring his options.

What’s next: Nothing, for now. Brady is locked into Tampa Bay and may well guide another Bucs playoff run. Check back in 2023, however, when he approaches free agency for the second time in his career.

The drama: Despite both Murray and the Cardinals publicly downplaying a rift, the former No. 1 overall pick is skipping offseason activities with reportedly no plans to return absent a lucrative extension. The drama began after the 2021 season, capped by yet another late-year collapse, when Murray, 24, removed all traces of Cardinals content from his social media. The two sides have since traded barbs, with Arizona brass airing anonymous concerns about the QB’s leadership and Murray’s agent pressing the team in a lengthy public statement to commit to the QB not just verbally but financially.

What’s next: We wait to see if Murray, entering a contract year, extends his holdout into mandatory team activities, which would cost him financially but put more public pressure on the Cardinals, either to extend him or shop him to clubs willing to meet his demands. Arizona can control his rights through 2023 by exercising the QB’s fifth-year option. Murray’s best play, meanwhile, might be to suit up in 2022 and prove he can finish a season without injury and / or a late slump. He’ll have a market regardless.

Top potential landing spots: Eagles, Jets, Lions, Panthers, Saints, Texans

The drama: Garoppolo loves the 49ers, and they love him. But ever since San Francisco traded up to draft Trey Lance No. 3 overall in 2021, the clock has been ticking. The primary (only?) Reason Jimmy, 30, has not been moved is because he’s rehabbing (again), this time from shoulder surgery. Only Kyle Shanahan knows if he’s ready to bank on Lance’s athleticism over Garoppolo’s serviceable familiarity, but Jimmy is now steering clear of offseason activities, partially to privately rehab but mostly in anticipation of a divorce.

What’s next: His market needs to materialize, which is easier said than done. At this point, most QB-needy teams have already made their bets for 2022, so Garoppolo may not have a clear path to a new team until after the draft, when the last vacancies are filled. Even then, if only backup jobs are available, the 49ers will have to weigh the pros and cons of retaining his pricey salary.

Top potential landing spots: Jaguars, Jets, Panthers, Texans

The drama: Cleveland insisted publicly after 2021, another low mark in an uneven career for the former No. 1 pick, that Mayfield would return as the starter in 2022, for a final audition as Kevin Stefanski’s guy. Then they went all out to recruit and land ex-Texans star Deshaun Watson, despite the latter’s serious legal troubles. Amid the Watson sweepstakes, Mayfield issued an unofficial goodbye to Browns fans, then requested a trade behind the scenes. Now, feeling admittedly “disrespected“the QB is skipping offseason activities as the team prepares for his inevitable departure, either via trade or release.

What’s next: Like Garoppolo, Mayfield needs other teams to finalize their last-resort QB plans, either before, during or immediately following the draft. He’s cheaper and younger, with arguably more upside than Jimmy G, but until the last remaining QB suitors do or don’t invest in rookie signal-callers, his next stop is unclear.

Top potential landing spots: Lions, Panthers, Seahawks, Texans

The drama: After a frenetic free agency that reset the receiver market, with multiple veterans netting close to – or well above – $ 20 million per year on new deals, Samuel skipped the start of San Francisco’s offseason program in search of an extension. Now, after social-media chatter from his brother about a possible split from the 49ers, the All-Pro is seeking just that, reportedly halting contract talks and requesting a tradeapparently in part because of the toll of his heavy usage in San Francisco’s offense.

What’s next: The 49ers will insist (as they should) they aren’t prepared to engage trade talks, but if Samuel is adamant about moving on, they will likely field calls, especially if they include mega-offers involving 2022 draft picks. San Francisco technically has the leverage, with Samuel under contract through 2022, but in today’s NFL, the public pressure often wins out.

Top potential landing spots: Chiefs, Colts, Eagles, Jets, Packers, Patriots

The drama: Like Samuel, he’s staying away from early offseason work in search of a major pay raise, specifically an extension ahead of his contract year. Brown has been particularly sensitive to social-media comments about his apparent dispute, as well as rumors regarding potential trade destinations, but the Titans have expressed a clear interest in signing the long-term receiver.

What’s next: Unless he goes full Deebo Samuel and demands a trade, Brown is poised to continue talks with the Titans, with the expectation that Tennessee ultimately extends the wideout ahead of 2022.

The drama: Washington’s No. 1 wideout also wants a new deal and reportedly has no plans to participate in on-field offseason work without one, but he’s physically reported to team facilities, suggesting he’s more willing to enter 2022 with the contract issue unresolved.

What’s next: Unless McLaurin is a no-show for mandatory activities later this offseason, he’s on track to suit up as usual in 2022.

The drama: Speculated as a potential trade chip in the wake of the escalating receiver market, Metcalf is also entering a contract year and reportedly prefers an extension sooner rather than later. He is not, however, skipping voluntary workouts, and coach Pete Carroll has made it clear Metcalf is in their plans (even if he said the same about since-traded QB Russell Wilson).

What’s next: Barring another surge in receiver deals – or, say, Samuel getting his wish for a trade and mega-extension – Metcalf is on track to play out his deal in 2022.

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