Football fans, rejoice!
All NFL training camps are officially underway as teams gear up for a 2022 season sure to see a transfer of power across the league. With that, Heavy is opening up its first NFL mailbag of the season on July 29 — hosted by Heavy NFL insider Matt Lombardo — to answer questions about your favorite team(s). Check those out below.
Do you have any intel on the Seahawks’ quarterback situation? Is there a prospect, or veteran, on their radar? Will they make a hail mary run at Jimmy Garoppolo? (via Jonathan Adams)
After the Carolina Panthers traded for Baker Mayfield, the obvious dot connecting had the Seattle Seahawks making a run at Jimmy Garoppolo, the last veteran quarterback available this offseason.
However, while league sources suggest Garoppolo is in play in Seattle, that would seemingly be a long shot at this point. Especially because the Seahawks would be on the hook for the remaining $25.5 million on his contract this season.
Between the hefty financial commitment and Garoppolo’s limited upside, it sounds as though he’s only an option if he winds up being released by the San Francisco 49ers. The reality is that at this stage of Garoppolo’s career, and in Seattle’s situation, he would be little more than a high-priced stopgap to whomever the Seahawks draft in the future.
Meanwhile, one NFL executive with ties to the Seahawks told Heavy that Seattle is hoping to “catch lightning in a bottle” with Drew Lock.
At this stage, barring Garoppolo being released, it seems as though the most likely outcome is Drew Lock behind center when Seattle opens the season against Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.
Los Angeles Rams
What are NFL circles saying about Bobby Wagner coming over? Do they believe he’s declining or do they believe he’s got plenty left in his tank? (via Lorenzo Reyna)
I’ll say this about Bobby Wagner; I would not want to play a ticked-off and motivated Wagner twice per season, as the Seahawks are now faced with doing after he latched on with the Los Angeles Rams.
One high-ranking NFL personnel executive told me he still believes Wagner is a top-five linebacker in the league.
“What he also brings that defense is tons of experience and leadership,” the executive told Heavy. “Seattle was nuts for giving up on him, because he has at least two or three years left, and he’s a great guy that the young players can learn a lot from.”
Wagner logged 118 solo tackles last season, on his way to a 71.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. Now, Wagner lands in the heart of a Rams defense that stifled Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals down the stretch in the 2022 Super Bowl, with the chances to make it even better.
Why doesn’t the best QB in the NFC East (Dak Prescott) seem to matter for most prognosticators? Best QB usually wins, no? (via @SportsNTheatre)
I think the Dallas Cowboys‘ mystifying ending to the 2021 season, and specifically Dak Prescott’s performance in the playoff loss to the 49ers has tempered expectations.
But, looking at that division, it seems this is shaping up as a legitimate two-horse sprint to the finish between the Cowboys and Eagles. They’re the most talented rosters, with the most explosive offenses, and arguably the two best quarterbacks inside the NFC East.
Prescott’s trajectory and the Cowboys’ performance on offense this season largely hinges on CeeDee Lamb making a significant leap this season, to soften the blow from losing Amari Cooper’s production. I’m bullish on the young receiver doing exactly that, and then some.
New York Jets
The Jets have sniffed around the veteran offensive tackle market hoping to find their version of Morgan Moses in 2022. Is there anything on the horizon or any players available make sense? (via Paul Esden Jr.)
After New York officially moved 2020 first-round pick Mekhi Becton to right tackle this week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets try to make a run at a veteran both as a potential starter or at least a quality depth addition.
One name that has come up in league conversations in recent days as a possible ideal fit is Duane Brown.
Brown finished last season with a 71.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, while allowing eight sacks. The 36-year-old would bring much-needed veteran leadership along the Jets’ offensive line, and potentially be a major piece towards keeping young quarterback Zach Wilson upright.
Kansas City Chiefs
Which wide receiver (Travis Kelce doesn’t count) do you think will lead the Chiefs in yardage this year? And is there a lesser-known WR in that group that you like as a potential 2022 sleeper? (via Michael Obermuller)
Call it a hunch, but I’m incredibly bullish on Mecole Hardman in 2022.
Even after the Chiefs signed free agent JuJu Smith-Schuster, one has to believe that Hardman stands to increase his target share following Tyreek Hill’s departure, especially given that he has more experience catching passes from Patrick Mahomes than Kansas City’s two newcomers at the position.
Hardman caught 59 of his 80 targets last season, and I’d expect both of those numbers to increase, after Mahomes had a 102.8 passer rating when targeting him during the 2021 campaign, according to Pro Football Focus.
Expect the Chiefs to use a committee to replace Hill’s dynamic game-breaking ability, and Hardman could be the biggest beneficiary, especially early in the season.