Phase One of NFL Free Agency 2023

Story posted March 19, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Joe Tuman

The NFL calendar officially flipped its page on March 15, and the start of the new league year has already brought plenty of fireworks.

Some major free agent signings and trades have been completed, and they could have lasting impacts on the league in the imminent future.

The Rodgers Saga Leads To New York

After multiple years of speculation, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is expected to be traded by the Green Bay Packers. He’ll almost certainly be joining the New York Jets, following in the footsteps of another Packer legend in Brett Favre.

While the specifics of the trade have yet to be ironed out, Rodgers’ own proclamation that he intends to join the Jets was a huge announcement in itself.

The rumors of a Rodgers trade began in 2020 after Jordan Love was drafted as a potential heir apparent in the quarterback room. What followed was multiple seasons filled with on-field success and off-field noise.

Rodgers responded with a vengeance to the possibility of being replaced, winning back-to-back MVP awards in 2020 and 2021. However, there were also plenty of reports speculating on Rodgers’ dissatisfaction with the Packers’ front office.

Yet, the 2022 offseason saw Green Bay lock up their quarterback with a three-year, $150 million extension. But following a down year for both Rodgers and the team in 2022, the situation finally reached its boiling point, leading to this trade.

This potential deal opens up a lot of cap space for Green Bay ahead of a likely rebuilding period centered around retooling the roster’s depth while developing Love as the new starter.

As for the Jets, this move instantly improves their prospects for the upcoming season.

New York initially seemed on pace to return to the playoffs, before poor quarterback play and an injury to running back Breece Hall derailed its momentum.

With Rodgers now in town, surrounded by a talented young offensive core and a defense that has proven to be formidable, the Jets could be set for their first playoff berth since 2010.

Poles Unloads The Brinks Truck

Elsewhere in the NFC North, Chicago Bears’ general manager Ryan Poles has been working the phones for over a week.

In his first major move of the offseason, Poles acquired plentiful assets by trading the No. 1 overall pick to the Panthers in exchange for starting wide receiver in DJ Moore, the No. 9 and No. 61 picks this spring, a first rounder in 2024 and a second-round pick in 2025.

Chicago surely made this deal because they are comfortable with Justin Fields at quarterback, so now Poles has utilized free agency to start building the team around the Ohio State product.

The Bears made major moves at linebacker, bringing in both ex-Bill Tremaine Edmunds and former Eagle T.J. Edwards on long-term deals. After trading All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith to Baltimore last fall, Chicago now gets two good players for a similar price to what Smith commanded on his own.

Additionally, Poles made moves to sure up the trenches by signing two ex-Titans in guard Nate Davis and defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker. Both were impact performers for Mike Vrabel last season, and will now look to continue succeeding in the Windy City.

Broncos’ Country, Let’s Sign

Another big spender during the opening days was Denver, looking to surround Russell Wilson and new coach Sean Payton with strong talent.

General manager George Paton’s biggest move has been signing ex-49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey to a five-year, $87.5 million deal. He also inked former Ravens guard Ben Powers to a four-year contract.

These signings, coupled with Garett Bolles’ expected return from injury, will grant Wilson much-improved protection under center.

Another major signing came on defense, as Denver also added defensive lineman Zach Allen on a three-year, $45.75 million contract.

Allen broke out with the Cardinals last season, totaling five and a half sacks and eight pass deflections. He’ll replace Dre’Mont Jones, who is headed to Seattle.

Additional signings of an effective third-down back in Samaje Perine, a solid backup quarterback in Jarrett Stidham and a capable blocker in tight end Chris Manhertz cap off a very solid week for Patton and the Broncos.


Joe Tuman is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at