The excitement of the 2021 NFL Playoffs is still in full swing, but there are already some questions about players and coaches who may not return for the 2022 season. As teams slowly get eliminated from the playoff bracket, coaching staff and players on those teams might be questioning their future with their organization, or their career. I am aware that most of these rumors are pure speculation, but NFL rumors often have some truth beneath them. With that said, let’s get into some juicy NFL gossip.
The big question that everyone is asking after the NFL Divisional round is simple; Will Tom Brady return with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 2022? The seven-time Super Bowl champion is 44 years old and has a laundry list of NFL records, both regular season and playoffs. In 2017 Brady said that he wanted to play until he was 45, and has recently made statements about his health saying, “Physically, I feel great.” Has Brady played his last NFL snap? Or will he want to come back and prove that he’s still the best to ever play. Brady has nothing to prove anymore, but his body allows him to keep winning, it might be difficult for him to stop.
Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to play with Brady in Tampa Bay, has also hinted that he may call it quits before the 2022 season. As of right now, Gronk said he would choose retirement, but also said that his answer could change in a few weeks. It’s hard to believe that Gronkowski will continue to play in the NFL if Brady retires, but crazier things have happened.
Another player to keep your eyes on is Aaron Rodgers. After a shaky conflict between Rodgers and the Packers front-office many thought he wouldn’t play for Green Bay during the 2021 season. Rodgers will not be a true free agent until the 2023 season, but he could refuse to play for the Packers and demand a trade. This is a story that will continue to unfold in the future so make sure you keep up on it.
Sean Payton recently announced his retirement from the New Orleans Saints after 15 seasons, 152-89 regular season record and a Super Bowl championship with the organization. Rumors of Payton returning to the NFL coaching scene are already circulating. He won’t coach in 2022, but 2023 is an entirely different question. Payton is 58, so he is nearing the age where true retirement is in the question. But with lots of coaches in the hot seat, it is completely possible that Payton could end up as the head coach of an NFL team again.
The NFL goes through eras and phases, and it feels like we are nearing a transition point. With talented, young franchise-quarterbacks, coaching carousels and retirements, the NFL could look very different in the next 5 years.