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Calling B.S. on some of the NFL's juiciest offseason narratives

Julian Catalfo / theScore

The modern-day NFL is a year-round sport with a 24-hour news cycle. Teams and their star players are under the microscope after the Super Bowl ends and remain there right through to the next season's kickoff.

Here, we'll buy (💰) or call B.S. (💩) on the most interesting offseason storylines.

Aaron Rodgers isn't fully committed to Jets

Rodgers might be the NFL's most unpredictable player, but being a potential vice-presidential candidate was wild even for him and proves we're all living in a simulation. The quarterback drew further questions about his commitment when he was an unexcused no-show for the start of mandatory minicamp Tuesday, with head coach Robert Saleh saying the quarterback instead chose to attend "a very important" but unspecified event.

Unsurprisingly, the New York media flamed Rodgers, with some calling the quarterback a hypocrite for saying in January that "the bullshit that has nothing to do with winning has to get out of the building." Rodgers hasn't been shy about his disdain for the media, so it was always going to get ugly in a market like New York, but it's concerning that it's begun before the team has even played.

Of course, three days of workouts won't make or break New York's season. But Rodgers recently acknowledged that everyone could be gone if this year doesn't go well. The quarterback is 40 years old and coming off a serious Achilles injury; he can't be Superman for his team anymore. The Jets need every advantage possible if they're to challenge for a Super Bowl, and it seems Rodgers might not be willing to give them everything he's got.

Verdict: 💰💰💰

Drew Lock has chance to usurp Daniel Jones

Luke Hales / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Jones enters the Giants' offseason program with his position as QB1 intact, but it wasn't for a lack of trying on New York's part. The NFC East club was heavily rumored to be eyeing a quarterback in the draft and was most prominently linked to Drake Maye, who ultimately was never in play as the New England Patriots stood pat to take him at No. 3.

Jones' main competition will instead be Lock, who joined New York after a year with the Seattle Seahawks backing up Geno Smith. And Lock, who looked solid in two starts while Smith was sidelined, has a "really good shot" at winning the starting job, per NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah. It would've been unthinkable for Jones to be vulnerable a year ago when he signed a four-year, $160-million contract. But Jones is coming off a torn ACL suffered in early November and played poorly before the injury. He believes he'll be ready for Week 1, but even if he is, he won't be functioning at full capacity.

Jones' legs have always been his biggest strength, but we've seen quarterbacks need a full year to look like themselves again as a runner after serious knee and ankle injuries. So while Lock earning the starting job for Week 1 might be a stretch, it's easy to see a struggling Giants team turning to him in hopes of a spark, especially with the team having a potential out in Jones' contract after 2024.

Verdict: 💰💰💰

Najee Harris will be more explosive thanks to weight drop

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A running back heading into a contract year is in the best shape of his life. Harris is that player this offseason, with his trainer saying in May that the Pittsburgh Steelers standout is down from 242 pounds to 235 and is "motivated, to say the least," according to Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

It's no surprise that Harris is attempting some positive PR after the Steelers surprisingly declined his fifth-year option several weeks earlier. As a result, he will hit free agency after the 2024 campaign, and running backs often only have one real shot at landing a life-changing contract. The problem is Harris won't suddenly stop being one of the NFL's least explosive runners just because he's a few pounds lighter.

The 26-year-old has produced three straight 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career, but he's averaged only 3.9 yards per carry, which ranks 50th among 63 running backs with 200-plus carries since 2021. And it's not about his situation either, as backup Jaylen Warren averaged 5.3 yards per carry last season. Harris should continue to be a solid player in 2024, but anyone expecting a dramatic performance jump will likely be disappointed.

Verdict: 💩💩💩

Dak Prescott could be in final season with Cowboys

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Prescott is coming off a career season, so it should've been a simple decision to extend his contract ahead of its final year. But Prescott and Dallas are once again in a contract standoff. During the 2020 offseason, the Cowboys were forced to use the franchise tag when they failed to agree to a deal with the quarterback after the conclusion of his rookie contract. With all the leverage the following year, Prescott landed a four-year, $160-million deal, which made him the NFL's second-highest-paid quarterback and contained no-trade and no-tag clauses. Somehow, the NFC East club has learned zero lessons.

The Cowboys have sat back and watched while Prescott's price got even higher thanks to Jared Goff's and Trevor Lawrence's new deals. It could continue to get worse for Dallas with Tua Tagovailoa and Jordan Love also in line for massive extensions. Prescott might not be a top-five quarterback, but he's more established and had a better individual campaign in 2023 than those four passers. Regardless of how you view Prescott's abilities, you can't deny that teams will line up if he hits free agency. A 35-year-old Kirk Cousins just got a four-year, $180-million deal with $100 million guaranteed despite coming off an Achilles injury.

Moreover, because there's been no new deal, Prescott will carry a $54.46-million cap hit - the second highest in the league - in 2024. Even worse, if Prescott hits the open market and leaves next year, the Cowboys will still be on the hook for at least $40.46 million against the 2025 salary cap. Dallas has again backed itself into a corner, giving Prescott all the power. The Cowboys almost certainly want to keep the quarterback, but they likely won't want to reset the market, and Prescott has no reason to accept anything less. A divorce could be inevitable.

Verdict: 💰💰💰

Patriots don't intend to start Maye in Week 1

The Patriots have insisted they're in no rush to start Maye ahead of his rookie campaign. With a seasoned veteran in the building in Jacoby Brissett - who rejoined the club in free agency - New England can afford to give Maye the development time that some believed was necessary for him coming out of college. But the No. 3 pick received some unfair criticism during the pre-draft process and is a more polished prospect than he was given credit for.

This has been evident in the offseason program, with Maye receiving praise for his work and progression across OTAs and minicamp. Brissett is running the first-team offense, but the rookie is trending toward at least making it a competition by the time training camp rolls around. If Maye and Brissett are relatively close in performance in August, a tie almost always goes to the rookie. Also working in Maye's favor is that owner Robert Kraft will likely want his new toy on display to entice fans after one of the worst seasons of his tenure.

The Patriots don't have the kind of offensive infrastructure the Chicago Bears will provide Caleb Williams, but few rookie quarterbacks get that level of support. C.J. Stroud showed how quickly a first-year passer can help turn around a team's fortunes, and we'd bet on the Patriots ultimately deciding to take that risk.

Verdict: 💩💩💩

Quentin Johnston primed for sophomore breakout

Ric Tapia / Getty Images Sport / Getty

No player arguably had a more disappointing rookie season last year than Johnston, who was widely tipped to be an instant-impact weapon for the Los Angeles Chargers but instead finished 15th in receiving yards among first-year players with 431. With Keenan Allen and Mike Williams no longer in Los Angeles, Johnston has a clear path to redemption in 2024. But will he take it?

The former first-round pick has received positive reviews during the offseason program from a new coaching staff led by Jim Harbaugh. While the Chargers should be better under Harbaugh, the coach's arrival isn't necessarily great news for Johnston. Harbaugh is a run-first coach and is expected to stick to that philosophy despite having Justin Herbert. Johnston doesn't have much competition for targets, but he'll now have little margin for error in the Chargers' new system.

We've already seen Johnston without Allen and Williams, and the results weren't pretty. Williams was lost for the year in Week 3 but Johnston barely saw an increase in his workload. When Allen joined Williams on the sidelines for the final four games, Johnston put up a total of just nine catches for 98 yards and one touchdown. In today's NFL, great receivers explode into the league immediately. Johnston might not be as bad as his rookie year suggests, but reaching star status is a long shot.

Verdict: 💩💩💩

Anthony Richardson set for another injury-riddled year

No fan base deals with more quarterback injury PTSD than the Colts. Richardson going down with a season-ending shoulder injury early in his rookie season, when his impressive play was helping to heal the wounds left by Andrew Luck's sudden retirement, likely brought on Vietnam-style flashbacks for people in Indianapolis. Those fears were stoked once more when Richardson sat out the final minicamp session due to soreness in his surgically repaired throwing arm.

But everyone needs to take a long, deep breath. It's June, not late August. Richardson said he expected to feel sore at some point, and in fact, he was surprised he'd gotten this far into the offseason program before needing to take a break. Head coach Shane Steichen reiterated that there's nothing to be concerned about regarding the quarterback's rehab process.

If this were anyone other than Richardson, it'd barely be news. But alarm bells were inevitable given the Luck factor and Richardson already being labeled as injury-prone after also suffering a concussion and an ankle ailment in 2023. But Richardson took the smart option by undergoing surgery to give himself the best long-term outlook, and he'll begin reaping the benefits this season.

Verdict: 💩💩💩

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