Analysis

2022 NFL season: Eight intriguing storylines to follow at mandatory minicamps

After the wildest free agency period in NFL history and a draft that saw only one quarterback go in the first round, mandatory minicamps will finally give us a glimpse of what all that personnel chaos has wrought. With most of the momentous roster shuffling finally finished -- we think -- these few days are the last chance before teams break for the summer to build chemistry, hone playbooks and begin position competitions.

Talk to almost anybody in the league and they'll tell you that this offseason has felt particularly compressed, likely because it was the first following a 17-game regular season. So much change jammed into a shorter period of time has ramped up the sense of urgency for every organization. Here are the most interesting teams and issues to watch in the next two weeks.

1) Deshaun Watson's impact on the Browns. With NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicating last week that the league's investigation is nearing an end, the expectation is we might know before the Fourth of July if (or for how long) Watson will be suspended following accusations of sexual misconduct contained in 24 civil lawsuits. Minicamp is an opportunity to see how Watson looks in strictly football terms following his year off the field in Houston, and how receiver Amari Cooper fits into the offense.

2) How will the quarterback shuffle play out? The trades of Russell Wilson to Denver and Matt Ryan to Indianapolis were two cataclysmic changes, adding the key missing pieces to what are expected to be a pair of playoff-caliber rosters. Not surprisingly, the rave reviews have poured in about the quarterbacks' respective work ethics since their arrivals, and watching these two late-career switches play out will be a major storyline all season long. Will Russ finally be allowed to cook? Will Ryan finally play with a worthy defense and offensive line? The other domino that fell: Can Carson Wentz, traded after one season with the Colts, clean up his mistakes, make good use of what might be his last best chance to be a starter and finally give Washington a long-term answer at quarterback?

3) The dawn of a new era in Pittsburgh. It's been a long time since there was any question about who the Steelers' starting quarterback would be, which is only one of the reasons this is going to be an intriguing summer in Pittsburgh. Presumably, the first-round draft pick, Kenny Pickett, will eventually be the starter -- the only question is how quickly he will be ready to supplant Mitchell Trubisky as the better option. In the space of two offseasons, the Steelers have almost completely remade their offense, and Pickett's ascendance -- particularly because he was the only quarterback chosen in the first round this year -- will be closely watched. Do not forget the defense. It's now being coordinated by Teryl Austin with an assist from former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. One of their first orders of business will be replacing defensive line stalwart Stephon Tuitt, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.

4) The fallout of superstar wide receiver relocations. Davante Adams is in Las Vegas with close friend Derek Carr. Tyreek Hill is in Miami with new BFF Tua Tagavoiloa. How much better do those receivers make their respective new teams and quarterbacks (especially intriguing in Miami) and what do their departures mean for Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes? Hill is a unique weapon -- how different will the Chiefs' offense look without him?

5) The awkward quarterback contract situations in Arizona and Baltimore. Kyler Murray wants a new contract. Lamar Jackson hasn't engaged with the Ravens, who very much want to give him a new contract. Jackson has stayed away from OTAs, and Murray had done the same before reporting this week. It sets up what could be odd dynamics now and heading into training camp. Add in that Jackson publicly expressed his disappointment in the Ravens' trade of receiver Marquise Brown to Arizona, and the first view of these revamped offenses should be eye-opening.

6) The Trey Lance watch. Jimmy Garoppolo is still in limbo and Lance's throwing motion is being dissected. Welcome to the 49ers' offseason. Lance's readiness for the starting job, and how Kyle Shanahan manages this transition, could very well shape what the NFC West looks like this season. And incredibly, all of that could be overshadowed during minicamp by the Deebo Samuel staredown after he requested a trade.

7) The arrival of the Buffalo Bills. If it is possible to be a Super Bowl favorite and have an offseason that was quiet relative to the chaos in the rest of the league, it happened in Buffalo. Surely, we won't see much of Von Miller in a minicamp, but look for how rookie running back James Cook and tight end O.J. Howard give Josh Allen even more weapons.

8) The final season, for real this time? Whether this is or isn't it for Tom Brady, nothing shook up the NFL like Brady's decision to return after a 40-day retirement. Brady has made an appearance during Tampa's offseason workouts -- unusual for him -- and this will be a different team with Todd Bowles in charge. Still, the only thing that really matters is whether Brady looks, again, like a league MVP. Nothing we have seen so far this offseason suggests otherwise.

Follow Judy Battista on Twitter.

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