NFL Free Agency News and Rumors: New deal for Preston Smith, and who do the Broncos want as starting QB?

PFN Insider Tony Pauline's latest NFL free agency news and rumors include updates on Aaron Rodgers, Preston Smith, and Mitchell Trubisky.

With workouts officially beginning at the NFL Combine today, more news and rumors are beginning to circulate. While many eyes will be on the 2022 NFL Draft prospects on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, NFL free agency is less than two weeks away from kicking off, and many big names — such as Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins — are being discussed.

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Davante Adams sign-and-trade a possibility?

Davante Adams is one of the hottest names here at the NFL Combine, as the star receiver could hit the free agent market. Here’s the latest on what I’m hearing on the Adams front.

Last week I reported the Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars are two teams that will likely be in the market to acquire Adams if he makes it to free agency. I can confirm this is the case, as both are among the half dozen teams who will make a push for the receiver if, in fact, he hits the open market.

The latest rumor that is making the rounds is a tag and trade scenario where the franchise tag is applied to Adams and then he is traded to the Raiders. Las Vegas would then sign Adams to the large deal he desires.

Yet the final decision of Aaron Rodgers is critical to the events moving forward and everyone is waiting on the quarterback. If Rodgers returns to the Packers for 2022, the expectation at this point is the Packers would work to get under the cap to franchise Adams with the intent of keeping him.

Should the Jaguars lose out on Adams, they will likely turn their attention to a different Green Bay wide receiver, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who will hit the free agent market in a few weeks.

New deal coming for Preston Smith?

Packers pass rusher Preston Smith could have a new pact soon, as things seem to be moving quickly and smoothly. I would expect a deal on a renegotiated contract sooner rather than later. Expect more upfront money for Smith in 2022 in order to get his cap number down this season.

Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Mitchell Trubisky being discussed at NFL Combine

During his press conference at the NFL Combine the other day, Denver Broncos general manager George Paton said the franchise would leave “no stone unturned” in their search for a new quarterback. Last night, the “no stone unturned” quote was translated by league people as a sense of desperation in the organization to acquire a quarterback as soon as possible.

Word is the Broncos are willing to give up a ton of picks for Aaron Rodgers, though that deal is looking less and less likely. The names of Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins have been also thrown around, though it’s just speculation at this point.

Speaking of Cousins, before any team works a trade for the signal-caller, his salary cap number of $45 million will have to be renegotiated. There was talk the Vikings would look to move Cousins, yet word at the Combine is the veteran quarterback has an ally in newly-minted head coach Kevin O’Connell.

Where might Trubisky land?

Free agent quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is creating a lot of buzz in Indianapolis during free agency talks. I’m told teams are looking to sign Trubisky, who was a backup for Buffalo last season, with the expectation he’ll compete for a starting spot. When I asked people close to the situation to confirm my report from last week that the Pittsburgh Steelers were one of the teams targeting Trubisky, all I got was, “It would be a great fit.”

Hot market for free agent defensive tackles in 2022

Soon-to-be free agent Trubisky is one of the hottest names being bandied about here at the NFL Combine. Yet, the pending free agents at defensive tackle are expected to be the highest-paid position once the market opens up.

Folorunso Fatukasi of the New York Jets, Larry Ogunjobi of the Cincinnati Bengals, and Jarran Reed of Kansas City Chiefs lead the way at the position. And rumor is they will bring in more money than anyone expects. As of this Thursday afternoon, the belief is Fatokasi will be playing for another team as the Jets are out of his market.

Dalton Schultz staying in Dallas?

Just yesterday, PFN’s Mike Kaye wrote up potential landing spots for Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz, who is set to hit the free agent market soon. That may not happen as people at the Combine say the Cowboys will put the franchise tag on Schultz, who is coming off a career season.

Tony Pauline is the Chief Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Tony’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @TonyPauline.

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