The NFL offseason can lead to plenty of risks and opportunities for sports card investors. Let’s go over some of the biggest developments so far this offseason, and talk about how the card market could be impacted in the coming season.
Aaron Rodgers — Trade Demand
The biggest news this offseason was Jeopardy host turned QB Aaron Rodgers demanding a trade from Green Bay a year after winning MVP and getting the number one seed in the NFC. As of this writing, it looks like cooler heads are going to prevail and Rodgers is coming back on a one-year deal so that he can leave after this season.
This is huge for Rodgers and the Packers skill guys (including Loupe favorite, AJ Dillon). It’s also probably a bit of a knock on Broncos skill guys, as that was the team he was most often linked to. Congrats to everyone who sold off their Jordan Love on the initial news cycle. I think it might lead to a Love buying opportunity. It gets him another year to get acclimated to the NFL; the way things are looking now, it’ll be Love’s team next year.
Deshaun Watson — Trade Demand / Legal Issues
Watson has had a roller coaster of an offseason. He started by requesting a trade from the Houston Texans. Then came the legal issues. He is facing a civil lawsuit for sexual assault from 20 women. There are currently no criminal charges pending, but the news obviously tanked his card market.
This week, however, Watson reported to Texans camp but is still looking to be traded. Even bigger, he was not put on the Commissioner Exempt list which would prohibit him from football activities. That doesn’t mean he’s in the clear from an NFL standpoint, but no action has been taken yet. Now, rumors about the Eagles making a play for him are growing louder.
There could be an opportunity for a bounce in his cards if he either somehow avoids any missed time or is traded. His cards can’t really go much lower, so there is actually a buying opportunity. Of course, many people might just be morally opposed to buying his cards which is perfectly understandable. In addition to Watson, any WR on his new team will increase in value because of the upgrade at QB.
Michael Thomas — Ankle Surgery
Thomas underwent an ankle surgery in June and will start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform List. The general expectation is that he will return in Week 7 after the Saints bye at the earliest. I think the biggest impact is actually going to be on Jameis Winston cards.
A lot of people are speculating that Winston will take over the Saints’ ship now that Drew Brees has retired. Winston is still in a camp battle with Sean Payton’s baby, Taysom Hill. I think the Thomas injury makes it more likely that Hill either wins the job outright or plays significantly more than Winston. The Saints WRs are pretty much trash now, so it’s more likely they take a run-based approach with Taysom Hill.
Cam Akers — Torn Achilles Tendon
Shed a tear for my first article (and my bank account) where I advocated picking up Akers cards this offseason. Akers tore his Achilles tendon and is going to miss the 2021 season.
This is good news for his backup Darrell Henderson. A third round rookie out of Memphis in 2019, Henderson is an explosive player that dealt with ankle injuries all of last year. Henderson can take control of this backfield and put up some really nice numbers in an offense that I expect to pop this year.