NFL Offseason: Quarterback Carousel

NFL Offseason: Quarterback Carousel

The offseason has arrived for 28 other teams, and the quarterback carousel has just begun. Philip Rivers announced his retirement, Drew Brees is said to be next, and some other teams with huge questions marks at the franchise position.

Although Free Agency and the draft are a long way away, I wanted to have a little fun today with some wishful, maybe even hopeful landing spots for the rookies and the free agents in this upcoming offseason.

Here is a chart of what I see on players’ landscape still on current teams and empty slots for those with holes at the position.

TeamQuarterbackTeamQuarterback
Arizona CardinalsKyler MurrayLos Angeles ChargersJustin Herbert
Atlanta FalconsMatt RyanLos Angeles RamsJared Goff
Baltimore RavensLamar JacksonMiami DolphinsTua Tagovailoa
Buffalo BillsJosh AllenMinnesota VikingsKirk Cousins
Carolina PanthersTeddy BridgewaterNew England Patriots 
Chicago Bears New Orleans Saints 
Cincinnati BengalsJoe BurrowNew York GiantsDaniel Jones
Cleveland BrownsBaker MayfieldNew York JetsSam Darnold
Dallas CowboysDak PrescottLas Vegas RaidersDerek Carr
Denver BroncosDrew LockPhiladelphia EaglesWentz/Hurts
Detroit LionsMatthew StaffordPittsburgh SteelersBen Roethilisberger
Green Bay PackersAaron RodgersSan Francisco 49ersJimmy Garoppolo
Houston TexansDeshawn WatsonSeattle SeahawksRussell Wilson
Indianapolis Colts Tampa Bay BuccaneersTom Brady
Jacksonville JaguarsGardner MinshewTennessee TitansRyan Tannehill
Kansas City ChiefsPatrick MahomesWashington Football Team 

I’ve got holes in Chicago, Indianapolis, New England, New Orleans, and Washington. We also have teams with uncertainty at their next steps: Carolina, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Houston, Jacksonville, New York Jets, and San Francisco. Last, we have the teams looking to draft rookies to groom with their current veterans like Atlanta, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay.

I’ve compiled a list of notable Free Agents at the position.

Free Agent QBs
Dak Prescott
Jacoby Brissett
Mitchell Trubisky
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Andy Dalton
Jameis Winston
Cam Newton
Josh Rosen
Dwayne Haskins (signed with the Steelers)

Dak would be an interesting domino, but Jerry Jones would be dumb to let him go, so I think he stays put. Which hurts the Free Agent QB market because, in my opinion, he is the only startable free-agent available.

Brissett, Trubisky, and Fitzpatrick could all be stopgap players but are more likely landing backup jobs in various places.

Potential Trade Candidates

Trade Candidates
Deshaun Watson – Texans
Matthew Stafford – Lions
Carson Wentz – Eagles
Jimmy Garoppolo – 49ers
Sam Darnold – Jets

Next, we look at the biggest domino of the offseason, Deshaun Watson. Does he stay? or does he go? For one, I don’t believe in trading a franchise quarterback, but I would say if someone is going to offer a king’s ransom, they’d be dumb not to listen.

Wentz wants out if he doesn’t start, but what if he is the starter? Does Hurts request a trade? Matthew Stafford is used goods, but can he carry, say, the 49ers over that next hump? Jimmy Garoppolo reuniting with Belichick? Would anyone really want him? And Sam Darnold, what happens to him if the Jets draft a top-tier quarterback?

Draft Eligible Quarterbacks

Draft Eligible QBs
Trevor Lawrence – Clemson
Justin Fields – Ohio State
Mac Jones – Alabama
Kyle Trask – Florida
Zach Wilson – BYU
Trey Lance – North Dakota State
Jamie Newman – Georgia/Wake Forrest
Kellen Mond – Texas A&M
Sam Ehlinger – Texas
Ian Book – Notre Dame
Feleipe Franks – Arkansas
Brady White – Memphis

We have the cream of the crop like “Sunshine” and Fields, we have the next tier in Wilson, Jones, Lance, Trask, and we have my favorite wild card, Jamie Newman. The rest of these guys aren’t starters on day one and may never even see the field.

Quarterback Final Landing Spots

As I said, I wanted to have a little fun, but I am also realistic in what I believe can happen this offseason.

Free Agents

Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys: As much as I would love to see Dallas fumble this, I do think they come to a contract resolution.

If not Dallas: Saints don’t have the money, but boy, would he be fun with Sean Payton, or even in Denver with all of those weapons.

Mitchell TrubiskyLas Vegas Raiders: He needs a fresh start, a remodel, a tuneup, something, and he isn’t going to get that in Chicago. 

Quick hits: Jacoby Brissett (Washington), Cam Newton (Chicago), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Cincinnati), Andy Dalton (Dallas)

Trades

Deshaun WatsonHouston Texans: – I don’t think Watson will be traded. Houston needs to get on the phone, text, send the jet, something, and repair this relationship.

If not Houston: The number of teams that will inquire about Watson will be HUGE, but what will the asking price be? Two or Three firsts? Which team is Super Bowl Ready and willing to take that risk?

Can the Panthers come calling with Teddy Bridgewater, 2021 1st (8th overall), 2022 1st, and 2022 2nd for Deshaun Watson? Joe Brady + Watson with CMC, Moore, Anderson, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!

Matthew Stafford – San Francisco 49ers: For me, this seems like a no brainer. The 49ers need a quarterback that can throw the ball down the field, and Stafford can do just that. Factor in Stafford and the 49ers are set up for success on the offensive side of the ball.

If not 49ers: I like the Texans in this mix if they trade Watson. They will have extra assets to make a trade and build around him to win now.

Carson Wentz – Indianapolis Colts – Frank Reich meet Carson Wentz, next.

If not Colts: I could see Denver being in the mix here or even the Saints.

Jimmy Garoppolo – New England Patriots: The Jimmy G experiment is over in San Fran with the trade for Stafford. New England seems like the logical landing spot here, and I think it happens as long as McDaniels doesn’t leave for another job.

If not Patriots: I don’t think many teams will be lining up for Jimmy, but if Joe Burrow isn’t going to be ready until mid-season, he could be a stopgap for the Bengals.

Sam Darnold – New Orleans Saints: The Saints have a HUGE hole going into the offseason at the quarterback position. They have options within their circle, Jameis Winston but is a free agent and Hill is under contract through 2021. The question that follows is will they give the keys to Hill? Will they have Winston/Hill play hybrid? Or does Winston leave upon finding out that Hill is the other guy and trade for a guy? Darnold would get a fresh start with Payton, and I think this would be the perfect landing spot to revitalize his career.

Update: Hill is not a free agent, he is signed through 2021.

If not Saints: I think we could see him stick in New York with the Jets provided the new coaching staff believes they can help get him on the right track.

Rookies

Trevor Lawrence – Jacksonville Jaguars: And the number one pick of the 2021 draft…

Justin Fields – Detroit Lions: The Lions have a bunch of holes heading into this offseason, and with Stafford traded to the 49ers, the Lions use that pick and several others to move into the 2nd pick to take Justin Fields. The Jets need a quarterback after trading Darnold, but they couldn’t turn down the king’s ransom and still be in a position to either move up or take their guy at 8.

If not Lions: Jets, Washington, Denver or Atlanta all could be in play depending on how other teams look at Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and the rest of the quarterbacks in this class.

Zach Wilson – New York Jets: The Jets moved back to 7 and still get their guy. I don’t think the Falcons are going to draft a quarterback with the 4th overall pick. I see them filling other needs, which means Falcons/Bengals/Eagles all pick without taking a quarterback, and Wilson falls into the Jets’ lap. It’s an obvious trade-up scenario for a team targeting a QB, but ultimately, nothing happens.

If not Jets: Falcons at 4, Panthers trade up, falls to the Broncos, 49ers (less Stafford)

Trey Lance – Denver Broncos: How sold are the Broncos on Lock? It doesn’t appear strong, but I believe he will stick around and compete for the job. With Lance, who isn’t a day one starter (IMO), I think it gives you the flexibility to see what Lock has, and if he struggles again, you can give Lance a chance during the season.

Jamie Newman – Washington Football Team: I like spicy hot takes, and with Newman opting out of the season, I think he is a guy who will test well over the next few months, starting at the Senior Bowl next week. I think Pittsburgh is the perfect landing spot, but I LOVE the idea of Newman in Washington. With the Fifth-year option in play, I see them trading back into the first to snag Newman.

Mac Jones – Chicago Bears: Bears need a quarterback of the future, and while Jones isn’t as flashy as some of these other guys, he gets the job done. Jones has the arm to make the throws that Chicago needs to have their first 4,000-yard passer in Bears history.

Kyle Trask – New England Patriots: Fitting Trask onto a team has been weird as he doesn’t have the prototypical traits that teams want in their quarterbacks now. I see six quarterbacks going ahead of him, or I could see him test high and go higher; either way, I am still stuck finding a home for Trask. He slides into the second round, and the Patriots stake claim to bring someone into backup Jimmy G for a year and take over the reins the year after.

Between trades, signings, Senior Bowl, combine, a ton of things can happen over the next few weeks to change this entire dynamic. But one thing is for sure, a ton of teams have plenty of question marks at the quarterback position.

What are your thoughts on the moves I made? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @rickyvalero_

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