WE are about two weeks away from the start of NFL free agency and the rumour mill is starting to kick into action. A relatively shallow quarterback free agency class means that the likes of Jacksonville, Washington, Cincinnati, Miami and a few others will have to work some magic to solve their issues under center. There are a few appealing names on the market, with one or two the clear crown jewels, but after seeing Joe Flacco get traded not too long ago I’m bracing myself for anything…
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Eli Manning – New York Giants (1yr/$11.5mil remaining)
THERE’S no denying that Eli Manning is close to succumbing to father time. The dual Super Bowl winner has looked like a shell of himself in recent times, winning just 25% of his games in the last two seasons. The Giants have some young offensive studs in place with Evan Engram (TE), Odell Beckham (WR), Saquon Barkley (RB) and Sterling Shepard (WR) all 26 or younger and it’s clear they need to find Manning’s successor ASAP. New York may decide to recruit someone in the upcoming draft who can learn under Manning instead of dealing him, but there’s still a chance Eli will end his NFL playing days in a different jersey.
Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals (2yrs/$33.5mil remaining)
WITH Marvin Lewis out after 16 seasons as the Bengals head coach, the entire franchise could opt to go in a new direction and move on from Andy Dalton. Having spent his entire eight-year NFL career with the Bengals, Dalton has a 67-50-2 record during his tenure, with an uninspiring 0-4 playoff record. One of the best QB’s in the history of the franchise will be 32 during the next season and Cincinnati could take advantage of the Redskins desperation for a quarterback and part ways with the Red Rifle.
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Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars (2yrs/$32mil remaining)
WHEN the Jaguars gave Blake Bortles an extension almost a year ago to the day I wasn’t the only one shocked by the decision. In true Bortles fashion, he immediately made Jacksonville regret the decision and we only had to wait until Week 7 to see him benched. There’s every chance he can be a decent back-up and pinch hit for teams to help their cause, but I don’t think anyone will be trading for that type of production.
Potential Free Agents
Case Keenum – Denver Broncos (1yr/$18mil remaining, potential out)
AFTER the Broncos’ trade for Joe Flacco, Case Keenum’s future is all of a sudden in jeopardy. After a ‘fine’ year as Denver’s QB it’s more than likely he will be in different colours next season with the Broncos unlikely to pay him the $18 million he’s potentially owed in 2019. Another decent back-up who can make your offense go if things get dire, there are a ton of landing spots for Keenum, who ironically might be a good choice for Baltimore behind Lamar Jackson.
Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins (2yrs/$38.2mil remaining, potential out)
HALF a dozen years with Ryan Tannehill under center seems like enough for Miami. The former eighth overall pick hasn’t lived up to expectations and the Dolphins are leaning towards cutting ties with Tannehill instead of paying him the remaining two years and $38+ million he’s owed. It’s unlikely a team will pounce on him via trade at that heavy number, but there are a few squads that could throw him a lifeline.
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Teddy Bridgewater – New Orleans Saints
AT just 27 years old there is no player on this list shrouded by more uncertainty than Teddy Bridgewater. Devastating injuries have held him back from taking the strides we thought he was capable of, but now that he’s fully healthy there will be multiple NFL franchises chasing his signature. The idea of heading back to New York and joining the Giants is appealing and he won’t command the same hefty salary like some of his free agent peers.
Nick Foles – Philadelphia Eagles
THERE is still a lot up in the air surrounding the future of the crown jewel in this quarterback free agency class. With Foles turning down a $20 million dollar option, the Eagles now have the chance to tag him and negotiate a trade or let the Super Bowl MVP walk for nothing. All of the aforementioned teams with quarterbacking issues could make a play at Foles, with Jacksonville rumoured to be a strong suitor. Either way, at this rate, he won’t be coming back for the Eagles next season.
Tyrod Taylor – Cleveland Browns
THE Tyrod Taylor experiment lasted just four games in Cleveland before he was forced to make way for Baker Mayfield. Personally, I’m a fan of Taylor’s game and in the right scenario, he can be a productive quarterback. The question is, what is that scenario? A supporting role seems destined to be his fate, but one NFL club may just take a punt on him as a stop gap starter.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
14 seasons and seven teams later we could see 36-year old Ryan Fitzpatrick decide to hang up the cleats. Fitz proved that he still has the magic throwing for 1230 yards and 11 touchdowns in the Bucs first three games, before losing out the starting job to Jameis Winston. New coach Bruce Arians seems set to build the team around Winston and while Fitzpatrick could still be a back-up for multiple squads he may try one last run at making starting quarterback money. Who will be brave/stupid enough to do it though?
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