FREE agency welcomes the opportunity for change, with tons of players opting to chase a fresh start when the offseason rolls around. This year’s player movement period is no different, with a plethora of quarterbacking options on the market and only so many jobs up for grabs. Some big names are still unsigned and how the early dominoes fall will dictate things panning out for the league’s lesser-known types. Not everyone will get the deal/move they desire, but there is still going to plenty of movement in the quarterback market this year.
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Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals (1yr/$17.7mil remaining)
WITH Cincinnati holding the first overall pick in the upcoming draft, there are no secrets behind how the Bengals plan to use it. After a season for the ages, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow appears certain to be picked No. 1, which could complicate things for Andy Dalton – who has spent his entire nine-year career with Cincinnati so far. As an expiring veteran with a decent track record, Dalton could draw interest from a team who needs a change-up, especially if Burrow is as good as advertised from day one. Don’t be surprised if he garners interest as a trade candidate during the season *cough Chicago cough*.
Josh Rosen – Miami Dolphins (2yr/$4.96mil remaining)
IT’S not often a top-10 draft pick plays for three teams in their first three years, but if Josh Rosen is moved in the offseason that’s exactly what will happen. The former Cardinal and current Dolphin has struggled to find consistency in the pro’s in his first 20 career games, posting a 3-13 record as a starter. However, the kid is still only 23 and hasn’t exactly been surrounded with the best supporting cast so far in his tumultuous career. Given his cheap contract, Rosen is worth taking a chance on if Miami wants him gone – the question is, who’ll bite?
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Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers (1yr/$19.1mil remaining)
REPORTS in the past week or so have surfaced stating the Panthers plan to keep Cam Newton for 2020 as their starting QB. After an injury-prone season a year ago, there were plenty of rumblings early on this offseason about Super Cam’s health and his future with a new look Carolina team. As he continues to take encouraging steps during the rehab process, the Panthers won’t look to send him away, but that doesn’t mean Newton is untouchable. There’s still some magic left in his legs, but he needs to stay on the healthy and on the field to impact whichever team he’s representing.
Nick Foles – Jacksonville Jaguars (3yrs/$57.25mil remaining)
AFTER signing a four-year, $88 million dollar deal with the Jags last summer, finding Nick Foles’ name in the trade candidate section seems a tad farfetched. A broken collarbone gave the 178th overall pick in Gardner Minshew III a chance to claim the starter job and he performed well in Foles’ absence. The two jostled for the starting job once Foles returned in the second half of the season, with Jacksonville reportedly entering the offseason with a realistic chance to be the Week 1 starter. Considering the former Super Bowl MVP has an early out option after the 2020 season, we could see a team make a move for him and give Foles a season to prove himself once again for a new franchise.
Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders (2yrs/$38.6mil remaining)
SINCE drafting Derek Carr back in 2014, Las Vegas has only had to play five games without their starter as his consistency has helped the team achieve a varied level of success. While the former Fresno State signal-caller has provided the Raiders with a reliable option week in, week out, he isn’t exactly in the upper echelon of quarterbacks and with plenty of fluctuation at the position in store this offseason, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was shuffled around. A fresh start could be best for both parties, with Carr still offering plenty to an outside party and the team perhaps eager to start a new chapter in their first season based in Vegas. He’ll have to wait to see how some other free agent situations unfold before learning his fate, but teams could do a lot worse than picking Carr.
Image from bleacherreport.com
Mitchell Trubisky – Chicago Bears (1yr/$4.4mil remaining)
IF Chicago pursues a different QB under center, it will all but spell doom for current Bear starter; Mitchell Trubisky. Three up-and-down seasons from Trubisky so far have left a lot of the Chicago faithful confused about his future projections, leading to some believing a change at quarterback is necessary. Regressing slightly in year three is a large reason why a target is on Trubisky’s back and there’s a lot to like about the rest of the Bears’ roster outside of their quarterback. Don’t be shocked if the franchise chooses to move on from Trubisky, however, one team’s trash can still develop into another team’s treasure.
Teddy Bridgewater – New Orleans Saints
WITH Drew Brees likely returning to the Bayou, finding enough money to pay their 2019 QB1 and QB2 is a tough ask for New Orleans. When Brees went down early in the year, Bridgewater stepped up to the plate and helped rattle off a 5-0 record as their starter, throwing for 1205 yards and posting a 103.7 passer rating. If Bridgewater posted numbers like that over a 16-game season, he’d be right on the verge of a top-10 calibre year and he’s lived up to the billing as a potential Brees successor. With just over $12 million in salary cap room, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saints bring back both signal-callers – even if they have to shuffle a few pieces to make it work.
Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
WITH added contract flexibility, Drew Brees somewhat controls his own destiny and can head to any team of his choosing. I can’t see NOLA’s favourite son playing for anyone else in 2020 and if he chooses not to play for the Saints next year, retirement appears like his only other realistic option. Walking off into the sunset and retiring a Super Bowl champ will drive Brees to return in my opinion, with he and Bridgewater linking up again next year, perhaps for the final year of Brees’ NFL career.
Taysom Hill – New Orleans Saints
TWO out of three ain’t bad, but I can’t see New Orleans returning all three QB’s next season – especially with Taysom Hill craving a larger role and more responsibility under center. Entering the offseason as a restricted free agent, the Saints could go down a number of different paths with Hill potentially signing him to a first or second-round tender and scaring off opposing teams from offering him a lot of dough. A lot of Hill’s future will be dictated by Teddy Bridgewater’s movement and whether he stays or goes and if Teddy departs for a larger payday, Hill might see an increase in both his bank balance and his role in New Orleans’ future.
Marcus Mariota – New England Patriots
2019 couldn’t have gone much worse for Marcus Mariota. Not only did the former second overall pick find himself benched halfway through Week 6, but his replacement Ryan Tannehill went on to star during the rest of the season, leading the Titans all the way to the AFC Championship game. With Mariota crashing and burning I can’t see Tennessee picking up his fifth-year option to keep him around. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t still contribute, with a fresh start potentially exactly what he needs. If he is on the move, the Bears will be a team to watch, with Mariota’s college coach Mark Helfrich now the offensive coordinator at Chicago.
Tom Brady – New England Patriots
TOM Brady is the crown jewel of this year’s free-agent quarterback class with his decision impacting all the other signal-callers around him. Choosing to stay in New England for a 21st season and compete for his 7th Super Bowl ring is no certainty, with Brady’s future well and truly up in the air at this point. The rumours and scuttlebutt at the combine suggest TB12 is exploring his options elsewhere with the Chargers and the Raiders both linked to the champion quarterback since the season concluded. My gut tells me he stays with the Pats, but with his heart solely set on playing for a few more years, Brady may have to move elsewhere to achieve that goal.
Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NO player was more interesting to watch in 2019 than Jameis Winston – for both good and bad reasons. Becoming the first quarterback to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions is quite an accomplishment, with Winston leading the entire NFL for passing yards a season ago (5,109). Blessed with talented receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, it’s baffling that Winston was able to be so successful, while also playing so erratically – pacing the league in total turnovers last season with 12 fumbles to go along his 30 INT’s. It appears like the Bucs are going to give Jameis another chance in Tampa Bay, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was under the tag before they invest long term.
Ryan Tannehill – Tennessee Titans
SPEAKING of long-term investments, no one thought that Ryan Tannehill would play himself into a ‘must-have’, but it’ll be hard for the Titans to let him walk. After taking over as the full-time starter in Week 7, Tannehill went on post a 9-4 record, including three playoff games throwing for 27 touchdowns in the process – the most in the league during that stretch. The former Dolphin was prolific with his feet too, rushing for five scores, tying the MVP in Lamar Jackson for second-most by a quarterback. He’ll be back in Tennessee once the dust settles from the offseason, but time will tell if Tannehill can secure the bag in the form of long-term financial benefits.
Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
TO franchise tag or not, that is the question hanging over the Dallas Cowboys right now regarding their best player (no offense Zeke and Amari). The cog that helps their offense go won’t be leaving the storied franchise, but the exact dollar amount of his new deal is still up in the air. It feels like only a matter of time before Jerry Jones basically presents Dak Prescott with a blank cheque and I wouldn’t be surprised if he became the highest-paid QB in some capacity once a deal does eventuate.
Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers
WE aren’t sure where Philip Rivers will be playing in 2020, but we do know one spot he won’t suit up for. After 16 years as a Charger, Rivers and L.A. have agreed to part ways, with a handful of teams lining up as suitable fits for the veteran QB. Indianapolis have emerged as the front-runners for Rivers, which would allow him to reunite with former offensive coordinator and current Colts head coach Frank Reich, while also gifting his aging body a strong, supportive O-line. A lot is still left to be determined to find Rivers’ future home, but with his fuel tank approaching empty he’ll want to find a home with a contender – that much is certain.
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