We all know how important the quarterback position is in the NFL. Everyone’s always looking for one, and you can’t win in the NFL without one. Yet, for the first time in a while, we may actually be at a place where the supply of quarterbacks exceeds the demand. It’s really strange. Today, Carolina released Cam Newton after being unable to find a trade partner. I know Cam has injury issues, but even as someone who’s never been that big a fan of Cam, that still seems kind of crazy to me. He’s been the face of that franchise for years, and just like that he’s out of work. So I thought I’d take a look at every team in the NFL and where they stand with regard to the quarterback position. You may be surprised at how little availability there is across the league.
Buffalo Bills: Moving forward with Josh Allen at QB. The former first rounder will be entering his third year, and despite accuracy issues that make some think he’s a lost cause, the Bills are planning to build around him, especially after a playoff year.
Miami Dolphins: Word has been that the Dolphins are drafting Tua Tagavailoa for quite some time. I’d be lying if I said I had any idea what this organization’s plan is. Some whispers have indicated that they might even trade up for Burrow, while others are now convinced Tua might not even be worth the pick. Not to mention the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen are still on the team, and I have no idea what will happen to them. Nonetheless, Tua still seems the most likely option. They are one of the few teams that is far more likely than not to draft a QB.
New England Patriots: The Patriots are Brady’s team no more! However I don’t see them making a move for a QB this year. Whispers are that they feel good about Stidham, the fourth rounder they drafted last year. They also just signed Brian Hoyer, who’s familiar with the system, and also have Cody Kessler on the roster. They’re not the type to break bank for a QB, and Cam Newton does not at all seem like a fit to me. They’re likely staying put at QB at this point.
New York Jets: Moving forward with Sam Darnold in his third year, unless Adam Gase does something crazy. Give Gase credit though; he’s done a great job of making it so the Jets will be just as awful as they’ve been in the past.
Baltimore Ravens: Last year, the Ravens took the league by storm, as Lamar Jackson was the unanimous league MVP, and the Ravens unleashed a groundbreaking dual threat offense on the league, powered by the otherworldly skill of Jackson. After years of being held back by Flacco, Jackson made the Ravens relevant again. While it will be interesting to see how the league adjusts to Jackson after last year, the Ravens are hopeful that they have their franchise QB for years to come.
Cincinnati Bengals: They will almost certainly draft Joe Burrow with the No 1 overall pick. With that likely means the end of the Andy Dalton era, and he could be another one jobless come September.
Cleveland Browns: Hoping for a rejuvenated Baker Mayfield under new head coach Kevin Stefanski after a sophomore slump. I don’t think Stefanski was the best hire, but we’ll see what happens. Mayfield definitely has talent, but last year was for sure a step back, for some reasons his fault, and for other reasons not so much.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger is back to start. People can shit on Ben all they want, but as long as he’s around he’s their best chance to win. They saw that last year.
Houston Texans: The Texans have their franchise QB in Deshaun Watson, even if their coach insists on doing everything to make life harder for him.
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts get an upgrade at QB with Philip Rivers. It’s not a long term solution, but it’s a great fit. I think they’ll be better than most are acting like.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Minshew Magic is back, this time as the full time starter. Gardner Minshew started his rookie season well last year before falling off, but they’re going to see what they have in him, and at what they’re paying, there are certainly worse options, especially for a rebuilding team that won’t likely be competing regardless.
Tennessee Titans: After flirting with Brady, the Titans sealed the deal for the near future with Ryan Tannehill. We’ll see if last year was a fluke, or if Tannehill really found life with the Titans in a way he couldn’t with 7 years as a Dolphin.
Denver Broncos: With Flacco released, Drew Lock, who they drafted last year, is the guy moving forward. We’ll see how he does with a full year as their starter.
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes followed up his record setting first year with a ring in his second year. He’s not only the best QB in the NFL; he’s on track to be one of the greatest ever. He’s a unique and transcendent talent, and he’s got a great coach to enable him as well. Get used to seeing Patrick Mahomes, because he is the future of the NFL.
Las Vegas Raiders: It’s not clear if Gruden is sold on Carr (he probably isn’t), but Carr is coming off a career year. And the Raiders just added Mariota as well. They’re most likely set for now.
LA Chargers: The Philip Rivers era is over, and it’s hard to believe the team when they say they’re on board with Tyrod Taylor. Do not be surprised if this team drafts a QB.
Dallas Cowboys: For some reason they still haven’t gotten Dak Prescott’s long term deal done yet, instead choosing to franchise tag the QB. Kicking that one down the road does no favors for Dallas, but after a career year, Dallas hopes for more fireworks from Dak this coming year.
New York Giants: We can argue about whether Daniel Jones is a true franchise QB in the longterm, but pretty much everyone agrees that he showed enough last year to enter this season as the starter… That is, everyone except the Giants management. This is likely just posturing by the former Belichick disciple and current Giants head coach Joe Judge, as it’s not clear who would start for the Giants if not Jones.. and what they would get out of benching a player they drafted at 6 overall lasts year.
Philadelphia Eagles: I wasn’t as impressed with Wentz’s last season as some people were, but he remains their unquestioned starter.
Washington Redskins: The Redskins drafted the Ohio State record setter Dwayne Haskins last year, but didn’t hand him the starting job. General consensus was that he needed time to sit. That’s not a great sign, as quarterbacks this day and age that aren’t ready right away usually aren’t ready in the long term either. Nonetheless, he should be the unquestioned starter this season, so we should get a better look at what he has to offer.
Chicago Bears: For a while, it seemed like the Bears would go forward with Mitch Trubisky as their starter, which seemed insane considering what we’ve seen from him so far. They just handed Nick Foles a big contract, a choice that has raised eyebrows with some of the other options out there. But it’s hard to imagine them paying Foles that much to not bet he starter.
Detroit Lions: Stafford looked pretty comfortable in Darrell Bevell’s offense before getting hurt. The Matt Patricia hiring at head coach does not look to be paying off, but Stafford remains the lone bright spot here, even if he rarely does put together back to back good seasons.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers is definitely on the back end of his career, and it’s looking like the Packers and Rodgers won’t be getting back to what they used to be anytime soon, even with the coaching change. That doesn’t change the fact that Rodgers is still without a doubt the starter in Green Bay.
Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings just extended Kirk Cousins a few more years, because they know that a B+ quarterback is better than most options, no matter how criticized he is.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons look to continue wasting Matt Ryan’s prime with Thomas Dimitroff, Dan Quinn, and really bad defense. Matt Ryan’s been one of the best quarterbacks in the league since 2016. You’d know it from his numbers, but not from the Falcons win/loss total.
Carolina Panthers: No more Cam! The Panthers released Supercam after failing to find a trade partner. It’s a new regime and a rebuild in Carolina, and Matt Rhule picked Teddy Bridgewater to man the ship, in addition to adding PJ Walker, the XFL Star who also played for Rhule at Temple. It makes sense on paper; we’ll see how it goes. But they’re set for the time being.
New Orleans Saints: For some reason the media has been talking about Drew Brees retiring or leaving the Saints every offseason for years. I don’t get it. Despite dwindling arm strength, Brees remains one of the top QBs in the game, seemingly breaking both volume and efficiency records every year. The wheels will come off eventually, but they haven’t yet, and as long as Brees is at the helm, the Saints are Super Bowl contenders. And I’m not talking about Taysom Hill.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It’s official! Brady is a Buccaneer! He just signed a 2 year contract with a no trade and no tag clause. And yes, Brady a Buccaneer still sounds weird to say. Tom didn’t have the best 2019, but his arm strength is still pretty good and he’s avoided big injuries, which is pretty much unprecedented for a QB his age. I don’t know if Tom is going to light things up in Tampa, and I think it’d be wise to tamper expectations. The scheme will have to be adjusted, and the OL could be a weakness. Nonetheless, at this rate it really seems like Tom is going to play deep into his 40s like he always says. He’s already 42 for christ’s sake. Yes, things could change quickly, but the Bucs are all in on Brady right now.
Arizona Cardinals: The No 1 overall pick Kyler Murray was as advertised in Arizona, and with Deandre Hopkins in the mix (thank you Bill O Brien), this offense should be a fun one.
LA Rams: The Rams are stuck with Jared Goff for the time being due to what they’re paying him. Whether that’s for better or for worse depends on who you ask.
San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy G is certainly in a great scheme with a great coach and a really good, (albeit inconsistent last year) defense. Call him a system QB if you want. But outside of the end of the Super Bowl, he had a spectacular 2019, especially for a QB as young as him. Sure, some questions may remain, but he’s their guy moving forward.
Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson gonna do what Russell Wilson gonna do. A QB that started off his career being carried by a great run game and defense now seems to be the driving force behind the success of Seattle. Sure, he does it a bit unconventionally, and he’ll have a dud here or there, but for the most part he’s one of the better QBs in the games.
That’s every team, and that leaves only three who are likely to draft QBs (early, at least): The Bengals, The Dolphins, and the Chargers. Every other team seems set at QB, which is pretty shocking when you think about it. That of course doesn’t mean they have the best possible option or that they can’t upgrade. It just means that they have someone who they’re committed to going into the 2020 season.
That leaves question marks for the veterans. Cam Newton, one of the more dynamic quarterbacks in this game, is jobless right now. Andy Dalton will likely be let go with the new Bengals regime. He’s a serviceable veteran, but I don’t know where he would go. And lest we forget Jameis Winston. He led the league in passing yards last year, but to me Jameis Winston has to be a backup at this point. He can make NFL throws, and that’s been true since his days at Florida State. But five years into the league, we know who he is. And that’s a guy who’s just too careless with the football, and isn’t likely to change. He threw 30 interceptions last year, and he had many more that were dropped. His interceptions are just too careless.. Certain coaches can live with some interceptions–in fact, he played for the coach in Bruce Arians that probably is most likely to feel that way–but there comes a point where it’s too much of a liability. Winston continually crosses that line. Like Jay Cutler, Winston is a bit of a throwback QB. In an earlier era with more seven step drop and deep passing, they would likely fit in well. But the game is currently built to favor high percentage, safe, short passes and highly schemed offenses. Winston can throw the football really damn well. But you just can’t trust him out there. And if you can’t trust him, you can’t play him, no matter how talented he is.
What about Ryan Fitzpatrick? The journeymen keeps surprising us, and he did so with a really good year on a Dolphins team that was supposed to be tanking, ending in spectacular fashion by stealing a first round bye out from under the Patriots at their home turf. But can the Dolphins justify keeping him around after drafting their QB of the future? They also have Josh Rosen, who they never ever really seemed to believe in, which is unfortunately similar to his time in Arizona. I believe in Josh Rosen, but he may end up being victim of his circumstance. Though he’s still young, that may not matter in a league where everyone’s looking for the newest thing. Unfortunately, I would be surprised if he garnered much interest, and I can’t see how the Dolphins hang onto him after last year.
And this is all without even talking about the draft. After a very poor decade of QB drafts, the college game is starting to churn out really talented and pro-ready guys, which is coinciding nicely with the end of the old guard of pocket passers (Brees, Brady, Peyton, Eli, Ben). Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes are a sign of what’s to come. This year’s draft gives us Tua Tagavailoa, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, Jake Fromm, and Jacob Eason, among others. Next year we’ll get Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence. That’s way more first and second round QBs than teams that need them!
So when you look at the big picture, it really is a weird time in the NFL. We really may be at a place where, for now, supply exceeds demand. That’s too bad, because there are some talented guys out there that deserve chances to start. In due time, I guess we’ll see what happens.