Where will these quarterbacks go?

Where will these quarterbacks go?

An offseason of possible QB moves, here’s where we think each will land

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I can’t remember an offseason that was filled with so much uncertainty for so many of the game’s elite signal-callers. It’s not just the big names, too. Several mid-tier starters and quarterbacks with Super Bowl experience are on the trade block, as well. With many of these teams looking to replace their guy or find someone to bring them over the edge in 2022, there’s no telling where each of these guys will end up.

That doesn’t mean we can’t try though. Let’s go take a look:

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Teddy Bridgewater 

Teddy Bridgewater 

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With Carson Wentz likely out in Indy, the Colts will be looking for someone to take the reins. They don’t need a dynamic quarterback in order to reach the postseason. They were there just two seasons ago with 39-year-old Philip Rivers. All they need is someone to hand the ball off to Jonathan Taylor and complete short passes to guys like Michael Pittman Jr. and someone like Skyy Moore, whom the Colts might have to trade up to get since they don’t have a first-round pick (Thanks, Wentz).

With the AFC South being one of the weakest divisions in football, there’s a good chance that someone like Bridgewater, who went 7-7 with the Broncos last year despite an injury-marred season from his top receiver, and beat strong teams like the Cowboys and Chargers while holding tough with the Bengals, could lead the Colts ahead of the Titans next season, assuming Ryan Tannehill doesn’t bounce back. Even if it doesn’t work, Bridgewater would likely be on nothing more than a one-year contract, and the team could move off of him after 2022.

Prediction: Bridgewater heads to Indianapolis

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Derek Carr

Derek Carr

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Carr rumors are like your aunts and uncles at Christmastime. They come around once a year, make some noise, and have no effect on your immediate future. I don’t get it. Why must we keep circulating these narratives when it’s clear that nothing is going to happen to him? Carr isn’t going anywhere. He’s beloved by his team and just led Vegas to the playoffs despite myriad of scandals and tragedies striking the team one week after the other. The Raiders lost their head coach, one of their top receivers, a young cornerback, and star tight end Darren Waller had a down season. Still, Carr led the Raiders to the playoffs and was nine yards away from going to overtime with the eventual AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals.

We shouldn’t expect the same level of production under first-year head coach Josh McDaniels, but it’s clear that while Carr is not an elite quarterback, he’s capable of winning close games against great competition. After all, he had to beat Justin Herbert to get to the postseason in the first place.

Carr may not be worth the $40 million a year he’s rumored to get in his next contract extension, but he’s a staple in the Las Vegas offense now and for the foreseeable future.

Prediction: Carr remains in Vegas

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Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins

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Once the recipient of a fully guaranteed contract, Kirk Cousins’ respect has taken a nosedive as in his four years as Minnesota’s starter. He’s failed to bring the team to the same heights that Case Keenum did just one year prior. Clearly, Cousins is not the Super Bowl-caliber quarterback that Minny thought he was. With just one year left on his contract, it would make sense for the Vikings to trade Cousins away, sign a cheap free-agent quarterback, give a few more looks at 2021 third-rounder Kellen Mond, and start the rebuilding process. However, that doesn’t appear to be Minnesota’s plan.

It seems Minnesota is intent on keeping Cousins in the fold next season. That’s not bad considering the team was just two games away from the playoffs last season and it’s likely Aaron Rodgers won’t be around next season to take two games. However, the Vikings are clearly not Super Bowl contenders with Cousins under center. Sure, first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell might breathe new life into the team, but with holes all over their defense and offensive line, there’s too much to fix in one season if the Vikings seriously want to contend with the Rams, 49ers, Cowboys, and Cardinals before Cousins heads into free agency.

The Vikings will obviously be better with Cousins in the fold compared to Mond, but at this point, retaining Cousins, and thereby missing out on the draft picks and/or high-potential players they would’ve gotten had they traded him away, seems like an attempt to merely delay the inevitable.

Prediction: Cousins remains a Viking

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Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo

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No matter whether you love or hate Garoppolo, every argument concerning the two-time Super Bowl Champion (as a backup) starts the same way: “He wins games.” It’s the next word that tells you what a person thinks of the 49ers’ quarterback: “He wins games, and...”, or “He wins games, but...”

Regardless of whether or not you believe he’s the reason the 49ers didn’t play in the Super Bowl this year or lost the Super Bowl in 2019, you can’t deny that he wins games (33-14 for his career). Several teams are going to look at that and say “Hey, we want to win games, too.” A team that can somewhat mimic Garoppolo’s situation with the 49ers will likely be willing to give up a lot more. So, what’s a team in need of a quarterback with a solid O-line, good YAC receivers, and a run-first offense? I don’t know if any team fits all four requirements, but the Steelers go 3-of-4 and that’s good enough for me. With a pair of solid receiving options in Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool (possibly JuJu Smith-Schuster as well barring a re-sign) as well as a young talented halfback in Najee Harris, the Steelers could likely create a similar environment for Garoppolo to what he had in the Bay Area.

As long as Mike Tomlin remains the team’s head coach, the Steelers are in a position to win, or at the very least contend. Garoppolo may not be a signal-caller that raises your team’s ceiling, but he is a quarterback that raises your team’s floor, and for a team that not only reached the playoffs last year, but will have to contend with Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow for several years, getting someone who can keep you competitive will be crucial in returning to the postseason.

Prediction: The 49ers trade Garoppolo to the Pittsburgh Steelers

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Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray

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The 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray recently deleted all Arizona Cardinals info from his socials. All he left were two posts: one of him at Oklahoma and another series of pictures during his trip to the Pro Bowl this year. Murray did post an image of himself in Cardinals gear, though, just days ago. Although, that post hasn’t seemed to indicate that the friction between Murray and the Cards’ front office has dissipated at all.

Many people took this action to mean Murray was unhappy with the Cardinals’ organization and predicted that the former Heisman winner could be on the move. Of course, that’s all assuming that Murray and the Cardinals don’t work out a contract extension before next season. If they can’t get a deal done, there are a few places Murray could fit.

With Aaron Rodgers (more on him in a moment) likely out in Green Bay and Jordan Love unable to prove his worth in his two years there, the Packers could be looking out-of-house for their Rodgers replacement. Two of the pictures Murray left up on his Instagram account were of him with Packers’ coaches, including one with Matt LaFleur. As is the case with many quarterbacks, Murray wants to win and the Packers would be an extraordinary place to land given the talent on their roster.

That being said, bringing anyone in as their starting quarterback is a little counterproductive in my opinion. Sometimes, you have to throw your young QB into the fire in order to see what they’re really made of. Delaying the Love era doesn’t do the Packers any good. Either he’s great and you roll with him for the next 15 or so years or he’s not and you move on. Grabbing a different quarterback just so you don’t have to see whether or not your former first-round pick is ready doesn’t sound like a very good move.

There has also been a lot of chatter online of late about a potential Deshaun Watson trade involving Murray. I’m just going to stop that right there. Both parties would be out of their damn minds to do something like that. Sure, maybe Murray wants to move back to Texas, his home state, but he’d be in an awful situation. Watson is, at best, marginally better than Murray. While reuniting Watson with DeAndre Hopkins might be an added benefit, the headaches that would come from his sexual assault allegations probably wouldn’t be worth it.

Prediction: Murray stays in Arizona

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Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers

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He’s the two-time, TWO-TIME, reigning MVP, and he’s likely played his last snap for the Green Bay Packers. In any other offseason, the market for someone as talented as Rodgers would be huge, but with so many other talented QBs on the market this year, many teams may not think Rodgers is worth the ransom they’d have to give to acquire him.

The Packers’ star has given a list of preferred trade partners in the past, with the 49ers, Raiders, and Broncos being three of the most heavily rumored. However, it’s unlikely the 49ers opt to go with anybody at quarterback that isn’t Tom Brady (if he decides to come out of retirement) or Trey Lance. The Raiders have always seemed content with Carr as their signal-caller as well. That leaves only the Broncos.

But is Denver really the best situation for Rodgers to go into. The team’s front office is in shambles. They’re currently looking for someone to buy them and just hired a new GM in January. Not to mention, Rodgers clearly wants to win a Super Bowl, so would moving into a division with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert really be the best option? Furthermore, a move to Denver would put Rodgers in close proximity to his ex-fiancée. We all know how little Rodgers likes to interact with family members. Maybe he treats “almost-family” the same?

All in all, as little as there is to like in Denver from an off-the-field perspective, it was still one of Rodgers’ preferred trade destinations for a reason. While Rodgers may have had his differences with Packers’ head coach Matt LaFleur, he never seemed to have issues with former Packers’ OC, now-Broncos’ head coach, Nathaniel Hackett. Denver has the weapons and defense to be a legitimate contender with Rodgers under center... as long as they can hold their own against Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Las Vegas Raiders. Rodgers, famously confident, should welcome the challenge no problem. Plus, it’d be fitting that Rodgers would head to the Mile High City after all those years sitting in an ivory tower looking down on the city of Green Bay.

Prediction: Broncos make a deal for Rodgers

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Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa

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The Tua Tagovailoa era was hyped up to no end prior to the 2020 NFL Draft. Dolphins fans were literally asking the team to “Tank for Tua.” Two years into his NFL career though, Tua Turnatheballova has been an average quarterback, known more for being the guy drafted before Justin Herbert than actual good quarterback play.

Despite incredible accuracy metrics, Tagovailoa has not been able to translate those metrics into wins or even good stats for that matter. One of the only good things going for Tua was his head coach, Brian Flores. Now that that’s gone, there are very few things to look forward to if you’re a Dolphins fan. That being said, we haven’t seen how new head coach Mike McDaniel is at developing quarterbacks. Maybe he’s great, and if that’s the case, then rolling with Tua is not a bad idea. Still, you have to roll with Tua for at least one year to figure that out.

Prediction: Tua stays in South Beach

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Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill

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Tannehill was not good in the Divisional Round. 2021 was the worst season of his career, by far. But the Titans still went 12-5 and earned the top seed in the AFC. They are only three seasons removed from beating both Tom Brady and MVP Lamar Jackson in the same postseason. Yes, the Titans will be looking for improvement on Tannehill’s end above all else, but given what he was able to accomplish in his first 26 games as the team’s starter, I’d be willing to chalk his disappointing 2021 season up to bad luck. If it happens again in 2022 though, that’s when things get a little cloudier. For now though, Tannehill deserves one more shot to prove he can lead Tennessee to a Super Bowl.

Prediction: Tannehill remains the starter in Tennessee

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Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson

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Despite the sexual assault allegations he’s facing, Watson will play in the NFL again. He’s too talented for teams to not give him another look. I’m not here to tell you whether that’s right or wrong. I’m not here to give you my opinion on the Watson allegations. I’m only here to tell you where I believe he will land next season. Whether he plays or not is something else entirely.

If Watson is to be moved at all, it’s likely he’d go to a team desperate for a quarterback because they know they can win with good quarterback play. Not a team that believes it can win it all, a team that KNOWS it can.

Enter the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers are built to win right now. Top to bottom, even without Antonio Brown and potentially Chris Godwin, the Bucs are in win-now mode. They couldn’t get it done in 2022, but they know they have what it takes to win it all. Watson is immensely talented and could definitely lead the team back to a Lombardi Trophy in 2022 if given the chance.

Prediction: Watson replaces Tom Brady in Tampa Bay

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Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz

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I’m not one to give up on someone you traded for less than a year ago, but Carson Wentz was definitely not what the Colts needed him to be in his first year on the team. He had a chance to lead the team to the playoffs and lost to the damn Jaguars. With the playoffs on the line, he lost to the team with the first overall pick in the upcoming draft. He failed to reach the playoffs with virtually the same roster that old man Philip Rivers did just a year ago. Still, if you traded a first- and a third-round pick for him, I say give him one more year.

The Colts’ front office doesn’t seem too keen on that idea. According to reports, the Colts are likely to either trade or release the former Pro-Bowl quarterback by March 18. If that’s the case, the Colts would likely go after one of the guys on this list. As I said earlier with Cousins, I doubt the Colts would pull a move like this unless they had a plan in place. That could be in the draft, but with a roster as talented as the Colts’, it’s very likely they’ll go after a vet who can help them win now.

As for Wentz, he’ll likely head to a team that is willing to take any sort of upgrade at quarterback. Wentz would fit best on a team with a solid O-line, heavy emphasis on the ground game, and at least one great receiver. That sounds like a job for the Washington Commanders. Good offensive line, solid run game with the dual-headed monster of Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic and a great receiver in Terry McLaurin.

The narrative with McLaurin has always been “Just imagine what he could do with a great quarterback.” While Wentz isn’t a great quarterback, he’s definitely a step up over Taylor Heinicke, Alex Smith, Case Keenum, and Dwayne Haskins — AKA the guys McLaurin had to deal with the last two years — so it’d be interesting to see what that offense could do with Wentz at the helm. With the Giants and Eagles still struggling to capture an identity, perhaps the Commanders could make some noise in the NFC East.

Prediction: Wentz finds himself in Washington

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Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson

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Wilson’s discontent with the Seahawks has been documented for a while now. He wants out, but the Seahawks are not willing to let him go. According to reports, the Seahawks have no intent in trading their Super Bowl-winning QB. While Wilson could definitely take a more aggressive approach to this offseason than he did last year — when he merely provided a list of teams he’d be willing to play for should the Hawks consider moving him — he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to air out his dirty laundry with a franchise. He may be unhappy with the team, but he’ll play through it.

Wilson would be a great fit for several teams, but Seattle’s willingness to consider Wilson’s input in regards to coaching hires and unwillingness to humor any trade possibilities make it seem very unlikely Wilson plays anywhere else in 2022.

I’ve seen the rumors that link Wilson to the Giants and Eagles, but let’s be real. As great as Wilson is, he’s not someone who will demand a trade or extension the same way that Murray or Rodgers might. While admirable, that obligation that Wilson feels to play despite being in what he calls an unpleasant situation will keep him in the Pacific Northwest.

Prediction: Wilson stays put

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Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston

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The New Orleans Saints are in cap hell right now. They’re so deep in the red, they might as well be drowning in fruit punch. That’s what made Jameis Winston’s contract so team-friendly in 2021. It was incredibly incentive-based, and since Winston got hurt early, he was unable to reach several of those incentives.

That said, in the short amount of time Winston spent as the team’s starting quarterback, Winston showed out, throwing for 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions in seven games. Yeah, you would’ve hoped to see a little more in the yardage department, but he went 5-2. I’m sure the Saints were alright with his lack of yards. There’s no reason th

e Saints can’t offer a similar one-year contract to Winston again. Yes, there’s added risk this time around given the season-ending injury he suffered, but for a team struggling with the cap the way New Orleans is, Winston might offer the most money-friendly deal of any of the quarterbacks on this list. Plus, based on his record, he might actually give the Saints a chance to win the division now that Tom Brady is gone.

Prediction: Winston re-signs with New Orleans

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