I can't remember an offseason like this. There are a dozen potential starting quarterbacks available in both free agency and the 2018 NFL Draft, and there are a couple more who could be traded. Here's the full list:
With so many teams that need quarterbacks, this game of quarterback musical chairs is going to make this spring extremely interesting.
So, why wait? I'm going to project all of these quarterbacks to teams on this page, and I may update this if I hear anything, or if any news breaks. Here are my projections, alphabetically:
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
It seems as though the big-armed Josh Allen is the sort of quarterback general manager Mike Maccagnan wants. Charlie Campbell described it perfectly in the Senior Bowl Rumor Mill. I have to believe that No. 6 overall is Allen's floor, and the Jets may even trade up for him (perhaps with the Colts.) Allen has his flaws, mostly concerning his accuracy, but he has a ton of potential.
Sam Bradford, QB, Vikings
The Jaguars are stuck with Blake Bortles for another year, as he won't pass his physical. Besides, Bortles wasn't atrocious in some of his games this past season, so Jacksonville will give him another shot next year. The problem is that Bortles is almost certain to fail, so the Jaguars need to find a viable insurance policy. Sam Bradford would qualify as one. Bradford's stock is at an all-time low, so he could sign a 1-year deal worth about $6 million to repair it. Bradford knows he'll have a chance to start for the Jaguars, so this could be a nice destination for him.
Drew Brees, QB, Saints
This is an easy one. Drew Brees is a free agent, but he'll re-sign with the Saints.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Vikings
Teddy Bridgewater hasn't played a full football game in several years. He'll need to sign a 1-year deal for about $5-6 million, and I believe he'll do that with Minnesota. He'll have a chance to unseat Case Keenum as the team's starter in training camp and the preseason.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins
The Redskins downgraded at quarterback this offseason, sending a third-round pick and a talented cornerback to the Chiefs for Alex Smith. Kirk Cousins wouldn't even negotiate with Washington, so he's currently deciding where he'll play next. Cousins has told the media that he wants to play for a team that could win a Super Bowl right away, so that would eliminate organizations like the Browns and Jets. Denver and Minnesota seem like the greatest possibilities for that. I don't think the Vikings will sign him, as they could opt to stick with two of their current signal-callers instead. The Broncos, meanwhile, are going to put a ton of energy into signing Cousins because they know they're a talented quarterback and a couple of offensive linemen away from perhaps winning the Lombardi Trophy.
Sam Darnold, QB, USC
A year ago at this time, Sam Darnold was the consensus top prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. However, Darnold had a disappointing 2017 campaign, and I've heard that front-office personnel are concerned that he's not ready for the bright lights of the NFL. He could still be chosen in the top five, but he may fall to the middle of the opening round. Perhaps the Cardinals will be able to take him at No. 15 overall (or maybe a bit higher via a trade) as a replacement for the retired Carson Palmer.
Nick Foles, QB, Eagles
There are tons of teams desperate for a quarterback this offseason. The Bills are drafting 21st and 22nd, so it's unlikely that they'll have a chance to obtain the quarterback they want in the 2018 NFL Draft. They'll have to either sign or trade for a signal-caller, and I think Nick Foles is a strong possibility. The reigning Super Bowl MVP undoubtedly has some believers. I think the Eagles could get Buffalo's 22nd-overall pick for Foles. Philadelphia almost has to trade him. The only alternative is to carry him as a backup in 2018 and then get a third-round compensatory pick for him in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers
As with Drew Brees, this is another obvious one. The 49ers didn't acquire Jimmy Garoppolo just to lose him after a few great games. He'll sign a massive contract to become San Francisco's next franchise quarterback.
Update: As I'm typing this, Jimmy Garoppolo became the highest-paid player in NFL history. Check out my NFL Free Agent Signing Grades for analysis of the deal.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Lamar Jackson has unbelievable talent. He has a massive arm and great mobility. His flaws are his mechanics and accuracy, but both of those things can be repaired by a strong quarterbacks coach. Jackson seems likely to slip to the bottom half of the opening round. Teams like the Steelers, Saints and Chargers could target him as a future replacement for their Hall of Fame signal-callers. My guess is that Pittsburgh takes him, given Ben Roethlisberger's retirement talks, but the other options make a ton of sense.
Case Keenum, QB, Vikings
It's difficult to trust Case Keenum with a long-term contract, given that he doesn't have an extensive track record of high-level play. It makes sense for the Vikings to give Keenum a 1-year deal worth about $10 million. Keenum can use 2018 to prove that he's worthy of being Minnesota's quarterback of the future.
Eli Manning, QB, Giants
When Eli Manning was benched late in the year, it seemed completely certain that he wouldn't return. That has changed, as Pat Shurmur has expressed desire to have Manning around for at least one more year to tutor whichever quarterback they take at No. 2 or 34 overall.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
New front office personnel executive Scot McCloughan loves Baker Mayfield. He said so before taking the job, stating that Mayfield was a shorter Brett Favre, and that he would take him over the other quarterbacks. Mayfield is definitely in play at No. 4 overall, and there's a good chance he'll be Cleveland's pick. If the Browns take Saquon Barkley and then Mayfield, they'll have a very talented backfield that will be very competitive in the division very quickly.
A.J. McCarron, QB, Bengals
Update: A.J. McCarron has been granted unrestricted free agency, so he'll be leaving for another franchise. My guess is that he'll go to Cleveland to reunite with Hue Jackson. However, this won't preclude the Browns from taking a quarterback at No. 1 or 4 overall if they love one enough. It would mirror what the Bears did with Mike Glennon last year. It may not be the right move - Chicago certainly regrets signing Glennon - but it's the blueprint Cleveland could follow.
Josh McCown, QB, Jets
Josh McCown was shockingly effective as the Jets' starting quarterback last year. It's amazing that he keeps getting better with age; he's essentially the NFL's version of Benjamin Button. McCown deserves a chance to be a starter somewhere in 2018, but may have trouble finding a spot as a No. 1. He'd be a terrific backup, however, and the Packers could use one after seeing how Brett Hundley performed in 2017. McCown has a positive relationship with current Green Bay defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who was his head coach in 2014, so perhaps the Packers will have some interest.
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Josh Rosen has great talent, but has major character issues. Some have compared him to Ryan Leaf, and that seems very accurate. Rosen, like Leaf, could be the second-overall pick in the NFL Draft, and that would mean that he would be the Giants' starting quarterback of the future once Eli Manning moves on.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills
Like Josh McCown, Tyrod Taylor may find it difficult to find a No. 1 job. He'll have to sign somewhere as a backup. Seattle could be interested. Taylor played extremely well against the Seahawks in a Monday night game a couple of years ago, and Seattle needs a strong backup behind Russell Wilson, who is bound to get killed behind his offensive line sooner or later.