Updated March 2, 2018
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 Browns, according to Charlie Campbell, plan on going with a quarterback at No. 1 overall. However, Hue Jackson also said that he doesn't want a rookie starting in Week 1. This could mean signing a veteran in free agency to bide time for the top choice developing, and Sam Bradford makes a ton of sense. Bradford can't get a lot of money because of his degenerative knee, but a team like the Browns could give him a 1-year deal worth about $5-6 million. It's a nice win-win, as it'll give them a nice bridge to their rookie, while Bradford would be able to rehabilitate his stock and cash in next spring.
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. The Vikings are seen by some as the favorite, but Yahoo!'s Charles Robinson reported that the Broncos have plans to clear $50 million in cap space, which would give Denver the edge.
Sam Darnold, QB, USC
A year ago at this time, Sam Darnold was the consensus top prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. 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. However, Charlie Campbell is reporting that Sam Darnold is the favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Browns
, and I believe he'll be proven to be correct.
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. However, the reigning Super Bowl MVP is also likely to remain in Philadelphia, especially in the wake of the news that Carson Wentz is unlikely to be ready by the season opener. I could see general manager Howie Roseman being patient and dealing Foles prior to the 2018 trade deadline in late October.
Mike Glennon, QB, Bears
Mike Glennon has been informed of his release. I could see him signing with the Jets, as New York's front office needs to hedge just in case it can't get a quarterback. The Bills are a strong possibility as well because it'll be difficult for them to obtain the quarterback they want without a top-20 pick. Glennon, sadly, could be the best option for them. Perhaps they'll sign Glennon and then spend a second-day pick on Mason Rudolph, Luke Falk, Kyle Lauletta or Mike White.
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 if they can't get Kirk Cousins. 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
I don't think Baker Mayfield will last until No. 27 overall, but the Saints could still obtain him. Last year, they were burned by the Chiefs leaping them and selecting Patrick Mahomes when they planned on doing so. The Saints might have learned their lesson, so I could see them trading up for Mayfield or another quarterback.
A.J. McCarron, QB, Bengals
A.J. McCarron could go to Cleveland to reunite with Hue Jackson. However, with the news that Charlie broke about the Browns targeting a quarterback at No. 1 overall, McCarron may opt to avoid becoming the next version of Mike Glennon. If so, he could sign with the Cardinals, who, at No. 15, could find it difficult to land one of the top quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft.
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. Pat Shurmur told the media that he wants an accurate quarterback, so that would rule out Josh Allen, so only Rosen and Baker Mayfield would make sense for New York if Sam Darnold is off the board, as expected.
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.
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