2021 NFL Offseason Quarterback Destinations

Updated Jan. 31, 2021

This is a feature I do every year prior to the combine. I will attempt to predict where the prominent free agent and rookie quarterbacks will land during the offseason. Here’s the full list of the significant quarterbacks available this spring:

Jacoby Brissett
Justin Fields
Trey Lance
Trevor Lawrence
Cam Newton
Dak Prescott
Matt Ryan
Matthew Stafford – Rams
Mitchell Trubisky
Deshaun Watson
Carson Wentz
Zach Wilson
Jameis Winston

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:

Jacoby Brissett, Colts
Both Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett were free agents entering this offseason, but the former decided to retire. There’s some speculation that the Colts will bring back Brissett to be their starter, but with better options available, the Colts could choose one of them because they’re in win-now mode.

If that’s the case, perhaps Brissett will go back to his original team. Bill Belichick liked Brissett enough to spend a third-round pick on him five years ago, so perhaps he’d welcome him back as an upgrade over Cam Newton.

Justin Fields, Ohio State
The Ohio State product, who drew comparisons to Deshaun Watson in Charlie Campbell’s Justin Fields scouting report, will either be the second or third quarterback off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. It seems like the consensus is that Fields will be the third signal-caller chosen at the moment, though that could certainly change throughout the pre-draft process. Given that the Dolphins don’t need a quarterback at No. 3, the Falcons make the most sense for Fields with the following pick.

Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Trey Lance is the No. 4 quarterback prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s raw, but has tons of upside. With the Lions moving on from Matthew Stafford, perhaps they’ll take a chance on him with the No. 7 pick.

Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
I’ll go out on a limb and say that the Jaguars will probably draft Trevor Lawrence first overall. Crazy, I know, but it could totally happen!

Cam Newton, Patriots
Speaking of Newton, I get the feeling he’s not going to sign with a team until training camp. Newton looked completely washed up late last season because of numerous injuries, so he may not even be able to pass a physical at the moment. Even if he can, teams will be hesitant to spend money on him because of his horrible durability. That said, I could see an NFL team signing him once its starter suffers an injury in training camp or the preseason.

Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Dak Prescott seems like a great guy, so it was very sad to see him suffer a season-ending injury in October of last year. That said, if there’s a silver lining to his injury, it’s that annoying blue check marks can’t whine and complain about him not receiving a huge contract from the Cowboys. Prescott needs to prove that he can play like his former self again, so I expect the Cowboys to go the safe route and franchise him again.

Matt Ryan, Falcons
I was looking at Super Bowl LVI props, and upon seeing the Bears at 50/1, I immediately thought, “What if the Bears can get Matt Ryan? That would be a great number.” With the 20th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bears are not in position to land any of the top four quarterback prospects.

That said, in the wake of the Matthew Stafford trade, the Colts may go hard after Ryan. They can outspend anyone except Jacksonville, and Ryan may want to play with Frank Reich.

Mitchell Trubisky, Bears
New Falcons head coach Arthur Smith knows a thing or two about reclamation projects. He revived Ryan Tannehill’s career, so perhaps he’ll believe he can do the same thing with Mitchell Trubisky. His offensive coordinator, Dave Ragone, coached Trubisky in Chicago for a few years, so the familiarity should help.

I know I also projected Justin Fields to go to Atlanta, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Falcons signed Trubisky to serve as a veteran presence and insurance policy for Fields.

Deshaun Watson, Texans
Deshaun Watson wants out of Houston for a variety of reasons. He even has said he won’t play another down for the team, no matter who the coach is.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reported that Watson’s preferred destination is the Jets. Salguero is one of the most accurate NFL team reporters, so I would trust what he wrote. The Jets would surrender multiple first-round picks, other choices and perhaps even Sam Darnold to acquire Watson.

Carson Wentz, Eagles
I’ve seen some connect Carson Wentz to the Colts because of Frank Reich. This would make lots of sense under normal circumstances, but Wentz’s contract is anything but normal. Wentz doesn’t have a real out in his contract until after the 2021 season, making it extremely difficult to trade him. The Eagles likely know this, which is why they’ve indicated that they still believe that Wentz can be a good starter in the NFL.

Zach Wilson, BYU
If the Texans trade Watson to the Jets, as discussed above, they’ll have the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Wilson currently seems like the favorite to be the second pick this April, so Houston would select him to take over for Watson. Hopefully they’ll give him some protection, which is something they didn’t do for Watson, outside of the Laremy Tunsil trade.

Jameis Winston, QB, Saints
Drew Brees has retired, but the Saints obviously made it clear that they prefer Taysom Hill over Jameis Winston as Brees’ successor. The Redskins are the only quarterback-needy team I haven’t mentioned yet, besides the Broncos, who can continue with Drew Lock for one more year. Perhaps Ron Rivera will acquire Winston to compete with Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke so that there’s a chance he’ll have some quality quarterback play in 2021.

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