2020 Free Agency Positional Preview – Quarterbacks
Leading up to the beginning of free agency (3/18 at 4pmET), we’ll be looking position by position at the available free agent pool and discussing the state of the pool (for gems, sleepers, busts) and making some throwaway predictions on the landing spots of the top free agents.
Today, we look at: Quarterbacks
The stage is set.
So many quarterbacks are available in free agency. How could this not be the wildest, most interesting, most radical offseason of QB movement ever?
…which means that it won’t be that interesting, and everyone chases back to the places/coaches/teams where everyone is familiar…driven by the GMs/coaches wanting to not take risks and wanting ‘their guy’ back to work with.
There is hope QB free agency chaos is going to ensue, but NFL history tells us that the status quo is the way GMs like to go.
You know the names available – Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Teddy Bridgewater, Jameis Winston, Ryan Tannehill, Dak Prescott.
Drew Brees is technically a free agent too. Taysom Hill is a restricted free agent.
Case Keenum is always a free agent it seems.
Marcus Mariota is a free agent and Jameis Winston might be…the former top two picks in their draft.
Not to mention Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, and Nick Foles could be floating around out there.
I have been saying for a couple years now – we have a glut of QB talent flooding in from college faster than they are cycling our -- and we’re nearing not enough places for all of them to go as starters. There are going to be some serious ‘names’ not starting in 2020.
I’ll get into impossible to predict predictions on where these QBs will be landing/going for 2020, but first we must name the Best, the Bust, the Sleeper and Deep Sleeper of the QB free agent group…
BEST = Dak Prescott…but there is no way he’ll be allowed into free agency. The best QB hitting free agency, maybe hitting it, is Tom Brady. You’d take Dak over all the free agents today because of age. You take Brady to try to sell tickets and/or win in 2020.
BUST = Jameis Winston, for sure, if he hits free agency (and I think he will). If Winston hits free agency…tell me the team that signs him big to start for them in 2020/for the future? If Tampa Bay passes…he’s going to be a backup ahead, and I’ll laugh my ass off once again at how bad QB scouting is in the NFL.
SLEEPER = Taysom Hill…the Saints have the right to match any deal on him, and I’m sure there is not a GM with any guts to make a big play for Taysom to lead a conversion to a Lamar Jackson offense. Things like that never happen – too much risk, chaos, coaching philosophy changes for it to really take place. The Chargers should be the right team to do this, but they won’t. Tampa Bay/Bruce Arians might think about it.
Would the Saints be inclined to match a hefty deal proposed to Taysom? They don’t have a lot of room for error/payroll with this being the final Brees ‘go for it’ run.
DEEP SLEEPER = Marcus Mariota…the potentially cheap version of running a Lamar Jackson type of offense by asking Mariota to run the ball heavy. But Mariota is likely not interested enough in football to do such a thing…he’s already booked $40M+ of earnings in his career. I could see him walking away rather than be a $5M one-year deal backup. But he’s got some unique abilities if he’s interested in being a run-first guy.
Tom Brady = Stays in New England…it just makes the most sense. Everything else gets complicated, except a short stint with Tennessee.
Dak and Drew stay put.
Philip Rivers = To the Colts with Frank Reich makes WAY too much sense not to happen.
Ryan Tannehill = If Brady looks like no real commitment, the Titans will tag Tannehill.
Cam Newton = Traded to Washington. Dwyane Haskins becomes a ‘developmental’ guy…a nice way to put it that no one believes in him.
At this point, if what I predicted prior comes true -- name a team that needs/wants a starting quarterback at that point? Tampa Bay if they ‘pass’ on keep Winston. And that’s about it. The Chargers/Anthony Lynn is in love with Tyrod Taylor. Las Vegas would like to upgrade…but there’s nothing to upgrade with. Carolina would have traded Cam (in my scenario) but that’s not so they can sign an expensive veteran.
At this point, still available, we have Bridgewater, Winston, Mariota, Keenum, Taysom (restricted)…and via trade = Dalton, Foles.
Teddy Bridgewater = He’ll want too much for too long of a commitment and will be priced/squeezed out of this market as a starter if he doesn’t take a discount and go to Tampa Bay.
The Bucs would be interested in landing Andy Dalton, but Cincy may hold him if they plan to NOT draft Joe Burrow/trade that #1 pick.
I think the Panthers are trying to get to that #1 spot for Burrow. Carolina trades Cam (and other Rivera coveted stuff) to Washington and swaps their #7 for Washington’s #2. Carolina then trades with Cincy to swap picks to take Burrow and Cincy can take Tua (and hold Dalton for the year) or draft Chase Young (and hold Dalton still).
If it all played out the way I predicted, the free agent QBs not getting starting gigs – Winston, Mariota, Keenum.
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