2021 Free Agent Positional Preview: Quarterback
I researched the available free agent lists in late-Feb./early March in order to get a feel for the marketplace and identify key players likely on the move; players that could shift a team's fortunes under-the-radar if a team landed/grabbed a bunch of them. We have the obvious names, the under-the-radar, and the trap doors to look at.
Here’s my take on 2021 NFL free agency…the players I’m really watching for fantasy, handicapping, etc., on where they might land.
The Top 3 Available According To NFL Analysts:
1) Jameis Winston, NO – I’m just guessing that in your life if you had predicted an outcome of something at work wrong for like 5 years in a row, you might fold your cards on sticking with the prediction going into year 6…worst case you’d take a neutral position? Not NFL analysts…or NFL GMs.
You see, if you were drafted high enough/beloved by NFL people in the past…you are granted special powers in the NFL – powers that mean you’re always great, no matter what your on-field results are…and you just need ANOTHER chance to prove it.
When Drew Brees went down in 2020, was there anyone in football-land predicting Taysom Hill to start over Jameis Winston? And then they were all clutching their pearls that it had happened. After being wrong about Winston AGAIN, is there any one of them who thinks Winston won’t be the Saints 2021 starter over Taysom Hill?
With that, Winston is the top free agent QB available (as of 3/12) for EVERY football person because they don’t even recognize the problem or all the wrongness. I wish them well. Where he lands…Saints or no? We’ll predict that in the last segment.
2) Ryan Fitzpatrick, MIA – After Winston, there’s not much left. Fitz is the obvious #2 for them remaining.
3) Alex Smith, WSH – Ditto all the Fitz stuff, but Alex Smith has the injury/retirement fear so he’s #3 for the consensus of football analysts in free agency.
The Top 3 Talents Available/To Target If I Were an NFL GM:
1) Ryan Fitzpatrick, MIA – If you’re a team that has a decent roster and you want a free agent QB to come in and breathe life into your unit…you get Fitz. He’s better today than Tua will ever be but like with Jameis…football people are not going to allow that thinking on their HIGHLY thought of Tua.
Hell, even Miami saw the difference of Fitz over Tua up close in practice and on the field…and they still sunk their season going with Tua. No team could be that stupid…but, yes they can…and are almost all the time.
Fitz changes your offense and locker room. The fact that the Patriots re-signed Cam and didn’t sign Fitz (as an example) – it shows you the Patriots are ‘over’/done as a thing. It was an amazing run, now all accredited to Tom Brady not Bill Belichick. Amazing how much the QB matters over management…
Good luck starting Tua again, Miami!!
2) Mitch Trubisky, CHI – I am a fan of Trubisky’s raw talents. He’s a five-tool QB talent. He’s also a puss. BUT you can change someone’s mindset…and you can’t give or teach them the physical gifts Trubisky has. If Buffalo doesn’t sign him to backup Josh Allen they are missing a huge opportunity -- to try to fix Trubisky like they did Allen…and Trubisky is built like Allen with a big arm (not as big as Allen’s, but…). Perhaps, Trubisky can change his career around with the people who wound up with Josh Allen as the best regular season QB in 2020?
3) Alex Smith, WSH – The lesser version of Ryan Fitzpatrick…well-respected locker-room leader and experienced/solid QB. He’s one of the 32 best QBs on the planet but may retire before being brought in to fight for a job.
The Top 3 Values/Sleepers According to FFM:
1) C.J. Beathard, SF – There’s not much in the way of deep sleepers here among the QB group, but Beathard has caught my attention with his strong arm and above-average feet/running ability. He’s done some damage when he’s gotten the chance, but he also has many holes in his game. A good backup QB option…a guy who can come off the bench hot and spur a team.
2) Andy Dalton, DAL – The best experienced hand backup…a guy who knows he’s there to be a backup. The best of all the ancient backup options like Joe Flacco, Chase Daniel, etc.
3) Tim Boyle, GB – Had a hard time finding a #3 option for this list. I even looked up my boy Kyle Sloter to see why he wasn’t on the FA options, but he has been signed by the Raiders…I didn’t even know. I’ve seen a few moments of competency with Boyle in preseasons in the past. Enough to at least take a look at how he’s developed in the last year+.
The Top 3 Problems According to FFM:
1) Jameis Winston, NO – You knew I’d have him here. People think he’s a legit NFL starter, he is not. The media is still pushing as if he is, so some team will get suckered into this.
Ask yourself – if Winston is so good/great/promising…why haven’t the Saints locked him down yet?
2) Jacoby Brissett, IND – Another guy everyone swears is a franchise QB, but he just isn’t. Some NFL team might get suckered into seeing him as their bridge QB to a Trey Lance or Justin Fields type pick they made, but Brissett might command good money to spend/waste to do it. I wouldn’t touch him.
3) Mick Mullens, SF – Works for Kyle Shanahan in the 4th-quarter of games, in a deficit…but usually sucks otherwise. Some team will spend up on him as a bridge QB or hopeful 2022 guy for like the Steelers if Ben is done after this season…or insurance for Cam in New England – and it will be a waste of money.
-- Jameis Winston could go back with the Saints, but my nickel bet is he is not (or he would’ve been by now) and then my guess is he winds up back with Tampa Bay as a backup to Brady. Possibly to Seattle if they deal Russell Wilson to Chicago.
*With the news that Brees retired and Taysom Hill got a deal to get good money for 2021...it appears Taysom is 'the guy' for the Saints in 2021, not Jameis.
-- Ryan Fitzpatrick to Denver, if they don’t acquire Teddy Bridgewater. Washington is a possible landing spot.
-- Alex Smith to Denver if all the above doesn’t happen…or Smith just retires.
-- Mitch Trubisky to Buffalo. Cleveland would be an option too (grew up in Cleveland).
-- Nick Mullens to the Jets.
-- Jacoby Brissett to the Titans…maybe back to New England.
College Football Metrics (CFM) 2021 Season – For Dynasty Rookie Drafts, NFL Drafts, Handicapping, etc.
It’s going to be a scouting NFL Draft season like no other – some top prospects opting out of their final college season, a unique schedule for CFB teams to have played, a different type of bowl season…a whole new backdrop to scout against. An experienced, talented scouting eye is going to rule. I have 10+ years of successful CFM scouting and analytics to lean on – I’m ready for the challenge.
I know the mainstream football analysis is going to butcher this year’s class even worse than normal – because they are going to blindly favor big school prospects more than ever, because those schools will have the only names they are truly familiar with, and it’s just the ‘name’ they are familiar with not their ‘game’. They’ll ‘hive mind’ run with whatever names the collective seems to be buzzing about – because they don’t put in the work, they just echo things they’ve heard. I’m not saying that to be a jerk – it’s the open window of opportunity (their failure) that I was able to build my career/business upon.
I spend many hours each offseason day/week/month researching the current class of top 100+ prospects individually as well as all the smaller school and ‘lesser named’ prospects our computer models start to identify. I study and compare prospect’s tape, and I input the performance data (weighted with our secret, proprietary scouting formulas) to get a firsthand feel for it so I can analyze and test/challenge all our analytics. I get to know these prospects on the field, statistically, and do character background research as well -- so I can boil it down to reports so my private clients and subscribers (from serious fantasy players, to professional handicappers, to agents, to NFL war room personnel) can know these prospects by description and statistically – for NFL purposes, for Dynasty Rookie Draft purposes, for Fantasy Best Ball/Redraft purposes in the preseason, and for handicapping and prop betting purposes.
If you love Fantasy Football, if you love the NFL Draft process – I guarantee you’ll never look at the process the same way again with a CFM subscription.
As the regular season football ends, a whole new season of football discovery begins with our ‘CFM’ subscription and study or current and past rookies (offense and defense) – and material flows daily all offseason January to September (NFL season start), leading us to using the material to our advantage for the NFL regular season.
Go to our College Football Metrics or Fantasy Football Metrics subscription pages for more information.
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