Givanni Damico | March 19th, 2020
This free agency period has been… interesting, to say the absolute least. Tom Brady is unofficially a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philip Rivers and his tribe of children are Indianapolis-bound, and Teddy Bridgewater is the new starter in Carolina. So, what teams are still in the quarterback market? Who are the major players still in the market? Let’s get into it.
Arguably the biggest name out there right now, Newton is coming off a 2019 campaign where he did not see much of the field due to injuries. That being said, I am still a firm believer in his ability to play (although maybe not in his ability to dress). Newton hasn’t lived up to the 2015 MVP hype since them, but he’s proved to be a valuable starter, even leading Carolina to an 11-5 record in 2017. The teams currently in the market for a free-agent quarterback are the Patriots, potentially the Jaguars, and… that’s pretty much it. The market is saturated with quarterbacks who can start for a team right now, but there’s not a clear spot for all of them to end up. I know what you’re thinking: what about the Chargers? Anthony Lynn and the Chargers made it clear that they wouldn’t trade for or sign a veteran quarterback. So either they’re planning on riding with Tyrod Taylor or drafting a quarterback at pick-six; I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be the latter. Cam’s ideal landing spot is the New England Patriots. He wouldn’t have the greatest weapons around him, but he’d be in a fantastic system that could rejuvenate his career. Now, there’s no guarantee that the Patriots sign a quarterback or even draft one. We know that Bill Belichick and the Patriots like to take their time with this sort of thing, so who knows what they’re going to do? Maybe they want to try and tank for Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 draft, but I also think that Belichick wants to prove that he can win without Brady. He has too big of an ego to purposely lose for a season to get a good quarterback. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Newton in a Patriots’ uniform next season.
If I were a GM of a team that needs a quarterback but doesn’t have a top-10 pick to draft a rookie, Winston would be my number one choice at quarterback. I get it, guys. He throws a lot of interceptions. He also led the league in passing yards and touchdowns last season. If he can even get a little better with his decision making, he will be a top-15 quarterback in football. Plus, he got Lasik eye surgery during the offseason. He literally couldn’t read the scoreboard last season, so what makes us think that he could see his receivers downfield? It sounds satirical but I’m being honest. That could honestly solve some of his issues. Winston’s ideal landing spot is the Jacksonville Jaguars. For all I know, Jacksonville is perfectly fine with Gardner Minshew as their starter for the 2020 season, but I’d much rather have Famous Jameis. Minshew Mania was a nice novelty, but this franchise needs to take the quarterback situation seriously. Minshew is a low-end starter or a very good backup. Winston is a solid starter if he makes better decisions. I also question the Chargers organization for sticking with Taylor over Winston. I’m sure they’ll draft a quarterback, but if they don’t, I’d much rather have Winston as my quarterback than Taylor who isn’t even a fantastic backup. He’s scared to throw anything other than check-downs and he doesn’t have what it takes to bring his team to the playoffs. Winston could bring out Keenan Allen’s full potential as well as Mike Williams’. I’d love seeing him throw to those two as well as Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler. It just seems like a system that could win some football games.
The last man on our list is the Red Rifle. I never really understood why so many people think he’s a bad quarterback. He’s led his team to multiple playoff appearances, albeit he hasn’t won a playoff game. He usually throws for at least 3300 yards per season with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He hasn’t been phenomenal in the Bengals’ system, but he’s gotten the job done, besides in the playoffs (which is the most important time obviously). Dalton’s ideal landing spot is also in New England. Dalton will likely end up being a backup quarterback in 2020 unless a team like the Patriots steps up to make him their quarterback who bridges the gap between who they had in 2019 and their future starter.
There are three solid quarterbacks available right now, but only one team who has shown interest in them (New England). There haven’t been any whispers of Jacksonville taking the reins out of Minshew’s hands, and the Chargers are adamant about not signing or trading for a veteran quarterback. One or two of these guys may not be starters next year. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this next month transpires.
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