Why is this important to talk about now? Will Kirk Cousins stay in Washington? Is the Colin Kaepernick era in San Francisco over? Where will Jay Cutler end up? Who is going to be quarterback of the New York Jets? Cleveland? Do any teams trades for a quarterback? There are plenty of quarterback questions heading into the rest of this season and into the offseason. Also, who will be starting where in 2017. Let’s dive in!
Those that play dynasty football should take note. We are halfway through the 2016 NFL season and questions loom about quarterback situations for multiple teams. Is your team’s starting quarterback staying for 2016? Is your team looking to move on from this year and start fresh at quarterback next year? Will your team draft its franchise quarterback or give a veteran another shot? Should I trade a certain quarterback now for one who will have a better situation next year? What if one of these quarterbacks is just in a bad scheme fit, and if moved to a different one would change their production? These questions will be answered below as I predict and examine each team’s current quarterback situation and the possible changes heading into next season.
Let’s start with the a quick chart of current quarterbacks that are likely going nowhere for 2017 and staying put with their current NFL franchise in alphabetical order by city:
Arizona – Carson Palmer
Atlanta – Matt Ryan
Baltimore – Joe Flacco
Buffalo – Tyrod Taylor
Carolina – Cam Newton
Cincinnati – Andy Dalton
Denver – Paxton Lynch/Trevor Siemian
Detroit – Matthew Stafford
Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers
Houston – Brock Osweiler
Indianapolis – Andrew Luck
Jacksonville – Blake Bortles
Kansas City – Alex Smith
Los Angeles – Jared Goff
New England – Tom Brady
New Orleans – Drew Brees
New York Giants – Eli Manning
Oakland – Derek Carr
Philadelphia – Carson Wentz
Pittsburgh – Ben Roethlisberger
Seattle – Russell Wilson
Tampa Bay – Jameis Winston
Tennessee – Marcus Mariota
As you can see above, 25 teams are locked into their starters for 2016, which leaves seven teams with at least some uncertainty for next season.
Here are those 7 teams:
I think we all know that Jay Cutler will be gone after this season either by trade or release. His dead cap hit next season is a measly $2 million instead of his salary of $16 million. Chicago saves $14 million it can use to make its overall weak roster better moving forward. Brian Hoyer came on heroically and looked great until he broke his left arm. He is a very good backup quarterback as a veteran and possibly will re-sign with the team as its veteran presence at the position in 2017, but not as the starter and franchise quarterback. Chicago will be shopping for a new quarterback this offseason. Due to its record, look for the Bears to seriously consider a QB in the draft.
I will give coach Hue Jackson a little credit with him selecting Cody Kessler as his quarterback in last year’s draft. He has proven to be a decent young quarterback with some ability to manage the game for Cleveland. However, he is not the answer at quarterback. I did believe that Dak Prescott was a sleeper quarterback and should have gone to a team like Cleveland in the mid-rounds. Cleveland had plenty of chances with seven picks in the second, third and fourth rounds before Dallas chose Prescott. The question is, will Cleveland stick with Kessler as their guy in 2017?
The rumors of Miami possibly ending the Ryan Tannehill era were heating up pretty heavily as it started 1-3 on the season. I don’t think Tannehill has great potential as a quarterback, but I do think he can be above average. Coach Adam Gase is a great offensive mind and was hired to fix the offense. Tannehill has struggled this year as the offensive line has been injured and struggled and doesn’t have a proven every week back to maintain the run game. Jay Ajayi has come on recently with some explosive performances, but can he keep it up? Miami has the wide receiver talent with DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry. Jay Cutler had the best season of his career under Gase. Would Miami consider trading for Jay Cutler to lead the offense?
New York Jets
What a disaster after being so close to the playoffs. Ryan Fitzpatrick was awful to start the season and Geno Smith is known to be a turnover machine and has already lost the trust of the organization. The real question will be if they turn to Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg instead. Smith is hurt and has given the Jets the opportunity to explore their two young quarterbacks. I think they should as they know they are out of the playoff picture. Will they begin another season in 2017 with their largest question mark being at quarterback?
Philip Rivers is an above-average quarterback in this league and is on a team that has really shown it is in need of a coaching change. San Diego has found ways to lose games it has been leading, which will likely lead to a coaching change at the end of the season. The question is if San Diego should capitalize on quarterback-needy teams and allow Philip Rivers to go chase a championship on another team? San Diego could likely get some nice draft pick compensation for him and start the retooling process. Will the team consider this option this offseason as it moves forward?
San Francisco is taking the necessary steps in order to have a new quarterback lead then in 2017. The team has moved Blaine Gabbert back to the bench and restructured Colin Kaepernick’s contract so he can leave after this season. I’m sure coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke have discussed how the team will be looking for a new quarterback next season. Will it go with a veteran or a rookie? Free agents like E.J. Manuel, Mike Glennon and Geno Smith could interest Kelly and would possibly be a fit for his offense. Right now, San Francisco is looking at a Top 5 pick. Which way will San Francisco lean after the season to handle its quarterback situation?
Kirk Cousins is playing under the franchise tag for this year, then he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Washington has been up and down this year and so has Cousins’ play. The question will be is if the team thinks it can find a better alternative.
What are the options for teams in the 2017 offseason?