Eight weeks into the season, we’ve seen some great quarterback play.
We’ve also seen some not-so-great quarterback play, and some teams might have big decisions to make in the coming months. If there’s a club that wants to win now because it feels it’s strong in other areas, going for a veteran player at the position might be their best bet.
And as it happens, those kind of teams might have an amazing group of quarterbacks to work from, in the hopes of signing one and getting their club over the hump.
As noted on Tuesday by NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano, look at this group of quarterbacks who are currently slated to be free agents or will possibly become free agents/available come March:
Tom Brady - free agent
Drew Brees - free agent
Cam Newton - signed through 2020, but could be released/traded for Kyle Allen
Dak Prescott - free agent
Philip Rivers - free agent
Teddy Bridgewater - free agent
Marcus Mariota - free agent
Andy Dalton - signed through 2020, but could be cut/traded
Eli Manning - free agent
Jameis Winston - free agent
Joe Flacco - signed through 2022, but could be cut/traded
This could change, of course, and obviously they’re not all elite (sorry, Flacco), but we could see yet another major upward shift in terms of quarterback pay as well.
If you’re, say, the Chicago Bears, who have invested handsomely in their defense — they’re without a first-round pick in 2020 because of the Khalil Mack trade — and it looks like Mitchell Trubisky just isn’t the answer, why wouldn’t you then try to get an experienced quarterback to turn the offense around?
The Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could also be in search of quarterback help.
The Carolina Panthers put Newton on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday, meaning Kyle Allen is in position to finish the season. Allen didn’t look good in the Panthers’ Week 8 loss to San Francisco, but was better last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Carolina also drafted Will Grier in the third round this year; both Allen and Grier are still on their rookie contracts.
All of which is to say, the Panthers may be willing to move on from Newton after this season.
It would be a surprise at this point if Prescott were to hit the open market; Jerry Jones has said multiple times he wants to sign Prescott to an extension and keep him with the Dallas Cowboys. As of this moment an extension hasn’t happened, but as we all know, deadlines spur action.
It’s hard to imagine Brady or Brees playing elsewhere, but this is the NFL. Even Brady would note that his childhood hero, Joe Montana, didn’t finish his career with the 49ers, and it certainly raised eyebrows in August when the New England Patriots legend and his wife put their custom-built Massachusetts home on the market.
With both Brees and Bridgewater slated to be free agents, the New Orleans Saints don’t currently have a starting-caliber quarterback signed for next year, unless Sean Payton wants to go with Taysom Hill.
Mariota was recently benched but could benefit from both a change of scenery and stability. He’s played under four offensive coordinators in his five NFL seasons with Tennessee. Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians is known for his ability to help quarterbacks, but thus far his magic hasn’t seemed to work on Winston.
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