In the NFL, quarterback talent seems to come in waves. In this millennium, the first wave came between 2000-2004. That saw the entrance of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, and Phillip Rivers. They set the standard for quarterback play over the next century, with some talented additions like Aaron Rodgers and Russel Wilson sprinkled.
Teams have been searching for the next wave of quarterbacks for the last decade, with some notable flops. With the early 2000’s generation coming close to its end, teams wanted to find the one quarterback who would lead the next wave. Over the past couple of years, teams have been selling their souls to move up and draft what they thought would be their saving grace. It finally seems to be coming to fruition.
The new wave of quarterbacks is here, with a number of young quarterbacks poised to lead their franchises. The following is a list of NFL franchises and their quarterbacks, broken down into teams with their quarterback, teams potentially in the QB hunt, and teams who need a quarterback.
Teams with their quarterback
Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan
Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson
Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen
Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton
Chicago Bears – Mitchell Trubisky
Cincinnati Bengals – Andy Dalton
Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield
Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott
Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford
Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers
Houston Texans – Deshaun Watson
Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck
Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes
Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff
Minnesota Vikings – Kirk Cousins
New York Jets – Sam Darnold
Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz
Pittsburgh Steelers – Ben Roethlisberger*
San Fransisco 49ers – Jimmy Garoppolo
Seattle Seahawks – Russel Wilson
Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota
+This does not mean that none of these teams will select quarterbacks at all. Any one of them could sign a quarterback or select one in the late rounds of the draft as a way to bolster their depth chart. This list is teams not looking for a starting QB over the next few seasons.+
Teams potentially in the QB hunt
Arizona Cardinals – Josh Rosen
Los Angeles Chargers – Phillip Rivers
Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill
New England Patriots – Tom Brady
New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees
Oakland Raiders – Derek Carr
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston
Teams who NEED a quarterback
Denver Broncos – Joe Flacco/Case Keenum
Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles
New York Giants – Eli Manning
Washington Redskins – Alex Smith/Colt McCoy
*Pittsburgh could potentially be in the second category. It entirely depends on how they feel about Mason Rudolph, who was their 2018 third round pick. If they aren’t confident in his future, they could be looking to draft another QB to be Ben’s heir apparent.
As you can see, more than two-thirds of NFL teams have their quarterback situation in place with next to no questions. That leaves just 11 teams who are in need of a quarterback for 2019, or within the next two-three seasons. Some are with aging veterans: the Patriots, the Saints, the Chargers, the Giants, and the Broncos. Others are from regime changes that may want to dump their quarterbacks and start over: the Raiders, the Dolphins, and the Cardinals. Others just have bad luck or crap at the QB position: the Buccaneers, the Jaguars, and the Redskins.
For these teams, there are a plethora of options to explore throughout the 2019 offseason. The first would be free agents. There are a number of viable options, young and old. These include:
– Teddy Bridgewater
– Tyrod Taylor
– Nick Foles
– Ryan Fitzpatrick
– Robert Griffin III
Bridgewater and Foles are two legitimate options for teams to go all-in on as franchise quarterbacks. Bridgewater has shown decent potential in the aftermath of his horrific injury. Foles is going to be a sought after target after his second run with the Eagles. The rest are viable bridge options.
Teams could also look to explore trade options. The Raiders have not been particularly clear with their plan for Derek Carr. After shipping out many other players, Jon Gruden could look to start over with another QB. For the right price, teams could acquire a solid starting QB who is under contract for the next four seasons. The same could be said for Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins could look to move him for a mid-late round draft pick if they want a fresh start under Brian Flores.
Josh Rosen is another name that has been floated around. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury has previously expressed admiration for Kyler Murray. If the Cardinals are serious about making a move for him, they could move Rosen for decent draft capital. Rosen did not have a great rookie season, but he is a first-round talent on a rookie deal. That could give teams enough incentive to make a move for him.
If none of those options satisfy teams, then the NFL draft has a decent haul of quarterbacks. These include:
– Kyler Murray
– Dwayne Haskins
– Daniel Jones
– Drew Lock
– Will Grier
If we are being honest, this is not a particularly exciting draft class. Last year’s quarterback class was phenomenal, and next year and the year after look just as good with Jake Fromm, Justin Herbert, and Trevor Lawrence. But this is a decent class that could provide teams with solid bridge prospects at the very least.
Murray is a clear star, winning the Heisman this past season. If he can overcome his size issues, he could easily be the best quarterback in this class. Haskins, Jones, and Lock were all solid starters in college. None of them are particularly blowing scouts away, but they could be decent bridge options for rebuilding teams. Will Grier is a personal favorite of mine who has flown under the radar. He has been a highly efficient college quarterback who has the arm talent and potential to become a starter in the NFL.
This offseason is perfect for teams like the Patriots, Saints, and Chargers. There are a high number of trade options and free agents, and a small number of quarterback-needy teams. This means that by the time the draft rolls around, many of the teams in the second and third tiers on this list will have figured out their quarterback situations through trades or signings. This means that decent quarterbacks will fall into the second and third round for the simple fact that teams will not need to waste higher picks on a quarterback. Therefore, these three teams will be able to load up for another Super Bowl run under their current Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks while finding good value for solid quarterbacks on Day Two who could be the successors.
This is a tough offseason for teams like the Giants and the Jaguars. The free agent corps is decent but unclear. Nick Foles has been inconsistent, and Teddy Bridgewater still has question marks about whether he can be the same player he was. Making the wrong decision with either of those players could send these teams to the bottom of the league for a long time.
At the same time, the draft is just as much of a gamble. This quarterback class is not nearly as impressive as the ones over the previous few seasons. That means that they could be wasting a high draft pick on a player who may not have the talent to be a true franchise quarterback. This will equally hamstring their teams for the foreseeable future.
Because of that, it wouldn’t entirely surprise me if the Giants decided to not draft a quarterback in the early rounds, and essentially tank next year to get another high pick and take one of the more talented prospects next year. Eli Manning has the ability to survive another year. If the Giants aren’t sold on this crop of quarterbacks, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to suffer through another year and pair a great QB prospect with an experienced Saquon Barkley and a top prospect from 2019 such as a defensive standout or DK Metcalf.
Either way, this is an interesting offseason. For the first time in a long time, there are too many quarterbacks instead of not enough quarterbacks. It will make free agency and draft day interesting for teams at both the top and the bottom of the NFL.