Outside of guys like Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson, the overall quarterback play has been below average this season. A handful of teams came into the season knowing their quarterback situation wasn’t ideal. “Tank for Tua” (maybe now “Bomb for Burrow“) was thus born. No matter if the team is tanking or simply feel the need to move on, expect there to be a good amount of quarterback changes next season.
Six Quarterback Changes Expected By Next Season
This is the most obvious. Outside of indirectly waving the tanking flag, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be a 38-year-old career loser. No team wants to build around Josh Rosen which leaves the Dolphins in quarterback panic mode.
The Dolphins are the front runners to land Tua Tagovailoa. Even though they won a couple of games hindering their shot at the number one pick, Tagovailoa’s injury will cause him to drop slightly where the Dolphins can use one of their three first-round picks. The young quarterback may need a redshirt season, but I doubt Fitzpatrick or Rosen will be in Miami to tutor the rookie.
This season for the Bengals is surprising, to say the least. With that being said, the Andy Dalton era is over. While he is returning to the starting lineup this week, Dalton lost his job to Ryan Finley for a couple of weeks. Dalton’s contract runs through 2021 but would save the Bengals $17.7 million if they trade or release him. This is an easy decision.
Look for the Bengals to draft Joe Burrow with the number one overall pick. Since the above-mentioned injury to Tagovailoa, Burrow has cemented himself as the top quarterback prospect. The Bengals have plenty of needs, but they need to solidify the quarterback position and work outward.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When Bruce Arians took the job in Tampa Bay, everyone thought it would be the best thing for Jameis Winston. The reality is that it’s been much of the same for Winston. He currently leads the league in interceptions with 20 in just 11 games.
Winston’s rookie deal expires at the end of this season and it will be a shock if the Bucs re-sign him. According to Spotrac, Winston’s market value is around $23.4 million dollars annually based on similar quarterbacks. The Bucs are better off waiting to see how free agency plays out before making their decision. Regardless, Winston is likely out in Tampa Bay.
When you’re the franchise quarterback and you get benched for Ryan Tannehill, your time is up. Marcus Mariota has been a disappointment during his tenure with the Titans.
Both quarterbacks are free agents after this season and Spotrac has Mariota’s market value at $26 million annually. The Titans aren’t paying Mariota anything close to that given the fact they benched him. Look for them to draft a quarterback and sign a stop-gap while the young quarterback learns.
John Elway needs to figure this quarterback situation out in a hurry. The Broncos are on the verge of a rebuild and they haven’t had a decent quarterback since 2015.
They drafted Drew Lock in the second round last year and he has yet to sniff playing time. This may tell everyone what they need to know. It also says a lot about Elway as a quarterback evaluator. Entering week 13, the Broncos have the fifth pick. If this holds up, they may need to consider one of the quarterbacks with that pick.
Los Angeles Chargers
Philip Rivers is in the last year of his contract and is in clear decline. The Chargers must acknowledge this and move on. They are unwanted in LA and will basically be subletting the new SoFi Stadium next year. The Chargers need something to excite the fans and Rivers isn’t the man for the job.
This would be a great landing spot for Teddy Bridgewater to get his next opportunity as a starter. Bridgewater has proven that he can win since returning from injury. The Chargers have a top receiver in Keenan Allen and the Melvin Gordon situation should be resolved soon. Signing Bridgewater also allows the Chargers to focus on the offensive line they desperately need in the draft. This just makes too much sense.
Visions of the Future
Expect a lot of quarterback changes even outside of the teams mentioned. Don’t be surprised if the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears both look to start fresh at the position. This draft class has a good amount of quarterbacks and there will be a few viable options in free agency. This offseason will either define a team or cost a few general managers their jobs.
Embed from Getty Images