This offseason had a large swath of quarterback movement in part due to the 2021 NFL Draft class and the need for teams to have competent passers that fit (or better fit) a newer quarterback mold.
There have been plenty of eyes on a number of storylines surrounding the 32-plus quarterbacks throughout the league, and rightfully so. Anytime attention is brought to a team’s most important position, it saturates news cycles. Recently, eight signal-callers were taken in the first three rounds of the 2021 draft; it was the most in NFL draft history, according to NFL Research. This was after a large amount of quarterback movement earlier in the offseason via trades, when Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff swapped teams and the Philadelphia Eagles off-loaded Carson Wentz; free-agent signings, which saw veterans Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor, and Andy Dalton in new colors; and some big re-signings, including Dak Prescott’s mega-deal with the Dallas Cowboys, which didn’t account for any team movement, but will surely impact a COVID-19-restricted salary cap.
None of this was entirely unexpected. The draft class had talent scattered throughout the early rounds with NFL-ready starters and developmental players eyeing the next level after an unprecedented college football season, and the blockbuster trade between the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions highlighted the movement of current NFL quarterbacks; but none of this will compare to what we could see in the coming offseason.
Next year, all via trade, we could see the league’s most perennial passers in new destinations. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was at the center of these discussions mere months—or weeks, if you’re losing track of your days—ago. Wilson openly (and rightfully) expressed his deep concern for Seattle’s historically poor offensive line and a desire to be part of personnel decisions. Seattle’s brass handled it as poorly as expected, evading accountability for allowing the future Hall of Fame passer to be sacked an NFL-leading 188 times (since 2017). Houston Texans passer Deshaun Watson is currently in a legal battle, facing 22 civil suits of sexual assault and misconduct; Cal McNair, the team’s CEO, is waiting on the investigation, but the Texans’ actions in the 2021 draft already shape their future under center after selecting former Stanford quarterback Davis Mills with their first draft pick. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are in the limelight after his reported frustrations surfaced, and this rift seems irreparable with reports surfacing that Rodgers has already told multiple teammates he won’t return for the 2021 season, and if he does, it’ll cost Brian Gutekunst his position as general manager.
There were roughly 18 passers on the move this offseason, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The NFL Network's Dan Hanzus has already highlighted 15 quarterbacks facing uncertainty in 2021. What will be most shocking isn’t the number of QBs on the move but the caliber of those passers.
Prepare for a firestorm of trade destinations, rumors, and even more confusion as some of the NFL’s most dynamic quarterbacks will likely find new homes sooner than many had originally thought.