Entering Week 3 of the 2019 season, there is already plenty of doubt when it comes to which teams have solidified their starting quarterback situation for the foreseeable future. Some quarterbacks are aging quickly while others have major decisions to make regarding their middling starter.
As of RIGHT NOW, which teams could be in the market for a new starting quarterback next offseason? I placed all 32 teams in one of four tiers. Let’s examine.
Book it - these teams will be hunting for their next franchise signal-caller.
Miami Dolphins - Nope, they are tanking this season for other reasons. C’mon, of course they are in the market. Speaking of the Dolphins' situation, I wrote extensively about that yesterday.
Cincinnati Bengals - I don’t hate Andy Dalton and have often defended him. He’s a reasonable starting quarterback in the NFL, but that’s just it - Cincinnati has plateaued with Dalton and Zac Taylor needs to find his guy to move this offense forward. The Bengals can release Dalton after the season and save $17.7 million with no dead cap space.
The teams in this category offer reasonable doubt regarding their current starting quarterback and I think there’s a chance they could be in the market for a new starter next offseason. This doesn’t mean their current starter will be replaced in 2020, rather that his hopeful successor will be secured.
Minnesota Vikings - Kirk Cousins has done a wonderful job of making a whole lotta cash quarterback in the NFL while also proving he is the epitome of mediocre. I know he’s owed $29.5 million in guaranteed salary in 2020, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Minnesota target a quarterback on Day Two of the 2020 Draft and hope it lands Cousins’ successor.
Carolina Panthers - Cam isn’t right. His foot is a problem and his shoulder has been a problem. Newton re-learning how to throw a football to get enough velocity on the ball post-throwing arm surgeries has made a high variance passer even more inaccurate and his deep throws are erratic. I’m a Cam fan and I believe he’s the greatest dual-threat quarterback in NFL history, but I am greatly concerned about what he has left in the tank. His contract is up after 2020 and we’ve been waiting to see a consistently healthy Cam since the end of 2015. I’d be greatly concerned about handing him an extension and it isn’t even my money. As of this moment, there’s plenty of reason to believe Carolina will be in the QB market.
Tennessee Titans - I feel bad for Marcus Mariota. Whether it has been injuries or lack of scheme continuity, Mariota hasn’t been given a fair shake. At the same time, there are four seasons worth of games that don’t suggest Mariota is a plus starter in the NFL. Can Tennessee win with Mariota? Sure, with a good enough remainder of team. But that line of thinking doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies about handing him a massive contract extension. Tennessee is in a difficult place regarding its quarterback situation and the Titans must be careful to not keep trying to “get by” at the most important position in sports.
New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees will be 41 years old by the end of the season and I don’t believe his successor is on the roster. Sean Payton’s recent five-year contract extension means he is going to coach beyond the Brees era and I bet he wants to find his next guy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I don’t know about Jameis Winston. He’s productive and erratic at the same time and I just don’t see him reinventing himself in the NFL at this point. Having a coach like Bruce Arians will give Jameis every chance to be successful but ball security and consistency are issues I don’t see going away for Jameis. Hear me out… Mason Rudolph shows promise and Pittsburgh moves on from Ben. You think Bruce Arians came out of retirement to groom a rookie quarterback? I don’t think so. This could set up nicely for Ben and Bruce to reunite in Tampa.
MAYBE, NOT LIKELY
While I don’t think these teams will be in the market for a starting quarterback next offseason, I can’t say it with 100 percent certainty.
Oakland Raiders - It sure appears like Carr and Gruden are under good terms, but you never know with Gruden. They may be married, but Jon’s eyes tend to drift and he likes to have options. For those reasons, the Raiders can’t be in the “No” tier.
Jacksonville Jaguars - I don’t think Nick Foles is universally regarded as a preferred starter, although his contract structure virtually guarantees he will be him the mix in 2020 for Jacksonville. With that said, I think regime changes are coming in Jacksonville and a look towards the future could land the Jags in the QB market.
Indianapolis Colts - I think Indy likes Jacoby Brissett, but I’m not sure he’s enough to put the Colts firmly in the “no” category.
Chicago Bears - Mitchell Trubisky needs to play a whole lot better and become more of the reason why Chicago has success. A one-year starter in college, Trubisky was always going to take a bit more time to get acclimated to the NFL, but his seat gets warmer by the week.
New England Patriots - Jarrett Stidham had a strong preseason as a rookie and is the lone quarterback behind Tom Brady on the roster. But a 42 year old starter and Day Three rookie isn’t enough for me to put them in the “no” tier.
Pittsburgh Steelers - The Minkah Fitzpatrick trade was quite the endorsement for Mason Rudolph as the potential successor for Ben Roethlisberger who is out for the year. It’s likely that either Mason or Ben are the starter in 2020 but not a total lock.
Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford has been a consistently productive passer in Detroit but the Lions haven’t found much success as a team. Signed through 2022, I think Stafford is still the guy for the foreseeable future in Detroit.
Denver Broncos - Based on salary and draft status, the quarterback situation in Denver is likely to be Joe Flacco and Drew Lock.
San Francisco 49ers - The niners have a reasonable out of Jimmy Garoppolo’s deal after this season but I don’t anticipate them moving on. Nick Mullens has shown promise as the No. 2 quarterback and this overall situation appears fairly stable.
Los Angeles Chargers - Phillip Rivers is 37 and his contract expires after the season and nobody is overly concerned about it so neither am I. But Phillip Rivers is 37 and his contract expires after the season so LA isn’t going in the “no” tier.
All of these teams have either drafted a quarterback with a first round pick in the last two drafts or have an entrenched veteran with no reason to believe that player isn’t the undisputed starter in 2020 and beyond.
Buffalo Bills - Josh Allen.
New York Jets - Sam Darnold.
Dallas Cowboys - Dak Prescott.
New York Giants - Daniel Jones.
Washington Redskins - Dwayne Haskins.
Baltimore Ravens - Lamar Jackson.
Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan.
Cleveland Browns - Baker Mayfield.
Green Bay Packers - Aaron Rodgers.
Houston Texans - Deshaun Watson.
Kansas City Chiefs - PATRICK MAHOMES.
Arizona Cardinals - Kyler Murray.
Los Angeles Rams - Jared Goff.
Seattle Seahawks - Russell Wilson.
Philadelphia Eagles - Carson Wentz.