2021 QB Shuffle

Replacing The Vets

Tampa Bay Bucaneers

Tom Brady – 44 Yrs Old | 8-5 in 1 Yr with Bucs

2021 Cap Hit: $25,000,000 (Through 2021)

Brady has had one of his toughest seasons from a winning perspective, but has had solid statistics for a QB of any age. The Buccaneers could go a million different directions at QB, but their commitment seems to be for another, considering that they signed him to a 2 year deal last offseason. Unfortunately, the Bucs do not have much say in this decision and it will come down to Brady’s choice to return. Spoiler alert…Brady will return.

Solution: Tom Brady – even if Brady wins the Super Bowl this year he will be back in 2021.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger – 39 Yrs Old | 155-73-1 in 17 seasons with the Steelers

2021 Cap Hit: $41,250,000 (Through 2021 with potential out after 2020)

Big Ben has had a hot and cold season, but got off to a strong start with a 12-0 record to open the year. He has had a bit of a skid, dropping the last two games to the Washington Football Team and Buffalo Bills. Roethlisberger looks like he has more in the tank and should remain the starter in 2021.

Solution: Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben isn’t going anywhere and won’t be too happy if the Steelers invest in the future while he is still on the roster.

Indianapolis Colts

Philip Rivers – 40 Yrs Old |9-4 in 1 season with the Colts

2021 Cap Hit: $0 (Pending UFA following this season)

The Colts have built up some awesome young weapons for their offense and assembled one of the best defenses in the league. Rivers has one of the most attractive jobs in the NFL, but also is in just a single year contract with the team. If Rivers continues to win, it will be tough for the Colts to go another direction if he wants to stay with the team another. Along with Rivers, backup QB and 2019 starter Jacoby Brissett is also a pending free agent, which will put the Colts in an even more dire situation.

Solution: Free Agency – This Colts team is within their window to reach the Super Bowl and would benefit from a savvy veteran QB.

Best Fit: Dak Prescott – the Colts should have around $70M free in Cap Space next year and can’t afford to miss on the best QB available.

Hitting the Reset Button

New York Jets

Sam Darnold – 24 Yrs Old | 11-24 in 3 seasons with the Jets

2021 Cap Hit: $9,794,271 (Final Year with just $5M Dead Cap)

It is not even a question; if the Jets finish with a top 2 pick, then Darnold is gone. It is going to be extremely tough to move Darnold for much, especially if it is clear they are drafting a QB, but they can at least salvage a third rounder. The Jets won’t have much leverage to deal Darnold, even though he will be 24 to start next season.

Solution: Draft – the Jets roughly have an 80% chance of landing the top pick, and if they do they will clearly be taking Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence.

Best Fit: Trevor Lawrence – the consensus #1 pick.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Gardner Minshew – 25 Yrs Old | 7-12 in 2 seasons with Jaguars

2021 Cap Hit: $897,721 (Through 2022 but just $95k in Dead Cap)

The Jaguars will give Minshew another chance to start this weekend at Baltimore, but it has become pretty clear that he is not the guy for the franchise. There are a lot of holes to fill on this team, but if the Jags have a top 2 pick it will be used best on a QB. The Jaguars are actually in a great position with under $4M of their salary cap attributed to QBs, which will allow them to keep Minshew as one of the best backups in the league.

Solution: Draft – there is still a possibility that the Jaguars could land the top pick, but they would still be sitting pretty at 2 with their choice of Justin Fields or Zach Wilson.

Best Fit: Justin Fields – why not take the dual threat prospect who can be the centerpiece of this rebuild?

Carolina Panthers

Teddy Bridgewater – 29 Yrs Old | 3-9 in 1 season with the Panthers

2021 Cap Hit: $23,000,000 (Through 2022 with a $5M out after 2021)

The Panthers are in an extremely tough position this offseason, which will define their franchise for years to come. Teddy has done well statistically, however, has had a tough time finishing games. He looks like an inexperienced QB, but he will be 29 years old next season. Most of the weapons are there, but again, Teddy has been unable to win. He has a tough contract to move around, and despite being considered relatively cheap, he likely won’t be going anywhere until after 2021. The Panthers will probably finish with a top 10 pick that could certainly be used on improving a weak defense, however, there could be some great QB options left on the board.

Solution: Teddy Bridgewater – he hasn’t won much, but the contract suggests that the Panthers want to pair a vet with McCaffrey in his prime. The Panthers could take a shot on Day 2 for someone who can learn behind Teddy, but don’t expect Rhule to push for a new QB inside the top 10.

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan – 36 Yrs Old | 113-89 in 13 Yrs with Falcons

2021 Cap Hit: $40,912,500 (Through 2023)

As much as fans are calling for it, the Falcons won’t be moving on from Matt Ryan. The Falcons have kept the painful mantra of blowing late games, but they will hope to change that in 2021 with a brand new front office and coaching staff. There will be many changes in Atlanta, but unless they are blown away with a trade offer they will be locked in with Matt Ryan through 2023.

Solution: Matt Ryan – he will remain the starter for the near future. He has done enough in the past and his contract is nearly untouchable.

Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott – 28 Yrs Old | 42-27 in 5 Yrs with Cowboys

2021 Cap Hit: $0 (Pending UFA following this season)

The Cowboys are in a very interesting situation this offseason. After a knockdown drag-out contract negotiation, where Prescott ultimately bet on himself and signed the franchise tag, he suffered a season ending ankle injury. If the Cowboys weren’t sold on Dak being the QB of the future then, what will they think now that he is a year older coming back from a major injury?

Solution: Draft – Jerry Jones will play hardball again, ultimately leaving Prescott to explore free agency and sign for the money he deserves. The Cowboys currently have the 5th pick in the draft if the season ended today, which would give them a great option to take the 3rd QB in the draft.

Best Fit: Zach Wilson – Wilson could excel in Kellen Moore’s offense and would inherit some of the best weapons in the NFL.

Denver Broncos

Drew Lock – 25 Yrs Old | 8-7 in 2 Yrs with Broncos

2021 Cap Hit: $1,912,041 (Through 2022)

Lock has had a rocky sophomore season, but has shown flashes of strong potential. Last week against Carolina Lock threw for a career high 4 TD and 0 INTs. Despite finding success, one area where Lock has struggled significantly is with consistency. Lock currently ranks 27th in the league with a QBR of 50.2, which is lower than even Gardner Minshew.

Solution: Drew Lock – he should get another opportunity to mesh with this young offense and could benefit from having a traditional offseason this year.

New England Patriots

Cam Newton – 32 Yrs Old | 6-6 in 1 Yr with Patriots

2021 Cap Hit: $0 (Pending UFA following this season)

To say Cam Newton has been disappointing would be an understatement. Newton has had career lows in yards, TDs and QBR, but has been utilized very differently in the Patriots scheme than he was in Carolina. In his 8 full seasons in Carolina he was transformed from being a run first to a pass first QB, and despite the results the intention was to keep Newton healthy. Now in New England they have leaned on Cam Newton to run the ball at an extremely high rate and to utilize every last drop of ability he has left to give.

Solution: Veteran QB – it is unlikely for the Patriots to take a chance on a prospect in the middle of the 1st round, but with several key players returning from opting out the Patriots could pair nicely with a veteran QB. Several options that could help right away are Carson Wentz (trade), Dak Prescott (free agency) or possibly even a Jimmy Garoppolo (trade) reunion.

Best Fit: Sam Darnold – the going price for Darnold is cheap and he has been proven piece to live through a rebuild. He is cheap enough for the Patriots interest and could compete with Stidham to start.

Washington Football Team

Dwayne Haskins – 24 Yrs Old | 3-8 in 2 Yrs with WFT

2021 Cap Hit: $3,931,803 (Through 2022 with $2M dead cap)

All signs point toward Ron Rivera having given up on the young QB already, but he could get one final opportunity to revitalize his time in D.C. by possibly taking over for the injured Alex Smith this week. The 2019 15th overall pick has struggled to show any promise, but his off the field troubles seem to be giving him the most issues with his development. Rumors have arose that Haskins is not the “first in, last out” type of leader that Ron Rivera is looking to take over the franchise.

Solution: Draft QB – this new front office in Washington should take their chance to pick their guy, wherever they end up picking in the first round.

Best Fit: Trey Lance – the WFT will likely be picking outside the top 10, especially if they can win the NFC East. Lance will likely be the 4th QB off the board and will bring the mentality Rivera is looking for.

San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo – 29 Yrs Old | 22-8 in 4 Yrs with 49ers

2021 Cap Hit: $26,400,000 (Through 2022 but potential out following this year)

Jimmy G. has accomplished a lot in San Francisco, but has not been the most available QB over the past 4 years. He has had a slew of unlucky injuries including an ACL tear and a bad ankle sprain. He has only played in 30 games in 4 years as the 49ers QB, but went 13-3 in his only full season with the team and nearly won the Super Bowl.

Solution: Draft – Shanahan can’t keep taking the blame for having to start a backup QB 34 out of the 64 games he has been the head coach. It is time for him to get his guy in the draft this year. Jimmy Garoppolo can be cut or traded with little harm to the teams salary cap.

Best Fit: Kyle Trask – the 49ers and WFT will likely be moving up and down the draft order in the next few weeks. Shanahan has two 1st round picks and could use one on the Florida QB.

Answer is On The Roster

Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz – 28 Yrs Old | 35-32-1 in 5 Yrs with Eagles

2021 Cap Hit: $34,673,536 (Through 2024 with Potential Out after 2021 resulting in $24M Dead Cap)

The Eagles have a monumental decision to make, but really don’t have many good options. It is far too early to tell if Hurts is the guy in Philadelphia, but he should get a nice try-out for the remaining 3 games. If Hurts can truly impress then he may prove to be the guy in Philadelphia, however, he has not done that after 1 win against the Saints. The Eagles are in contract hell when it comes to Wentz, and his salary could be impossible to move. Just a year ago they signed him to a massive deal with over $59M left in guarantees. If Hurts is truly the guy, then the only option the Eagles have would be to trade Wentz This would save roughly $25M, but cost the Eagles over $35M in Dead Cap over the next two years.

Solution: Carson Wentz – Eagles fans aren’t going to want to hear this, but the contract is likely too big to move and he has also shown a lot of upside through his young career. There is a clear reason why they gave him such a big contract, which is why it is best to stick with him. This is an organization that would benefit from a culture change and new coaching staff, not a complete rebuild.

Chicago Bears

Mitchell Trubisky – 27 Yrs Old |27-20 in 4 Yrs with Bears

2021 Cap Hit: $0 (Pending UFA following this season)

Nick Foles – 32 Yrs Old | 2-5 with 1 Yr with Bears

2021 Cap Hit: $6,666,666 (Through 2022 with potential out after 2021)

The Bears are in a tricky situation. Early in the season Coach Nagy turned to Nick Foles, despite Trubisky year 2-0. In week 10 Foles went down with an injury and Trubisky has been 1-2 since, but has thrown for over 240 yards each week. Trubisky is looking like the QB they drafted, but the team already rejected his 5th year option and have too much tied into the Foles contract to pay him meaningful money to stay. If Mitch continues to improve and win the Bears will be in the worst QB situation in the NFL.

Solution: Mitchell Trubisky – this team is a dumpster fire and gave up on Trubisky too soon. If he walks the team won’t have much to do besides keeping Foles and trying to bring in a young, cheap QB to possibly take over in the future. The Bears likely will need to fire Nagy and Pace, unless they make the playoffs.

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees – 42 Yrs Old | 140-85 in 15 Yrs with Saints

2021 Cap Hit: $36,150,000 (Final Year)

Brees played well this season, as he went 7-2 prior to suffering a serious rib injury in Week 9. He was completing 73.5% of his passes and had thrown for 18 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions, and none of the TDs to Michael Thomas. Brees is well past the prime of his career, but has proven that he can still hang around the league. However, durability is a huge concern as Brees hasn’t eclipsed 12 regular season appearances since turning 40. The Saints are a great team this year and Brees could go out like Peyton Manning, but regardless of the outcome, he will likely retire.

Solution: Taysom Hill – he has exceeded expectations since arriving in New Orleans and the fact that he is starting over Winston (and winning) gives me all the confidence in the world that Hill will likely be the placeholder until the Saints look for their QB of the future. Taysom Hill also carries a $16M Cap Hit in 2021, which is another telling sign that the Saints are invested.

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