Who still needs a quarterback?
The National Football League is a quarterback-driven league. In related news, water is wet and the sun will likely rise in the east tomorrow morning.
Teams needing quarterbacks is the most obvious cliché in football. Those who have one do well; those who don’t struggle. The Giants and Jets have had their fair share of struggles at the position, and have invested recent draft choices in trying to secure their futures (to varying success thus far).
Aaron Rodgers toyed with the idea of leaving Green Bay, via retirement or forcing a trade. But they paid him, so he stayed. And the Vikings extended Kirk Cousins (for some reason).
And Tom Brady did the Bucs a huge favor and un-retired. Meanwhile, the trade market has been ridiculous this offseason. In case you haven’t kept up, here’s a quick list of who’s landed where:
- Washington: Carson Wentz
- Denver: Russell Wilson
- Cleveland: Deshaun Watson
- Indianapolis: Matt Ryan
- Pittsburgh: Mitchell Trubisky
- Seattle: Drew Lock (giggle)
- Atlanta: Marcus Mariota
- Miami: Teddy Bridgewater
- NY Giants: Tyrod Taylor
- New Orleans: Jameis Winston (re-signed)
There are two notable quarterbacks who don’t appear to have a chair right now, and the music is slowing down.
Baker Mayfield asked out of Cleveland when it appeared they wanted Watson; the Browns denied his trade request… and then traded for Watson and gave him a massive contract.
And Jimmy Garoppolo figured to be traded by the 49ers at some point this offseason, but he’s still hanging around San Francisco. With all of the other moves, it will be interesting to see where Mayfield and Jimmy G find their next opportunity.
So, who still needs a quarterback? And how might it influence their approach to the 2022 NFL Draft?
The Panthers own the sixth overall pick in the first-round of this year’s NFL Draft. They were in on Watson and lost. Will they pivot to using that high a pick on Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis? We can’t imagine they’ll roll into another season with Sam Darnold at the top of their depth chart.
No, Drew Lock isn’t the answer (sorry Lock family). The trade of Wilson to Denver indicates the Seahawks are moving forward into a new era, and they’ll need someone to lead it. Thanks to the Wilson trade, the Seahawks now own the ninth overall selection in the first round as well as back-to-back selections in the second round (Nos. 40 and 41).
Houston selected Davis Mills in the third-round last year. The former Stanford Cardinal threw 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a rookie last year. Thanks to the Watson trade, the Texans now own picks No. 3 and 13 overall in the first round. Will they roll the dice on Mills for another year or take one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s class?
Are we buying the Falcons two-year deal with former Heisman Trophy-winner Mariota as the solution to their Matt Ryan problem? They went for it on Watson and it backfired; now the best quarterback to ever wear a Falcons’ jersey is in Indy and they have a third-round pick and more than $40 million in dead cap space to show for it. Atlanta owns the 8th pick in the first round and two second-round selections (Nos. 43 and 58).
Three other teams who might address their long-term quarterback situations in the draft are the Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers. Each has a starter in place — Jared Goff, Winston and Trubisky — but all three could take a younger player in the draft to develop behind their incumbent.