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Eventually in the next couple of weeks and definitely by the March 16 start of the NFL’s new league year, some big name quarterbacks are going to make news.
And, barring a huge surprise, we know the names involved.
We just don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, as in who is going where and who is staying put.
But considering the options before anything happens is fascinating. So let’s do that. Let’s consider what will happen with the multiple quarterbacks who may or may not be on the move this offseason.
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Let’s take on this assignment in tiers because not all these players are equal. So top tier first:
Seattle’s Russell Wilson: After a week’s worth of drama about wanting to be traded early last year, he has so far said nothing to the Seahawks about wanting out this year. This is curious because the Seahawks were in a better position last year, coming off a winning season and holding draft capital, than they are now following a losing season and holding no first-round draft pick.
So would Wilson still prefer a break-up with the Seahawks? Probably
But is he going to force his way out? That’s hard to imagine at this stage because that simply isn’t his style. So the timing suggests Wilson is staying in Seattle (remember life and circumstances can, indeed, change) unless some interested team simply blows the Seahawks away with a trade offer.
And there are teams interested.
But any trade offer must includes a viable quarterback in return.
It would have to be something like Las Vegas offering Derek Carr.
Houston’s Deshaun Watson: The two opposing legal sides only this week came to an agreement on a schedule for completing depositions, and that was because a judge forced that agreement on them.
We are nearly a year past 24 women making allegations against Watson, and basically very little has happened other than lawyers racking up billable hours.
So timetables suggesting Watson will be legally cleared to play at the start of the 2022 regular season are starting to look hopeful at best, especially when we understand after the legal matters are resolved the NFL still might hand down a suspension.
The Texans still intend to ask for three first-round picks plus other trade capital to move Watson. And Watson, holding a no-trade clause, has to agree to whatever deal the team makes.
It remains a difficult situation with Watson, 27, about to cost whatever team gets him $35 million this year, with no certainty how many games he’d be able to play.
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers: If he is about to force his way out of Green Bay, he isn’t acting like it.
And at the moment, the Packers have no intention of trading Rodgers, but instead have made moves to entice Rodgers to return, including bringing quarterback coach Tom Clements out of retirement to give the MVP a good feel about who he’d be working with on the coaching staff.
The Packers last year made no promise to Rodgers to trade him if that’s what he wished, according to general manager Brian Gutenkunst.
“That was not something I told him,” Gutekunst, told beat writers Wednesday. “Again, I think the whole conversation with Aaron last season before he came back was that, regardless, at the end of this past season, that we would sit down as a group and we would work it out one way or another.”
The belief among many NFL people is Rodgers will likely return to Green Bay or retire but obviously Rodgers can surprise everyone.
San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo: He’s going to be traded if someone offers the 49ers a significant trade package that includes a first-round pick. That’s the 49ers’ stance, per a source, because they don’t really feel pressure to make any move at all.
Is this posturing to give themselves a strong negotiating position in trade talks? That’s unclear
The 49ers can easily keep Garoppolo and let him continue to play while Trey Lance continues to learn and develop. The rest of the team is playoff-caliber, so having a quarterback who has played in a Super Bowl and two NFC Championship Games is a luxury the 49ers believe they can afford.
Free agent Jameis Winston: You’re asking why he’s in the second tier and the fact is not because he’s awesome but because he’s probably the best of what’s left that will definitely be available.
Winston is working toward returning in time for the 2022 season, despite an ACL injury three months ago.
So some quarterback-hungry team — and there are several — will likely try to land him on a one-year deal. If multiple teams try this, Winston will have options and not just on a one-year deal.
Indianapolis’ Carson Wentz: ESPN reported he’ll be traded or cut before March 19 when the remaining $7 million of his $22 million base salary is scheduled to become fully guaranteed.
The problem with this is not the Colts trading Wentz. There will be a market.
The problem is replacing Wentz with someone better.
The Colts have a lot of talent but underperformed last year, especially in the season-ending loss to Jacksonville. So change is coming.
The question is whether upgrade is coming.
Falcons’ Matt Ryan: He’s a diminishing asset on a bad team that isn’t going to win a championship next year.
So despite the fact the Falcons have indicated Ryan isn’t going anywhere, it would make sense for them to move him and possibly get a second- and third-round pick in return.
Yes, someone would give that despite the fact Ryan is 37 years old.
Ryan would be an instant QB upgrade in Indy, Washington, Cleveland, Tampa Bay (over Blaine Gabbert), and Carolina.
Cardinals’ Kyler Murray: Social media drama aside, the quarterback and team have some work to do in their relationship.
It’s hard to believe the Cardinals would try to move Murray and if he hasn’t asked for that by now, following his wiping of his Instagram account, he’s not likely going to do it in the coming weeks.
The expectation here is both sides make nice and try to address issues each has with the other.
Lions’ Jared Goff: How’d you like to be him? Traded away from the team that won the Super Bowl. Traded to a team that’s terrible and may or may not really like you much.
The Lions need a better answer at quarterback and they know it.
Free agent Mitchell Trubisky: He’s expecting to get a chance to be a starter again and that makes sense because there are more teams needing starting quarterbacks than there are good starting quarterbacks.
Free agent Marcus Mariota: Most NFL teams understand he’s prone to injuries. That was his history as a starter and even as a backup with the Raiders. It’s one significant reason most teams won’t sign him to be their starter.
To compete for a starting role with another viable candidate? Yes.
To backup? Yes.
To absolutely start? Nope.
Free agent Teddy Bridgewater: The name says it all in that he’s a bridge quarterback to the next big thing. And he’s a good option as a backup because he has great makeup, he’s smart, he’s a leader, and he plays whatever role he’s given without complaint.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero