Videos by OutKick
If your team is already out of the playoff chase, nothing is more hopeful than the prospect of a new quarterback next season. I think eight clubs will be in the market. But let’s begin with four QBs who are going nowhere:
- Aaron Rodgers will again torture Green Bay with his off-season rope-a-dope, but he’s not going to walk away from a guaranteed $59.5 million.
- The Raiders will hang onto classy Derek Carr because his $33 million salary is a bargain, his building continuity with Josh McDaniels is invaluable, and they must apply resources to their shabby defense.
- Lamar Jackson and the Ravens will work out their differences.
- Daniel Jones would rather stay with Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka than squeeze every dime out of free agency. He’ll sign a short, moderately priced extension with the Giants.
Four QB-Hungry Clubs
Here’s my projected draft order with QB-needy clubs in bold:
- Detroit (from L.A. Rams)
- Seattle (from Denver)
Three quarterbacks graded nearly equally — Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis – will be drafted with the first four picks.
After Houston makes its selection, there will be ferocious competition for Chicago’s #2 pick. Detroit, fearful of being jumped, will pay a heavy price to move up one spot. (And the Bears will get the player they want, Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr.)
Likewise, Indianapolis and Carolina will compete for the third quarterback in rich offers to #4 Seattle.
The club left empty-handed will trade for Green Bay backup Jordan Love. Showcasing in the next few weeks will make Love a prized commodity. Indianapolis or Carolina will have the highest draft choice to exchange.
Three QB-Needy Teams Between No. 10 and 20
The next three QB hunters – Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Washington – are likely to draft between Nos. 10 and 20. Before, during and after the draft, they will choose among these options:
- Sign Jimmy Garoppolo in free agency
- Sign Jared Goff after Detroit cuts him
- Sit still in the draft and select either Florida’s Anthony Richardson or Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker.
Tom Brady, New Orleans … And The Rams?
No off-season drama would be complete without Tom Brady and the New Orleans Saints.
Brady will be a free agent in March and gives every indication of playing again. He couldn’t possibly return to Todd Bowles’ disorganized mess in Tampa Bay. He needs a team that’s just a QB away from Super Bowl contention, a team loaded with great coaching, superb pass protection and an excellent defense.
None of that is true in New Orleans, but that’s the creative package GM Mickey Loomis will attempt to sell him. Brady’s too smart for that bait. So the Saints, without a first-round pick, will hope Richardson or Hooker falls to them at the top of the second round.
So where does Brady land? Maybe Tennessee, where former Patriots teammate Mike Vrabel would give him comfort. Ryan Tannehill’s $27 million salary next year is not guaranteed and Malik Willis needs more development. Brady, for the same $30 million he accepted this season in Tampa Bay, would fit.
The wild card in this scenario is Kelly Stafford. If she persuades husband Matt to retire because of head injuries, what better place for Brady to end his career than Los Angeles?