Unlike anytime in recent memory, a surplus of quarterback talent has hit the free agent market. It is not uncommon for one or two big names at the position to be on the move – like Kirk Cousins in 2018 or former number-nine overall pick Josh Rosen in 2019 – but this year there is an inexplicable amount of available talent for teams to come and lap up. From reliable but aging veterans to former high draft picks still looking to make their mark on the league, it seems that everyone’s contract is set to expire this coming March.
For that reason, it’s time to have some fun at the expense of a few multi-millionaires by speculating about which team these QBs will end up signing. While I could go on for ages about each and every QB, for the sake of your time and mine, I will only be discussing the top three most interesting cases: Phillip Rivers, Jameis Winston and, of course Tom Brady.
Despite a Hall of Fame career, the Los Angeles Chargers – yep, still sounds weird – have decided to move on from their 15-year signal caller. This was a move that many saw coming considering that Rivers never actually made the move with the team to L.A., choosing instead to make the three-hour drive from San Diego each day. Expressing a desire to play for no more than two more years, there has been a significant amount of speculation surrounding where he will play out the rest of his career.
Even Rivers does not really know where he’s going to be tossing the pigskin next season. If the decision were up to me, I would choose to retire. He has already made almost 220 million dollars in his career – not counting brand deals and endorsements – money that is nearly impossible to spend within the constraints of a single lifetime. The only incentive for him to keep playing is to add a Lombardi trophy to his resume. But looking around the league, there is really no team that is just a QB away from winning it all. My advice – quit while you’re ahead, enjoy your life in Florida with your wife and kids and look forward to that gold jacket and Canton bust in seven years.
Oh Jameis, still running that bakery I see. Your turnovers are as popular as ever, but it looks like you’ve eaten just a few too many L’s. Winston is a fascinating case at QB; never before has there been such a feast or famine QB in the NFL. This past season, along with winning the passing title with his 5,109-yard season, Winston achieved the elusive 30-30 by tossing over 30 touchdowns and 30 picks in the same season.
With the expiration of his rookie contract looming, Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to decide what to do with the former number one overall pick. If I were a voice in the head of Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht, I would resign Winston to a short term two-year deal, getting him at a discounted price for about 18-20 million dollars a year. He has a lot of upside as a young QB, showing significant progression in year one of head coach Bruce Arians’ scheme that is likely to continue into year two if we believe Carson Palmer. If he morphs into the elite signal caller that he has the potential to be, you can sign him to a long term contract. If he doesn’t end up working out, you can use him as a stop-gap for the next young QB prospect. If you’re Winston in that situation, you accept that contract. While you may receive bigger offers from more desperate teams, those teams won’t have nearly the same dynamic receiving core. Your best chance to succeed and to win is to stay in Tampa Bay because only in Tampa are you throwing to the likes of WR Mike Evans and WR Chris Godwin.
Without a doubt the biggest storyline of this offseason is where Tom Brady is going to be playing in the upcoming season. The 42-year-old G.O.A.T. has expressed the desire to play until 45, giving him – if my math is correct – three more seasons until he hangs up the cleats for good. Despite bringing six championship rings to the New England area (which does NOT include New York F.Y.I.), GM and head coach Bill Belicheck has been reluctant to commit to his aging superstar. I believe that the rift between Brady and Belicheck is very much real and with owner Robert Kraft stuck in the middle between continued success and his adopted son, everything will work out in the end and Brady will play in a Patriots uniform for at least one more season.
This scenario playing out works in favor of both parties. For Brady, the only thing that would expand his legacy would be if he won more Super Bowls. New England gives him the best chance of doing so as ultimately it’s organizations that win championships, and there’s no better organization than the Patriots. For New England, after trading away Jimmy Garappolo for pennies on the dollar, they have no contingency plan set at QB. They would be forced to either bring in a middling free agent like Andy Dalton or Marcus Marriota, or to start fourth round pick, second year QB schmuck Jarrett Stidham. If they really wish to remain a contender going into next season, it would be best if New England brought Brady back.
To the dismay of football fans everywhere, I predict Brady will be back in red and navy blue next season.