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Quarterback Carousel Spinning Again

March 9, 2023
players on the move March 2023 NFL football

The offseason preceding the NFL’s 2022 campaign featured quarterbacks on the move, and the carousel at that position is starting to spin faster in 2023.

It was pretty incredible how many recognizable names saw different mailing addresses in 2022. Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks to Denver Broncos) had results that were not great. Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans to Cleveland Browns), with his scandal/trade/record pact/ suspension arrived too late (and was too inconsistent) to get his new team to the playoffs. 

Neither Carson Wentz (Indianapolis Colts to Washington Commanders) and Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcon to Indianapolis Colts) were retained after awful seasons. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers (Sam Darnold) and New Orleans Saints (Andy Dalton over Jameis Winston) tried to make it work with those veterans, but didn’t sniff the playoffs.

 

Landing/Staying Spaces

There have been several quarterbacks either on the move, or remaining with their clubs. Derek Carr, benched by the Las Vegas Raiders at the end of last season, was cut and subsequently signed in NOLA at a hefty number to be the starter.

Daniel Jones of the Giants signed an extension (valued at $160 million/four years) to stay with New York, that after a rare playoff berth. Geno Smith, impressive in his first season as a starter in Seattle with the Seahawks, has a new deal ($105 million/three seasons) as well.

 

Next…

Before the March 15th start of free agency in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers need to come to a decision about one another’s direction. So, after the four-time league MVP went into a four-day darkness retreat to weigh his options, he has said that retirement is also an option.

Rodgers is 39 (same age as Jack Benny), and still believes he can play at an elite level if the situation is ideal. The New York Jets are trying to get him to New Jersey (see Brett Favre). 

Then, there’s Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, a non-exclusive franchise tag on the former MVP winner. A contentious subject during the season, even before Jackson’s knee injury cost him the latter part of 2022 (a loss at the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs).

Whether another team steps in with an offer remains to be seen.

If you trust Jackson and the Ravens to reconcile (and that the quarterback is healthy), Baltimore is a fat 22-1 (+2200) to win the next title, as per Super Bowl odds.

Some Needy Teams

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may give Kyle Trask a shot, now that Tom Brady (theoretically and again) has retired, while the Washington Commanders turn to Sam Howell…as of now.

Those aforementioned Carolina Panthers are in need, unless they believe in P.J. Walker. That’s what new coach Frank Reich has to determine. Meanwhile, the NFC South-rival Atlanta Falcons may (or not) stay with Desmond Ridder, who had an ‘iffy’ rookie season. 

Tennessee struggled, with the Titans blaming Ryan Tannehill, at least partially.

Obviously, the Las Vegas Raiders have a big hole in the Black Hole, as do the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, where rookie coach DeMeco Ryans needs to decide the fate of incumbent Davis Mills. The New England Patriots are apparently staying with Mac Jones, but they could also look to move on a quarterback.

 

Deft in the Draft?

The 2023 draft has some solid prospects at the position. The Chicago Bears have the top pick, but don’t need a quarterback. Justin Fields made positive strides in his second season.

It’s likely the Houston Texans take a quarterback with the second pick, while the Arizona Cardinals at No. 3 await a healthy Kyler Murray after his extension prior to last season.

Quarterback-desperate Indianapolis is fourth, Seattle (see Geno Smith) fifth and the Detroit Lions (entrenched with Jared Goff) are sixth. Then, a trio of ‘needy’ teams (Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers) choose in succession.

While the top three quarterbacks in the draft are Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Alabama’s Bryce Young (he’s the prohibitive favorite to be the first pick overall, according to NFL draft odds) and Kentucky’s Will Levis, Florida’s Anthony Richardson threw his hat (and arm) into the rings after a strong performance at the scouting combine. 

 

Best of the Rest

…and lest we forget the bevy of free-agent quarterbacks (some previously mentioned) who could be good fits with changes of venue, including Teddy Bridgewater, Jimmy Garoppolo, Andy Dalton, Taylor Heinicke, Jacoby Brissett, Sam Darnold, Carson Wentz, Marcus Mariota and Baker Mayfield.