This offseason is even more intriguing than the 2022 version when diving into the quarterback carousel. The search for a franchise / Super Bowl caliber Field General this year is fueled by a much more dynamic draft class. Now that Tom Brady has retired for the second and hopefully final time, the initial domino has fallen. The allows the Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, Lamar Jackson, Jimmy G, Geno Smith, Tua, Justin Fields, Sam Darnold, Zach Wilson, Daniel Jones, Carson Wentz, and Ryan Tannehill rumors to ramp up. The individual players aren’t the only storylines, because numerous teams have to decide how they want to structure their quarterback future.
I expect the fireworks to start very soon after the conclusion of the Super Bowl and the first to make their move will be Rodgers. His monumental decision will drive every other move on the NFL chess board. The one thing I know for certain is that he won’t retire. Once TB12 chose retirement, that option disappeared because we all know Rodgers doesn’t want his Hall of Fame Induction to be overshadowed by the GOAT in 5 years. This turns up the heat and actually gives the Packers front office some leverage. Now that we know the players involved in this modern odyssey, let’s take a look at their options.
AARON RODGERS: PACKERS
- Rodgers has a significant salary cap hit in 2023 and 2024. This is also magnified by a significant bonus due at some point during the offseason, but must be paid prior to the 2023 season opener. There is no point in discussing him being released or a post June 1 cut to save the Packers cap space, because that in essence is the Packers giving him away. If he wants to remain a Green Bay Packer and the front office wants him back, I am sure that will come with a restructured contract since as of February 4th, they are well over the projected salary cap. If he asks to be traded, his suitors will only be in the AFC. If that scenario takes place, expect the Raiders, Jets, Colts, and Titans to come calling with numerous draft picks. I don’t think Rodgers will want to be traded to the Jets, because that puts him on the same path as his predecessor Brett Favre. If Rodgers wants to stay, then that will signal Jordan Love being traded.
DEREK CARR: RAIDERS
- The situation in Vegas took a turn for the worst this past Fall. Derek Carr and Head Coach Josh McDaniels were never on the same page and the offense was inconsistent. Carr did throw more interceptions but the play calling was inexplicable at times. Davante Adams had a great season statistically, but there are chunks of critical games where he was never targeted and basically disappeared. This impacted Carr’s performance as well as injuries to Renfrow and Waller. He feels like he was stabbed in the back and based off of his Pro Bowl Games performance, he is focused on making them feel bad for their deceitful actions. This isn’t the first time we have seen an offensive coordinator of an All World QB get a head coaching gig and witnessed the offense fail miserably (McDaniels in Denver, Philbin in Miami, Hackett in Denver and Nagy in Chicago). They all were the Offensive Coordinator for Brady or Rodgers, but once they became a Head Coach, their offenses struggled. Carr is going to love teams pursuing him, but I think his best fits would be in Washington, New Orleans, Atlanta or Carolina.
LAMAR JACKSON: RAVENS
- The Lamar Jackson saga in Baltimore has been very unusual. He is an amazing quarterback and the face of the Franchise. This past season saw another injury shortened campaign amidst an expiring contract. This begs the question, did he turn down money in hopes of a stellar 2022, or are the Ravens offering less or adding incentives to protect them from injury concerns? He has asked to be involved in the teams search for a new offensive coordinator, so it shows he wants to remain a Raven. There are 3 options in this story; the first is that they agree on a long term deal soon, the second is that the Ravens place the Franchise Tag on him or the third is both parties walk away and he becomes a Free Agent.
JIMMY GAROPPOLO: 49ERS
- Jimmy G showed a lot of prowess in 2022 until his season was ended due to injury. In my opinion, he has been given a raw deal in San Francisco and is a capable quarterback. The team announced after their NFC Championship Game loss that they will move on without him and focus on Trey Lance and Brock Purdy. Ironically, both of those young QB’s will also enter 2023 coming off injuries. Jimmy G probably won’t score a large contract, but a deal to start and prove himself might be the best for all parties. Everyone is going to immediately say Jimmy should reunite with Josh McDaniels in Vegas. This would be much more team friendly to the Raiders, but in reality; how are Carr and Jimmy G any different? An intriguing team that might give Jimmy a call are the Miami Dolphins. Their head coach was on staff in San Francisco with him and Tua has a history of serious injuries and in my opinion, based on his concussions, he should retire.
GENO SMITH: SEAHAWKS
- This is a very easy move for Geno and the Seahawks, agree to an extension. Geno bet on himself and Pete Carroll put his trust in him immediately. He thrived early in the season and the team jumped out to an amazing start. They did have some regression as the calendar turned to November, but he was pretty solid. I wouldn’t be shocked if Seattle drafted a QB to develop, but they will resign Geno as their #1.
THE FIELD: OTHER QB’S ON THE HOT SEAT
- When looking at the remaining NFL Quarterback landscape, there are a lot of questions. The first question is around Tua’s health and if retirement is the best thing for him now and long term. His most recent concussion had him in the protocol for a month, not to mention the unfortunate events earlier in the season. Another young field general has rumors swirling around him in the Windy City. The Bears own the top pick in the NFL Draft, with Bryce Young and fellow Buckeye CJ Stroud staring them in the face. Do they trade Fields and move on or trade the top pick to build a team and move forward with Justin? Daniel Jones improved significantly under Brian Dabol and most likely earned himself an extension with the G-Men. The New York Jets on the other hand traded Sam Darnold a few years back and now Frank Reich and the Panthers must decide if he’s their franchise. When the Jets sent Darnold packing, the selected world renowned cougar hunter Zach Wilson as his replacement. The only scoring he has done in the Big Apple is off the field and the team prefers Mike White and Joe Flacco. In reality, the Jets are a real QB away and none of their current options on the roster right now can get them there. Another former high draft pick that has struggled immensely is Carson Wentz. He struggled on the field and to stay healthy in Washington. Tyler Heineke had his moments, but he isn’t the longterm answer for the Commanders. They have said they are moving forward with Sam Howell this offseason, but I doubt they will ignore the fact that Carr and Garoppolo are available. Another QB who has been ok, but definitely not a championship caliber trigger man is Ryan Tannehill. The Titans drafted Malik Willis, but didn’t play him down the stretch when Tannehill was out. I believe the Titans are looking to move on from Tannehill and know that Willis isn’t ready to take over. In a division where the Jaguars are ascending, can the Titans afford to waste Derrick Henry’s elite abilities with their current group? The Saints also have decisions to make around Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill and Andy Dalton. Who do they retain or do they clean house? The Buccaneers obviously have a major hole to fill as well and do they trust Gabbert or Trask.
The list of teams that are desperate to address their quarterback position is very extensive. I have listed every team below with how I think their situation will unfold come Week 1 (as of 2/4/2023).
- ATLANTA FALCONS: THE FALCONS DRAFT QB ANTHONY RICHARDSON AND CREATE COMPETITION WITH DESMOND RIDDER.
- BALTIMORE RAVENS: FRANCHISE TAG LAMAR JACKSON AND EVENTUALLY A LONG TERM EXTENSION.
- CAROLINA PANTHERS: THE PANTHERS WILL DRAFT QB CJ STROUD, BUT KEEP DARNOLD
- CHICAGO BEARS: JUSTIN FIELDS REMAINS THE STARTER
- GREEN BAY PACKERS: PACKERS TRADE AARON RODGERS TO THE RAIDERS AND START JORDAN LOVE.
- HOUSTON TEXANS: THE TEXANS WILL DRAFT QB BRYCE YOUNG
- INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: THE COLTS WILL DRAFT QB WILL LEVIS
- LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: RAIDERS TRADE FOR AARON RODGERS
- MIAMI DOLPHINS: JIMMY G SIGNS A DEAL AND REUNITES WITH MIKE McDANIEL.
- NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: THE SAINTS SIGN QB DEREK CARR
- NEW YORK GIANTS: DANIEL JONES WILL BE SIGNED TO A LONG TERM EXTENSION
- NEW YORKS JETS: THE JETS MOVE FORWARD WITH A ZACH WILSON / MIKE WHITE CONTROVERSY.
- SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: THE 49ERS MOVE FORWARD WITH TREY LANCE AND BROCK PURDY, BUT MIGHT NEED A JOURNEYMAN QB IN SEPTEMBER WHILE BOTH RECOVER FROM INJURIES.
- SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: GENO SMITH WILL BE SIGNED TO A LONG TERM EXTENSION.
- TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: ACQUIRE QB RYAN TANNEHILL FROM THE TITANS
- TENNESSEE TITANS: THE TITANS TRADE TANNEHILL TO TAMPA BAY AND SIGN MATT RYAN TO BACKUP / TUTOR MALIK WILLIS
- WASHINGTON COMMANDERS: THE COMMANDERS GO WITH SAM HOWELL AND TRADE CARSON WENTZ.
A wild card is Baker Mayfield in the quarterback odyssey. He could resign with the Rams based on Matthew Stanford’s health concerns. Another option is signing in Tampa Bay, Atlanta or Miami. If the Cardinals want to or think they can compete, they would be a nice spot to sign since Kyler Murray won’t be ready to play early in the year.
I fully expect these predictions to be major misses, but that is the beauty and drama of the NFL. If Aaron Rodgers remains a Packer, then it will be very interesting to see what team(s) think Jordan Love is worth the investment. The 49ers had better hope that Lance / Purdy are the answer because the team is Super Bowl caliber. Lastly, this years NFL Draft crop of quarterbacks is better than last year, but I am not sold on Levis or Richardson by any stretch.
Buckle up and let’s begin our annual quarterback odyssey!