Now that Super Bowl LIV is in the rearview mirror, we can finally turn our attention to the offseason. The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers made it to the championship game thanks to upgrades at the quarterback position. Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs won the MVP award last year in his first season as a starter, and picked up a Lombardi Trophy as well as the Super Bowl MVP award this year. For the 49ers, in his first full season as a starter, Jimmy Garoppolo helped take San Francisco from 4-12 to 13-3.
This offseason, teams still searching for a franchise quarterback will be examining the open market in hopes of signing someone who can take them to the next level, much like Mahomes and Garoppolo did for their respective teams. There are also franchises that are looking to hold on to future Pro Football Hall of Famers — such as the New England Patriots — and teams that are still wondering if they should re-up with their former No. 1 overall pick, like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Either way, this offseason has the potential to be entertaining when it comes to the quarterback position. Will Tom Brady opt to leave the Patriots? Who will start for the Tennessee Titans next year? Is Philip Rivers really done in Los Angeles?
The offseason is officially upon us, so what will happen with Tom Brady, Drew Brees and other star players? Jason La Canfora joins Will Brinson to break down all the biggest storylines for the next few months on the Pick Six Podcast; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Let’s take a look at the free-agent quarterbacks:
Brady is definitely the key free-agent quarterback this offseason. While he turns 43 in August, several teams would line up to sign the future Hall of Famer should he choose to leave New England. He’s clearly enjoying the attention, and sent the football world in a frenzy with a tweet that depicted him either entering or leaving Gillette Stadium. the Raiders are a team that will pursue Brady if he doesn’t re-sign with the Patriots. That could force New England to try and get a deal done. Buckle up.that aired at the end of the first quarter of Super Bowl LIV. The Patriots are reportedly willing to pay at least to keep Brady, but he wants that money put towards acquiring offensive weapons that could make a difference for New England. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter,
While Brees is not under contract, it’s not likely that he will sign somewhere other than with the New Orleans Saints. The 41-year-old has spent the last 14 seasons as the starting quarterback for the Saints, but is reportedly for the first time in his career. Is this just a part of contract negotiations, or is the NFL’s all-time leading passer really thinking about hanging up his cleats? Brees had another nice season in 2019, passing for 2,979 yards, 27 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 11 games. According to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, the Saints want to to Taysom Hill, who is a restricted free agent, when the time comes. That means it’s likely New Orleans will let another quarterback go this offseason — someone who is mentioned later on in this list.
The Dallas Cowboys and Prescott have been engaged in this weird song and dance for over a year now. The Cowboys’ owner has verbally guaranteed that Prescott will be given a lucrative extension, but it hasn’t happened just yet. , Prescott was ready to sign a longterm contract with the Cowboys before the 2019 season, and even early into it, but an offer that satisfied his palate never arrived. Prescott voiced his “confidence” in a deal being done soon, and Jerry Jones — along with team exec Stephen Jones — pulls no punches when it comes to voicing the “sense of urgency” in finally coming to terms with their franchise QB. The team wants to avoid using the $26.9 million franchise tag on Prescott, because although they can afford it, he doesn’t have to sign it; and likely won’t. Could Prescott hold out this offseason? It’s possible. Still, it seems likely he will stay in Dallas. Prescott did his part on the field in 2019, passing for a career-high 4,902 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Yet, the Cowboys finished 8-8.
Tannehill played himself into some money this season. The Titans traded for the former Miami Dolphins signal caller last offseason to back up Marcus Mariota, and he ended up taking over the position in Week 6. In 11 games, he passed for 2,742 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions, and helped the Titans win seven out of their last 10 games. Tannehill ended the regular season with the highest passer rating in the NFL, and he and Derrick Henry ended up taking the Titans to the AFC Championship game. The Titans will attempt to re-sign Tannehill to a multi-year extension or even utilize the franchise tag to keep him, but he could end up testing the open market, where he’s sure to generate interest.
You’ve probably read the reports indicating that the Los Angeles Chargers are ready to move on from Rivers, but nothing is official yet. While he’s been a fixture for the Chargers over the past 16 seasons, the 38-year-old had a tough season in 2019, throwing for 4,615 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions as the Chargers finished in last place in the AFC West with a 5-11 record. . According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, who reported in November that Rivers and the Chargers would likely be parting ways, there’s “a lot of buzz” about Tampa Bay as a potential landing spot for Rivers. If that indeed happens, the Buccaneers would be parting ways with their former No. 1 overall pick …
The Buccaneers have a tough decision to make regarding Winston. Do they tab him as their quarterback of the future by offering him a lucrative extension, or do they try to look for something better? Winston is a polarizing prospect. While he led the NFL in passing yards with 5,109 and also threw 33 touchdowns, he led the league with 30 interceptions. It was often times boom or bust for the 26-year-old. Back in December, head coach Bruce Arians fielded questions about Winston and his future with the team — and while Arians and the organization have not made a final decision yet, Arians made it clear that he believes.
“(Win) with another quarterback? Oh yeah,” Arians said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “If we can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one, too.”
While some people may take those comments as evidence the Buccaneers will not bring back Winston, it may be more of a negotiation tactic. Winston can be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL if he cuts down on the turnovers, but that is a huge if.
Mariota is expected to get some attention on the open market, but whether that’s as a Day 1 starter or as a backup remains to be seen. He threw for 1,203 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions for the Titans before being benched for Tannehill this season. It ended up being the right decision, as Tennessee then won seven out of its last 10 games and made it all the way to the AFC Championship game. Mariota’s rookie contract is up and it’s very unlikely that the Titans will re-sign him, so he’s free to explore greener pastures. The former No. 2 overall pick did have an incredible second year back in 2016, as he threw for 3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions, but he was unable to build on those marks. In fact, he’s thrown just 31 touchdowns over the last three seasons combined. Mariota definitely has potential, and it will be interesting to see which team decides to take a flier on him.
Bridgewater might be the most underrated quarterback hitting free agency. He’s played in just 14 games for the Saints over the past two seasons, but has stepped up when called upon. After Brees went down with his hand injury in Week 2, Bridgewater stepped in and won the next five games. The Saints didn’t miss a beat with Bridgewater under center and he was a big reason New Orleans went 13-3 and won the NFC South. In all, he passed for 1,384 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions in 2019. As previously mentioned, the Saints are more enticed by their Swiss Army knife instead of the proven Bridgewater, which means he should be free to sign with any team. The former first-round pick appears to be fully recovered from the devastating leg injury he suffered with the Minnesota Vikings back in 2016, and he seems completely capable of escorting a franchise into the future. He’s only 27 years old!
The rest of the bunch:
Matt Moore (Kansas City Chiefs)
Colt McCoy (Washington Redskins)
A.J. McCarron (Houston Texans)
Josh McCown (Philadelphia Eagles)
Blaine Gabbert (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Sean Mannion (Minnesota Vikings)
David Fales (New York Jets)
Cody Kessler (New England Patriots)
Chad Henne (Kansas City Chiefs)
Joe Webb (Houston Texans)