The 2019 NFL season hasn’t even ended, and I have already found myself neck deep in quarterback rumors.
No need for a wordy intro. Let’s jump right into the deep end.
- Those pesky rumors and think-pieces connecting Marcus Mariota to the Bears aren’t going away any time soon: An NFL.com panel of insiders and analysts offered up logical landing spots for top tier free agent quarterbacks and they’ve got Chicago as the spot for Mariota, also projecting that incumbent starter Mitch Trubisky is “heading down a Mariota-like path in a hurry” … so they view the Bears taking a flier on one former No. 2 overall pick to back up another.
- It’s a roll of the dice that is similar to the one the Titans took in bringing in a former top-10 pick (Ryan Tannehill) to push behind Mariota. That fallback plan turned out to be a big win for Tennessee, which rode Tannehill (and Derrick Henry) all the way to the AFC title game. Even if you don’t like Mariota, the line of thinking is solid.
- For what it’s worth, the panel also lists Chicago as an ideal place for Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater, who torched the Bears in Week 7, has experience as a starter, and is about to be more than three years removed from a devastating knee injury that proved to be a setback in his career (one from which he’s since bounced back).
- Watching what happens with the Saints QB situation this offseason might be this spring’s most compelling storyline. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports New Orleans wants Drew Brees back as a starter, but adds that 2020 could be a transitional year that sets up super-utility player Taysom Hill to be the team’s quarterback in 2021. However, the Saints might have to force Hill into action sooner than that, as Florio also adds that Brees is “genuinely and seriously considering retirement.” Russell Wilson took a back seat to allow Brees to start the Pro Bowl last Sunday, which was a nice gesture, but one that won’t do anything to put out fires that Brees could call it quits. Three starting-caliber quarterbacks in one spot? Must be nice. Then again, two options could leave the picture at a moment’s notice. I guess we’ll have to stay tuned to find out.
- Maybe it’s just me, but I find it odd that Hill would be the heir apparent to Brees after New Orleans handed the keys to Teddy Bridgewater when Brees went down with an injury. It sure would be bold to hand the keys to someone with 15 career (regular + postseason) pass attempts and turns 30 on August 23. But Sean Payton clearly isn’t a run-of-the-mill coach, so perhaps we should expect the unexpected.
- A compelling conversation:
"Good for you Taysom Hill… cause it ain't everybody that comes out of college looking like a running back and not a quarterback. Where people will hang around for 6 and 7 years, until you get ready at age 31 and then hand you the damn franchise from Drew Brees" @bomani_jones pic.twitter.com/cyo2MITSeL
— HIGH NOON (@HIGHNOONonESPN) January 29, 2020
- Meanwhile the Chargers are set to hit the quarterback market as soon as it opens up:
The Chargers have “moved on” from Philip Rivers, per @JayGlazer.
38-year-old QB is set to hit free agency. He’s spent 16 seasons with the franchise. pic.twitter.com/ko2TmurExw
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) January 27, 2020
- During a media appearance, NFL on FOX insider Jay Glazer hears the Chargers have “moved on” from long-timer quarterback Philip Rivers. This news indicates the Chargers will have a new starting quarterback in 2020 as the team opens its first season as co-tenants at what will likely be known widely as “the new stadium where the Rams play.”
- The Chargers have been connected to quarterbacks via various mock drafts, which makes sense. That team needs to make a splash if it wants to grab any of the market share of available fans. Then again, they could opt for something bolder than bold. Frankly, I can’t get this out of my mind:
Cris Collinsworth on where Tom Brady lands: “How about the Chargers?” pic.twitter.com/rut3qnBM8z
— Judson Richards (@Judson1360) January 6, 2020
For clarity, Collinsworth didn't say likely destination, rather "If I had to guess… how about a wild guess, the Chargers."
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) January 6, 2020
- Another veteran quarterback who cold be on the move is Cam Newton. Over at The Draft Network, Trevor Sikkema views Chicago as a desirable destination for Newton … if he is healthy: “Newton’s throwing shoulder has been beaten up over the years – his body has in general. He just hasn’t looked like his old self of late. But there is a chance that the former MVP could have a few more championship pushes in him,” Sikkema explains. “If you get some of that back on a team like the Chicago Bears, you get a signal-caller with a lot of offensive weapons in a place and a defense to always keep him in games.”
- We are months removed from the reports Newton would welcome a trade to Chicago, but the Bears still seem like a logical landing spot. But to get there, there are medical hurdles to clear, as well as compensation for a player who still has a year left on his contract, not to mention the Bears would need to clear out salary cap space to make it happen.
- Andy Dalton is another name who could be made available on the trade market. With all signs pointing to the Bengals drafting Joe Burrow with the first overall pick, Dalton might as well have one foot out the door in Cincinnati. But according to Bengals Director of Player personnel Duke Tobin, the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback still has something left in the tank. “He came in and won for us immediately, and he’s certainly not done,” Tobin said on Ian Rapoport’s podcast. “He’s got a lot of talent, he’s got a lot of leadership. … We have the utmost respect and high regard for Andy Dalton and we don’t believe by a long stretch that his career is over.”
- Those sound like words coming from an executive curious as to if he can create some sort of trade market for a veteran on the final year of his contract before ultimately biting the bullet and cutting Dalton, and his $17.5 million base salary for 2020. Bold strategy, let’s see how it plays out.
- This would be a delightful pairing, if only for content purposes:
I heard Gruden was interested in Winston. We'll see how much, but going from Carr to Winston is quite the drastic philosophical change. https://t.co/Gf3gTVtyKz
— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) January 27, 2020