A contract isn’t done just yet, but Drew Brees’ return for the 2020 season will presumably take place in New Orleans. That decision figures to have a domino effect throughout the league. With that in mind, let’s follow that trail as we approach an offseason lining up for some movement at the most important position in the game.
- The trade market will take off at some point this offseason, with Cam Newton and Andy Dalton taking center stage. NFL Network Ian Rapoport offers up some insight on what could happen with these veteran starters who could be playing elsewhere in 2020:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 18, 2020
- Rapoport foresees a scenario where the New England Patriots are a trade partner for the Cincinnati Bengals in the hunt to acquire Dalton. As we’ve discussed, the Bengals reportedly are willing to work with Dalton on a possible trade “when the time is right.” That timetable has yet to be announced, and there is a possibility it won’t get ironed out until after the smoke clears on the free agent front. Dalton could be an ideal fit for the Patriots if Tom Brady leaves for greener pastures (and a whopping paycheck).
- Marc Sessler (NFL.com) has nine unique scenarios on his wish list for quarterbacks this offseason, including one in which the Bears trade for Cam Newton. Sessler believes the Bears must offer corrective action after watching Mitch Trubisky sputter in 2019 while Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes took their games to another level. Sessler envisions a summertime camp battle between Newton and Trubisky, one which treats Trubisky as “a low-tier starter begging for camp competition.” That’s harsh.
- Adam Jahns of The Athletic goes into the way-back machine to uncover what happened with the quarterbacks who have been traded over the years as an avenue to explore the Bears’ possible trade options:
In the past 10 years, nearly 50 quarterbacks have been traded.
Some teams found veterans who became entrenched for years.
Others gave up on their high-round pick for other options.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) February 17, 2020
- Dalton, Newton, Derek Carr, Nick Foles, and Alex Smith are all viable trade options. None are perfect at this stage of their careers, but each brings something to the table that could constitute an upgrade at the position. Maybe the MVP upside of Newton is enticing. Perhaps the operational knowledge of how to run Matt Nagy/Bill Lazor’s scheme that Smith, Foles, and Dalton provide can be intriguing. Or it is possible the high-floor and contract certainty that comes with Carr is preferred. It’s not as if the Bears don’t have options. It’s just that they are clearly limited.
- For what it’s worth, Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner believes Trubisky should get more time to hone his craft (h/t Bears Wire):
- To be fair to Warner, his opinion is rooted in his own experience. And I must say I respect that perspective. Warner explains how he needed playing time elsewhere (the Arena League, NFL Europe) to grow into the quarterback he would ultimately become. Warner was a one-year starter at Northern Iowa, but bounced around until he landed in the perfect scenario. Things took off from there, leaving us with the cautionary tale of how a player can take his game to another level if they are given enough time and reps early in their career.
- Over at PFF, Solomon Wilcots lays out paths for the top quarterbacks in this draft class to become successful. Of the quarterbacks who could land on the Bears’ radar on draft weekend, Wilcots sees Utah State’s Jordan Love as a project. He goes on to put him in a category of players who must still develop and will likely get off to a slow start. There’s arm talent and athleticism there for Love, it’s just that there are notable kinks to work out in his game. And while the Patrick Mahomes comp has been dropped by some, the comparison to Jimmy Garoppolo here feels more apt. Garoppolo was a second-round pick who needed time to develop behind Tom Brady before ultimately growing into a starting quarterback. Because of Love’s issues, he feels more like a Garoppolo than a Mahomes. Though maybe the upcoming scouting combine will change someone’s opinion.
- The runway is now clear for Teddy Bridgewater to spread his wings, take off, and snag a starting quarterback gig of his own. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets multiple teams expect the 2015 Pro Bowler to have a “strong” market when free agency opens up. Bridgewater could appeal to teams in search of a bridge quarterback who can take the reins while a rookie who is selected in an upcoming draft develops behind him. He could also take over as a possible long-term starting solution for a team that believes it is a quarterback away from doing something special.
- Bridgewater has the feel of a high-floor quarterback who plays smart and safe football, but can also make throws downfield when asked. How consistently he would be able to do that without the likes of Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas as playmakers or Sean Payton as a head coach remains to be seen. However, Bridgewater’s first-round pedigree and prior success with the Vikings suggests he is a capable quarterback.
- As for the cost of doing business, it varies (to say the least). Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio notes that Fowler made appearances on ESPN’s platform saying he could make $30 million per year on his next deal. That would be a major commitment for a team to make on a quarterback who hasn’t been a team’s primary starter since 2015. Spotrac’s “market value” estimates Bridgewater getting a 3-year deal with an average annual salary of $20 million. PFF’s contract projection via OverTheCap.com is far more conservative, with an estimated two-year deal worth $9 million that includes $10 million in guarantees. It just takes one team to drive that market through the roof, though.
- Jameis Winston is another quarterback whose market could go boom or bust. And perhaps in an attempt to envision a brighter future, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports Winston underwent LASIK eye surgery to repair his nearsightedness. It’s one of those “can’t hurt, could help” scenarios that could be good for a guy who threw 30 interceptions (along with 30 touchdowns) last season).