This NFL offseason will see a ton of quarterbacks swap teams. This draft class is filled with talented passers, and a plethora of other arms will hit the market. This article is not a prediction of how this carousel will shake out, rather it is how I would handle each situation on each respective team.
It seems like the relationship between the Ravens and Lamar Jackson has severely deteriorated. Jackson is holding himself out of the playoffs due to a knee injury. The odds of these two sides reaching an agreement on a contract extension seem slim. So, what can the Ravens possibly do? They can franchise tag Lamar and prolong contract discussions, but what’s the point of doing that when there’s another similar signal-caller on a rookie deal that they could trade for?
We’ll revisit that last point later, but let’s begin with a trade that sends Lamar Jackson to the New York Jets. The Jets are a quarterback away from contending in the AFC, and their owner, Woody Johnson, is willing to make a big move to remedy that. So, the Jets send three first-round picks (2023-2025) to the Ravens in exchange for Lamar Jackson. The Jets then extend Jackson for five years and 245 million dollars, fully guaranteed.
So, who’s the aforementioned signal-caller that the Ravens could trade for to replace Lamar? That would be Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears. Fields is another dual-threat QB with massive potential. He would fit well in Baltimore. His price tag would certainly be high, but the Ravens would be able to afford him with their extra draft picks from the Jets. So, let’s say the Ravens send the Jets’ 2023-2024 first-round picks as well as their own second-round pick in 2025 for Justin Fields.
Why would the Bears pull such a move when Fields has been so productive for them? The fact is that the Bears have the worst roster in the NFC. Think of the Bears like this:
The unfortunate reality of this situation is that the Bears won’t be able to adequately build a team around Fields while he’s still on his rookie contract. They have a ton of cap space going into 2023 and the #1 overall draft pick, but this team’s potential won’t be realized until it’s time to pay Fields the big bucks. Thus, if they can trade him for multiple first-rounders, they should do it.
On top of that, Alabama’s Bryce Young is a phenomenal quarterback. In this situation, they would use their #1 pick to select him. Young has a live arm and top-notch pocket awareness. He is the passer you want to have in big moments. One may argue that his size (6’0″, 194 lbs) could lead to injuries for him, but one must acknowledge that Fields dealt with shoulder and hip injuries this past season. Bryce Young is as good as Justin Fields, if not better, and that’s truly saying something because Fields is great. So, the Bears draft Young and use their many assets to build around him.
QBs in the Draft
What should the Texans do with the #2 overall pick, then? Will Levis would be my choice. Levis could be the revelation of this draft class. He’s a burly 6’3″, 231 lbs with a howitzer for an arm. In 2021, he also flashed his impressive abilities on the ground. His 2022 stats don’t match his draft hype, and that’s because his supporting cast and play-calling at Kentucky didn’t allow him to be his best self. According to PFF, he had just a 3% turnover-worthy play rate under the pressure that he constantly faced. He’s a fiery leader by all accounts, and Houston would be lucky to have him.
C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State should be the next quarterback off the board. The Colts secure him by trading up one pick to #3. Stroud is an ultra-accurate passer who would have a solid offense around him in Indy.
As for the Panthers, they should take a chance on Florida QB Anthony Richardson. He is a project, but his tools are other-worldly. He has size (6’4″, 231 lbs), speed, and a strong arm. He’s raw, but a gamble like this could pay off big for Carolina. The Panthers should keep P.J. Walker around to start while Richardson develops.
Tom Brady might be on the way out of Tampa. He’s a free agent this offseason, and if he doesn’t win a championship, he could look for another team to chase a ring with. The Raiders make a ton of sense for Brady. Josh McDaniels would welcome him to Vegas with open arms. They have a receiving corp that features Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller. The Raiders passed on Brady three years ago, and they won’t make that mistake again.
For insurance, the Raiders also sign Jimmy Garoppolo, another McDaniels product from New England.
That leaves Derek Carr on the market, as it is unlikely anyone will attempt to take on his current deal. So, Carr finds his way to Tampa Bay to take Tom’s place. He could certainly step right in and make a difference there, as they boast Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and a staunch defense.
Geno Smith should get an extension from the Seahawks. Smith broke the franchise’s passing yards record this year with 4,282. He threw for 30 touchdowns against his 11 interceptions. He led all qualifying QBs with a completion percentage of 69.8%. He contributed 366 yards on the ground. He made the pro bowl and his team made the playoffs. The Seahawks would be foolish to let him leave.
The same goes for Daniel Jones of the New York Giants. Jones has been shaky throughout his career, but he proved his worth this season. He made the most out of a terrible Giants’ offense, as his leading receivers were Darius Slayton and Richie James. 3,205 yards and 15 touchdowns through the air doesn’t sound like much, but he had the worst group of receivers in the league. Period. On top of that, the man can really run. He took 120 carries for 708 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2022. He made the most of a poor situation, showing he can lead an offense with good coaching. He recently played phenomenally in the NFC Wild Card round, giving the Giants their first playoff win since 2012. Pay the man.
Onto the 2024 Draft
Some teams won’t strike QB gold this offseason, but that’s O.K. because the 2024 quarterback class looks stacked with Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and many other big names.
The Falcons will most likely roll with second-year Desmond Ridder next season. Their roster is subpar, and I’d expect them to wind up with Caleb Williams in 2024.
It has been rumored that the Commanders will start Sam Howell next season. It’s a smart move, as they’ll either find themselves with a steal in Howell or with a top draft pick in 2024.
As for the Saints, I think they should give Baker Mayfield a shot. Mayfield has impressed for the Rams late this season, and gambling on him for a year wouldn’t hurt.