By: Lucas Kochevar
Quarterbacks tend to be the biggest topic of conversation for football and it makes complete sense. They're the number one most valuable player on the team, even if they aren't the best. The Los Angeles Rams are a great example for this in regards to their recent success. Despite having the best player on the planet in Aaron Donald, the topic of discussion revolved around the quarterback until they won their Super Bowl. The Vikings have the offensive player of the year with Justin Jefferson, but the discussion leads back to how Kirk Cousins can't win the big one. This offseason will feature a ton of movement with quarterbacks looking to find new homes. Teams will be working to plug-in the best option, even if that option isn't great. Quarterbacks like Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo are guaranteed to find new teams. MVP winners Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers are also possibly on the move. Similar to the first-ever LK League Notes, I'll be looking around the league to see what the QB market is like.
The veteran quarterback could be on the move this offseason as the Green Bay Packers are reportedly "done with him," per longtime Packers beat reporter Bob McGinn. This is the second consecutive offseason that the Rodgers-Packers relationship has been in question. These type of rumors are troublesome when they come back around for a second time. Despite playing below his standards, the 2021 MVP put up solid stats with 3,695 yards and a 13-6 TD/INT ratio. His age and contract are still a concern for many as he has talked about weighing his options regarding retirement. Rodgers seems like he's still a ways off from that, but with how outspoken he is nowadays it's hard to say whether or not he's bluffing. I believe Rodgers fits best with the New York Jets. His former OC Nathaniel Hackett missed out on getting him when he was with the Broncos. With Hackett on New York's staff, I could see the Jets being in on Rodgers. A dark horse candidate would be the 49ers if Trey Lance and Brock Purdy are still dealing with the long-term injuries.
The Lamar saga has been equally as interesting as Rodgers in Green Bay. Jackson and the Ravens have been talking out a contract extension for years now. No agreement has come to fruition as it seems like the sides are too far apart on the money, mainly the guaranteed money. One of the biggest reasons for the disparity actually comes from another team in the division. The Cleveland Browns threw a monkey wrench in the QB market when they fully-guaranteed Deshaun Watson's contract. This set the precedent that special, young quarterbacks should demand fully-guaranteed contracts. Another issue about Watson's contract extension is all the baggage he had while still getting that massive deal. Jackson doesn't have those issues following him, so naturally he's asking for more. The Ravens aren't unreasonable on their side of negotiations either. Since his MVP campaign, he's been in and out of the lineup and as a result, his passing numbers have all gone down. With that being said, I would be willing to pay him and I think another team will be as well. The Falcons are the biggest team with buzz around Jackson. If he goes anywhere outside of Baltimore, I also think Atlanta makes a ton of sense.
Derek Carr finishes up a long tenure with the Raiders and finds himself on the open market for the first time in his career. The interest in Carr is surprisingly high with the New York Jets pitching a "Hall of Fame career" after they win a Super Bowl together. Seems a bit ambitious for a team that hasn't made the playoffs in over a decade, however I can understand the thinking. The Rams just did a similar thing with Matthew Stafford after they saved him from the Lions. Now it's a completely different situation that Carr would be walking into, but it's still an improvement for both sides. The Jets were missing a quarterback last year as Zach Wilson cemented himself as a bust. If you plug-in Carr to the Jets, they could have made the playoffs last season. Outside of the Jets, Carr would make a ton of sense for teams in the NFC South. The Saints seemed to be out of it as they didn't make a deal with Carr after his visit. Carr fits Frank Reich's mold for a veteran quarterback that needs a new home in Carolina. Ridder isn't solidified as the starter in Atlanta. Lastly, the Buccaneers have Kyle Trask as their starter right now. Any of these spots make sense for Carr, but I really can see him chasing a contract in New York while failing to meet expectations.
The Rest of the Field
Outside of the three guys above, there are a number of wild card guys for teams to take a chance on. Geno Smith is one of these guys, but the feeling seems to be that he will be franchise-tagged by the Seahawks. Daniel Jones is a strange case. On one hand, he just helped lead his team to a playoff berth and win. Even if you credit Daboll with his production, Jones still showed enough to garner interest from other teams. The tricky part is the price tag because I think the Giants would be willing to meet him somewhere in the middle. If Jones' asking price is goes past $35 million, then I think they'll be okay to let him walk. In the end, I could see Jones being franchise-tagged. The next guy is Jimmy Garoppolo, who is certainly leaving the 49ers this offseason. Garoppolo is a system QB through and through, but sometimes that's all you need. He could play a very solid style of ball for a team on the cusp of the playoffs, maybe the Commanders. Ryan Tannehill is also another name to watch, but I'm not sure he'll be moved this offseason.
The guys listed above are players that I think could start and have some sort of impact. There are some journeyman guys out there as well. Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold come to mind as they both had solid endings to their seasons. Jacoby Brissett and Andy Dalton are some veterans that played in action last year. The last name I want to mention is a fan favorite and I would love to see him get a shot, Gardner Minshew. He came on late in the year for the injured Jalen Hurts and showed flashes. A spot that makes a ton of sense for him is the Colts with former Eagles OC Shane Steichen as the head coach there. The Colts are likely to target a QB in the draft, but if they need a bridge guy to mentor, Minshew is right there.
Sources: Images via G Fiume, Getty Images. Andrew Graham, On3. Tyler Sullivan, CBS Sports.