Free Agency

2018 QB Matchmaker

San Francisco turned their season around by getting what looks to be the right man under centre.  Houston’s season went down the plug hole when their QB went down injured and out for the rest of the season.  These are two cases of many which show why getting the right QB is so important to the success of an organisation.  True, there are some teams that have won the Super Bowl despite a lack of quality at the QB position.  But these are the exceptions rather than the rule. Defence win’s championships they say, well, franchise QBs win more.

There are a good few teams that will need a new QB going in to the 2018 season and in fact there are a good number of QBs that might enter free agency (contract negotiations pending).  Of course, teams can look to the draft and there’s going to be plenty of draft talk on this and many other sites over the next few months.  For now, though, I want to look at the QBs that could enter free agency or QBs where trade talk has been rife and the teams where they might end up.

Drew Brees

Yes sir, Brees’ contract is coming to an end again.  The future hall of famer is a hero in New Orleans after helping turning the franchise around shortly after Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of the city.  I personally think that he signs a one-year extension and the Saints bring in a new QB via the draft that can sit behind Brees for a year and learn.  Either that or he retires.  The Saints are looking good going in to 2018 if they can keep him and if they do win the Super Bowl then I would strongly suspect that Brees rides off into the retirement sunset.

Kirk Cousins

Cousins will be the most sought after QB hitting the market and he’ll probably eclipse Jimmy G as the highest paid player in the league.  Probably every team in need of a QB will be after him but those in a ‘win now’ might make the biggest play.  For me, that boils down to three teams – the Broncos and the Vikings

Elway has proved that he’s not afraid to being in a big free agent QB when he bought in the biggest QB free agent of all time when he signed Peyton Manning.  What he’s also proved is that he can’t draft talented QBs so this might be the safer option for the Broncos!  A move like this would also allow them to focus on other areas of the team in the draft, notably the o-line and running back position.

The Vikings situation depends on what they do with the current stable of QBs.  All three are at the end of their deal, chances are they keep one of them but if they don’t, this would be a very attractive place for Cousins to land.  Not only will he be playing with a top defence but he’ll have three great receivers to throw at (Diggs, Thielen and Rudolph) as well as a decent running game to lean on should he need to.  I’ve heard various commentators say that Cousins is very keen on this possibility.

Sam Bradford

The enigma.  Every so often he looks like the No.1 draft pick that he once was.  Then he gets injured and it’s lights out for his season.  All three of the Vikings QBs are coming to the end of their contracts and I think Bradford will be the first one out of the door (unless he brings down his price substantially).

The Browns have long been linked with Bradford from way back into his Eagles days.  I think this makes sense as well.  They have a tonne of cap space so can afford to pay him the money that Bradford is accustomed to.  If he’s fit (which is a big if), then he’s got a good strong frame which will sit well in the AFC North.  He’ll also have some decent receivers to pass to and an alright running game.  I think if the Browns do pick someone up in free agency (or via trade) then they also take someone in the draft as well to sit behind him.

If Bradford is willing to take less pay (which he should given he’s not had enough quality to warrant $20m plus per year) then it could bring the Cardinals into play.  The Cardinals haven’t got a tonne of cap space but they do have an intriguing team for him to join with the ageless Fitzgerald giving it another go in 2018 and David Johnson hopefully back to fitness to provide a running game.  It could be that Bradford agrees to a cheap one year ‘prove it’ deal and joins them.  Without something though, there are no QBs in Arizona on contract for 2018.

Case Keenum

Carrying on with the Vikings QB we have Case Keenum.  2017 has been Keenum’s best season and he’s done a lot to increase his salary!  I hope for his sake that he doesn’t go to Cleveland but it’s a possibility!  I think Keenum is going to go to an organisation as a stop gap for a team that drafts a QB for development, so that could more or less be anywhere!

If Brees retires or leaves New Orleans, then the Saints would be a perfect landing spot for him.  There’s a great running game there and a strong o-line to protect him.  He’ll excel at finding Michael Thomas regularly and be able to use Kamara to dump the ball off to when he doesn’t see anything else.

Similarly, should the Jaguars decide to recognise the limitations to Bortles’ game then imagine having someone like Keenum there who doesn’t turn the ball over as much.  The Jaguars are a team that probably don’t have to have a superstar under centre and could still win as their defence is so so strong.

Lastly, he could stay in Minnesota and if he leads them to a Superbowl win he will likely stay put and carry on.

Tyrod Taylor

Taylor shouldn’t be on this list as he’s done well in Buffalo but no matter who the coach is there, it seems the Bills organisation doesn’t want him there and are open to trading him or even cutting him.

The Broncos seems to be the best landing spot for Taylor.  Their o-line quality will allow Taylor to make the most out of his scrambling abilities, much like Wilson does in Seattle.  Taylor will also not cost the most either and the Broncos aren’t exactly flush with cash below the cap space (circa $25m going in next season before the expected increase).

Teddy Bridgwater

This should be short and sweet!  Minnesota!

I think they keep in purple for next year.  Providing he proves he’s the same player he was before his long-term layoff the Vikings will carry on with him at the helm of the franchise.  I expect them to offer him a short term ‘prove it’ deal, maybe two years after which they can re-evaluate the situation.

There are others heading in to the off season but names like Sanchez, Manuel, Osweiler, Savage and Geno Smith doesn’t make for great reading!  Most of them will probably land a backup spot somewhere but I wouldn’t expect any of them to see serious game time!

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