NFL Free Agency 2020: Ranking the top quarterbacks looking for a team after Tom Brady signs with Buccaneers
There are plenty of quarterbacks looking for a new team, but not many starting jobs available
Plenty of dominoes have fallen among the quarterbacks in NFL free agency over the past few days, with Tom Brady the biggest one to tumble after he chose the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Brady at Tampa Bay, Jameis Winston will no longer be the Buccaneers starting quarterback, a position he's held for the past five seasons.
Winston will join a crowded quarterback market in free agency, as there are many starting quarterbacks from 2019 looking for a job for 2020. There's one problem: there just aren't that many starting quarterback jobs available.
There are former first-round picks who are going to miss out on a starting job next season, and two may be No. 1 picks (one of which hasn't even turned 31 yet). It just goes to demonstrate how crazy the NFL quarterback carousel can be.
Here are the top quarterbacks who are searching for a new team and the teams that can still add a quarterback:
Top four QBs who need teams
1. Cam Newton
Newton clearly has the most accomplished resume of the bunch, yet it's hard to fathom he may be left out of a starting job in 2020. Despite throwing for 29,941 yards and 182 touchdowns, running for 4,806 yards and 58 touchdowns, and winning the 2015 NFL MVP award, there's a good chance Newton won't start for any team.
The Panthers decided his services were no longer required as they continue to seek a trade partner for Newton. With the Bears trading for Nick Foles, Newton only has a handful of places where he can start. Perhaps teams are waiting for Carolina to release Newton and his $21.1 million salary on the books for this season.
For Newton's sake, Carolina should do the right thing and release him. Give Newton a head start on finding his next team.
2. Jameis Winston
With Brady signing with Tampa Bay, Brady replaces Jameis Winston as the Buccaneers' starting quarterback. So where is Winston going to land now that he's on the market?
Winston is just 26 years old and is coming off a career high in passing yards (5,109) and touchdown passes (33), but also threw 30 interceptions and became the first quarterback to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in NFL history. Turnovers have always been the problem with Winston, who has thrown 88 interceptions and fumbled the ball 50 times (losing 23) in just 72 games (that's 111 turnovers for those counting at home).
Winston has shown his immense talent, but he has also proven highly frustrating when it comes to his decision-making. Whichever team signs Winston to be its starting quarterback will play the high-risk, high-reward game. Or Winston can go the Ryan Tannehill route and hope to win a starting job over the course of the season.
3. Andy Dalton
Dalton was benched with the Bengals last season, only to regain his starting job back for the worst team in the NFL. After nine seasons, Cincinnati is ready to move on from Dalton and the remaining $17.7 million on his contract (the final year). Doesn't hurt the Bengals have the No. 1 overall pick and are in prime position to select LSU's Joe Burrow as their next franchise quarterback.
Dalton has thrown for 31,594 yards and 204 touchdowns in nine seasons, but has finished with a passer rating over 90 just twice. There's a market for the 32-year old, three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, which should heat up now that Brady is in Tampa.
It would be better for Dalton if Cincinnati just released him.
4. Joe Flacco
There's little to no chance Joe Flacco will be a starting quarterback in 2020. Those days are over for the former Super Bowl MVP, who was waived with a failed physical designation from a neck injury that caused him to miss the final eight games of last season.
The market will be strong for the 35-year old Flacco, as a backup quarterback. He may be the best backup quarterback in the league once he finds his new home and should be able to extend his NFL career a few more seasons.
Six teams that need quarterbacks
For the first time since 1993, the Patriots will be looking for a starting quarterback. This is the premier job on the market, leading a prestigious franchise in the post-Brady era. The Patriots job will bring a lot of pressure with the championship aspirations and Bill Belichick as head coach, but this is the franchise that still competes for division titles and Super Bowls (New England has won 12 consecutive AFC East titles).
So which quarterback will Belichick choose? Jarrett Stidham is a strong possibility, but the Patriots feel he may not be ready heading into Year 2. Dalton would be an ideal fit in New England, although it's hard to count out a healthy and motivated Newton.
2020 starting quarterback prediction: Dalton
The Chargers are reportedly moving forward with Tyrod Taylor in 2020 after missing out on Brady. That suggests they intend to take a quarterback in the draft.
While the free agent quarterbacks may be an option, Winston is a very intriguing candidate for that job. At just 26 and with Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen to throw to, Winston could resurrect his career on a one-year deal in Los Angeles.
The Chargers need some excitement heading into their new stadium.
2020 starting quarterback prediction: Winston
The Dolphins committed to Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter for 2020, at least by the $8 million cap hit they are taking on to keep him around. Fitzpatrick can be the bridge signal caller the Dolphins can use until their next franchise quarterback is ready (Miami currently holds the No. 5 pick in the draft).
Plans change and the Dolphins have plenty of cap room, but don't expect them to enter the market for any one of these quarterbacks. Winston may be intriguing, even though he'll have other offers.
2020 starting quarterback prediction: Fitzpatrick
The Redskins aren't married to Dwayne Haskins as their starting quarterback, especially since Ron Rivera didn't draft him. Rivera has a long history with Newton as he was the quarterback Rivera drafted when the Panthers had the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.
Perhaps Newton will be the bridge quarterback the Redskins will have if they draft a quarterback at No. 2 overall. Haskins' D.C. future is questionable after a shaky rookie season.
2020 starting quarterback prediction: Newton
Jacksonville traded Nick Foles in order to give Gardner Minshew the starting quarterback job. The Jaguars could bring in a veteran quarterback to back up Minshew, but the 2019 sixth-round pick is the starter going forward.
If Minshew struggles in 2020, we may be having a different conversation this time in 2021.
2020 starting quarterback prediction: Minshew
The Bengals are moving on from Dalton to draft Joe Burrow with the first overall pick, who will start Week 1.
2020 starting quarterback prediction: Burrow
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