Seven quarterback moves needy teams should make before Week 1 to improve their depth
Teddy Bridgewater, Robert Griffin III and other backup quarterbacks who could be on the move
Sure, the situation with the Philadelphia Eagles was uniquely extreme in its end result, but every year the tenor of a season or two is dictated by how solidly a No. 2 quarterback can operate for a specific period of time during which the starter is out. And while we spent a large portion of the offseason discussing various hypothetical Foles trades, given the eventual return of 2017 NFL regular-season MVP candidate Carson Wentz to the lineup sometime early in the season, Foles was never the only prime candidate to be shipped off somewhere else to try to buoy another club's quarterback depth.
In fact, there is a certain irony, I suppose, in the fact that at the present time I can easily concoct a half-dozen potential trades involving backup quarterbacks that do not involve Foles. His trade possibilities are in fact limited currently by the fact that both he, suffering from a recent shoulder sprain, and Wentz, who missed a chunk of team practice this summer in his return from major knee surgery, have nebulous return dates from their injuries. The Eagles likely need all hands on deck (including blossoming third quarterback Nate Sudfeld) to open their Lombardi-defending campaign.
Yet the larger reality remains that there is a great disparity between the quality and quantity of serviceable NFL quarterbacks around the league. And the fact that easily eight teams that would fancy themselves true Super Bowl contenders have less-than-ideal backup quarterback situations only furthers the opportunities for future transactions. Consider the fact that there is also no shortage of teams with more passable NFL quarterbacks than they likely intend to carry in Week 1, and the trade scenarios really begin to spin.
It only stands to reason that after a winter and spring that saw unprecedented quarterback movement at all degrees of the market, even more shuffling remains ahead of us with one of the busiest trade flashpoints on the NFL calendar just a few weeks ahead in roster cutdowns. Recall just a few months ago, through every measure of acquisition possible -- playoff quarterbacks being traded, playoff quarterbacks signing with new teams, a record-tying number of passers selected in the first round -- how many teams made one move or another to add quarterbacks. The corollaries to those machinations are on the horizon, with some teams now more stocked than they likely need to be, and others, through injuries or declining production or youngsters just not ready to step up, finding themselves needy with the games that matter only weeks away.
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Frankly, even the most hardcore of fans would be shocked by some of the names that sit second on NFL depth charts at the most critical position in all of sports. Prepare to shudder and shiver as you read what is to follow, as I make the case for seven quarterback transactions that I believe would make a lot of sense for all parties (potentially) involved. Of course, not all will occur -- I make the case for the Jets trading two quarterbacks in theory, fully realizing that only one of their backups will ultimately be moved by September -- but I wouldn't be surprised if several of them actually did pan out by the time teams get to their 53-man roster limits.
Teddy Bridgewater to the Jaguars
Sure the Jaguars kinda-sorta believe in Blake Bortles enough to do a faux-extension with him after their playoff run ... but the results have been far below average and this team has Super Bowl expectations. Bridgewater would be the best QB on their roster and could play if/when Bortles struggles or if he gets hurt. I don't see that defense suffering foolish play at quarterback, and the Jets from Jacksonville begs the question of who they may have been shopping as part of a package for the linebacker. Hmm? I wonder who? Bridgewater could solve a short- and long-term issue, and he comes dirt cheap right now.
Josh McCown to the Rams
So yeah, I don't see the Jets trading both backups. But the Rams can't feel good about Sean Mannion as the guy behind Jared Goff, and L.A. has a collection of QBs with a total of 50 career NFL pass attempts currently behind their starter. If Goff goes down, their season is cooked. But that doesn't have to be the case with their defense and run game, and McCown could be a savior if needed for a 4-6 week stretch, or even longer. Robert Griffin III has ties to Rams coach Sean McVay and would make a lot of sense here too, though I have a different idea for him.
Robert Griffin III to the Cowboys
How about adding some spice to a tepid Skins/Cowboys rivalry? Dallas currently has Cooper Rush and Mike White fighting it out to back up Dak Prescott. Um, nice try. Good luck with that. Remember how they went with guys like Brandon Weeden trying to save the season when Tony Romo got hurt? Jerry Jones fancies this a playoff team (I don't, for the record), and he better beef up at QB if so. The Ravens may opt to keep three quarterbacks, though Griffin may have played well enough this summer for some to forget just how miserable he was the last time he played in the regular season.
Jacoby Brissett to the Bengals
The Colts will ask for a ransom for him, but the Bengals had best start thinking about the future. Eventually Marvin Lewis will be gone, and Andy Dalton too, and Brissett has abundant potential. Trade a second-round pick for him. The team is likely heading to rebuild mode anyway, with Geno Atkins and others closer to the end than the beginning. If they struggle again and start pondering a new QB, Matt Barkley, the current backup, isn't the answer. The next man up in Cincy should have real upside given how much Dalton makes ($16.2M in 2019), and how middling this team has been the last few years and likely will continue to be. Brissett would also make a lot of sense for the Titans (they are employing Blaine Gabbert to attempt to save their season if Marcus Mariota goes down again). Tennessee would do well to bring in the guy I am about to mention as well …
Colin Kaepernick to the Texans
Yeah, this isn't a trade. But so what? It still makes all the sense in the world. I could easily connect Kaepernick to a slew of teams where he would at least compete with their other QBs, but Houston is acting shamefully, again, by ignoring Kaepernick in particular given Deshaun Watson's status. The Texans (and Packers and Cardinals and others) tanked their season by not signing the best backup possible a year ago when they lost their starter for the long term, and them pretending that Weeden could do anything but lose games should Watson reinjure his knee is a joke, frankly. Even if J.J. Watt is back to MVP form, Weeden will torpedo any chance of success. It's an established fact.
Paxton Lynch to the Panthers
Let's play a game: Name the guys behind Cam Newton on the depth chart without Googling it. I dare you. And I admit I had to double check this myself. It's Garrett Gilbert, who has been waived six times since entering the NFL in 2014, and Tyler Heinicke, who is on his fourth team since entering the NFL in 2015. That won't cut it. Cam takes a lot of pounding and always comes back for more, but he's not as young as he once was. Lynch might be a total bust, but trade a very late pick for him and let Norv Turner check him out. Regardless, he's getting booed out of Denver -- -- and has to go. (If they are going to continue to berate the QB, some of the boos should be directed at the dude who drafted him in the first-round, too, no?)
Joshua Dobbs to the Seahawks
Seattle has been kicking around a few athletic, mobile QBs for years now with no one sticking. They even gave Kaepernick strong consideration a time or two. Dobbs is the odd man out in Pittsburgh now that they drafted Mason Rudolph in the third round, and Landry Jones is still there too. Dobbs has some potential, and Seattle currently has Austin Davis behind Russell Wilson. So I bet they are malleable. Throw in the fact the fact that Wilson has just two years left on his deal and there has been no movement at all towards an extension, and buying low on a prospect QB might be to their liking. While the Seahawks did not offer a second-round pick for Brissett, the fact that they were linked to him shouldn't be a shocker.
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