Its a Quarterback driven league and without one you are going to struggle to stay in contention.Teams are willing to overpay in free agency and give up plenty of draft capital to move up in the draft to get their franchise Quarterback and as we have seen if you miss out on one coaches and General Managers can lose their job in a hurry.
This off season there has been plenty of movement in the Quarterback market and there’s potentially 4 that can go in the top 5 picks in this years draft.
Heres three Quarterback moves i like and three moves that im not a fan of personally.
1) Alex Smith – Quarterback for the Washington Redskins – $94 million, including $71 million guaranteed.
Thought it would be Kirk Cousins at the top of the list? Well its not and ill explain why..
Alex Smith is the one most underrated underappreciated over looked disrespected Quarterback of this generation…All he does is win consistently and get his team into the playoffs almost every season.
He led the league in passer ratting last season threw for over 4000 yards and had a sensational 26-5 Touchdown to Interception ratio. He won his division for the 2nd year in a row and the last few years hes behind only Tom Brady and Russel Wilson in wins as a starter. Is he flashy? No hes not, is he going to throw for 5000 yards and 40 touchdowns like say Drew Brees every year? No hes not but what he will do is take care of the ball and play smart consistent winning football year in and year out.
He was known as Mr check down and ridiculed for only throwing short passes and check downs but last season he was ranked in the top 3 among all Quarterbacks in almost every deep throw stat you can find. He also has very underrated mobility and scrambling ability and he seems to be getting better with age as he had his best season last year for the Kansas City Chiefs.
What he needs to do next is prove he can win in the playoffs and hes been on the other end of some great come backs from opposing teams so i can understand Chief fans frustration over the years but its a team sport and ill take this guy on my team any day. He also cost alot less then prize free agency Kirk Cousins who Smith will be replacing this season.
The Redskins have been looking for stability at the Quarterback position for years and it seems for the next few years that they have settled it
2) Kirk Cousins – Quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings – 3 Years $84 Million Fully Guaranteed.
Kirk Cousins may have set a new trend getting one of the biggest fully guaranteed contracts in NFL History.
Formally with the Washington Redskins who chose to trade for Alex Smith instead of overpaying for him to stay in Washington.
Since Peyton Manning hit free agency a few years ago no other Quarterback was a bigger fish on the market then this guy. Its rare that we see a potential franchise Quarterback hit the open market in his prime but with the Washington Redskins unwilling to fully commit to him over the last 3 seasons he finally got to test the open market and there was no shortage of interest.
Personally speaking i wouldn’t have paid top dollar for him but as its so hard to find Quarterbacks of this caliber just lying around in free agency so he was always going to get paid whether he was worth it or not. He has put up outstanding numbers the last few seasons but he always seems to fail to win the BIG game. His record on stand alone games (Monday Night, Sunday Night, Thursday night) was 0-9 before last season and thats not even counting the crunch time games that he could have won to put his team into the playoffs. Overall he has a losing record as a starter and i believe this is why the Redskins hesitated to pay him because he was seen as a guy who couldn’t take his team to the next level.
However the Vikings present a different situation. They are ready to win right now, having come one game within a super bowl appearance last season with journeyman Case Keenum at Quarterback.
Kirk Cousins is seen as a far better player and the missing piece to finally get them to the promised land.
With the mega deal and great team around him it really is superbowl or bust for this team now but can Kirk Cousins perform now that the microscope is bigger then ever and the pressure is on?? We’ll see….
3) Case Keenum – Quarterback for the Denver Broncos – The deal is expected to be worth $36 million, an average of $18 million per season.
I actually really like this move. They didnt have to pay him as much as the previous two Quarterbacks on our list and like Kirk Cousins hes going to a team that has weapons and a good defense to lean on. Keenum an undrafted journeyman took over the starting job for an often injured Sam Bradford last season and had by far his best season going 11-3 as a starter and getting to the NFC Championship game before losing to superbowl champs Philadelphia Eagles.
They were blown out in that game and it could be the reason why they did not resign him but all season long there were questions whether he was for real or if he was just a one hit wonder having not shown much in his previous stints in the NFL.
I think hes for real and his skill set matches what they like to do on offense and he has some grit and competitive toughness that i like. That makes up for his lack of arm power and ideal Quarterback height.
If this move doesnt work out they can get out of this deal after two seasons and with the number 5 pick in the draft they can still draft his successor to groom on the bench while he holds it down for a season or two. Denver has to win now to avoid going into rebuilding mode but i think Keenum can at least get them to the playoffs and from there anything can happen.
MOVES I DON’T LIKE
1) Sam Bradford – Quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals 1 Year $20 Million with $15 Million guaranteed.
Round of applause people….no really give this guy an encore. Nobody in the history of the NFL has been paid so much for doing so little.
Dont get me wrong i say get that paper and great job by him but as a football move this really had me and many others scratching our heads.
First of all he cant stay healthy, hes never played a full season or finished with a winning record and has bounced around the league the last few years….BUT he still gets top dollar everywhere he goes! All i keep hearing is ”Well if he stays healthy he can do this and that” but i dont wanna hear it…he CANT stay healthy and even when he was healthy he wasn’t exactly Tom Brady or Drew Bress.
The Cardinals who in fairness had no Quarterback on the roster and were desperate for any signal caller but i really don’t see this as a good move and there’s a very good chance he doesn’t even finish or start the season due to injury or benching.
2) Josh Mcown and Teddy Bridgewater – Quarterbacks for the New York Jets – 1 Year $10 Million for Josh Mcown and a 1 year up to $15 Million for Teddy Bridgewater
It seems that Josh Mcown has been around forever. I was actually shocked to find out hes actually the same age as Eli Manning and younger then Drew Brees but he is the definition of a journey man.
Hes been on 8 different NFL teams mostly as a back up and spot starter for teams with younger up and coming Quarterbacks. Hes said to be a great team mate with leadership skills in the meeting room and is a great mentor for young Quarterbacks but on the field he really hasn’t done anything. He has a losing record as a starter and has never even passed for over 3000 yards in a single season yet he somehow keeps popping up every year for a new team. He might be the kind of guy you want as a back up but he was resigned to be the starter this season for the second year in a row and i cant understand it.
Since the Jets gave up alot to move up in the draft from the 6th spot to the 3rd spot they will more then likely be drafting their next franchise Quarterback of the future so perhaps this is the reason for resigning him but if he does start don’t expect a winning season at all.
Teddy Bridgewater is a big question mark as hes still fighting his way back from a horrible injury.
He might not even be at 100% by the start of the regular season and we haven’t seen much of him before he got hurt but if healthy i would have preferred to go with him then Mcown.
They still have former mid round picks Christian Hackenberg and Bryce petty on the roster so i really dont know whats going on with the Jets but its clear they are trying their best to solidify and insure the Quarterback position after missing out on big free agent Kirk Cousins.
3) Tyrod Taylor – Quarterback of the Cleveland Browns – Still on Buffalo Bills Contract
It might be a bit harsh to put him here since he might be the best Quarterback they have had in the last decade but thats not saying much.
Tyrod has shown flashes of greatness and doesnt turn the ball over but hes not going to be the guy to take a team over the hump.
At the very most hes going to get this team to 8-8 which would be a huge step up from last seasons 0-16 campaign but is going 8-8 the goal for teams going into the season? Its not ok to settle for mediocrity but with Cleveland very likely to draft a Quarterback with the 1st overall pick in this up and coming draft he could be the bridge guy while the young Quarterback waits on the bench instead of being thrown into the fire on day one.
Its a solid move which gives them options and flexibility but Tyrod is not going to save your franchise….we’ve seen enough
Drew Brees -Quarterback New Orleans Saints 2 Years $50 Million with $27m Guaranteed
This would have number 1 on the list easily but there was almost no chance he was going to leave the Saints. Technically he was a free agent but both sides said they were committed to getting him back with the team and neither side even tested the free agent waters. With the Saints finally having a defense and running game they look prime to make another superbowl run so it would have made no sense to let one of the best Quarterbacks of all time walk away and start again but great job by the Saints not messing this up