After the release of the Washington Football Team’s 2019 first round, 15th overall draft pick, Dwayne Haskins Jr. , it brings the idea of other QBs around the league that may see their time with their current team be coming to a close. Some QBs will have situations that are similar to Haskins, where they fail to live up to their team’s expectations. Others are veteran QBs that could have their teams moving on from them. Regardless of the situation, let’s take a look at some of the quarterbacks around the NFL that could be on the move at the season’s end.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Garoppolo’s time with the 49ers, besides reaching the Super Bowl in the 2019-2020 season, has been injury riddled, with Garoppolo only playing in 31 of 54 games since being traded during the 2017 season. His first full season with the 49ers in 2018 featured him tearing his ACL running out of bounds against the Vikings. Now this season a high ankle sprain has sidelined Garoppolo leading to him missing 10 games this season. Some might argue that when Garoppolo was healthy he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, but he did have the help of one the league’s best defenses as well. At the end of the day the best ability for any player to have is availability, and Garoppolo doesn’t seem to have that which has hurt the 49ers on many occasions. By releasing the Eastern Illinois product, the 49ers would save $24.1 million dollars in cap space, while only acquiring $2.8 million dollars in dead cap. This extra cap space would allow the 49ers to resign upcoming free agents in the coming years like Trent Williams, Fred Warner and Mike McGlinchey just to name a few.
For Garoppolo, this would potentially allow him to have a reunion with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. It was rumored that Belichick wanted to keep Garoppolo and groom him to be the next QB for the Patriots before owner Robert Kraft reportedly forced a Garoppolo trade to occur. Belichick would be able to get the opportunity with Garoppolo that he always desired and Garoppolo would be the face of the franchise he won two rings with as a backup and originally drafted him.
Cam Newton, New England Patriots
After being released by the Carolina Panthers back on March 24th, Cam Newton would have to wait 86 nights, as he would talk about and later title his documentary, that covered those days he was unsigned and how he continued to work. It would be the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick that would go and give Newton his chance that he was looking for. While Newton hasn’t been the elite MVP level quarterback that once led the Panthers to the Super Bowl, he has been a high level runner. Newton hasn’t been able to have the same success when passing the ball for the Patriots, which has hurt the team dearly. Newton is set to become a free agent after the season after he signed a one year $1.05 million dollar contract with the Patriots this past offseason.
Although he didn’t see the amount of success that many thought was going to come after the first few weeks, Newton could still remain a Patriot after this offseason on another short term cheap deal. This would allow the Patriots to go out and develop a quarterback for the future or even give them another season to get a quarterback the following offseason. Other possibilities are for Newton to go to a more run heavy team such as the 49ers. In a Kyle Shanahan offensive scheme, Newton could pose as a rushing threat making the running backs and passing game so much more dangerous. If Newton would be willing to be a backup he could look to teams like the Ravens possibly if they would be mutually interested. The best option for Newton to start games currently would be a return to New England, but the potential of Newton in a 49ers offense could be lethal.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Ever since Carson Wentz went down in his potential MVP worthy season with a torn ACL and the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl with Nick Foles, Wentz has continuously regressed each year. The idea of Wentz’s time in Philadelphia possibly ending came with the surprise second round drafting of Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts this past offseason. Many fans didn’t see the change coming as fast as it has though, with Wentz pretty much falling off a cliff in terms of his production. Wentz is currently tied for the most interceptions in the NFL with 15 through just 12 games played. In addition, Wentz has the second most fumbles with 11 this year, while only producing 16 touchdown passes. Along with his ridiculous turnover numbers, Wentz has also been the most sacked QB in the NFL, which certainly hasn’t helped matters either. Meanwhile, Jalen Hurts has come in and thrown for over 300 yards passing in two of his first three games, while also posing a threat as a runner for the Eagles. The Eagles coaching staff and management have come out in support of Wentz, as they have publicly stated that he is still their QB of the future. However, starting Jalen Hurts over him says otherwise, and it wouldn’t make sense to keep Wentz and his massive contract on the bench.
It makes too much sense to reunite Carson Wentz with his former offensive coordinator Frank Reich in Indianapolis, as Wentz had his best season with Reich leading the offense. Financially, the Colts are able to take on Wentz’s contract, especially with the recent news that Philip Rivers said this upcoming game could be his last if they lose. Rivers has already accepted a high school head coaching job in Alabama, so it it a possibility that he may retire at the end of the season. If the Eagles traded Wentz before the 3rd day of the league year this offseason (March 20) they would be able to save $852,928, which is the best they would be able to do unless they waited to trade Wentz until the following offseason. It wouldn’t make sense for the Eagles to keep his salary on the book with them projected to be over the cap by $94,604,761, so any cap savings they can make would be a plus.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford is 32 years old and next season will be his 13th season in the NFL. With the Lions not looking like a threat to contend for the near future, it may be time to offload Stafford and start a full rebuild. Stafford has gone above and beyond, doing everything he could to try and lead the Lions to a Super Bowl, but without any help Stafford can only do so much. Stafford is known for being one of the toughest players in the NFL, playing through injuries like a broken back, separated shoulder, torn finger ligaments, and rib injuries just to name a few. Stafford has been through three different head coaches in his time in Detroit, and this offseason will likely bring another head coach if he stays. At his age, Stafford is probably looking to contend for Super Bowls, not going through another rebuild. The Lions have experienced a massive amount of changes in the front office, and now may be the right time to move on from Stafford.
A few teams that could be interested in acquiring Stafford are the Bears, 49ers, Patriots, or Colts. While the Bears may be looking for new quarterback help, a trade with a division rival seems unlikely. If Belichick wanted to give this Patriots team one last push and they are able to retool on the fly this offseason, Stafford is a quarterback that would be a great option for him. The 49ers could also possibly look into Stafford, as he would be an upgrade from Jimmy Garoppolo, and could help unlock George Kittle and the 49ers receivers even more. The Colts would also be a very good fit for Stafford, as he would be a significant upgrade from an aging Philip Rivers that has struggled at times this past season. Ultimately, it seems as if it would be the best interest for both parties to seek a trade from each other this upcoming offseason.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets
Sam Darnold was once thought to be the future franchise quarterback that the New York Jets had been waiting for since they had the false promise with a few good playoff runs with Mark Sanchez. After just three seasons, there are rumors of the Jets potentially moving on from Darnold, the young USC quarterback, in a similar way they previously moved on from Sanchez. Many Jets fans believe that Darnold is a bust who won’t pan out, and want the team to go and get a young quarterback with their #2 pick in this years upcoming draft. In his three years as the Jets QB, Darnold has thrown 44 touchdowns to 37 interceptions, and posted a record of 13-24 through those three seasons. It could be argued that Darnold was never given an opportunity to succeed with the weapons and coaches that he has had in his time with the Jets. The Jets might not see it that way though, and might decide to move on from him in favor of a younger quarterback in the draft such as Justin Fields or Zack Wilson.
There are many teams that could be interested in the USC product ,as they might think he has untapped potential left in him. Teams like the Patriots, Steelers, or Broncos could potentially be interested in Darnold if he’s made available. The Patriots would most likely have to pay more of a premium, or Darnold would have to be released in order to get to Belichick in New England, with the Jets being their division rivals. The Steelers would be an interesting team for Darnold, as they currently have Ben Roethlisberger as their starter, but nothing for the future. By trading for Darnold, the Steelers would be able to have Darnold sit behind Big Ben for a season, assuming he doesn’t retire this offseason. Mike Tomlin would be able to get him familiar with the offense, allowing him to get a handle of it before being pushed into the spotlight, as he had with the Jets. The Broncos currently are a turnover prone offense, and Darnold could potentially be an upgrade from Drew Lock, their current QB. In the draft process, the Broncos held a private workout with Darnold, which suggests there may have been some interest in him at the time that could resurface if he were to become available. It is quite possible that the Jets do move on from Darnold, and we have seen young QBs be moved on from just a season after being drafted, such as Josh Rosen, so nothing is off the table here.