So, here at TheSportster, we love to ask 'what if'? What if Manning and Rivers never were traded for each other? What if Dez Bryant actually caught that ball against the Packers? What if Tom Brady never won the Super Bowl because the "tuck rule" wasn't in effect? We can speak in hypotheticals all day, but we will truly never no the answer to these hard hitting NFL questions.
One semi-hypothetical question we can ask though is where each NFL quarterback will end up in the 2018 season. Is the guy a free agent? Is he trade bait? Or will he even be in the league again? Not to mention the slough of college quarterbacks that are posed to take over the 2018 draft. There are so many stories to dive into right now, but we are going to focus on which teams these field generals will end up on. We saw plenty of QBs move around this past offseason, so there's no reason to think we won't see another QB carousel at the conclusion of this season.
So call your audible, try to draw off the defense, and check down to your nearest psychic because we are predicting where these 15 NFL quarterbacks will be next year.
15 Alex Smith - Minnesota Vikings
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! You guys must think I'm out of my mind. Alex Smith to the Vikings? You bet your ass. Think about it like this; Smith is having his best season ever. So far in 2017, he is 5-0 and Kareem Hunt and that defense are owning opponents. Recall the 2017 draft, the Chiefs moved up to grab Patrick Mahomes in the first-round, assuming they picked their quarterback of the future. Mahomes looked good in the offseason as well.
Therefore, Smith will have a great year, but the Chiefs will still lose in the playoffs, and Kansas City will use him as trade bait. Considering all the QBs in Minnesota will be hurt or are just horrible, the Vikings will pick him up. It may sound crazy, but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
14 Jimmy Garoppolo - New England Patriots
Peronsally, I think the Patriots lost the opportunity this past offseason to get rid of Garoppolo. Scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season, Garoppolo will most likely remain on the Patriots under the franchise tag. You heard it right, Brady will have one more season after this one, and Belichick and Co. will keep Garoppolo as his successor.
New England has a habit of doing things against the norm, so this prediction should be of no surprise. They could have possibly got a first-rounder for Garoppolo, but with just a three-game sample-size, we still aren't sure what the former Eastern Illinois QB can be in the NFL. But we fully expect him to stay on the Pats' roster and be the next man up under center for New England.
13 Ryan Tannehill - New York Jets
When it comes to mediocre quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill is at the top of the list. He is (and in my opinion will always be) a .500 or below player. So far in his career, he has a record of 37-40, with a TD-INT of 106-66. Like I said, he is just an average guy, nothing special. Well, that doesn't include his smokin' hot wife, Lauren Tannehill, though.
Our predicition is that the former Texas A&M QB heads over to the Jets next year. Why? Mainly because veteran QB's tend to jump within division, and I think that McCown will finish up his career this year. Tannehill will be signed on a three-year deal, giving time for the Jets to groom a new QB. Tannehill, hypothetically, welcome to the Jets!
12 Tom Savage - Tennessee Titans
Texans fans, you are extremely lucky that DeShaun Watson is playing great football and has a bright future. Because straight up, Tom Savage sucks. So far in his career, he has thrown the ball over 100 times, and has yet to throw a touchdown. That's seven games (three of them started) and no touchdowns. He obviously will not be starting as long as DeShaun stays healthy.
On the other hand, Savage is a viable backup QB and, as far as backups go, they tend to jump within the division. I fully expect the Titans to release Cassel and pickup Savage. Now this isn't probably going to happen in 2018, since Savage will have one more year left on his deal, but maybe the Texans just release him. One thing is for sure, he isn't the starter down in Houston anymore!
11 Mike Glennon - Chicago Bears (then Oakland Raiders)
Mike Glennon was put into an impossible situation in Chicago. He signed a three-year, $45-million deal in the offseason with the Chicago Bears, hoping to have his shot at a starting role after sitting behind Jameis Winston in Tampa. Unfortunately, the Bears decided they were going to move one spot up in the draft and take North Carolina Tarheel quarterback, Mitch Trubisky. Originally, the plan was to let Trubisky sit out for a year, get accustomed to the style of play in the NFL, and hopefully Glennon could produce a few meaningful games in 2017. But, everything is subject to change in the NFL, and Glennon was benched after going 1-3 in four games, in favor of the rookie QB. He will probably stay one more year in Chicago until the Bears release him, then he will head over to the Raiders.
Why the Raiders? Because Derek Carr is injury-prone and Glennon at least has the ability to win. He's a viable backup and will continue to be for many years to come.
10 Baker Mayfield - Los Angeles Chargers
No clue why the Chargers, and no clue why Baker Mayfield, but something here just seems right. Phillip Rivers is getting old and, at 35, I don't think he has much time left. Queue the 2018 NFL Draft, which is loaded with quarterbacks. Some experts think this is the best draft class for quarterbacks in several years and that's where Mayfield comes in.
Originally, one of the Heisman favorites, Mayfield knows how to win (except against Iowa State), yet lacks the physical attributes NFL team look for in a QB. What he doesn't lack is experience. Mayfield knows what he is doing and will make a great backup for Rivers until he becomes the starter in a few years. I believe Chargers will take him in the beginning of the third round.
9 Brian Hoyer - Los Angeles Rams
Brian Hoyer is another one of those guys that is a transition quarterback. You don't want to hinge your franchise's future on his success, but he will help develop young talent around him, while your team waits for another quarterback. Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers are doing exactly that. Who will the 49ers take in the beginning of the 2018 NFL draft? Just read until the end and you'll see.
Back to Hoyer, I have a feeling he will be an LA Ram next year. Like we've stated before, backup QBs love to move within the division, and the Rams have their franchise QB already in Jared Goff, so they will need someone to come in and command the offense if he goes down. Hoyer is the perfect guy for this situation.
8 Mason Rudolph - Pittsburgh Steelers
Mason Rudolph has been a beast as an OSU Cowboy. He's a 6'4", 190 lb. pro-style QB who would fit perfectly in the Steelers high-flying offense. Big Ben only has, at most, one year of greatness left. While he probably won't retire at the end of the 2017 season (even though I wouldn't put it past him), he will most likely throw in the towel at the end of the 2018 season, leaving one-year for Rudolph to get accustomed to the offense.
That all being said, Rudolph needs to bulk up. He is currently underweight, but that can change through an intense offseason program. His athleticism could be utilized as well in the Steel city, running several run-pass-options with LeVeon Bell. We'll see where he ends up, but the Steelers will probably grab him mid-second next year.
7 Colin Kaepernick - Seattle Seahawks
Be humble, sit down! Or in Kaepernick's case, kneel down. Colin isn't standing on the sidelines, or kneeling during the anthem this year, because he is not in the NFL at all. I have a hard time believing Kaepernick will be without a job for very long. If you rank the 64 quarterbacks (1st and 2nd string), Kapernick would probably fall in the 30s, enough to grab him a bakcup role.
And who would he exactly backup? My best guess is in Seattle. Russell Wilson is undersized, so even though he is durable, they need a reliable backup with lots of experience. Also, Seattle is more of a "progressive" organization and once the whole anthem protests blow over, they would probably love to have Kaep on their roster.
6 Lamar Jackson - Buffalo Bills
Lamar Jackson is to the Buffalo Bills as the glass slipper was to Cinderella's foot; a perfect match! Seriously though, Jackson should sit two years behind Tyrod Taylor, slowly develop his game in the NFL, and eventually go on to do great things in Western NY. Don't sleep on the Heisman winner. We all know what Jackson can do in the run game, but he has really developed his pocket passing so far in 2017, making him a solid dual-threat.
One issue I have with Jackson is his style of play. At 205 lbs. he needs to bulk up because he will be taking a lot more hits in the NFL. I also don't expect him to be getting the edge so easily when a 4.50 linebacker is out there on defense. We will see how Jackson's highlight reel of a college career translates into NFL success, and we predict it will be with the Buffalo Bills.
5 A.J. McCarron - Miami Dolphins
Ah, the Miami Dolphins. Another mediocre team who hasn't gotten over the wildcard spot in the AFC East. To the Dophins defense, they have to contend with Brady and Belichick twice a year. Currently, their quarterback situation is dismal, with Cutler coming in the offseason and performing below expectations, at a surprise to no one.
What the Dolphins need is a quarterback, or quarterbacks! I fully believe the Dolphins will empty house at QB next year, dumping Cutler and Tannehill in the process. They will probably end up picking up A.J. McCarron in free agency and then drafting a QB, potentially Luke Falk. Sort of like what the Bears did with Glennon and Trubisky this past season! Only time will tell, but South Florida seems like a great fit for McCarron.
4 Josh Rosen - San Francisco 49ers
Josh Rosen is arguably the most NFL ready quarterback coming out in the 2018 Draft. He throws the ball well, and has tremendous arm strength. The UCLA quarterback uses his tight spiral to fit the ball into small windows in the secondary, hitting his receivers for big gains. Although he isn't a dual-threat quarterback, like many of the other hopefuls in the 2018 draft, he is the most natural pocket passer of the bunch.
In the NFL, I relate the guy to Matt Ryan. I think he will have a similar type of career path, and will see a relative amount of success. If Kirk Cousins doesn't get signed to a big deal in the bay area (since he has a history with Shanahan), expect Rosen to be the 49ers 2018 draft pick.
3 Sam Darnold - New York Jets
Every New York Jet fan was hoping to tank the 2017 season in order to pick up Darnold with the first overall pick. Some fans already have his jersey made. However, the Jets are currently above .500 and in the race to win the AFC East if the Patriots continue their below average season. We'll see where they end up in the standings, but the Jets may not even have a high enough draft pick to take Darnold.
So, my bold and crazy prediction, Jets will go 8-8 in the 2017 season and end up trading up in the draft to the number one or two spot to grab Darnold. The NFL draft season is an insane one and we predict the Jets will further that insanity next spring.
2 Josh Allen - Cleveland Browns
The Browns are likely to have another Top-5 pick in next year's draft. They have been rebuilding for several years and it's time for Cleveland to grab their future franchise QB, because DeShone Kizer doesn't seem to be working out. Will they draft Sam Darnold out of USC? He has tons of experience, and is projected to be one of the top quarterbacks available in 2018. Will they draft Josh Rosen? The outspoken, yet physically gifted quarterback out of UCLA? Our prediction is neither! We think they will draft Josh Allen out of the University of Wyoming.
Think about it, a smaller school QB that has gained plenty of national attention. The Browns passed on Wentz last year and will not make the same mistake twice! Or who knows, maybe they will, they are Cleveland!
1 Andrew Luck - Arizona Cardinals
The final, and most outlandish prediction for next year is that Andrew Luck will end up on the Arizona Cardinals. Let's break it down a little bit. First, the Colts aren't going anywhere this year. Even if Luck comes back midway through the season, they won't dig themselves out of their hole. Second, the Cardinals aren't going anywhere this year, despite having a good defense, due to David Johnson's injury. Third, Carson Palmer is getting old. At 37-years-old (soon to be 38 before the season is over), you have to think this is his last campaign at QB. Last, Luck will finally be reunited with his former coach Bruce Arians if the Cardinals can pull of this mega deal. All of these moves make sense, but we will just have to sit back and watch how the tale of 2017 is told before we know for sure!