The 2017 NFL season is officially in the books. The New England Patriots were finally dethroned as the Philadelphia Eagles played aggressive and fast to win the Super Bowl, 41-33. The parade is over and it's time for the 2018 offseason to begin. Already some big names have moved around and had money thrown at them like nothing. Alex Smith has a new home now with the Washington Redskins, which means Kirk Cousins will soon have a new home. Jimmy Garoppolo got a new contract of five years worth $137.5 million, making him the highest paid player in the NFL. But there are still moves to be made and deals to be done as the offseason has just begun. So what other moves need to be made?
First things first, a lot of NFL teams need a quarterback. The quarterback position is no doubt the most valuable of any NFL team. Look at the Cleveland Browns, who have been through a seemingly never ending cycle of finding a quarterback since 1999. The Browns are not the only team probably looking for QB talent this offseason. There are many other teams that are looking to upgrade the quarterback position whether it is signing one, trading for one, or even drafting one in the upcoming NFL Draft. So let's tackle this head on. Let's take a look at eight NFL teams who need to sign a quarterback and seven who need to draft one, while thinking about who they might take.
15 Sign: Denver Broncos - Kirk Cousins
It is no secret that the Denver Broncos need a change at the quarterback position when the 2018 season starts up. They have some good pieces in place to attract some big name free agents in running back C.J. Anderson, wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders (if he resigns) and Demaryus Thomas as well as a solid defense led by Von Miller. They do have a top five draft pick in the upcoming draft. But, they would be better off signing a quarterback in free agency.
Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch will not lead the Broncos back to a Super Bowl title most likely. An intriguing option for the Broncos is Kirk Cousins. The Redskins just traded for Alex Smith, so Cousins's days in Washington most certainly seem over. They might have to pay Cousins handsomely after seeing the contract 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo received. But something says that John Elway will find a way to get the top QB on the market.
14 Draft: New York Jets - Lamar Jackson
The New York Jets have the sixth pick in the upcoming draft. They have a lot of areas that need improvement if they want to take any steps forward to dethroning the Patriots in the AFC East and going back to the playoffs. They need a quarterback desperately as Josh McCown is not the long term answer. An intriguing option going forward for the Jets would be Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson took the college football scene by storm in 2016, recording 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions on his way to winning the Heisman trophy. He also was a Heisman nominee the following season with 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Jets could be intrigued by Jackson because of his size and his ability to escape pressure out of the pocket. If the Jets are smart and the other top ranked quarterbacks are gone, they try to draft Jackson to build toward a very promising future.
13 Sign: Buffalo Bills - Teddy Bridgewater
The Buffalo Bills took a tremendous stride forward this past season as they made the playoffs for the first time since 1999. They have pieces in place just like the Broncos do with a good defense, a legitimate deep threat now in Kelvin Benjamin, and LeSean McCoy who is one of the best running backs in the game when he is fully healthy. The Bills should look to sign a quarterback in the offseason and there are some interesting options the Bills could pursue.
Jimmy Garoppolo just re-signed with San Francisco and Drew Brees is almost certainly going back to New Orleans, so they are out. They can make a run at Cousins if the Broncos fail to close the deal. They also can take a look at Teddy Bridgewater, who could use a change of scenery as the Vikings will probably look to keep Case Keenum around after his 2017 season. The Bills should be aggressive in free agency as Tyrod Taylor is not the long term answer to lead the Bills to a Super Bowl.
12 Draft: New England Patriots - Mason Rudolph
The New England Patriots are moving onto 2018 after a crushing Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. As much as Tom Brady has beaten father time, to the point where the owner Robert Kraft reportedly forced Bill Belichick's hand to trade their succession plan in Jimmy Garoppolo, the Pats need to find Brady's replacement. The Patriots have a late first round pick, the 31st to be exact. One name that could be on their draft radar is Mason Rudolph.
Rudolph threw for 37 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his senior season for Oklahoma State. The Patriots need a young quarterback to develop as Jimmy G and Jacoby Brissett are things of the past. Rudolph is 6'5 and has a strong arm. Even if Bill Belichick isn't around, it looks as though Josh McDaniels could be the next head coach and would likely inherit Rudolph as his QB of the future. We saw what McDaniels did with Garoppolo, so he could probably develop Rudolph by using the "Patriot Way" to get him ready.
11 Sign: Indianapolis Colts - A.J. McCarron
The Indianapolis Colts have had a lot of problems on their hands this season and even so far this off-season. They stumbled to a 4-12 record, they have no idea what is going on with Andrew Luck, and it doesn't look like Jacoby Brissett is the best Plan B. Their offseason has been weird too with Josh McDaniels accepting the head coaching job and then all of a sudden, rejecting it to stay in New England. Luckily, they quickly hired Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich as their new head coach. But that leaves their quarterback issue still at hand. Simple solution: sign a quarterback in case Luck is not ready for 2018.
A name that could be interesting for the Colts is A.J. McCarron. McCarron is a restricted free agent this offseason. The Colts could make a realistic run at him, as long as the Bengals don't match their offer. The Colts need to do something different at QB besides crossing their fingers and hoping Luck is ready for 2018 or else they could be looking at another mediocre to bad season.
10 Draft: Cincinnati Bengals - Josh Allen
The Cincinnati Bengals own the 12th pick overall in the 2018 NFL draft. They re-signed coach Marvin Lewis to a new three year deal this offseason, for better or for worse, after it was almost certain he would not be returning. They have a deep threat in A.J. Green that is one of the top 10 receivers in the whole NFL. Andy Dalton has yet to prove he can take the Bengals to the next level and A.J. McCarron could leave in free agency. This could open the door to draft quarterback Josh Allen.
Josh Allen is not going to go ahead of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, or Baker Mayfield. Other guys like Saquon Barkley will also be drafted within the top 10 picks, which could have Allen fall right into the lap of the Bengals. It could be a move of development for the Bengals to have an insurance plan in case Andy Dalton continues to regress.
9 Sign: Minnesota Vikings - Case Keenum
What a year the Minnesota Vikings had this past season. They had the best overall defense in the NFL along with a high powered offense behind the breakout year of Case Keenum running the show. Their defense didn't show up for one game and unfortunately for them, it was the game with an appearance in the Super Bowl on the line. They will look to put it all together in 2018. But first, they need to sign a quarterback in free agency.
The logical option here is to give Case Keenum a new contract. If that doesn't happen, they can re-sign Sam Bradford for the short term. There are some other options like Geno Smith that could be out there for them to consider for the short term as well. But look for the Vikings to stay aggressive in their search for a quarterback.
8 Draft: Los Angeles Chargers - Riley Ferguson
The Los Angeles Chargers are a team that is so close to making the playoffs once again. They are very competitive in all of their games, but special teams ultimately cost them this past season. Philip Rivers has been the guy thats led the Chargers since 2005. But, he is 36 years old and it will soon be time for them to move on from him. The 2018 draft is a good place to start and a guy for the Chargers to consider is Riley Ferguson.
Ferguson tore it up in his senior season at Memphis, throwing for 38 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has a good size to work with at 6'4 and 210 pounds. Rivers could mentor him with his remaining years left and be ready for when his time comes to lead the Chargers. Plus, having guys like Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to throw to isn't the worst thing in the world either.
7 Sign: Miami Dolphins - Ryan Fitzpatrick
The Miami Dolphins are a team that needs a name to get them back to relevance in the AFC. Sure, they have Jarvis Landry who has been a good receiver for them, but he could leave in free agency. Jay Ajayi is enjoying his Super Bowl ring he earned with the Eagles and the Dolphins are back to the drawing board. They need a quarterback and their best option to do that is by signing one.
Jay Cutler is just about done with his time in the NFL and Matt Moore hasn't proven he can step in and win games when they need it. Ryan Tannehill looks to take the reigns again but they could use another QB in case Tannehill gets re-injured. A guy like Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't a bad option considering he will be cheap. Whatever the case is, they need a quarterback and it looks like all of the draft quarterbacks will be just out of reach for Dolphins fans to be excited about.
6 Draft: Arizona Cardinals - Baker Mayfield
The Arizona Cardinals are a team that needs to draft a quarterback immediately. Carson Palmer has officially retired after the Cards elected not to draft his successor in the past couple of drafts. So now, who will lead the likes of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and John Brown? The solution to this problem would be to draft a quarterback. The best option for the Cardinals would be Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield had an outstanding senior season at Oklahoma. He threw for 43 touchdowns and six interceptions while going on to win the Heisman trophy. He also led the Sooners to the college football playoffs only to bow out to Georgia in the Rose Bowl. Mayfield has the talent and the swagger to make it in the NFL. Some fear he could fall into the same trap Johnny Manziel did when he first came to the NFL. But if Mayfield keeps his mind on football, he can be greatly beneficial to the Arizona Cardinals for many years.
5 Sign: Kansas City Chiefs - Josh McCown
The Kansas City Chiefs are in a position of transition. They just traded away long time quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins and look to be giving the keys to 2017 first round pick Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes will be put into a position where he will have to guide the Chiefs to playoff success, something they haven't seen in years. But if Mahomes for some reason cannot do the job, the Chiefs should sign a quarterback that can quickly take over.
A guy like Josh McCown can be serviceable for a year to give the team a lifeline if Mahomes struggles, or gets hurt. It's a low risk, high reward type of signing. At the very worst, McCown can be a mentor to the young Mahomes. Mahomes has a ton of pressure on him to not only lead the Chiefs back to the playoffs, but win some games in January and the team could use a coolheaded veteran behind him.
4 Draft: New York Giants - Josh Rosen
The Giants had one of the worst seasons in the recent history of the franchise. After they lost star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to injury, things immediately went south. They finished 3-13, but ended up with the second overall pick in the 2018 draft. Former head coach Ben McAdoo sat Eli Manning at one point last season for Geno Smith. He was fired a day later, but if he was thinking of the Giants' future at QB, there are some merits to the move. Geno Smith isn't the answer, but the Giants should be looking for Eli's successor. The draft is a great place to do so and one of the biggest names to obtain is UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen.
Rosen threw 26 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions in his junior season at UCLA before deciding to go pro. Even if Rosen gets selected by the Giants and Eli is still starting quarterback, it gives Rosen plenty of time to learn the NFL game and be prepared within the next couple of years to take the reigns. Playing in the Pac-12 conference, Rosen has seen good competition and could be ready to make an impact when his number is called if the Giants take him at no.2 overall.
3 Sign: Chicago Bears - Sam Bradford
The Chicago Bears went the draft route last season as they selected Mitchell Trubisky at no.2 overall. He looks to be the long term answer for the Bears at the moment. But just because young Trubisky looks to be the guy for the foreseeable future, that doesn't mean the Bears might not go out and sign another quarterback just in case Trubisky has a sophomore slump. The Bears will look into the free agency pool to see if there are any options to help a slumping quarterback, should the situation ever arise.
One option is Sam Bradford. Bradford suffered an early season injury, opening the door for Case Keenum and the Vikings have to be thinking that they can't rely on Bradford to stay healthy.
He might have to wait a bit in Chicago, but signing him could prove to be a smart investment at least for the 2018 season and even more seasons if Trubisky doesn't develop the way the Bears hope.
2 Draft: Cleveland Browns - Sam Darnold
The Cleveland Browns have been looking to get a quarterback out of the draft for years now. Recently a few names they have tried include Johnny Manziel and DeShone Kizer. Kizer doesn't look like he is the answer and Manziel had too many problems off of the field to function with the every day grind that is the NFL. The Browns will once again look to draft a quarterback with the number one overall pick. A good option for the Browns to take is Sam Darnold.
Darnold also played in the Pac-12 conference like Josh Rosen did. He also threw for 26 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions in his final season with the USC Trojans. The Browns will also like his size and ability to play against top competition. The Browns better hope Darnold works out if/when they draft him because if not, the dumpster fire at quarterback in Cleveland will keep continuing on.
1 Sign: Pittsburgh Steelers - Matt Moore
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team that might surprise you when it comes to a team that should consider signing a quarterback. The Steelers were upset at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC divisional game at home. Ben Roethlisberger is at the end of his career and the Steelers might want to consider signing somebody short term while they look toward the future for quarterbacks.
Landry Jones is their backup, but he doesn't look like he will last too much longer in Pittsburgh. The Steelers could look to draft a QB but with Big Ben intending to play another three years, the Steelers could find another stop-gap solution for now. Matt Moore seems to be moving on from Miami and he has proven he can step in and run an offense efficiently if the pieces are in place. If Ben needs to sit out a game or two, Moore is capable of holding the fort with the weapons the Steelers have.
With Antonio Brown, Ju-Ju Smith Schuster and others to throw to, (and Le'Veon Bell to hand it to) the Steelers wouldn't be a bad destination for any free agent quarterback to pursue.
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