The NFL offseason is in full swing, and last week the league blew up with the start of free agency as teams swapped players and picks, all in the hopes of getting better next year and the years to come.
Regardless of all the trades and the moving draft picks around, along with the dumping salary, there is one position that matters more than anything: quarterback.
It is truly a QB’s league, and if you don’t have a great one, you’re not going to go too far. You may have a shot at making the playoffs, like the Houston Texans did last year, but you’re not getting in when you have to face off against Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Peyton Manning. Defense will get you through the season, but even the Seattle Seahawks have a dynamic leader in Russell Wilson who finds a way to get the first down, get the touchdown, and win the game (except at the end of the Super Bowl).
The Texans, alongside teams like the Bills, the Chiefs, and the Cardinals were solid teams last year that were competing for playoff spots, but overall they didn’t have a great player at QB to lead them further. Conversely, the Giants may have stumbled, but Eli Manning, whether or not you like him, is a two-time Super Bowl champion, and with him in place, pieces can be put together around him.
Quarterback is the most important position in the league, and for about half the teams, it’s the position they need to address. So let’s take a look at the biggest quarterback messes in the league this offseason. These are the teams that are muddled in mediocrity or on the verge of heading quickly downhill. Now, while the Raiders and Jaguars have been at the bottom of the league for some time, we are leaving them out, as it looks like David Carr and Blake Bortles could be very good players. They are at least decent enough to be the certain starter going forward as these clubs rebuild.
We are also leaving off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the top pick, it’s assumed they will select Jameis Winston, who will be their opening day starter and have the opportunity to lead the team. There are still plenty of QB messes to go around.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view
10 Denver Broncos
At this very moment, the Broncos are safe. But they will be a big mess in the very near future - it’s just a matter of when. That’s because at any point, between training camp this year and the end of the playoffs in 2016, Peyton Manning could be retired. Now, we don’t want to presume injury, but Manning has had neck surgery, played last year with an injured quad, and certainly doesn’t have the arm strength he used to at 39-years-old. The Broncos have one more shot, but in each of the last two seasons, Manning has waned down the stretch. If he gets injured, there looks to be no plan in place, as Brock Osweiler is the heir apparent. The Broncos are going all-in this year and ignoring the future.
9 Philadelphia Eagles
Chip Kelly may or may not be a genius, we still don’t know. He has made a lot of moves so far this offseason, and while the biggest may be shipping off star back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for Kiko Alonso, the most important could be his QB swap. Nick Foles is off to St. Louis, and Kelly welcomes the oft-injured Sam Bradford. Last year, Foles and Mark Sanchez shared time, with both looking interchangeable in Kelly’s system. He may have an elaborate plan in place, but the Eagles have played one playoff game in four years and lost. For all the strategies, it’s still a quarterback’s league, and Kelly is gambling on Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez. It's hard to like his odds.
8 Chicago Bears
The Bears have the unenviable record of being the only club on this list with a messy quarterback situation despite having a long-standing starter and one who is the clear signal caller going into the next season. Jay Cutler has been the Bears starting quarterback since the 2009 season, and despite rumours and speculation he and his hefty contract would be shipped elsewhere this offseason, Cutler is staying put. However, gone is his top target in Brandon Marshall, and certainly gone is any fan and management support, if there was any left from last year. His contract is too big to unload, and Cutler has fallen out of favour on a team with a terrible defense in a tough division with no identity. What’s ridiculous is that there are surely teams on this list that would start him.
7 St. Louis Rams
After four years, the Sam Bradford experiment is over. He was never necessarily bad, he just couldn’t stay on the field. Now they bring in Nick Foles, and no one is really sure if he is great or exceptionally mediocre. He came on strong for the Eagles two years ago, throwing 27 TDs and only 2 picks, but he was mediocre last year with Philly, and perhaps a product of a Chip Kelly system that view players as pieces to a puzzle. The Rams are in a tough division and for the first time in five years, will not start the year with Bradford as their quarterback.
6 New York Jets
Rex Ryan is gone, which may spell good news for an offense that was constantly disregarded by the defensive-minded head coach. However, the Jets still have the erratic Geno Smith and the aged Michael Vick. They do have a shot at Marcus Mariota with the sixth pick, but it’s no sure thing they will get him, and it’s certainly no sure thing that a top QB pick will pan out in the heavily-scrutinized spotlight of New York City. What’s more, the Jets simply don’t have luck drafting QBs. Mark Sanchez was a fifth overall pick. Smith meanwhile was taken in the second round, as was Kellen Clemens in 2006. Chad Pennington was a first round pick; he wasn’t bad, but certainly wasn’t great.
They've also signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, who's succeeded in Chan Gailey's system in the past, but it's hard to feel too enthused by his presence.
5 Houston Texans
Maybe the future is Ryan Mallett - but maybe not. The former Tom Brady backup took over duties from journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick last year before getting injured and giving way to Case Keenum. Keenum of course, relieved Matt Schaub of his Texan QB duties the year before when he suddenly and simply forgot how to be an NFL player. The Texans go into this season with Mallet and Keenum, as well as another Brady backup, Brian Hoyer, and they all seem the same. With the best defensive player in the league on the team, as well as the electric young wideout DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans are in fact just a QB away from making the playoffs - they fell one game short last year.
4 Tennessee Titans
You know things are bad when the fact that Jake Locker retires can shake up your roster. The Titans weren’t exactly in love with Locker as his short-lived career came to an end, but they are still at a loss as to what to do next. The hope is that Zach Mettenberger can assume a leadership role. The 23-year-old will go into his second season with a chance to be the future QB for the Titans, but his rookie year wasn’t exactly stellar. Sure the Titans were terrible on both sides of the ball, with Mettenberger at the helm and without, but he did go winless in six starts. He had 8 TD passes to go with 7 picks, and ended the season on the sideline after injuring his shoulder.
This time two years ago, Washington wouldn’t have come close to making this list. With the rookie of the year at QB, Dan Snyder’s club was to be led by the legs and arm of Robert Griffin III. What a difference 24 months makes. After on the field injuries and off the field disagreements with two different coaches, Griffin is fighting for not just a starting job, but a spot on the roster. He shared time with Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins last year, and it seems nothing has changed going into 2015 as all three are still on the roster. For no reason at all, Griffin was recently announced as the starter, but that was after the Redskins put out a fan letter that conspicuously left Griffin off the list of core players.
2 Buffalo Bills
The Bills have gone 15 seasons without making the playoffs, the longest drought in the NFL, besting the anemic Oakland Raiders by three years. Since Jim Kelly left in 1996, the Bills haven’t had a QB last more than three seasons. Last year saw EJ Manuel and Kyle Orton start, while the year before featured Manuel alongside Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel. Tyrod Taylor and Matt Cassel have been added to the roster this year, but there is nothing to suggest that this franchise has a future QB just yet. It’s a shame too, because they have an explosive wideout in Sammy Watkins, and with new additions LeSean McCoy, Percy Harvin and Charles Clay, the Bills may just be a QB away from making a playoff run.
1 Cleveland Browns
The Johnny Manziel experiment may be over and done with after one year. Taken with the 22nd pick in last year’s draft, the electric college player hasn’t exactly made the transition to the pros and certainly isn’t attracting the right kind of attention off the field. He shared time last year with Brian Hoyer, who is now gone, while Connor Shaw also made a start last year. That means since Tim Couch is still the last QB in Browns history to start all 16 games - that was 2001. Since then, Couch is one of 18 different players to start at QB for the Browns. They signed Josh McCown and are rumored to be looking at drafting yet another QB. There is no end in sight for the struggling Cleveland club,.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!