Free agency is just around the corner, and there are a surprising amount of talented free agent quarterbacks set to hit the market. With so many quarterback-needy teams, trying to guess where each one lands is no easy task. Still, these are the most likely landing spots based on everything we know right now.
Note that Drew Brees isn’t on this list because he already announced he’s going to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints. Also, note that Andy Dalton and Cam Newton are on this list as well. Even though both players aren’t free agents, it’s hard to imagine a world where either guy returns to their current team.
NFL Free Agency: Free Agent Quarterback Destinations
Tom Brady – Patriots
While it’s fun to speculate possible landing spots for Tom Brady, the fact remains that returning to Foxboro is the safest bet for the six-time Super Bowl champion. Brady values winning above all, and no team gives him a better chance to win than the Patriots. Bill Belichick is without peer, the defense should still be great, and the Patriots have all offseason to add two or three receiving options.
The Patriots take a $13.5 million cap hit if Brady hits free agency, so don’t be surprised if a deal breaks before March 18th. With the NFL Combine just around the corner, Bill Belichick should be busy working out a trade to bring in some pass-catching talent.
Dak Prescott – Cowboys
There is no way that Jerry Jones and company let Dak Prescott walk in free agency. Ever since arriving in Dallas as a fourth-round pick, the Mississippi State product has been a solid starter at worst and a fringe-MVP candidate at best. If the Cowboys are smart, they’ll sign him to a long-term extension before the start of 2020. Mike McCarthy is a better head coach than Jason Garrett, and Prescott will be in the second year of Kellen Moore’s offense. He should have a fantastic season, and quarterbacks aren’t getting any cheaper.
Philip Rivers – Colts
The Los Angeles Chargers officially parted ways with Philip Rivers, so we know he’s going to be playing somewhere else in 2020. As of this posting, the odds-on favorite for his services are the Indianapolis Colts. Rivers took a step back in 2019, but he’s still capable of starting-caliber production, especially in an improved situation. While the Colts don’t have the same pass-catching weapons as the Chargers, they have a considerably better offensive line and a better coaching staff. Indianapolis is a quarterback away from returning to Super Bowl contention, and Rivers should have enough left in his tank to bring Indianapolis back to the playoffs.
Teddy Bridgewater – Raiders
It sure looks like the Las Vegas Raiders want to move on from Derek Carr. Multiple reports claim that the Raiders are willing to offer $30 million per year for Brady’s services, but Brady returns to New England in this scenario. Assuming Brady doesn’t leave, the Raiders should turn to Teddy Bridgewater. While Bridgewater isn’t Brady by any means, he proved he deserves to be a starter last year. The former first-round pick needed a few weeks to knock off some rust but looked like a league-average quarterback towards the end of his stint filling in for Drew Brees. League-average play is a valuable commodity from the quarterback position, and a new face of the franchise is just what the Raiders need for their inaugural season in the desert.
Jameis Winston – Buccaneers
Jameis Winston is simultaneously the best and worst quarterback in the NFL. While Winston probably just is what he is by this point, the Buccaneers owe it to themselves to bring him back for one more season. Winston will be in his second year under head coach Bruce Arians, and quarterbacks tend to thrive with Arians after a one-year adjustment. Nobody can deny Winston’s sensational playmaking ability, but his constant head-scratching turnovers take away from his overall value. If the stars are ever going to align for him, this is the year. Using the franchise tag (and drafting another quarterback) make perfect sense for Tampa Bay.
Ryan Tannehill – Titans
The Tennessee Titans shouldn’t allow Ryan Tannehill to leave the building. While the defense and running game primarily carried Tennessee to the AFC Championship Game, the Titans wouldn’t have even been in the playoffs if it weren’t for Tannehill’s high level of play. Miami’s longtime starter had the best season of his career, ending the season as the third-best quarterback in football, per Pro Football Focus.
Can he do it again? Probably not, but the Titans need to see him try. Placing the franchise tag on Tannehill is a no-brainer here.
Andy Dalton – Bears
The Chicago Bears can’t possibly enter 2020 with Mitchell Trubisky under center. The Bears have a great roster, a solid head coach, and are very much in win-now mode. However, Trubisky is singlehandedly ruining the whole thing. Andy Dalton is only as good as the sum of his parts, but that still represents a sizable upgrade on Trubisky. With cap space being something of an issue, the Bears probably don’t have the financial resources to sign a top-level quarterback. With Aaron Rodgers seemingly on the decline, the NFC North is completely up for grabs next year. Dalton can lead the Bears to a division title while also searching for his first career playoff win.
Cam Newton – Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers said they’re comfortable with Tyrod Taylor entering 2020 as their starter, but I’ll believe that when I see it. If Cam Newton is healthy (huge if), he’s a considerably better quarterback than Taylor. The Chargers currently own the sixth pick in the NFL Draft and probably won’t be in the running for Joe Burrow or Tua Tagovailoa. If they’re not in love with Justin Herbert, they could make a trade for Newton and draft a guy like Jalen Hurts in the second round.
Marcus Mariota – Steelers
Marcus Mariota probably isn’t going to earn a starting job in free agency. The former second-overall pick looked like a solid quarterback before injuries seemingly took away some of what made him special. The Steelers are going to need a high-level backup, as Ben Roethlisberger is getting up there in age and Mason Rudolph clearly isn’t the answer under center. It’s probably best for Mariota to sit on the bench for a season or two, but perhaps a change of scenery can bring out a Ryan Tannehill type of career resurgence.
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