The 2019 season has been a brutal affair for the quarterback position. Big names went down early and rookie QB’s stepped up and were given the chance to shine. 2019 gave us the birth of Minshew Mania and allowed us to see that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers are in safe hands.
2019 has also shown us that some franchises are really struggling at the quarterback position. Whether that is because they have a veteran QB at the helm who is really struggling to keep up the momentum or their franchise QB isn’t playing out the way they thought it would have.
As we enter the home straight of the 2019 season, here are some big-name QB’s who could be hitting the market during the 2020 offseason.
Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
Putting Cam Newton in this conversation feels like a double-edged sword. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the former MVP is capable of playing – he was at one point one of the most feared dual-threat QB’s in the league. But injury, numerous surgeries to his throwing arm and the possibility of more surgery on his foot mean Cam is a big risk. Kyle Allen has done an outstanding job guiding the Panthers since Cam was sidelined, proving to us that the franchise is in safe hands.
The Panthers may also want to cut ties with Cam to free up nearly $19 million in cap space which would allow them to add reinforcements to other parts of the field. With Kyle Allen looking to be the Panthers’ next franchise QB, Cam could end up a steal for other teams lacking in the QB department.
Nick Foles – Jacksonville Jaguars
Nick Foles guided the Eagles to a Super Bowl ring in 2017, showing flashes of brilliance during that season. But with the Eagles opting to stick with their first-round pick; Carson Wentz, Foles with snapped up by Jacksonville, who expected big things from him. On paper, the move seemed to have paid off but he was injured during Week 1 of the 2019 season. This gave birth to Minshew Mania.
Gardner Minshew seized his chance to show the NFL what he was capable of, leading the Jaguars and putting up some big numbers in doing so. But during the game at Wembley stadium, he failed to get the offence going, resulting in a loss for Jacksonville. Foles was named the starting quarterback not long after.
It seems unlikely the Jaguars will release Foles at the end of this season as Minshew still has a long way to go before he can go toe-to-toe with the big boys in the league. But the fact Foles struggles to remain healthy should be a huge concern for the Jaguars, who could free up some much-needed cap space should they choose to let him go at the end of the season.
Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals
I think it is time for the Bengals to move on from their struggling quarterback; Andy Dalton. The Bengals currently stand 0-9 with both their offence and defence struggling to make anything happen. At the moment, they seem to be guaranteed the first pick in the 2020 NFL draft and with the number of impressive QB prospects on the board, it makes sense for the Bengals to start afresh.
His stats have been woeful this year, recording a 9/8 TD/INT ratio. Every game he struggles to push the offence to the end zone. Although his passing ability is superb, he is not as mobile as other QB’s in the league; a trait which seems to be a hugely important one. When surrounded by talent, Dalton is able to show flashes of brilliance which made him the all-time leader of wins for Texas Christian University.
But as we have seen in 2019, when stuck behind a struggling O-Line and a bare-bones receiving pool, he struggles to pick up the W for the Bengals. As the QB position evolves in today’s game, Dalton is struggling to adapt.
However, one thing Dalton would make is a fantastic mentor. Should the Bengals choose to keep him after the 2019 season, they could make their rookie QB sit behind him and learn how to transition to the NFL.
Josh Rosen – Miami Dolphins
Once again, it looks like Josh Rosen may be without a team heading into 2020. This is a shame because Rosen has a huge amount of talent, he has just been forced to play behind leaky O-Line’s and a team, who at first, seemed to be tanking for the number one draft spot in 2020.
But as we head into the second half of the season, Rosen is still no closer to the starting job at Miami. It seems that the 2018 10th overall pick is destined to squander his career as a backup, or worse yet, a free agent. He must have impressed in the build-up to the 2018 draft as the Cardinals traded up for him, but most of the NFL commentators are convinced he is was worth nothing more than a second-round pick, which has probably damaged his stock value immensely.
There are plenty of teams that need a quarterback of his calibre and it seems ludicrous that a young QB seems destined to linger on the sidelines. With the Dolphins still amassing draft picks and heading into rebuild mode, all the cards point to Rosen having a backup role, if any role at all with the Dolphins.
Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans
In a lot of ways, I feel sorry for Mariota. Although his 2019 season started off well, he has struggled to produce on offence before being benched in favour of Ryan Tannehill during their Week 6 loss to the Broncos. Since then, he has been named as the backup.
In fairness, the blame does not totally lie with Mariota. His O-Line is pretty poor this season and was sacked 17 times in the first three weeks of this season. I don’t care who you are, that would put a serious dent in anyone’s confidence. But on the other hand, his awareness has been pretty bad this season and he seems to linger too long in the pocket before making plays.
With his rookie contract due to expire at the end of this season, the Titans may release Mariota in favour of the stud college QB’s heading into the draft this year. If the Mariota wants to convince the Titans that they still have their man, then he needs to step up and show that he is capable of not only leading a team and find a way to tackle NFL defences.
Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Selected in the same draft class as Mariota, Jameis Winston has had a hard time being the frontman of the Bucs. In fairness to him, his career hasn’t been dreadful, but he has not shown the development and growth required of a franchise quarterback. Although other QB’s in the NFL such as Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold are struggling with the same issue, none of them are in the final year of their contract.
Winston has thrown 14 interceptions this year so far, including the five he threw against the Panthers. He currently leads the list of most interceptions thrown by a QB, which is pretty disappointing for a QB in his fourth year in the NFL. However, he does stand third in the league for total passing yards, possible due to the lack of run game possessed by the Bucs. Lack of spatial awareness and the ability to read defences could be a contributing factor.
The blame does not lie solely on his shoulders though. As with many other teams in the league, the Bucs O-Line is pretty terrible and he often doesn’t have time to read defences and make a play. I watched him against Arizona last week, and his protection was often non-existent.
It’s crunch time for the QB heading into contract re-negotiations. Winston needs to step up for the rest of the season to prove that he is still Tampa’s number one guy, but much like the Bengals and the Titans, the quarterback prospects coming through this year may be too much to resist.
Mitchell Trubisky – Chicago Bears
This is one of those ‘why didn’t you?’ moments. Trubisky was drafted in the same class as MVP candidates Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson. The Bears even moved up a spot to snag their man, a move which I believe was totally unnecessary.
Trubisky has struggled to adapt to the NFL level and has been nothing but underwhelming for the Bears. Even though they made the NFC championship game, their mediocre offence was held up by their outstanding defence. The Bears were tipped to once again go the distance this year, and even win their division, but so far, they are stuck at a 4 – 5 record with their playoff position looking less and less likely.
In their Week 9 game against the Eagles, he threw for 125 yards and for just 9 yards in the first quarter. He struggled to generate anything on the offence and the Bears ended up taking a loss, making it four in a row. He also made headlines by asking all TV’s to be switched off in the Bears HQ to shield him from the negativity surrounding his position as the Bears future quarterback.
Once again, with the college QB’s making headlines across the NFL scene, the temptation may be too much for the Bears to start afresh and move in a different direction.