As free agency looms large over the NFL, we take a look at the potential QB landing spots for Fantasy Football. Other than the biggest name, Kirk Cousins (who could be franchised), we have the possible trade/release of Tony Romo, Jimmy Garappolo, Tyrod Taylor, Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler to go along with the unknown upside of Mike Glennon and of course, this year’s draft crop. There are plenty of different directions you can go if you need a QB, and that is a quarter of the NFL. The QB carousel is going to be one of the more polarizing topics of the offseason.
“Somebody To Love” by Jefferson Airplane
“Don’t you want somebody to love, don’t you. Need somebody to love, wouldn’t you. Love somebody to love, you better. Find somebody to love.”
The Chicago Bears seem destined to part ways with indifferent gunslinger Cutler via trade or the ax. He should find work as a temporary starter, but his days as a long-term solution are gone. Matt Barkley is a free agent and showed well enough to get a decent contract as a backup. The Bears need to focus on finding and developing a franchise QB via the first round of the draft. If they can retain Alshon Jeffery and get anything out of Kevin White, this could end up being a lucrative Fantasy spot. Glennon would also make some sense as a free agent acquisition.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before … the Cleveland Browns are searching for a franchise QB. Long a turnstile for mediocre-to-poor QB play, the Browns have oft-injured Robert Griffin III and the limited upside Cody Kessler under contract for 2017, along with athletic long-shot Kevin Hogan. RGIII could get cut, and Kessler profiles as a career backup. The Browns are an option for the trade of a QB (Garappolo) or acquiring one in free agency (Glennon). The thing is, the Browns have intriguing offensive talent in place. Imagine if Josh Gordon stopped smoking weed, they re-signed Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman was as good as many draft experts thought. Sneaky Fantasy value here for the right signal caller.
Outside of Ryan Fitzpatrick two years ago, the New York Jets QB situation and decision making has been dreadful. Fitzmagic likely settles for a back-up job this offseason, and the same can be said for Geno Smith. Christian Hackenberg? Wasted draft pick. Bryce Petty? Not a starter. The Jets need to find a permanent solution, but they may end up going after someone like Cutler or Kaepernick in a very Jets-like maneuver.
Yes, the San Francisco 49ers have Kaepernick under contract for 2017, but it is at $16.9 million price tag. There is a new regime in town, and it remains to be seen what will happen to Kaepernick, but my guess is that he is wearing a new jersey next year. Expect the Niners to be aggressive in their QB search for Kyle Shanahan.
“Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealer’s Wheel
“Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you. And I’m wondering what it is I should do. It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face. Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place.”
While Taylor has been a valuable Fantasy QB, the Buffalo Bills are questioning his long-term ability. His skill set is not a great fit in today’s pass-happy NFL, but he should have a long line of suitors if he is cut. That would leave the Bills with a major hole at QB, which they could fill via trade (Cutler?), the draft or free agency. Cardale Jones is there, but he’s still very much a developmental prospect albeit with very intriguing measurables. He is worth holding on to in two-QB dynasty formats, unless you can get someone who believes he’ll be the starter next year. LeSean McCoy provides a strong running game, but Sammy Watkins is the only passing asset worth mentioning. Unless they add significant pieces to their offense, this could be a mediocre short-term spot.
Perhaps the most interesting landing spot for immediate dominance is the Denver Broncos. They have Trevor Siemian, who held his own last year but should really max out as a backup and Paxton Lynch, their first-round pick from a year ago. Lynch has the physical tools to succeed, but there is plenty of work to be done. This is a perfect spot for Romo to land. There’s instant offense if just add an above-average QB. The defense is one of the best in the league, and with the right QB, they could be a favorite to win Super Bowl 52.
The Houston Texans swung and missed on Brock Osweiler last offseason, giving him a huge contract. He looked awful for most of the year and was benched for Tom Savage at one point. Osweiler is a $19 million cap hit in 2017, so he’s not going anywhere. They need to address the situation via the draft, as early as possible. The Texans have the offensive pieces to be a fertile Fantasy ground and the defense to be a contender. Much like the Broncos, they are a QB away from that at the moment.
Will the Washington Redskins franchise Cousins again this offseason or try to sign him to a long-term deal? Those are really the only options they should consider, but perhaps they could let him walk and start hunting for their QB of the future. Like many teams are forced to do, they may have to bite the bullet and give Cousins a significant deal, albeit one they could get out of after two or three seasons. I believe he’ll be under center for the Redskins Week 1, but it might be as a franchised player for a second straight year.
“In A Future Age” by Wilco
“Some trees will bend, and some will fall. But then again, so will us all. Let’s turn our prayers, into outrageous dares. And mark our page, in a future age.”
The Arizona Cardinals are getting Carson Palmer back this year, but they should be in the market for another QB. Palmer’s play declined in 2016, and there were rumors of him contemplating retirement. Arizona would be wise to spend an early pick on a QB in addition to exploring a low-cost veteran option in free agency. This is a plus landing spot for a young QB to land in for 2018 and beyond.
The Jacksonville Jaguars probably don’t want to start thinking about it, but they should. Blake Bortles tremendous Fantasy season in 2015 masked many of his flaws and implied a false sense of development. Most of those weaknesses were glaring in 2016, as Bortles struggled mightily to move the offense. Second-year QB Brandon Allen is an intriguing deep dynasty stash, but probably does not have the upside to be a regular starter. Chad Henne is a decent backup, but we already know his limitations. Their 2018 Week 1 starter is not likely on the roster yet.
Do the Kansas City Chiefs love being slightly above average? That is exactly what sticking with Alex Smith gets them. Nick Foles is overexposed as a starter, but at least he can throw the ball downfield. He actually might find himself cut or traded this offseason and could very well get a chance to start multiple games in 2017. Tyler Bray is not going to be a franchise QB. The Chiefs offensive talent is held back by Smith, and until he is replaced, it will continue to be a frustrating situation for Fantasy owners.
The Los Angeles Rams just spent a No. 1 overall pick on a QB, but they could quickly be back in the market if Jared Goff does not show some (any) signs of life in 2017. There is still plenty of upside for the 22-year-old, and the Rams plan this offseason should be to add offensive talent around him. If you are in a two-QB dynasty format, Goff is not the worst gamble at this point assuming his price tag is on the clearance rack.
Eli Manning is locked in as the New York Giants starter for the foreseeable future, but they need to think about spending a Day 2 pick on a developmental project. Sorry, Ryan Nassib, but you are not the heir apparent.