We’re at a point in the year where people are taking a deep dive into this year’s NFL draft quarterback group. Over the months leading up to the draft, there will be plenty of opinions on what players should go where and how high.
But one of the biggest pieces that fit in the quarterback equation is this year’s potential free agent class.
Quarterback Free Agency Frenzy Could Shake Up the Entire NFL Draft
Who are the biggest names? What teams need them most? What are some of their trade values at?
Starting at 11 AM on March 13th teams will be able to officially talk and sign free agent players. Meaning up until then there will be a lot of speculation and reports on where these players could land.
The Foles Era
After bouncing around the league for most of his career, Nick Foles has seemingly put together two good seasons when asked to be the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback. Head coach Doug Pederson has said that Carson Wentz is the teams’ quarterback going forward, meaning the Nick Foles era could be over in Philadelphia.
Foles currently has a team option in his contract for the 2019 NFL season. If exercised he would receive upwards of $20 million for the upcoming season. If not, he becomes a free agent. He can also decline the option and choose to become a free agent if wanted.
Assuming he hits free agency, what is his market value looking like? For a quarterback who has won some of the biggest games imaginable, it could be higher than some expect. The biggest question will be whether his success was evident on the system he was in or his individual talent.
A quarterback-needy team will look towards Foles to be a potential stop gap player for them. With great success, he may be able to earn a long-term role in the league, but if not, he could be one of the best bridge quarterbacks available. Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants and Washington Redskins could all look to acquire his talents.
From Backup to Franchise Single-Caller?
Once looked at as the future of the Minnesota Vikings, Teddy Bridgewater suffered a terrible injury that put his future in doubt. Miraculously he came back from the injury and landed as the New Orleans Saints backup quarterback this past season.
With limited starting time since the injury teams could be wary of signing him long term. But he is slated to be a free agent this offseason and is in the running to be a team’s starting quarterback when the 2019 season starts.
Bridgewater has seen a minimal amount of starts, the latest of which coming week 17 in a loss to the Carolina Panthers. In that loss, Bridgewater showed he has some rust on the tires and may not be the long-term answer some teams want. Still, it looks like Bridgewater could be signed to a long-term deal once the new league year starts up.
Perhaps the quarterback no one is talking about, current Jacksonville Jaguar Blake Bortles. After having an up and down career, the team announced they were sticking with Bortles for the 2018 NFL season. That quickly backfired as his struggles continued and he looked to regress and bring the team around him down in the process. From there it was evident the team was ready to move on and get a new franchise quarterback in the picture. Which brought up the question, what do they do with Bortles?
Bortles is currently under contract with the Jaguars for the 2019 NFL season. Bortles has a $16.5 million cap hit if released, and Jacksonville probably wouldn’t get much in a trade. This puts the team in a tricky situation. They could keep him as a placeholder and draft a young quarterback in this years or next years draft. Or they could trade him. While they may not get a lot back, it would be a salary dump and a late-round pick. In a trade, Bortles value would be a maximum of a fourth rounder to render his services.
Teams looking for a true veteran presence will tend to lean toward acquiring Joe Flacco. After getting benched for rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, all signs point to Flacco’s time in Baltimore being over. The question becomes who will sign him, and for how much? With his experience, Flacco will likely land another starting job for a team becoming the perfect bridge quarterback.
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