The 2018 NFL season has ended and the Patriots are Super Bowl champions. It is time for every NFL team to think about the offseason and plan for next year. Teams can start using their franchise tags on February 19, in about two weeks. Then, on March 13, the free agency period starts and players can sign with new franchises. Free agency, including the quarterback market, always has a major impact on the upcoming season.
The 2019 quarterback market is not as robust as last year’s draft-wise. In addition, there aren’t flashy names at the top of the free agent class like Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins last year. However, some of the veterans that could join new teams as starters this season have the ability to make an immediate impact. Some are on the free agent market, and some are available via trade. In Part one, we looked at the biggest quarterback names on the free agent market.
Now, let’s look at the biggest names on the quarterback trade market:
Joe Flacco is the one quarterback who will definitely be on another team come next season. When Flacco returned from injury midway through the 2018 season, the Baltimore Ravens kept him on the bench. The Ravens liked the spark rookie Lamar Jackson had provided and chose him to be their quarterback of the future.
Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh has repeatedly said that they will let Joe Flacco choose his next destination. There will be a number of teams interested in trading for Flacco, especially ones that feel they are a quarterback away from strong playoff success. He is 34 years old, so has a few years left in his career.
Flacco has also proven to be a productive and clutch playoff quarterback. He has at least a 90 passer rating in his last four postseason appearances, including throwing 11 touchdowns to zero interceptions during Baltimore’s Super Bowl run in 2012. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who were in the AFC Championship game just a season ago, may try to trade for him. The Washington Redskins, who were 6-2 before Alex Smith’s gruesome injury last year, also might take a look. Flacco has a big arm and a clutch gene, two qualities that will make him coveted on the quarterback trade market.
Tannehill went number eight overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, one that has produced a lot of productive quarterbacks. He went after Andrew Luck but ahead of guys like Russell Wilson, Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins and even Case Keenum. While Tannehill hasn’t been a horrific quarterback, he also hasn’t shown the ability to carry a team. Granted, he looked on the come-up in 2016, leading his team to playoff position before becoming injured and subsequently tearing his ACL the next season. However, he can be considered injury prone now with two straight season-ending injuries before missing five games this year.
The Miami Dolphins have held onto hope about Tannehill for long enough and seem ready to move on. He had 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season with a 33.1 QBR, by far the worst of his career. Ryan Tannehill has shown flashes of his potential previously, but those were too few and far between. Now he has regressed and will be 31 years old next season. It is clear that he will not be a franchise quarterback, at least in Miami.
Some team might want to take a chance on Ryan Tannehill if they are not impressed with this year’s draft class. Miami has reportedly not found a trade offer as of yet. If they don’t get one before the draft, they might simply cut him and move on with their team. At that point, Tannehill will be free to sign with any team he chooses, probably as a backup.
Manning is an interesting case. He is a Giants legend, having helped the team win two championships and having won both Super Bowl MVPs. He did struggle with accuracy at times and wasn’t great at reading defenses to find open receivers. These are not good signs for a veteran quarterback. However, part of his struggles were due to a bad offensive line. In addition, Manning only threw 11 interceptions this season, the first time he has ever had an INT percentage lower than 2%. Somehow he has gone from overly praised to overly criticized in a matter of two seasons.
However, with young weapons like Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram, the Giants are looking to refresh their quarterback situation. They have their eyes on two guys: free agent Nick Foles and Ohio State product Dwayne Haskins. If they sign Foles or another veteran, New York will most likely look to trade Eli Manning this offseason. However, if they decide to draft a quarterback, they might want to keep Eli for a season or two. Eli could start for a while and mentor the young quarterback.
If Eli Manning does, in fact, become available, the same teams who would look at the other options would also look at Manning. These teams could include the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins.
Other 2019 Trade or Cut Possibilities: Jacoby Brissett (trade), Blake Bortles (cut)
Featured image by Getty Images
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