By: Mike Patt
Original Date: 1/19/23
Hello sports fans, and welcome back to the IE Sports Radio Blog. The 2022 NFL Off-season saw an unprecedented amount of quarterback activity on the trade market, with a new trade popping up seemingly every week for a month straight. While I do not think we see the same number of trades this year, the 2023 QB market is shaping up to be just as fascinating. Several big names a slated to become free agents, either by their contract ending or by rumored/expected release. The draft is going to have better options as well. With all the complexity, we are going to take a stab at guessing what teams will be interested, and where their interest will lie. Let’s dive in:
Little to No Interest: Dallas, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Arizona, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo, Miami, New England, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver
About half the league is on the list of those I anticipate to be quiet on the QB front. You can see the patterns, as many of these teams have either established franchise players under contract, or young options who still deserve a chance. A couple of these teams, namely Denver, Arizona, and Cleveland, just gave out big contracts to players who had rough years in 2022. They will need to work around these deals, as moving on from them so quickly is impractical. San Francisco is an interesting case, but I believe they let Jimmy G go and roll with Trey Lance and Brock Purdy for 2023 (especially if Purdy has continued playoff success). And yes, I do think Miami and New England will give their young guys another chance, despite the active rumor mills.
Moderate to Heavy Draft Interest: Houston, Indianapolis, Carolina, Detroit, Minnesota
I need to clarify something about this section and the next. I’m not saying that these are the ONLY teams who will look to the draft (free agency for the next group) to solve their issues. What I am saying is that I believe these two groups are likely to address the position exclusively through one method or the other. Houston, Indianapolis, and Carolina are not surprising. They have major needs, and are in good position to grab a top prospect. The Colts and Panthers in particular have had bad luck with free agent/traded QBs, so I imagine they are done with that approach. Even though Jared Goff had a good year for Detroit, they may look for his eventual successor, possible on day two of the draft. Minnesota may seem odd until you realize that Kirk Cousins turns 35 later this off-season, is entering the last year of his contract, and just dropped another playoff game. It is time to find a young player with upside to be his replacement.
Free Agent Interest: Las Vegas, New York Jets, Seattle, New York Giants
Some interesting options here. The Raiders are in good position to draft a new signal caller, but rumors are swirling about their interest in the free agent market. In the likely scenario that they release Derek Carr, they will have the money to make a move. It would be tough for the Jets to trade Zach Wilson, so I believe their most likely approach is to bring back Mike White and add a veteran to compete for the starting job. Seattle starter Geno Smith is a free agent, and while I do believe he re-signs, we cannot rule out possible alternative moves. The Giants, similar to Seattle, are likely to re-sign their current guy (Daniel Jones), but rumors are that his demands are higher than expected. Will he price himself out of New York? That could be interesting to watch.
Wild Cards: Baltimore, Washington, Atlanta, Green Bay, Chicago, New Orleans, Tennessee, Tampa Bay
A quarter of the league is going to determine how crazy this off-season will be. Let’s start with the two easiest cases, which are Washington and Atlanta. Each one has a young player entering their second year who they could stick with, but also have the funds to sign a free agent if they so desired. We also cannot rule out the draft if the right option is available, giving them three potential directions. New Orleans essentially does not have a QB, but unlike the previous two, they do not have the salary cap space nor the draft capital to address the matter adequately. Who knows what could happen in the Big Easy. Normally Chicago would not have a question with Justin Fields on the roster. However, they have the #1 pick in the draft, and an immense amount of salary cap space. You cannot rule out any possibilities with those resources at your disposal.
Tennessee also has a young option, but Malik Willis had a rough rookie season. They will have to decide whether to stand pat and keep Ryan Tannehill, or move on and figure out the best way to grow at QB. Green Bay will be a wild card so long as Aaron Rodgers is around, as he himself is unpredictable. He could retire tomorrow and no one would bat an eye. Speaking of retirement, does anyone else think Tom Brady should have stayed away? Now he is rumored to be leaving Tampa, and the Bucs are faced with the choice of either trying one more shot or blowing it up. And then we come to Baltimore, who is going to get the majority of the headlines so long as the Lamar Jackson situation remains unresolved. That is the ultimate wild card in this whole article.
To re-iterate, this is how I believe teams most likely approach the market. There may be some surprises that I am not accounting for. Could the Rams be a bigger player in the draft? Absolutely. Could Carolina sign a free agent instead of going for a rookie? 100%. Any number of things could happen; that is what makes NFL off-seasons so entertaining. I will be following this one with great curiosity. That will do it for this post. Be sure to check out all of the awesome shows throughout the week on IESR, as well as the live calls on our partner station USRN. Shout out to our Patreon supporters and all you loyal fans that continue to help our network grow. Thank you for reading, and we will see you next time on IE Sports Radio; your direct feed for ALL that is sports.