The 2021 NFL offseason has been wild already, but several prominent quarterbacks could still be on the move before the actual games begin.
Once June 1 hits on the calendar, any dead cap money incurred by a team that needs to flip a prominent QB can be spread out over multiple years, if applicable. As a general rule, it’s better salary cap-wise to wait until that date to make a transaction official.
With that ultimatum looming, here are five crazy quarterback trades that could still happen this NFL offseason.
Aaron Rodgers to Denver Broncos
- TRADE: Broncos send EDGE Bradley Chubb, WR Tim Patrick, two first-round picks to Packers for QB Aaron Rodgers
The Las Vegas Raiders can offer all they want — they don’t have a defense capable of competing with the AFC West, much less the rest of the conference. Rodgers shouldn’t want to go there at all. Denver is a much more appealing destination.
Green Bay could ask for one of the Broncos’ two current QBs in Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock, yet neither would get the Packers faithful very excited. They’d need a signal-caller with more juice, and would probably have to make a corresponding move. Plus, this is a great package as it stands.
Bradley Chubb is an excellent pass-rusher who could start right away and add some grit to Green Bay’s front seven.
Tim Patrick is precisely the mold of big-bodied receiver the Packers have coveted for years, and it’s a crowded position in Denver, so he’s a logical trade chip after logging 51 catches for 742 yards and six touchdowns in 2020.
With two first-round picks to play with, Green Bay has flexibility in the coming years in addressing its QB situation in the event Jordan Love isn’t ready to start in 2021, or proves to be a bust.
Marcus Mariota to Green Bay Packers
- TRADE: Packers send 2022 third-round pick to Raiders for QB Marcus Mariota
This is a reactionary transaction to the above Rodgers blockbuster.
Although the Titans only finished 9-7 that season, Mariota was rather banged-up throughout the year, and saw one notable stat spike that’s proven to be an aberration to this point in his career: Completion percentage.
Mariota hit on 68.9% of his throws under LaFleur, which is way above his overall NFL mark of 62.9%. The offense was also heavily dependent on tailback Derrick Henry, and for good reason.
When he hit the field in relief of Derek Carr last season, Mariota showed he still has excellent running ability, a live arm and downfield accuracy.
Despite re-signing with the Las Vegas Raiders for one more season on a pay cut, the 27-year-old Mariota can still be traded, and his cap hit for Green Bay would only be $1.75 million.
Joining a team with an offense he already knows that just made back-to-back NFC title games is as appealing a situation as Mariota could hope for. He’d have a legitimate audition for the rest of the NFL and give the Packers a solid one-year solution at QB as Love continues to develop.
Gardner Minshew to New Orleans Saints
- TRADE: Saints send 2022 fourth-round pick to Jaguars for QB Gardner Minshew
There’s honestly a chance that rookie fourth-round pick Ian Book doesn’t even make the Saints’ 53-man roster — and that’s with the understanding that Taysom Hill technically won’t be counted as a QB, unless he beats out Jameis Winston for the starting job.
Hill is still a raw passer to this point in his career, which suggests he’s never really going to figure out that part of his game. When we last saw Winston start, he threw a whopping 30 interceptions during the 2019 campaign. Book lacks any and all physical tools to be an NFL quarterback, and was such a mind-boggling reach in Round 4 of the draft.
Isn’t it possible that New Orleans looks at its QB depth chart, realizes, “This is not good!” and tries to find a more dependable player, who can actually deliver the ball accurately, is a good decision-maker and will get everyone excited because of his potential?
It sure is. Gardner Minshew fits the bill. He’s the perfect candidate for the Saints to trade for. Let’s face it: Minshew Mania is no longer a thing in Duval County. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall.
Minshew was a sixth-round pick who’s exceeded expectations when he’s gotten a fair opportunity. Under the guidance of Sean Payton in the Saints’ offense, Minshew could flourish and prove to be at least an above-average starter, not to mention a massive fan favorite.
New Orleans’ salary cap situation is dire, and Minshew is still on a rookie contract that barely costs anything. A perfect solution for all parties involved.
Deshaun Watson to Miami Dolphins, Tua Tagovailoa to Houston Texans
- TRADE: Dolphins send QB Tua Tagovailoa, CB Xavien Howard, two first-round picks to Texans for QB Deshaun Watson
How about a two-for-one to finish?
Although the Deshaun Watson scandal is dangerous territory for commentary, recent NFL rumors suggest Watson is still on the Dolphins’ radar for a trade.
Watson led the NFL in passing yards last season. The Dolphins won 10 games with a combination of Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa under center. Watson is a huge upgrade over that duo to say the absolute least.
Tagovailoa also has enough upside to help Miami swing a trade for Watson. The Houston Texans aren’t going to give their face of the franchise up for cheap, regardless of how his unsavory off-field situation plays out.
No team has the combination of draft capital, decent veteran players, a promising young QB and the cap space available to make a better offer for Watson than the Fins. It just makes sense, if and when Watson is available and deemed eligible to play.