With only Super Bowl LII left on the schedule, most teams have already shifted their focus to the 2018 season. Free agency is right around the corner which is expected to cause major shifts at the quarterback position for some clubs.
There are many quarterbacks with expiring contracts sure to garner interest. One team in particular currently houses three impending free agent quarterbacks.
Outside of the free agents, there are other quarterbacks who are anticipated to hit the trade block. As such, many needy franchises will be ready to pounce.
For one, Denver Broncos are a team that is not afraid to spend big and make finding a new quarterback a top priority.
Taking all of this into account, here are nine quarterbacks who could be playing for new teams in 2018.
Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings
Keenum did not exactly dazzle as most expected in the NFC Championship Game. But he did etch a memorable mark throughout the 2017 campaign. Keenum nearly boosted the Vikings to their first Super Bowl in 40-plus season and accomplished an 11-3 regular season record as the team’s starter. His 67.6 pass completion rate was unarguably impressive.
Keenum now takes some pretty proud 2017 accomplishments into free agency. He performed at a high enough level in the eyes of many to become a featured quarterback in 2018. With that said, the Vikings may aim to retain or franchise tag him. But, aware of the market that awaits him, Keenum is not sure if he wants to commit to Minnesota next year.
He is bound to draw heavy interest from mulitple NFL franchises in need of an upgrade at quarterback. Decisions, decisions.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
New Orleans has been home to Brees since 2006. But, the one-time Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer is slated to become a free agent in 2018. The team last committed to him on a one-year deal worth $24.25 million to play in 2017.
Brees proved throughout a tremendous 2017 campaign that he still has plenty left to contribute after completing an NFL record 72 percent of his passes. The Saints would not be the same team without him and Brees wishes to remain in New Orleans. Though, head coach Sean Payton recently declined to discuss Brees’ future with the Saints.
Re-signing Brees to another short-term one or two-year deal is best for the team’s immediate future. But it is possible another struggling franchise opens its pocket book big time to lure Brees in for all he has to offer while he is still hot.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Speaking of careers up in the air, Smith likely will not have the luxury of choosing his own fate in 2018. It is highly anticipated that the Chiefs will trade Smith this spring. They planned for their long-term future by moving up to select Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 Draft.
This leaves the door wide open for the Chiefs to see what they can fetch for Smith. Even though the Chiefs have failed to make it to a conference title game with Smith under center, he sports an awesome track record. As one of the most accurate passers in the league, Smith completed 67.5 percent of his passes and threw for career-high 26 touchdowns in 2017. This came along with just five interceptions.
The asking price for Smith will be hefty and there are several clubs that will be interested. To avoid competition within the AFC, a trade to an NFC franchise such as the Arizona Cardinals is an intriguing option.
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
The Bills made the playoffs for the first time since 1999 with Taylor in command. Yet, the long-term fit for Taylor in Buffalo is one the Bills remain unsure about. With the upcoming 2018 Draft, the team is said to be evaluating all of its options. Plus, head coach Sean McDermott recently said that he isn’t going to talk about Taylor’s future, according to beat writer, Joe Buscaglia.
The writing is pretty plain on the wall that Taylor is not the franchise quarterback the Bills believe can launch the team to its next level. A release seems imminent, which would make Taylor available this spring. There have been multiple reports tying Taylor to a Denver Broncos team that offered him a deal during free agency in 2015.
Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings
Bradford’s two-year contract soon ends which may send him into free agency. The quarterback situation in Minnesota is quite murky with the aforementioned Keenum also slated to become a free agent. Much of Bradford’s future with the Vikings depends on what happens with Keenum.
Though, the Vikings might choose to follow a different avenue altogether. There are some quarterbacks we have already mentioned that could be on their radar. Or perhaps they decide to start fresh with the 2018 Draft.
Surely, Bradford will attract potential suitors if his time with Minnesota comes to an end. Though, his injury-plagued 2017 season and past injury issues makes him somewhat of a risk.
Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Cousins and the Redskins have some issues to work out. The team could place a franchise tag on him for the third year in a row if the two parties cannot iron out a long-term deal. Though, that would cost about $35 million for the 2018 season.
This is a market that would drive considerable interest for a quarterback who has performed very well in his three seasons starting for Washington. Cousins is healthy, only 29-years-old and has passed for no less than 4,093 yards and 25 touchdowns since starting for the team in 2015. He recently expressed interest in playing for the Cleveland Browns. We all know that they remain forever in the hunt for a qualified franchise quarterback.
There is bound to be a flurry of activity surrounding Cousins once March rolls around.
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
Foles is suddenly the hottest guy in the NFC. He proved all of his doubters completely wrong when the Eagles wiped the slate against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game. Foles produced a 141.4 quarterback rating after passing for 352 yards and three touchdowns against the league’s No. 1 defense.
He now moves on with the Eagles to play in Super Bowl LII. Let’s just say the Eagles win. With Carson Wentz slated to make a healthy return in 2018, the Eagles might place Foles up on the trading block. What team in need of a better quarterback would not be interested in a potential Super Bowl champion? Even if the Eagles lose the Super Bowl, Foles’ commanding performance against the Vikings should stir up some trade mutters.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Bortles and the Jaguars’ road to the Super Bowl ended last Sunday. This could prompt the team to start envisioning options beyond Bortles. Despite Bortles’ 10-6 record and two postseason wins, his performances throughout 2017 were quite inconsistent. This pretty much mirrors his entire four-year career with Jacksonville.
Last spring the Jaguars picked up Bortles’ fifth-year option for 2018. So now they must decide to either let him play one more season, negotiate on a contract extension, or explore other quarterback opportunities. With guys such as Brees, Smith and Cousins as potential candidates, the team may decide it is time to make a bold move.
Though if the two parties severed paths, we do not envision Bortles being unemployed for long. He still has much more to offer than other current quarterbacks currently in starting roles.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
Not only do the Vikings have decisions to make regarding Keenum and Bradford, but Bridgewater is set to hit free agency too in 2018. He is a quarterback that carries some major question marks as baggage. There is not only the injury that threatened his career and his life, but the fact that Bridgewater has not started in a professional game in over two years.
Can the Vikings count on him for the future? Bridgewater completed an average of 64.7 percent of his passes between 2014-15. But, he threw for only 28 touchdowns versus 21 interceptions during this period.
If his time with the Vikings comes to an end, teams in need would have to weigh the risks. Right now, we are not sure what Bridgewater stands to bring to the table after his two-year drought.