The 2021 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and with so many quarterbacks expected to be selected early, some surprise signal-callers could be on the move.
Here’s a look at some of the notable names who could be on the trade block once the draft QB dominoes start to fall.
Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
While it’s expected that the Broncos are going to bring in some sort of competition for Drew Lock through the draft, it’d be quite a stunner if he were traded outright. However, if a certain scenario plays out the right way, that may be what it takes.
Denver is probably going to have to move up from ninth overall in the draft to get one of the top QB prospects. Unless new general manager George Paton wants to sacrifice a 2022 first-rounder — he probably doesn’t — it’d make sense to ship away Lock as part of a trade package to the Atlanta Falcons.
That way, the Broncos get the fourth overall pick and leapfrog any other team that had designs of moving up to that spot. It’d probably cost Denver’s second-round pick this year, too, but Lock is an ideal successor to Matt Ryan in Atlanta, and avoids any QB controversy chaos in the Mile High City.
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Minshew has had the deck stacked against him ever since he arrived in Jacksonville. He’s won fans over with his mullet and mustache, fearless mentality and overall efficient quarterback play amid adverse circumstances.
It’d make little sense for the Jags to stubbornly hang on to Minshew if he’s just going to ride the bench. They can acquire some sort of draft pick for him, and leverage that to improve their 2021 rookie class that’ll go a long way in deciding how soon Jacksonville can contend in the Urban Meyer era.
The Washington Football Team could make sense as a landing spot for Minshew, because Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke aren’t long-term options. It wouldn’t put a ton of heat on Fitzpatrick, but enough to where he’d need to play well to keep his job for the reigning NFC East champions.
Josh Rosen, San Francisco 49ers
Perhaps a forgotten man by this point, Josh Rosen hasn’t had even a modicum of a chance to succeed at the NFL level. He was drafted 10th overall to the Arizona Cardinals and was in a nightmarish situation, eventually getting replaced by No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray after just one year.
Then, Rosen went to a Miami Dolphins team that was legitimately trying to tank. Once he flopped with a hapless cast of players around him, Ryan Fitzpatrick found his Fitzmagic again, and Brian Flores inspired a ragtag group of players to elevate their level of play.
After a short stint on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad to try to learn from Tom Brady, Rosen is now in San Francisco. Alas, the 49ers traded up to third overall in the draft to replace Jimmy Garoppolo. The team is also carrying four QBs. Someone has to go.
Rosen is a pure thrower of the football who could thrive in the right system. He’d probably cost no more than a Day 3 pick and is on an extremely cheap contract. It’s probably better than drafting a rookie prospect in that range.
Suitors to watch for in a Rosen trade include the Las Vegas Raiders and Chicago Bears. Las Vegas never seems fully supportive of Derek Carr and has Marcus Mariota on a contract year. Chicago is desperate for a QB and could at least give its fans some hope behind Andy Dalton.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Who knows what the Eagles are thinking these days. They’re just an absolute chaotic mess. GM Howie Roseman loves to wheel and deal, so it wouldn’t be shocking if, despite already trading down, that he’d trade back up for a first-round quarterback.
That’d mean Jalen Hurts could be on his way out after being a 2020 second-round pick. Heck, we saw what happened in Arizona with Rosen, and he was chosen in the top 10.
Hurts wasn’t given a ringing endorsement by new head coach Nick “Systems” Sirianni (if you know, you know), and of all people, Joe Flacco is thought to be in legitimate competition for the starting job.
Sounds like a recipe for success. Not. It seemed like a slam dunk that Hurts would be the starter. Now it’s not so certain. If the Eagles’ solution for 2021 is seriously to turn to Flacco or another rookie, Hurts should want to get as far away from Philly as possible.
As for where Hurts could end up, well, how about reigniting a competition with former Alabama teammate Tua Tagovailoa on the Miami Dolphins? Talk about a juicy storyline. If not there, maybe the rebuilding Detroit Lions could light a fire under Jared Goff by dealing for Hurts, whose dual-threat skill set is a nice change-up to Goff’s statuesque nature.