Deshaun Watson: New Orleans Saints
So this one is fun, quite unlikely but fun. The best shot at landing Deshaun would be the Saints first round pick in the 2021 draft (28) and Michael Thomas. Thomas had some attitude/locker room issues, injuries and not his most productive season. He did put up 416 yards on 35 receptions his last 6 games of the season. Well below his standard production, but consider a 0 in his last game, nagging injuries and a tight end throwing him the ball 4 of those weeks. He’s an attractive piece. Losing Thomas, the Saints would still be left with a solid offensive core, the best overall running back in the NFL, adding Watson and the #5 ranked defense. If that’s sufficient to get a deal done, I would be all in.
Jimmy Garoppolo: Chicago Bears
Jimmy is the Chicago Bears bot QB. Literally the prototype. He’s just talented enough to be effective, but unlikely to win many playoff games. The Bears will be able to protect him, and when healthy, Jimmy has looked above average. It will require some work with the contract, but the Bears won’t need to give up much on trade as San Fran will look to cut him. Garoppolo’s stock has plummeted faster than Gamestop. The Niners will be anxious to shed Jimmy’s guaranteed pay, and this is still an upgrade to Mitch Trubisky.
Cam Newton: New York Giants
I don’t see Cam grabbing a starter role, really anywhere. His play down the stretch was downright bad. Yes the Pats lacked talent at wideout. Yes there were drops. Yes his legs are still some of the best in the league, but I just don’t see it. I think Cam makes a lovely security blanket for Danny Jones, and lights a fire with a legitimate threat to take the ball from him at anytime.
Carson Wentz: New England Patriots
This is a safe play for Bill Belichick. This is his “type of QB.” Carson is not bad. He’s certainly not as bad as some say. He’s running for his life 50% of most plays. Give him a little tine, and it will show. Wentz fits this organization well. He also may bring his teammate Zach Ertz with him.
Dak Prescott: Indianapolis Colts
Few teams can afford what Dak is looking for. Assuming they some negotiation on each end, a deal can be made here. Dak happy and the Colts considerably better. Sure the Colts could gamble on Wentz, but Dak is a sure thing. With Taylor in the backfield, a decent receiver core and great defense, Indi would instantly insert themselves into AFC Championship game talk.
Marcus Mariota: Dallas Cowboys
Mariota’s base salary in 2021 isn’t over-appealing, however much cheaper than Dak, and giving Jerry Jones and gang an up-close look at what he has to offer. What the Cowboys would need to give up to get Marcus seems minimal. Mariota relieved Derek Carr in December against the Chargers, and looked like dynamic and explosive. The numbers weren’t astounding, but in limited duty he looked like he’d been starting the whole time. Mariota has a higher career passer rating than most QBs on this list, including – Jameis Winston, Carson Wentz, Cam Newton and Mitchell Trubisky. The Raiders appear to be dedicated to Derek Carr as their starter, meaning for the right offer, they would likely part with Mariota. One of the least talked about quarterbacks may be the best find this offseason.
Mitch Trubisky: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady has plans to play until he’s 45 years old. Whether or not that happens or not, this is a perfect landing spot for Trubisky. More so dependent on Bruce Arians’ long term commitment to Tampa. Bruce signed a 4 year contract putting him in line with Brady’s expected tenure. Bruce has remarkable success with QBs including the likes of Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer. To what extent Bruce was instrumental in their development and success is hard to say, but there is a proven record of QBs flourishing under his command. Mitch could move into a Chase Daniel like role, learn under arguably the greatest to ever play position, and win a ring. Given Tom Brady’s age, a capable backup with real-game experience would be important if Brady was to experience serious injury.
Jamies Winston: New York Giants
This is most unlikely but makes sense to me. Daniel Jones has yet to prove he’s more than backup caliber, all be it he’s had a rough go with injuries to key skill positions, he’s frequently inaccurate and really bad at holding the ball too long. In steps Jameis who led the league in passing just two years ago, can throw the heck out of the ball and is mobile. New Orleans is unlikely to move forward with just Taysom Hill, as he has yet to prove he’s more than a tight end with a sub-par arm. Assuming New Orleans does chase a Deshaun Watson or any proven starting QB, and have minimal interest in re-signing Winston, this would be a great fit for the Giants. Someone with experience to help either push Danny Jones to be great with competition in the rear view, or end the Daniel Jones experiment.
Jacoby Brissett: Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben is likely to remain a Steeler. How Pittsburgh frames any contractual adjustment remains to be seen. Pitt is in essence crippled because of the massive nut that is his contract. Knowing Ben’s time is limited, a young, capable Plan B is ideal. The Steelers have 2 rising stars at wide receiver in Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. With or without JuJu Smith-Schuster the Steelers have weapons. Roethlisberger has been breaking down for years. Assuming he’s the starter, it’s imperative that someone not named Mason Rudolph is providing support.
Tua Tagovailoa: Miami Dolphins
I am not yet convinced the Miami Dolphins have given up on Tua, thus not confident they draft Justin Fields. My gut says they do, but again – these are “the most fun landing spots,” not the most likely. With a limited role in 2020 the Dolphins still don’t know what they have in Tua. I suspect they draft a wide receiver. Tua has the talent and a strong supporting cast. I don’t expect Miami gives up this quick on Tua, who they pegged as their future just on year ago.
Joe Flacco: Washington Football Team
The cornerstone of a good offense is at least one solid WR, RB and QB. You can always build on that. Other pieces are important, but few have won without. Washington has WR1 in Terry McLaurin and RB1 in Antonio Gibson. Both young, sensational talents. They recently signed St. Louis Battlehawks legend, Taylor Heinicke to a 2 year deal, who dazzled against Tampa Bay. The issue is, it’s one game. While Heinicke played wonderfully in a pressure-cooker situation, it is still just one game. A security blanket is necessary in what was a very weak NFC East, that may shake up to be even weaker next season. Joe Flacco is available and agreed to play perennial loser, New York Jets, for just $1.5 million. Flacco can be had for the same, if not cheaper price tag, wtih a real chance of winning the division and beyond. If Taylor Heinicke turns out to be a fluke, you have waiting in the wings, the most successful quarterback of the last 13 years to spell him.