NFL, Read

NFL QB Carousel, End of 2022 Regular Season

This one is for all of my fellow sports fans who get preoccupied over your team’s draft, trade and free agency possibilities while your team is literally in season and in contention. If you can’t relate, either because your team sucks or you’re just cut from a more normal cloth of fandom, that’s fine because this is also just a good and fun exercise for general NFL writing and the timing makes sense. I’ve been meaning to do a blog version of this post for a while now, and chances are that I’ll run it back with a follow-up closer to the NFL Draft once the landscape has shifted.

Let’s start with The Locks: the teams who will absolutely have this quarterback as their 2023 Week 1 starter, no questions asked and no explanations necessary. (Barring legal developments*)

  1. Bengals: Joe Burrow
  2. Bills: Josh Allen
  3. Broncos: Russell Wilson
  4. Browns: Deshaun Watson*
  5. Chargers: Justin Herbert
  6. Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes
  7. Cowboys: Dak Prescott
  8. Eagles: Jalen Hurts
  9. Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence
  10. Rams: Matt Stafford
  11. Steelers: Kenny Pickett
  12. Vikings: Kirk Cousins

We’ll call this next bucket Expect the Same: the teams who should have their primary 2022 QB back under center for 2023 too, BUT it could play out differently.

  1. 49ers: Trey Lance/Brock Purdy

This is a bit of a copout in that I don’t know how Purdy will play in the postseason and if/how that performance will impact Lance’s job status – which adds another unknown of Lance’s health after his brutal leg injury. This is more to say that I don’t think San Fran will make a serious push for Tom Brady. The rumors are out there given Brady’s hometown roots but Kyle Shanahan, as cocky as he may be, has basically ended all debate over whether his offense is a cheat code by turning Mr. Irrelevant into the league’s most efficient passer. It’s borderline insulting to say about Tom Brady, but the Niners might be better off spending that money elsewhere.

  1. Bears: Justin Fields

Fields’ 1,200 rushing yards and dismal supporting cast covered up that he still had a pretty bad sophomore season as a quarterback. He’s dynamic as hell and flashes the arm talent quite a bit, but his tendencies are brutal – particularly how long he holds onto the ball and takes hits and sacks. Still, at a minimum he should be treated like he’s entering only Year 2 as the Bears’ QB given that Matt Nagy flushed away his actual rookie year, and this QB rookie class doesn’t have a Trevor Lawrence type to give Chicago pause at the top of the draft. Should Fields have maxed out his time at Ohio State, he could have ended up QB1 in this class. The Bears have too many problems elsewhere.  

  1. Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa

Tua is an interesting case in that he’s clearly valued within the organization, whether that’s because of something as simple as the team’s record with him (8-5) vs. it without him (1-3), something more statistical like him leading the league in TD%, yards/attempt and passer rating, or something more analytical like him ranking second in the league behind only Patrick Mahomes in EPA/play. Still, with his three concussions this season on top of his relatively diminutive stature and the ugly throws that sometimes come along with it, it’s probably safe to assume that he doesn’t carry too much external value despite his accolades. Like I said, I do think Mike McDaniel and the Fins are happy with Tua for at least one more season. But if Lamar Jackson became available and interested, I’d get it if they picked up that phone call. (Read just a bit longer: I don’t think that will happen.)

  1. Lions: Jared Goff

Even if the Lions missed the playoffs, Goff undoubtedly was one of the biggest winners of the 2022 NFL season. His first season in Detroit was about as bad as it sounds for a team that didn’t win a game until Week 13 and his contract looked bad enough to capsize the entire Brad Holmes & Dan Campbell rebuild. But now, following a season where Goff – perhaps the biggest victim of QB analytics over the past decade – finished sixth in the league in EPA/play, his contract actually carries some trade value! I’ll plant a soft take here that I think the Lions are ready to push in the final chips remaining from the Matt Stafford trade and take advantage of the draft position gifted to them by the Rams’ terrible season. Even if they do move up and grab their QB of the future – say Bryce Young (even if I do think people are getting too ahead of themselves labeling him as the surefire 1.1) – I don’t think that would lead to an immediate trade of Goff. The Lions could probably land near what Indianapolis landed for Carson Wentz if they traded Goff this offseason, sure, but I get the sense that Detroit would opt against deflating their strong momentum with Goff under center and instead bet on another strong season from him – in which event they could still get a solid trade return for him with one year left on his deal in 2024. 

  1. Ravens: Lamar Jackson

Man…the past few weeks have not made this one any easier. Two months ago when Lamar was churning out wins with his arm and legs despite Baltimore never getting him a receiving corps or adapting a single element of their offensive philosophy since drafting him, it appeared that Lamar won the Cold War with Ravens ownership over a fully guaranteed contract extension. Aaaaand then he hurt his knee and missed the last five games of the regular season, and he’s about to miss the Ravens’ playoff game in Cincinnati too. So yeah, as much as I root for the players in contract talks, it’s hard not to at least understand where the Ravens are coming from. Still, Lamar is that good when he’s on the field that Baltimore is undoubtedly going to franchise tag him. Considering that he’ll earn that distinction – one that will net him over $45mil in 2023 – coming off arguably the least impressive season of his pro career, I don’t think Lamar will be too afraid to play on the tag…if it even comes down to that.

  1. Seahawks: Geno Smith

Putting Geno here might be unconventional given that he’s a looming free agent and won’t receive the QB franchise tag, but the vibes are just that strong following his first season in Seattle. The Seahawks were one of the most fun teams in the league and so much of that had to do with Geno, who was a legitimately good quarterback and leader for that team. No passer outside of maybe Joe Burrow was consistently threading more pinpoint passes than Geno across the season; his 5.7% completion percentage over expectation led the league by a good margin. He carries zero baggage in Seattle and feels like the perfect fit for that organization after Russell Wilson’s reign. I doubt Geno has any interest in leaving now that his career is finally on track, so it would be surprising if they couldn’t iron out a mutually beneficial deal early in the offseason.


Over half of the league is already accounted for now, which sounds boring – I know. Still, that leaves fourteen teams with potential new-look QB rooms for 2023. Enough delay on The Big Fish: the teams who will reel in a big-name, big-money, surefire starter according to this mid-January version of me – who you can retroactively praise for correctness but not criticize for incorrectness.

  1. Patriots: Tom Brady

OHHHHH YEAH. Ol’ Tommy and Ol’ Billy getting the band back together for one last gig. Do I feel strongly about this prediction? No. But am I writing it for shock value? Also no. Assuming that Brady does keep playing and that he will not do so for the Buccaneers – which both sound increasingly likely by all reports – then I actually do think the Pats should rank atop the odds for his next team. I already covered the 49ers and Dolphins sticking with rookie deal QBs; both of them finished Top 7 in Offensive DVOA in 2022 and should expect similar results next year too. Miami signing Brady after losing a first round pick for tampering with him would also be…something. The Raiders are commonly rumored but I don’t totally see the appeal for Brady? He has an existing relationship with Josh McDaniels but I don’t exactly think they are connected at the hip, certainly not close enough to overcome the many concerns that Brady should have about the Raiders’ roster and organization. Their offensive line is bad and the defense truly might be the worst in the league – and that’s where we expect Brady to spend his possible farewell season?

The Patriots, on the other hand, have…

  • An elite defense with a young core that will return in 2023
  • A good offensive line and a good running game behind Rhamondre Stevenson
  • The 4th most cap space for 2023 at the moment with a bunch of potential cap casualties to give them even more space (Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, Jalen Mills, etc.)
  • The 14th overall pick, which could be parlayed into a weapon along the lines of DeAndre Hopkins if they so choose

Also, Brady and Belichick apparently don’t harbor any ill will and maybe it’s just me but their divorce felt anticlimactic in the first place? The breakup had a clear winner and we got a mailed-in ESPN+ docuseries out of it…move on. Enough time has passed too where Bob Kraft should feel desperate, greedy and nostalgic enough to step in the middle and broker the peace. The on-field logic makes a ton of sense…and it just feels right.

  1. Giants: Aaron Rodgers

This idea might come as more of a shock than the proposed Brady/Belichick reunion, especially since some of you reading this probably share my Giants fandom. But let’s acknowledge a few basics out of the gate. One, once the final second of clock ticks in the final playoff game for the Giants, Daniel Jones will be just as contractually tied to the team as I am. The team can, and likely will attempt in some capacity, to bring him back, but it’s 100% up to him on his next team. And two, the Packers trading Rodgers isn’t a stretch in the slightest. In fact, you might call it a likelihood after Green Bay missed the playoffs in a season where Rodgers played all 17 games – if his body language upon leaving Lambeau Field last Sunday night didn’t give that away. This Packers season illustrated that their title window with Rodgers probably closed as soon as they traded Davante Adams, so you know that Matt LaFleur is ready to get on with a mini-rebuild behind Jordan Love while he’s still cheap and under contract. Even though Green Bay just recently signed Rodgers to a mega-contract, trading him is possible because the convoluted structure of the deal intentionally gave them an out following this season. Still, it won’t be easy. For starters, Rodgers is due an outrageous amount of money over the next two years: nearly $60mil for 2023 and $50mil for 2024. And that’s not wonky NFL salary cap accounting; that’s hard cash he’s owed. Perhaps more difficult though is that Green Bay could be damn near financially choked if they try to trade Rodgers before June 1, as that’s when NFL rules allow teams to start pushing a portion of salary onto the following year’s cap. Unlike post-June 1 releases though, post-June 1 trades actually have to be processed after that date, so teams would need to sit out free agency and the NFL Draft for quarterbacks before landing Rodgers. There could obviously be a handshake agreement in place beforehand, sure, but that’s one EXPENSIVE handshake.

With all of that difficulty (hopefully) understood, there are only like two, maybe three, teams that 1) could afford Rodgers and 2) would want Rodgers that 3) would also be acceptable to Rodgers himself. This is the same Aaron Rodgers who heavily weighed retirement after winning the MVP and took an offseason ayahuasca journey, which according to him “isn’t over.” The Raiders are that “maybe” team, and I label them as such purely for the financials and before considering if Rodgers would even entertain wearing a new jersey for the first time in his career for Josh McDaniels. The Patriots are the other team who are well positioned to pull off a Rodgers trade, but I just gave them Tom Brady! So that leaves the New York Giants, who absolutely have the salary cap space and the actual spending cash, plus an awesome head coach who probably loses sleep at night because his offense isn’t more vertical. The required cost and patience to trade for Rodgers will certainly drop the asking price from the market standard, but considering this is the same person who won 2 of the last 3 MVPs I still think a first-round pick (2024) needs to be included – with maybe a couple of other picks. Also, the point has been made by anonymously sourced NFL executives on this subject that Green Bay might have to take back a veteran contract too given the amount of money in play and how late into the offseason the trade could technically take effect. And boy do the Giants have a contract that fits the bill! Leonard Williams is a really good player and a team leader but he is on the Giants’ books for an insurmountable $38mil for his final season of services in Big Blue. He’d just be on the hook for $18mil to Green Bay though, which is about right for him. All in all, by my rough calculations a post-June 1 trade involving Rodgers and Leo Williams would lose the Packers about $2mil in 2023 cap space (plus the delayed $24mil hit in 2024) and actually save the Giants about $2mil in 2023 cap space (granted with extended hits for Rodgers until 2026). 

  1. Texans: Derek Carr

Alright, this one is more of a hot take. But let me explain! Carr, despite coming off his worst season in years, should have multiple suitors this offseason. It’s extremely rare for a low-30s QB who’s only one year removed from single-handedly leading a team into the playoffs to hit the market, and that’s Carr’s position. He has leverage too; Carr got himself a full no-trade clause as part of the extremely team-friendly “extension” that he signed ahead of this season in the event that the Raiders bailed on him which…yeah. Still, I don’t think Carr is sitting as pretty as it seems. The no-trade clause is great power for Carr, don’t get me wrong. The Raiders can have a deal agreed upon, then Carr can say he doesn’t want to play in that city and he won’t have to play in that city. Pretty sweet. But scroll up and down this post…Carr is getting ready to change teams along with some other dudes at quarterback. It sounds counterintuitive, but he might find it more advantageous to rework the terms of the existing contract he signed with the Raiders instead of starting from scratch with a new team. Like, if Carr agreed to convert $30mil of his 2023 base salary into signing bonus and the team fully guaranteed instead of partially guaranteed his 2024 salary, that would translate into a 3yr/$116mil contract with $75mil guaranteed. That’s comparable to what Matt Stafford signed for last offseason. I’m not sure Carr is topping that as a free agent? Also…the clock is ticking. Carr will be formally off the Raiders before February 15, when they are first scheduled to pay him next. This domino will fall and it will fall soon, so Carr can be picky but I’d advise that he isn’t too picky. 

Still, why the hell am I forecasting the league’s biggest wasteland in recent years for Carr? Let’s start with some classic process of elimination with rumored contenders:

  • Buccaneers: Sounds like a rebuild is on the horizon. Carr doesn’t fit into that.
  • Colts: They aren’t trading for another veteran QB. The idea does make me laugh but seriously let’s move on.
  • Commanders: Dan Snyder…I sincerely think it’s that simple. Washington might be the best on-field fit for Carr and I’d actually endorse them to float Pick 16 for him, but I really can’t imagine him waiving the no-trade clause for Snyder.
  • Falcons: I think this is the one team where neither party is interested? 
  • Jets: I’ll concede that this one sounds more plausible to me following the firing of Mike LaFleur. If Carr and Josh McDaniels’ failed marriage didn’t prove it, Carr is not a system quarterback. That’s both a pro and a con; Carr is an advanced pre-snap operator and doesn’t always need a voice in his helmet telling him where to throw. But the Jets’ new offensive scheme still might not fall too far from the Shanahan tree even if it isn’t LaFleur calling plays, and Carr isn’t a good match for that. A certain handsome, pending free agent is though…just read on.
  • Panthers: Sure, I could see this if Carr does hit free agency. But I’m skeptical that Carolina is frantically dialing out to Vegas with their Top 10 pick in hand. 
  • Patriots: I don’t think Carr is Bill Belichick’s favorite QB.
  • Saints: God help the Saints, who don’t even have a first round pick this year, if they stay this course of slow death by nature of delayed cap hits just to mortgage more years off their future for a veteran quarterback who isn’t Drew Brees.

The Texans don’t get Carr just for winning this round of musical chairs though. As much of a joke as they have become lately, Houston does have a head coach vacancy and Picks 2 and 12 in the upcoming draft. They have Laremy Tunsil, Brandin Cooks, and Dameon Pierce. It’s a malleable organization at the moment and there could be worse building blocks already in place. David Carr, Derek’s older brother and the original Texan, has spoken positively about the family ownership, and that creepy preacher Jack Easterby is out of the building. It also doesn’t seem too unfair to assume that Carr might have a bit of a savior complex judging by some of the bold statements over the course of his career, so I can imagine a world where he might see himself as the only man for the job of bringing the Texans back to relevancy.

As for compensation, the 33rd overall pick (Pick 2 of Round 2) seems fair. It’s a valuable pick but nothing too crazy. Like, Washington just traded Pick 42 (and more!) for one season of Carson Wentz and their GM survived it. Why wouldn’t the Texans just draft a QB though? Well, this team could use personnel upgrades just about everywhere – especially on defense – and fortunately for them there are two transcendent defensive prospects in this class – Will Anderson of Alabama and Jalen Carter of Georgia. Also, while it is one of my greatest pet peeves in sports when fans collectively decide that it would be wiser for their team to wait a year to draft a QB because the “next year’s class looks better,” in this case for the Texans it actually makes sense. Not only is there a Heisman winner in that class, but Houston has multiple first round picks over the following two drafts so they can get aggressive for Caleb Williams or anyone else they choose.  

  1. Panthers: Daniel Jones

I say this with all of my preconceived notions about Daniel Jones – of which there are many – put aside…he would be NUTS not to cash out after this season. Like, ignore the recent success stories of other athletes financially betting on themselves, Danny. Just take the money. Jones finally had a good season in 2022 but, barring a Cinderella run to the Super Bowl in the coming weeks – which I would approve – there likely won’t be a bidding war for DJ. He was efficient, largely avoided turnovers and churned out a lot of big plays with his arm and legs, but the rest of the league probably doesn’t share the same glossy look in its eyes for Danny as postseason-starved Giants fans. He ran for 708 yards, yes, but at the end of the day Jones still threw for 200 yards/game (25th in NFL), 6.8 yards/attempt (26th) and 15 TDs (21st). The Giants’ wide receivers and interior offensive line were terrible, I know, but Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka also designed a rather gimmicky offense filled with rollouts and open passes to the flats. I genuinely don’t mean to short-change that Jones is a legitimate dual-threat and a gamer, but when teams are deliberating over whether to give him a multi-year deal with a hefty guarantee, they should focus on his passing over his rushing – especially considering that Jones takes a ton of unnecessary hits and just played a full season for the first time in his career.

Still, IT JUST TAKES ONE TEAM. And, if this hunch is correct, Danny has a chance to get really lucky. No team has been more recently desperate to land a franchise QB than the Panthers. Just since 2020 Carolina has…

  • Signed Teddy Bridgewater to a 3yr/$63mil contract
  • Traded 2nd and 4th round picks for Sam Darnold, then exercised his fifth-year option before he played a down for the Panthers
  • Got Baker Mayfield to take a pay cut to trade for him
  • Traded their 3rd round pick in the 2023 Draft to move up to select Matt Corral

So yeah, it might behoove the Panthers to pony up for an established NFL QB who isn’t best described as a “buy low” or “damaged goods.” If they were to give a huge contract to Daniel Jones, could he become the next and possibly saddest bullet point in that list? Absolutely, but he’d also be the most promising of the bunch at the time of acquisition and Carolina’s options elsewhere this offseason aren’t spectacular. I’m not sure what QB, if any, would fall to them at Pick 9 in the draft, and they really aren’t in a position to sacrifice more of their future to trade up. The best thing that the Panthers have going for them is that their owner is stupid rich, so they can wow a free agent QB and get away with it. Jones, who was born and raised in Charlotte then went to Duke, should be open to playing for the Panthers. They have an ascendant offensive line, DJ Moore, and that 9th pick which could turn into a weapon like Bijan Robinson. The best contract comparison here might be Jimmy Garoppolo’s original deal with the 49ers, which looked massive on paper (5yr/$137.5mil) but wasn’t too egregious once the fine print revealed that it was heavily front-loaded and based in early guarantees. Let’s call it a 5yr/$140mil deal with a $50mil signing bonus – something Carolina could bail on after 2-3 years if it royally backfired. (For the record, I imagine the Giants’ offer to DJ will land more in the realm of 2-3 years at a $20-25mil AAV. So not even close.)     

  1. Jets: Jimmy Garoppolo

Like I teased earlier, this outcome feels too obvious – even if Mike LaFleur is no longer the playcaller for Gang Green. Woody Johnson is so involved yet delusional at the football level that he’ll likely make the push for the Jets to bring in a “winner” like Jimmy G while totally missing the connection between his winning history and the offensive system shared by the offensive coordinator that he just had fired. Still, this could work out for the Jets in the short term, and I say that as an observer who believes less in Garoppolo than most. Zach Wilson lowered the bar for Jets’ QB play beneath the MetLife Stadium turf, so they just need a professional in that building who can hit open receivers from the pocket. Garoppolo, somehow still only 31 years old, will likely seek out a contender or a near contender, and the Jets have the pieces in place along with a head coach that he knows well. Ryan Tannehill’s 4yr/$118mil deal with the Titans feels about right for Jimmy G too.


I’ll lead with the caveat that I have not started my proper NFL Draft evaluation cycle yet, so I am operating merely off narratives and limited viewings here regarding soon-to-be rookies. As noted earlier, I see the Lions as best positioned to land their choice of QB in this upcoming NFL Draft and I do buy that they’re willing to make such a move, so Bryce Young is penciled in to Detroit. With the assumption that Anthony Richardson of Florida will require patience and therefore won’t immediately start in the NFL, that leaves CJ Stroud of Ohio State and Will Levis of Kentucky as The Lottery Picks: the teams who will select their Week 1 starter with one of the earliest picks of the 2023 NFL Draft.

  1. Saints: CJ Stroud

I have almost nothing to write about Stroud. Honestly, I only chose him over Levis because the idea of him throwing to Chris Olave again is fun. Instead, this portion of the post is dedicated to the proposal of the Saints trading Sean Payton to the Cardinals. The notion of trading the 3rd overall pick for a coach sounds absurd…and maybe it is! But with the exits of Kliff Kingsbury and Steve Keim only one year removed from both of them signing long-term extensions, it appears that the Cardinals have finally taken a look in the mirror and realize that they need help as an organization. And honestly, the price for Payton is probably worth it. The guy never finished below 7-9 in 15 seasons, and he went 13-3 in 4 of them. I was also astounded to see the track record of high draft picks traded for coaches:

  • 1997: Jets traded Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4 picks for Bill Parcells
  • 1999: Seahawks traded Round 2 pick for Mike Holmgren
  • 2000: Patriots traded Rounds 1, 4, 5 picks for Bill Belichick
  • 2002: Buccaneers traded two Round 1 and two Round 2 picks for Jon Gruden

I mean…those are all home runs, including one of the greatest trades in NFL history. The Cardinals also have the floating asset of DeAndre Hopkins which should return a first round pick, and Payton and his GM of choice are surely aware of that. (Also, it’s not THAT implausible that Will Anderson and Jalen Carter end up going 1-2 which would…suck for the Cardinals.)

  1. Colts: Will Levis

Jim Irsay will submit the card for a rookie QB himself if Chris Ballard thinks about doing otherwise at the draft.


That leaves just The Stopgaps: the teams who, for a variety of reasons, might opt for less splashy yet intentional decisions at the QB position for 2023.

  1. Buccaneers: Sam Darnold

The Bucs will begin a well-earned rebuild after the Brady era, though it might start slowly after they won the NFC South almost by default. Every season there is at least one young, former top pick QB who is given a chance in new digs to restart his career. In 2022, we had both Mitchell Trubisky and Marcus Mariota. Yeah, it usually doesn’t work out, but Darnold fits the bill and he was legitimately good down the stretch for Carolina – including a 341 yard, 3 TD game in Tampa. He could heave 500 passes to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for a decent enough product on the field.

  1. Cardinals: Teddy Bridgewater/Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray shouldn’t be ready for Week 1 after tearing his ACL, and it might be smart of the Cardinals’ next coach anyway to have Kyler take his time in recovery and maybe work on maturation during that time too. If that next coach is Sean Payton, he might opt to bring in a popular veteran option familiar with his offense. Bridgewater went 5-0 for the Saints in 2019.

  1. Commanders: Sam Howell/Taylor Heinicke

Normally it’s the sign of a weak organization when they search for takeaways in meaningless games at the tail end of the season – and Washington isn’t exactly a model organization – but their Week 18 thrashing of a full-effort Cowboys team was the best product they’ve put on the field in years and Sam Howell was a huge part of that. It’s up in the air whether Dan Snyder will still own the team come Week 1 of the 2023 season, so the front office should get comfortable with what they already have and plan around that. Howell’s slide to Round 5 of the 2022 Draft remains one of the strangest draft outcomes in recent years; he’s flat-out better than that and deserves preferential treatment to that label. Taylor Heinicke just doesn’t have the talent to be a regular NFL starter but Washington would be foolish not to bring him back as a team-first, crowd-favorite backup.

  1. Falcons: Ryan Tannehill/Desmond Ridder

Ridder looked fine across his four starts to end the Falcons’ season – not good enough to name him the 2023 Week 1 starter now but not bad enough to make a bold move for a veteran replacement. Ryan Tannehill is a perfect fit, and not just because of his working history with Arthur Smith. It’s probably unfair to list Tannehill among these other “stopgaps”; he’s still an above-average QB and he’s not that old (34). Still, if he’s good then he certainly isn’t great, and it’s a fair expectation for him to play closer to 12 than 16 games in a season at this point in his career. He has only one year remaining on his contract and while it’s not cheap ($27mil salary), Atlanta can afford it and Tennessee should be ready to move on from it. A trade without any dead money should only cost the Falcons like a Round 4 pick. 

  1. Packers: Jordan Love

Time to see what the kid’s got and if Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur truly made one of the worst picks in modern NFL Draft history. If Love craps out as a starter, in this scenario Green Bay would have an extra 2024 first round pick from trading Aaron Rodgers to replace him too.

  1. Raiders: Mac Jones

Oh yeah, the whiny kid from Alabama. Forgot to write about him in the Tom Brady section! If New England does bring in an external option, Brady or someone else, then they should probably put Mac on the trade block with Bailey Zappe already on the depth chart as a younger and cheaper backup. Even if the Patriots’ offense was turned over from Josh McDaniels to an out-of-work defensive coordinator who fancies himself as a rocket scientist on the sidelines, that doesn’t fully excuse how poorly Mac played in 2022. He really struggles to convert splash plays and his efficiency – his calling card in college and as a rookie – plummeted too. He finished with a negatively rated EPA/play: 26th in the league and barely ahead of Taylor Heinicke. The truth of the matter though is that Mac’s play will probably settle somewhere closer to how it looked for him as a rookie, and a reunion with McDaniels would certainly help bring that back out in him. The Patriots historically aren’t greedy in asking prices for guys that they quit on; Mac might only cost a Round 3 pick.

  1. Titans: Malik Willis/Gardner Minshew 

There’s no sugarcoating the concern over Malik Willis losing out starts to Josh Dobbs after the Titans signed him off the street. He’s not even close to functioning as an NFL quarterback. All hope isn’t lost for Willis; it can take some time. Jalen Hurts is emerging into an all-time developmental success story, but he is the same guy who was once benched for Nate Sudfeld as a rookie. I loop in Hurts intentionally here too because the Eagles have charted the course for a quick yet thorough rebuild that the Titans should attempt to emulate. Minshew isn’t special but he could stabilize the Titans’ QB room as they approach the hard reset ahead.

Thank you, as always, for reading! Follow on Twitter @Real_Peej

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