• Sat. Feb 27th, 2021

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Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson wants out in Houston – AP

Fancy winning a Super Bowl? Go out and get a good quarterback. Sign one, trade for one, Draft one, commit to one.

The dominos are beginning to fall at that time of year when the tenures of general managers can so often be defined by their approach to finding an answer under center.

In snapping up Tom Brady and cutting ties with the NFL’s 2019 passing leader Jameis Winston, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were rewarded with a hoist of the Lombardi Trophy. Unsatisfied with their progress since reaching the Super Bowl with Jared Goff just two years ago, the Los Angeles Rams parted ways with the quarterback this offseason in a trade to bring Matthew Stafford over from the Detroit Lions.

A year after making UCLA play-caller Josh Rosen the 10th overall pick at the 2018 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals swallowed their pride to select Kyler Murray at No 1, a move showing signs of leading the franchise back towards playoff football.

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Tom Brady threw the Vince Lombardi Trophy across the water to Rob Gronkowski as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrated their Super Bowl LV success with a boat party despite concerns over coronavirus

Tom Brady threw the Vince Lombardi Trophy across the water to Rob Gronkowski as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrated their Super Bowl LV success with a boat party despite concerns over coronavirus

Let’s see. The retirement of Philip Rivers places the Indianapolis Colts in the quarterback hunt, the New England Patriots appear unlikely to bring Cam Newton back, Drew Lock is yet to convince with the Denver Broncos, Teddy Bridgewater is looking something of a bridge quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, Mitchell Trubisky’s position with the Chicago Bears is precarious, Washington and the New Orleans Saints have decisions to make, and the Houston Texans are teetering towards chaos.

By all accounts, there is a case to be made for 15 teams needing a new quarterback. That includes the Jacksonville Jaguars, who shall never be forgiven if they pass up Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.

Here’s a look at some of the potential high-profile movers…

Deshaun Watson

Could Chicago be an option for Carson Wentz? - AP

Could Chicago be an option for Carson Wentz? – AP

It’s the big one, the one we are all waiting for, the one the Texans hope never happens, the one that may be too big to happen.

Deshaun Watson officially requested to be traded out of Houston at the end of January having grown unhappy with the organisation’s failure to consult with him on the appointment of a new general manager despite assurances from owner Cal McNair, as well as the team’s initial delay on interviewing Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy for their head coaching position.

The 25-year-old has a no-trade clause in the four-year, $177.5m extension he signed with the Texans last summer, meaning the organisation does not have to ship him, but should they do so Watson will have a significant say in where he ends up. Houston have made clear their reluctance to let Watson depart along with their intentions to reject the offers that come in. At the same time, they know full well the enormity of the haul that a player of Watson’s talent would demand.

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Highlights of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV

Highlights of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV

Whether they pick or the phone or not, the calls will be coming in from across the league all offseason.

Could the New York Jets pursue him as their man to spearhead a new era? Might the Indianapolis Colts view him as a decisive piece to their Super Bowl puzzle? Would the Chicago Bears be prepared to give everything up for the Texans talisman?

Carson Wentz

Will Deshaun Watson still be a Texans player come September?  - AP

Will Deshaun Watson still be a Texans player come September? – AP

By the time you have read this Carson Wentz, might have already found himself a new home, with reports in the week prior to the Super Bowl having alluded to expectations he would be traded in the coming days. Perhaps the subsequent silence is a sign.

Rewind to 2017 and Wentz was in MVP-calibre form before suffering a season-ending knee injury as Nick Foles went on to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to Super Bowl glory against the Patriots.

He now finds himself coming off a season that saw him benched for rookie Jalen Hurts after 12 games and finish with a league-high 15 interceptions having also been sacked a league-high 50 times behind a decimated offensive line. The 2016 second overall pick produced the first 4,000-yard passing season in Eagles history in 2019, only to suffer a game-ending injury in the team’s Wild Card matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.

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Dan Hanzus, Gregg Rosenthal and Marc Sessler remember their good friend and ‘Around The NFL’ colleague Chris Wesseling, who passed away on Friday at the age of 46, following a battle with cancer

Dan Hanzus, Gregg Rosenthal and Marc Sessler remember their good friend and ‘Around The NFL’ colleague Chris Wesseling, who passed away on Friday at the age of 46, following a battle with cancer

How potential suitors and Eagles general manager Howie Roseman value Wentz was always going to be an obstacle, with the latter said to be keen on a trade-package similar to that of the third-round pick and two first rounds picks the Rams gave up to acquire Stafford.

There is also the matter of Wentz’s four-year, $128m extension signed in April 2019, which will not only mean him accounting for $34m of a team’s cap space next season but, should they trade him away, the Eagles suffering a hit of $59m in dead cap.

Sam Darnold

Is New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold in new head coach Robert Saleh's plans? - AP

Is New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold in new head coach Robert Saleh’s plans? – AP

While not blameless himself, there is an argument for Sam Darnold being a victim of a stuttering, talent-lacking Jets team now seeking some direction following the dismissal of Adam Gase.

Newly-appointed head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas are naturally yet to commit to Darnold as their starter in 2021, and with the Jets occupying the No 2 overall pick at the NFL Draft there is the very real prospect of them turning to BYU’s Zach Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields.

From a financial standpoint, Douglas could save the organisation valuable money by trading Darnold ahead of the final year of his rookie contract, with a decision on his fifth-year option needed by May 3.

The talent is there, no question. But he’s a player in desperate need of a favourable situation with the supporting cast capable of rebuilding his confidence. The prospect of him behind a competent offensive line is intriguing, whether that be him moving on elsewhere or the Jets adding more pieces in the trenches alongside offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, who showed promising glimpses in his rookie year.

Should he depart, Indianapolis feels like an ideal landing spot.

Mitchell Trubisky

Mitchell Trubisky's days with the Bears look to be numbered (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

Mitchell Trubisky’s days with the Bears look to be numbered (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

The Bears are not moving forward with Mitchell Trubisky, nor are they moving forward with Nick Foles. They tried, they failed, and now it is time to admit defeat.

Trubisky is an unrestricted free agent this offseason after the Bears declined his fifth-year option in May 2020 following the arrival of Foles, the pair engaging in an ‘open competition’ for the starting spot that neither really managed to win.

The No 2 overall pick at the 2017 Draft was benched for Foles after two-and-a-half games, before being re-introduced by head coach Matt Nagy in Week 12 and starting the final seven games. Three wins over the final four weeks, during which Trubisky arguably enjoyed his most positive spell since his 2018 Pro Bowl year, saw the Bears reach the playoffs, where they were eventually beaten by the New Orleans Saints. Trubisky finished the year 199 of 297 passing (67 per cent) for 2,055 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

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A selection of the best mic’d up sounds from quarterbacks during the NFL 2020 regular season

A selection of the best mic’d up sounds from quarterbacks during the NFL 2020 regular season

General manager Ryan Pace and coach Nagy getting the chance to come back in 2021 is perhaps the most telling sign Trubisky will not be. They are playing for their jobs next season, and likely need a statement move to survive heading into 2022.

The accuracy issues are damning, but you wonder what a programme built to accentuate the strength of its players like that of the Patriots might find in somebody of Trubisky’s undoubted athleticism.

Derek Carr

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is no stranger to trade chatter - AP

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is no stranger to trade chatter – AP

The Las Vegas Raiders quarterback is never too far from the trade chatter, and it’s no different this year.

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported last week the organisation would be open to trading Carr, while suggesting the Raiders have also received interest in backup Marcus Mariota. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Bree followed up by claiming he was told Carr is not available. So who knows?

With just one playoff season in seven since entering the NFL in 2014, Carr’s ability to help the Raiders take the next step has found itself under mounting scrutiny in recent years. He is, though, coming off one of his most productive seasons so far having posted 4,103 yards passing (career-best) for 27 touchdowns to nine interceptions, as well as rushing for 140 yards and three scores as the Raiders finished 8-8 and second in the AFC West, let down by three defeats in their last four.

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1fdd2ba3dd8b664212c56a649400f4b75d184a2d619762bfbf09c877ca807454 5261011 3:46
Check out the best mic’d up bloopers from the 2020 NFL regular season

Check out the best mic’d up bloopers from the 2020 NFL regular season

Carr signed a five-year, $125m extension back in June 2017, making him the NFL’s highest-paid player in terms of average money per year at the time. The deal carries a cap hit of $22m in 2021 and just $19m in 2022, potentially making him an enticing option for quarterback-needy teams working on restricted resources.

In truth, though, if anybody is leaving Sin City, it is likely to be Mariota.

Honourable mentions:

Russell Wilson grumbled about his lack of protection recently, but surely the Seattle Seahawks will not be parting ways with their best chance of returning to a Super Bowl anytime soon? A new deal for Taylor Heinicke following his inspired playoff outing and Kyle Allen’s return to health meanwhile raises questions over the future of Alex Smith.

The (surely) inevitable arrival of Lawrence in Jacksonville means Gardner Minshew could find himself surplus to requirements, though he would make for one of the top backups in the league, and there is a former league MVP in Newton waiting to find out his next step.

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Kirk Cousins says it’s getting harder and harder to watch playoff games but still has hopes to get a ring on his finger

Kirk Cousins says it’s getting harder and harder to watch playoff games but still has hopes to get a ring on his finger

Elsewhere on the West Coast, there has been speculation surrounding the future of San Francisco 49ers man Jimmy Garoppolo in light of the Patriots’ search for a quarterback and Bill Belichick’s known fondness for the 2014 second-round pick. A branch to that has then been tenuous links between Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and a, albeit unlikely, switch to the Bay Area.

Expect Stafford to the Rams to be the first of many.

Stay across Sky Sports NFL’s digital and social channels for all the latest offseason news and views as we build up to free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.





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