NFL Offseason’s Quarterback Carousel Already in Full Spin

It appears top QBs including Deshaun Watson and Matthew Stafford will be on the move

quarterback Deshaun Watson pre-game warmup
Deshaun Watson participates in warmups prior to a game.
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

With Super Bowl LV now less than two weeks away, the NFL offseason is about to kick off in earnest very soon.

Even though the new league year doesn’t officially begin until March 17, there are a number of storylines already percolating involving some of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

In Houston, it appears that Deshaun Watson, who passed for nearly 5,000 yards and 33 touchdowns, wants out and would like to be traded to either the New York Jets or Miami Dolphins.

Unhappy with the team not consulting him about the hiring of former New England Patriots executive Nick Caserio to be the organization’s new general manager, Watson could bring back a young quarterback (Sam Darnold from the Jets or Tua Tagovailoa from the Dolphins) as well as a bevy of first-round draft picks from either Miami or New York.

As part of the massive deal Watson signed with the Texans less than a year ago, he has a full no-trade clause and thus has a good deal of control about where he ends up.

While it likely won’t be with Detroit, the Lions are going to have a vacancy at quarterback as the franchise and longtime QB Matthew Stafford have agreed to part ways this offseason. 

A 12-year veteran, Stafford has two years and $43 million left on his contract, reasonable figures for a veteran quarterback who is still playing at a high level.

It is unclear what the Lions would seek in return for the former No. 1 overall pick, but odds are good he will be dealt before the fifth day of the 2021 league year, when the 32-year-old is due a $10 million roster bonus. A possible landing spot for Stafford would be San Francisco if the 49ers decide they want to part ways with Jimmy Garoppolo, who has two years left on his contract and is slated to make $25.5 million next season.

With both Stafford and Garoppolo, any potential trade or deal could also involve some sort of restructuring in order to make things work out.

A quarterback who probably won’t be reworking his contract, presumed NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, probably won’t be moving on from Green Bay either. But there is some speculation that Rodgers’s future with the Packers is up in the air based on what he said following Green Bay’s loss in the NFC Championship game.

“[The Packers have] a lot of guys’ futures that are uncertain — myself included,” Rodgers said. “That’s what’s sad about it, most, getting this far. Obviously, it’s going to be an end at some point, whether we make it past this one or not, but just the uncertainty’s tough and finality of it all.”

Under contract through 2023 thanks to the $134 million contract extension he signed in 2018, Rodgers had 48 touchdowns and five interceptions in the regular season and seemed to get a boost from the team taking his possible replacement, Jordan Love, with the 26th pick in last year’s draft.

In all likelihood, Rodgers won’t be going anywhere. The same cannot be said for Watson, Stafford and possibly Garoppolo.

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