It’s the most important position in team sports and one that every football coach feels the pressure to get right immediately. Because success is based on wins and losses, and is therefore relative, there will never be enough quarterbacks to go around the NFL. Team’s will always gamble in the draft and free agency to find a prospect that can be developed into an efficient leader for a franchise. Injuries can also force a team to make a move.
So far in the preseason injuries have only affected the situation in Miami, but the lackluster play of some quarterbacks throughout the league might lead to a flurry of trades but should certainly lead to a flurry of releases. The most likely candidates to be traded or released are below.
Brock Osweiler, Cleveland: Osweiler was never in the Browns long term plans. Once the team took on his salary for a second round pick they began immediately attempting to trade the player and sme, or all, of his salary for yet another draft choice. Trading Osweiler will be difficult because most teams are not going to part with a pick to acquire a guy that came to Cleveland WITH a draft pick. The best bet is that Osweiler is either cut or spends the entire season on the Browns bench.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville: Bortles has not progressed in two seasons now. In fact, he might have regressed. It is difficult to blame him entirely given the offensive lines horrible play during his tenure as starter, but despite being unable to run the football or pass block, the powers that be in Jacksonville clearly place the blame on Bortles. With a guaranteed salary of $3.2 million for 2017 Bortles is probably going to be cut to avoid an injury that would force the team to pay him almost $19 million next season. Jacksonville clearly wants to move on from Bortles. He probably will be cut when the team cannot find a suitor to trade for him.
Paxton Lynch, Denver: Each week that passes without Paxton Lynch winning the starting job in Denver makes it less likely that he ever will. Lynch is about to be the first quarterback selected in round 1 to not start his second season in the league in a long time - probably since Dan McGwire. Dealing him for a player like Bortles would make sense if Bortles would agree to give up the injury guarantee and salary next season. It’s difficult to see John Elway admit his mistake this season without at least a couple of mid round choices in 2018 though.
Kellen Moore, Dallas: Moore looks like he’s about to lose the backup job in Dallas. He isn’t really tradeable and will likely be cut.
Matt Barkley, San Francisco: Barkley appears to have been beaten out by a 5th round rookie quarterback with a weak arm. His career might be over.
Geno Smith, New York Jets: Smith is probably done in the NFL.
In addition to the players that might be cut or traded due to not being a part of their team’s future there are a few backups that might get traded in order to be given a look as a starter.
Brett Hundley, Green Bay: Hundley has looked good when he has played. He has good long term potential and could find a home and immediately contribute to a team that runs an offense similar to what the Packers run.
AJ McCarron, Cincinnati: Trading with the Bengals is difficult because Mike Brown is sort of in his own world. He is the NFL equivalent of the fantasy football owner that drafts out of a magazine and refuses to trade because he is scared of getting ripped off. Still, if a team offered him a first round pick for McCarron, he would be hard pressed to turn it down.
Any of the aforementioned teams might be in the market for a quarterback if they make a move. Additionally so might Baltimore, Indianapolis, and the Los Angeles Rams might also be in the market for some more experienced options. With so many teams unhappy with the quarterbacks on their roster it seems likely that many will attempt to make some adjustments in the coming weeks.