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Assessing the quarterback landscape across the NFL

Which teams need a quarterback and who is set at the position?

Wild Card Round - Chicago Bears v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

In the 2021 NFL Draft, there are plenty of options at quarterback. It’s presumed the Jacksonville Jaguars will select Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence with the number one overall pick. Behind Lawrence, there is far from a consensus of who the next best quarterbacks are. BYU Zach Wilson, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, and Alabama’s Mac Jones all have viable claims and vocal supporters.

With so many quarterbacks either available now via free agency or available later during the draft, now is a good time to take look around the NFL and gauge the quarterback climate for all 32 teams.

Let’s define some terms. A team listed below with “ZERO” need at quarterback means the team has a franchise quarterback on the roster who is not an imminent threat of retiring, meaning the team should have zero interest in spending significant draft capital or free agent dollars on the quarterback position. “LOW” means the team has at least one quarterback on the roster who the team has named a starter, but there are concerns about the quarterback in 2021. “MEDIUM” means the team has a franchise quarterback on the roster, but there are questions about that quarterback’s ability to play beyond even the 2021 season. “HIGH” means, despite anything the team might say otherwise, the team has an immediate need for a starting quarterback in 2021.

AFC East

New England Patriots – Cam Newton – HIGH - After coming in to replace Tom Brady last season, Cam Newton started off hot, fizzled off, played through injury, and was eventually benched temporarily - basically, Cam’s career in a nutshell. The Patriots re-signed Newton this offseason on another one-year deal, but they will definitely be looking to improve the position in 2021 if possible.

Buffalo BillsJosh Allen – ZERO

New York Jets – James Morgan – HIGH - After trading Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, the Jets are firmly set to draft a quarterback with the second overall pick, presumably Zach Wilson.

Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailoa - ZERO

AFC North

Baltimore RavensLamar Jackson – ZERO

Pittsburgh Steelers – Ben Roethsliberger – MEDIUM

Cleveland BrownsBaker Mayfield – ZERO

Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow – ZERO

AFC South

Houston TexansDeshaun Watson – ZERO

Tennessee TitansRyan Tannehill – ZERO

Indianapolis ColtsCarson Wentz – LOW

Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence? – ZERO

AFC West

Kansas City ChiefsPatrick Mahomes – ZERO

Denver BroncosDrew Lock – MEDIUM

Oakland RaidersDerek Carr – MEDIUM - We can never predict what Jon Gruden will do.

Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert – ZERO

NFC East

Philadelphia EaglesJalen Hurts – ZERO

Dallas CowboysDak Prescott – ZERO

New York GiantsDaniel Jones – LOW

Washington Football Team - Taylor Heinicke? - HIGH - Whether Washington thinks their quarterback is Heinicke or Kyle Allen or someone else, they will likely want to find a better option somewhere

NFC North

Green Bay PackersAaron Rodgers – ZERO - After trading up to draft Jordan Love last year, the Packers likely believe they have their franchise quarterback and quarterback of the future on the same roster

Minnesota VikingsKirk Cousins – ZERO

Chicago Bears – Andy Dalton – MEDIUM - It should be higher, but it sounds like the Bears are all-in on Dalton

Detroit LionsJared Goff – ZERO

NFC South

New Orleans Saints - Jameis Winston - MEDIUM - Winston is only under contract for 2021, so unless they want to worry about signing him again next season, there’s reason to think the team might look for a long-term replacement

Atlanta FalconsMatt Ryan – LOW

Carolina PanthersTeddy Bridgewater/Sam Darnold – ZERO - Regardless of which of the two quarterbacks they roll with this year, they’re not likely to add another just yet

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tom Brady – MEDIUM

NFC West

San Francisco 49ersJimmy Garoppolo – MEDIUM - But after an aggressive trade up, it sounds like Jimmy G.’s days in San Francisco might be over soon

Seattle SeahawksRussell Wilson – ZERO

Los Angeles Rams – Matthew Stafford – ZERO

Arizona CardinalsKyler Murray – ZERO


Of the 32 teams, that’s 3 with a high need, 18 who have zero need, and another ten teams somewhere in the middle.

So where do you think these big name quarterbacks end up in 2021? Will the Saints make a play for a quarterback like Mac Jones? Could the 49ers trade Jimmy Garoppolo on draft day? Could other quarterbacks hit the market and go on the move? Make your prediction in the comments. Send me presents.


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