Enjoy the crowning of World Champion and Super Bowl MVP, Nick Foles. For now.
I believe we are about to experience an NFL quarterback-carousel that is unmatched in the modern era. And it has just been set in motion with Carson Wentz’ back-up, who just took down Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl 52.
With a second-string salary of $7.6 million on the books for 2018 (and $3 million in bonuses), teams who are in need of the services that Foles can offer must be dial-happy already to get on the phone with Howie Roseman to play Let’s Make A Deal.
If I’m in the Jaguars’ shoes, and we just missed our ballot to the Super Bowl by four points, I’m itching to make a move that takes us to the next level and gets us there. They need to get there next year by any means possible. And I’m not so sure Blake Bortles is their Bud Knight.
The Vikings are in a similar situation, but with three guys like Bortles in CaseKeenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater.
The Arizona Cardinals missed out on Pat Mahomes last draft and are sitting once again at the middle of the pack in round one of the draft. With Palmer gone for good, Drew Stanton a classic second-stringer and with none of the QB’s in this draft class clearly ready to take the reins right away, they are in dire need to make a decision at signal caller that sets them up for success.
The Broncos also have a seat at this carousel. They certainly can’t count on the guys who currently have seats in their QB room, but they don’t have the money to offer Kirk Cousins like other teams will. If they cut the salaries necessary to offer a deal to Cousins, they’d be discarding some of the very players that would make them a competitive team. They also have the #5 overall pick in the draft.
The Cleveland Browns are arguably the most QB-needy team in this conversation and in the league. They’ve obviously got a horse in this thing with a hefty $110 million in cap space.
So what is going to happen on this ride? The major guys in play are Blake Bortles, Kirk Cousins, Tyrod Taylor and Nick Foles. Here’s my shot in the dark at what is going to happen.
Nick Foles goes to the Arizona Cardinals
The Cards have a defensive-minded head coach now to fill Bruce Arians’ shoes. At #15 in the first round, they are going to miss out on guys like Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and probably Josh Allen by that pick. I see them drafting a guy like Denzel Ward there and then filling the QB void with the 29-year-old reigning Super Bowl MVP. They trade their round two, #47 overall pick for Foles and move into the post-Palmer era, making Roseman look like a genius again.
Kirk Cousins goes to the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags saw what Bortles could do with the weapons, as well as the elite defense he had around him. He couldn’t quite pull it off and sustained his inconsistent reputation this season. They could cut a few salaries like Allen Hurns and Chris Ivory for example and move Blake Bortles $19 million contract. They could also sell the fact that they are the most Super Bowl ready team besides the Vikings (but he can live in Florida rather than Minnesota!). These aggressive moves could be enough to offer a nice deal to the 29-year-old Kirk Cousins.
Blake Bortles goes to the Cleveland Browns
The Jaguars would either have to cut Bortles to free up space for Cousins when he is confirmed healthy from wrist surgery prior to March 14th, or they could trade Blake’s contract to the Browns (who have plenty of money). Either way, the Browns can pick Blake up in free agency if he’s cut or they can plug in their QB for the foreseeable future right away via trade. If the Browns and the rest of the NFL pick up the scent that Kirk is clearly going to choose the Jaguars, Bortles is a 25-year-old consolation prize with AFC Championship experience if they lose out on the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes.
Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold go to the Broncos
The last big move at QB that John Elway pulled was on Peyton Manning. I can’t see him settling for Nick Foles and just adding onto a potential mediocre QB room, even if he does have more draft capital than the Cardinals. With the Browns taking care of their QB situation, they have a great chance at having their choice of either Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold at the 1.5 pick.
Tyrod Taylor goes to the Minnesota Vikings (or they stay the same)
With Kirk going to the Jaguars, the Vikings can either land Tyrod Taylor or decide that they can remain where they are. Which makes sense because they were clearly one of the best teams in this league with their current QB situation. I don’t see teams becoming that interested in making a big move for any of their three signal callers. Between Keenum, Bradford and Bridgewater, the Vikings can still maintain a high level of play and figure out who will be their permanent starter in 2019. Or they can make the move for Taylor.
Let the games begin.