Twist or stick? That’s the question that will be posed by front offices around the NFL this offseason.
Should we keep our quarterback that’s good-not-good? Do we gamble on another year on a veteran? Or are we going to dip into the pool of rookies? In the league, 16 teams have a need for a quarterback or are curious about a quarterback.
But there are only so many quarterbacks to go around, and after the playoffs, there’s always the chance that a few players will leave. Here’s your guide for the next few months. Carson WentzCarson Wentz will be a hot commodity on the commercial market in a normal world.
He has, at times, been a semi-legitimate MVP candidate for the past four years. He’s been one of the highest-rated talents in the last decade—and he’s been living up to that hype in spurts.
He tossed 81 touchdowns to 21 interceptions in the three seasons after his rookie year and before the failure of this season…. But we live in a world of wage limits, and Wentz has turned from a once-promising prospect to a contract-albatross player. Prior to the start of this season, the Eagles gave Wentz an outrageous deal.
In it, he is regarded like a one-time celebrity when his replacement was being drafted by the team itself. Next season, Wentz will cost $34 million, which will count against the limit.
And if the Eagles do find a trading partner, it would come with a $59 million dead cap fee, undermining everything the franchise can do in free agency or on the trade market. Based on money alone, if the Eagles have an opt-out built into his deal, the better choice will be to retain him for an extra season.
But there are rumors of an irreparable split in the relationship between Doug Pederson and Wentz, the head coach of the team.
And there’s no way to keep Wentz on the books if the team tries to get Pederson back in 2021. If any team is able to take on Wentz’s cap room, it’s the Indianapolis Colts.
In Frank Reich, they have the man who in his prime in Philadelphia was Wentz’s quarterbacks mentor – a coach who knows his strengths and weaknesses and whose scheme could revive the flagging career of the 28-year-old. The Colts will assemble the wherewithal, too. They’re investing $25 million on 39-year-old Phillip Rivers this season, but it’s just a one-year contract – after that, the money is free to spend on Wentz. Best fit: Indianapolis ColtsPreferred 2021 team: Indianapolis ColtsMatthew StaffordIf Week 17 was the final game of the Detroit age of Matthew Stafford, it was the ideal microcosm. With a partly torn ligament in his throwing hand and torn cartilage in his rib a week after breaking his ankle, Stafford played great.
It hasn’t mattered. The Lions lost. The career of Stafford serves as a refutation of the idea that you only need to land a quarterback.
The best quarterback the Lions have had in a long time is Stafford.
The injuries have begun to pile up, but, amid the bureaucratic mess around him, he remains one of the best passers in the game. This year still feels like the last Stafford Lions run – he gave it all, and it wasn’t enough.
For Stafford and quarterback-needy franchises, a new administration in Detroit would most likely hit the reset button, and that’s good news.
Stafford is already in his prime at 32 years old.
Note, before breaking all the milestones, Peyton Manning joined the Broncos at 35. Stafford should be at the top of every quarterback-needy team’s list if he’s eligible for a first- or second-round draft selection.
Best fit: New England PatriotsPrediction: San Francisco 49ersThe quintessential rebuilding project is Sam Darnold Darnold. Around the league, he should have a lot of prospects, particularly if he comes at an affordable price. His potential and promise were derailed by the jetsy-ness of the Jets and Adam Gase’s incompetence. Not that Darnold is perfect. Every season in the league, he has regressed.
Remember his 2018 debut against Detroit? Darnold played in college with the same darting style that characterized his game. That was all lost over time. He’s grown anxious in the pocket, afraid of being hit, and far too many he still gets hit.
If the experience of the League tells us something, it’s that anything rarely works out for players who struggle with the pace of the game in their pockets in years four, five, six or seven.