This year’s NFL free agency pool is one of the most interesting in recent years. Quarterback legends like Tom Brady and Phil Rivers are hitting the open market, talented but troubled pass rushers like Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley are available, and word just broke that star TE Austin Hooper is now going to test the market.
Naturally analysts and even fans try to place all these stars in different spots; creating rumor and sometimes false hopes. So, let’s take a look at some of the best free agents and figure out where they would be best suited to sign; starting with Quarterbacks.
Tom Brady: My gut tells me that Brady is going to leave New England. After a dominant tenure as the Patriots QB, I think Tom wants to move on to 1. diffuse speculation that he is a system QB and 2. finally get the contract value that he feels he deserves. It makes sense, especially considering he came out and said he found it “embarrassing” that he isn’t the highest paid QB in the league. To me, this says ‘I want out’- but I could also see it as leverage to pressure the Patriots into paying him big money. Many teams have been said to be interested in Brady (despite his age and loss of arm strength with age),
With many teams said to be ‘highly interested’ in the 5 time super bowl champ, I think the Patriots will limit their bid based on the best interest of keeping the rest of their roster together. Meanwhile, some other teams will offer Brady as much as he wants- especially if they see themselves as a QB away from contending.
So, considering all these factors I believe Brady is going to end up in Chicago. Personally, I think the Bears have a super bowl caliber defense, while also holding an arsenal of offensive weapons, and a crafty offensive minded head coach in Nagy. The Bears struggled under Trubisky this year, who is clearly not at a level to start/succeed in the NFL just yet- making Brady the perfect bridge option until Mitch is ready. Brady could bring in a new level of vet experience and motivational competitiveness that could bring this team over the top to fight for the division and give them a good shot to make the super bowl. More important for the Bears, he could be there to groom Trubisky for the next couple of years and set the franchise up with a long term option at QB for the next decade when Brady finally hangs it up.
Phillip Rivers: If you ask me, Rivers isn’t playing at a level where he can start anymore. I personally think he would be most productive as a veteran backup to groom a young QB like Daniel Jones or Dwayne Haskins- but he will likely want to end up somewhere where would start and compete. If this is the case, I see Rivers going to the newly re-located Raiders.
With tension between Gruden and Carr, rumor has it that the Raiders will either look to trade or cut the young QB. Gruden is a QB whisperer who loves edginess, grit, and a competitive nature- and Rivers is exactly that. The move would make sense for both sides. The Raiders land a popular name at QB to build a fan base in Las Vegas, and Rivers gets another shot to play on a team that has a history of gritty culture and for a coach that wants to win now.
Last year the Raiders were shockingly better than expected, and Rivers could fill in to sell tickets and serve as a productive bridge QB that provides a much needed veteran presence for a relatively young team.
Jameis Winston: After leading the league in passing yards, but also throwing an alarming 30 interceptions- I really doubted that the Bucs would want to keep Winston and pay him like a starting caliber QB. However, from what I’ve read the plan is to keep Winston with a 2 year deal worth around the franchise tag level salary, with a team option for the 2nd year. This does make sense from their franchise’s perspective.
Head Coach Bruce Arians is an excellent offensive mind and has many receiving weapons at his disposal and some promising young RB prospects on roster, so if he believes he can help develop Jameis to limit his turnover rate- then a 2 year team option ‘prove it’ type of contract feels worth the risk- especially as they continue to build their very talented and young defense.
Teddy Bridgewater: If I were an NFL GM looking to acquire a QB talent through free agency- Teddy would be my first choice. Teddy filled in for Drew Brees when he hurt his hand this past season and went 5-0 as a starter throwing 9 TDs and just 2 interceptions. This opportunity was perfect for him on an expiring deal since he was finally able to prove that he has fully came back from his devastating knee injury that ended his tenure with the Vikings.
Now, with Brees coming back and Taysom Hill as the clear option as the next franchise player for New Orleans- Teddy needs to move on. To me, New England is the perfect fit. As I predicted above, it feels like Tom Brady is on his way out, and with a glaring need to fill the starting QB spot- Bridgewater has shown his ability to step in as a starter and win games. This is exactly what Bill Belichick would be looking for, plus Teddy would likely be a long term solution that would put New England back into the super bowl picture.
Ryan Tannehill/Dak Prescott: Not much to say here- I don’t see Tennessee or Dallas letting these guys hit free agency. Look for Tannehill to be Franchise tagged and Dak to eventually sign a long term extension.
By: Bryce Wadsworth