NFC South QB roundup: Starting options for all four teams in ’23

Rate this post

In back-to-back seasons, the NFC South has said goodbye to Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Tom Brady, three veterans who combined for 1,601 touchdown passes and 232,364 passing yards in their prolific NFL careers.

The Saints, Falcons and Buccaneers are still looking for worthy successors, and the Panthers have virtually less under contract at quarterback.

So when Bucs general manager Jason Licht told ESPN that “we’ve got at least the best quarterback in the division” in third-year quarterback Kyle Trask, that might be true, not counting free agents or presumptive trimmed, but says more. about the division that their quarterback.

Trask, you see, has a 23-yard pass, his only NFL carry in the final eight minutes of the 2022 season finale, after the Bucs left their starters with nothing to gain in playoff position . The 2021 second-round pick out of Florida could be the Bucs’ starting quarterback this fall, yes, but they’ll certainly bring in a veteran to compete with him.

In free agency in March, and even more so in this year’s draft in April, the NFC South will be actively searching for its next generation of quarterbacks, hoping to lift the division from a disappointing 2022 where neither team boasted a winning record. There are opportunities to swing for the fences — the Saints could sign Derek Carr and the Falcons have the cap space to go after Lamar Jackson if the Ravens decide to move on — but all four teams could or even should to have new owners. this season


Trask has shown he can wait patiently on the sidelines: He did so in high school and college, barely playing for the Gators in his first three years, then throwing for 68 touchdowns in two seasons as a starter. Given their salary cap constraints, the question is how much they will be able to spend on a veteran quarterback to compete with him in camp.

Brady has retired and Blaine Gabbert is a free agent, but his best asset was familiarity with the Bruce Arians/Byron Leftwich offense, which is gone with the hiring of Seahawks assistant Dave Canales this month. If you’re looking for a quarterback who has worked with Canales, and no, Geno Smith isn’t walking through that door, then a reasonable choice is Drew Lock, the former Broncos starter who was Smith’s backup last year and not didn’t take a single one. fit in.

Lock, 26, was drafted over Trask (42nd overall in 2019) and has 4,740 yards passing in 21 career starts. In passer rating, he ranks 47th out of 52 active quarterbacks with at least 500 passes, but he would be a budget option that could help Canales introduce the offense to the newcomers, and he would have a better chance of playing than staying. in Seattle.

Another modest veteran option would be 30-year-old Jacoby Brissett, who played last year on a one-year, $4.65 million deal as a shortstop for Cleveland while Deshaun Watson served his suspension of 11 matches. A similar deal would help the Bucs’ financial constraints, and he has a career TD/INT ratio of 48-23, so he’d be a solid alternative if they decided Trask wasn’t the answer. The Bucs could be more ambitious and go after a bigger quarterback than Brissett, but it would come at the expense of their supporting cast with a ton of free agents and a limited budget to keep them around.

Brady reflects on career

Brady reflects on career

After 23 seasons in the NFL, Tom Brady has a wide range of experiences and memories to look back on now that he has announced his retirement.


There’s excitement in Charlotte over the hiring of Frank Reich and an impressive new coaching staff, but the Panthers have a glaring hole at quarterback. They’re picking at No. 9 overall, with enough additional draft picks that they could easily move up to have a better say in which of the top four quarterbacks in the draft: in some order, Alabama’s Bryce Young, D-State’s CJ Stroud ‘Ohio, Anthony Richardson of Florida. and Kentucky’s Will Levis, may land in April.

The Panthers have additional second- and fourth-round picks since trading running back Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers last fall, but likely won’t be able to move higher than No. 5 overall without giving up a future first-round pick. If they’re happy with the third or fourth quarterback in this draft class, they may not need to move up at all.

Reich’s tenure in Indianapolis saw the Colts try one veteran quarterback after another (Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan over the past three seasons) and that could push him toward a young quarterback he can develop with the time And instead of leaning on a rookie right away, the Panthers could re-sign 25-year-old Sam Darnold, who played better in his second season in Carolina, limiting his mistakes and going 4-2 as a holder Darnold also played under new quarterbacks coach Josh McCown with the Jets, so there’s an existing relationship there, and Darnold wouldn’t be expensive as a bridge quarterback.


Marcus Mariota will be cut, and that will save $12 million in cash and cap space, on top of about $55 million in cap space, second most among NFL teams. So, in theory, the Falcons have the financial flexibility and overall positioning need to think about a major effort like trading Lamar Jackson, which would require multiple first-round picks (including this year’s, No. 8 overall) and a financial commitment of probably $200 million guaranteed, if not more.

The full spectrum of options is in play for Jackson and the Ravens: They could trade and pay whatever it takes to sign him to a long-term deal now, they could exercise the franchise tag and use next year to try to solve something or they could decide the difference between the two sides is too much and trade him now, even before the draft so his return can help this year’s team.

Lamar, Are the Ravens Going for Divorce?

Lamar, Are the Ravens Going for Divorce?

Nick Wright believes Lamar Jackson will be traded because the Ravens don’t want to give him $200 million guaranteed.

Atlanta, like the Bucs, has a young internal option in 2022 third-round pick Desmond Ridder, who earned a four-game audition late in his rookie year. His numbers were average: 708 yards, or 177 per game, and two touchdowns (both in the Finals against the Bucs, as they drew starters) and, more impressively, zero interceptions. It’s a small sample size, probably not enough to put all of their eggs in their basket, so they’ll likely sign a Mariota veteran to be available again if he doesn’t show improvement.


Like Mariota, Jameis Winston is under contract but is likely to be cut. He couldn’t beat out Andy Dalton (who is now a free agent) last season and should earn $12.8 million in non-guaranteed salary. Since the Saints had to reload his contract for cap purposes, cutting him translates to $11.2 million in dead money, but it’s still a cap savings of $4.4 million, and the Saints need all the help they can get between now and March 15th, when all teams need to be under cover.

Dalton was a steal last year — 18 touchdowns and nine picks for $3 million — but he’s also 35 and could be on his fifth team in five years. For a cap-strapped team, New Orleans was the only suitor to bring Carr in for a possible trade with the Raiders, but that scenario likely forced him to do much less, which is why he opted for the free agency That doesn’t rule them out as a potential landing spot for Carr — Saints coach Dennis Allen was his first head coach with the Raiders in 2014, but keep in mind that was only for four games before that that Allen was fired.

The answer in New Orleans probably lies between Carr, who makes $30 million a year if not more, and Dalton, who made a tenth of that. For all four teams, playing in a wide-open and underwhelming division will be a draw for free agents looking for an easy path to the postseason, and aside from the holes created to get under the cap, the Saints don’t look any clearer. need that at quarterback.

Car in high demand?

Car in high demand?

NFL reporter Albert Breer joins The Herd to discuss whether Derek Carr should be the most wanted quarterback this offseason.

If you’re looking for bargain free agent connections, how about Gardner Minshew, a backup in Philly the last two years and still with upside at 26? He was a phenom as a sixth-round pick in 2019, throwing 21 touchdowns for the Jaguars, and his head coach that year was Doug Marrone, now the Saints’ offensive line coach.

The Saints are now back in the first round, thanks to the No. 29 pick acquired from Denver for head coach Sean Payton, and while New Orleans has shown a willingness to give up future draft picks to move up, it’s unlikely to be. able to get involved with the top tier of quarterbacks in this draft class. The second tier, including Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker coming off a torn ACL, would be a possibility at No. 29 or even their second-round pick at No. 40.

Greg Auman is the NFC South reporter for FOX Sports, covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He is in his 10th season covering the Bucs and the NFL full-time, having spent time at the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter at @gregauman.

FOX Sports Top Stories:

FOLLOW Follow your favorites to personalize your FOX Sports experience

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New Orleans Saints

Atlanta Falcons

Get more from the National Football League Follow your favorites for information on games, news and more

Source link

Leave a Comment