The NFL is entering its second half on Sunday and already it’s apparent where some teams need to fill holes. At the top of the list is the quarterback role and lucky for these teams, there’s a great 2014 NFL draft class full of talented quarterbacks as well as free agents ready to hit the market.
Whether it a team is looking for an upgrade, a player not getting a re-signing or it’s another year, another injury for a quarterback, here’s a look at nine teams in the market for a new signal caller next season.
Picking Up a Rookie from the Draft – ASAP!
Jacksonville Jaguars: Aside from their winless season to-date, Jacksonville also has inserted new management and a coaching staff since 2011 when it drafted quarterback Blaine Gabbert. In this third season, Gabbert continues to be a disappointment from his play and his propensity to get injured.
To-date for 2013, he has one touchdown and seven interceptions.
Gabbert is now healthy but backup quarterback Chad Henne will again start this week; he also only has one touchdown. Look for Jacksonville to take advantage of their high draft spot and take a top rookie quarterback, maybe the first overall pick.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Also in the winless club at 0-7, this team has battled with quarterback problems all season, beginning with the drama between second-year head coach Greg Schiano and quarterback Josh Freeman. After a toxic environment got too far out of hand, the Bucs parted ways with Freeman and inserted rookie Mike Glennon as the starting signal caller. He’s not faring much better than Freeman as he’s been inconsistent.
Glennon has only completed only 58.5 percent of his pass attempts.
Will the Bucs or the Jaguars get the first pick for the draft? Either way, look for Tampa Bay to grab a quarterback as its initial pick.
Cleveland Browns: With a new coaching and management staff, the team also factored in a quarterback roulette to this season’s drama. Brandon Weeden had been drafted in 2012 on hopes for the future but he’s been disappointing and injury prone. After giving third-string Brian Hoyer a shot at the role, he went down for the season and now the top quarterback is veteran and former league starter Jason Campbell. He’s not the long-term answer, just a Band-Aid for the season.
With the team’s two first round 2014 picks, look for them to grab a rookie quarterback.
Philadelphia Eagles: Big change came for this team under new coach Chip Kelly. He inherited a full stable of quarterbacks but his veteran Michael Vick, who got his chance to prove himself, is not the long-term answer thanks to his continual injuries, performance and age (34 for the 2014 season).
The team will stick with backups Nick Foles and Matt Barkley, but look for the Eagles to grab a fresh quarterback in the draft to develop and hopefully have for the long term.
Minnesota Vikings: This team’s quarterback roulette has been about as messy as the Browns. Christian Ponder was selected by the team in 2011 as the No. 12 pick and he’s yet to show promise as a long-term starter. A 2013 1-6 record doesn’t help the Vikings either and while Freeman for a New York minute was also a short-term solution for the Vikings, he’s not the answer as well as Ponder and backup Matt Cassel.
Change needs to come to this team in 2014 and one will come with a rookie quarterback. Maybe a new coach too.
Jury is Still Out/Sticking with the Roster
Houston Texans: In seven years as the Texans’ starter, Matt Schaub is 46-40 and 1-1 during the postseason. He’s battled injuries the last few seasons and in 2013, he’s approaching a career-worst year (see his pick-6 record-setting problem). Schaub is now healthy but has been benched in favor of the team’s third string quarterback, Case Keenum. He may be the future of the team (stay tuned for this week’s play) and the Texans could stick with him for 2014.
As for Schaub, he’ll be 33 next season and will count at $14 million against the team’s cap.
Chicago Bears: Quarterback Jay Cutler is playing in a contract year and once again under a new offensive coordinator. He is also injured again and while he was moving toward a career year, the season is now in flux under backup quarterback Josh McCown. History is not on Cutler’s side for the postseason (only once since 2006 when he entered the NFL).
Change is slowly coming to the Chicago Bears and another piece could come from a new quarterback, especially if Cutler looks for a hefty payday like his peers. They could give Cutler ONE more chance under quarterback whisperer Marc Trestman and re-sign him or take advantage of this year’s strong draft class for change.
Oakland Raiders: Third-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor wants to be the team’s starter very badly and will work hard o keep it. But is he the long-term answer? Pryor landed the starting role as Matt Flynn didn’t work out but he’s a weak passer. After trying to sign Freeman after his Bucs release, this signaled this team has its concerns regarding Pryor.
This may be a wait-and-see approach by the Raiders if Pryor continues improving, if not, look for them to again try the free agent market, or maybe a later-round quarterback pick.
St. Louis Rams: The team had high hopes for quarterback Sam Bradford when he was 2010’s overall No. 1 pick but he’s yet to meet expectations and play as a desired franchise quarterback in his three-year NFL carer. This season appeared different as Bradford was undergoing his best season statistically but again he got injured in Week 7 with an ACL tear. He’s done for 2013 and now the question has Bradford’s Rams tenure ended?
For 2014, Bradford has a $14.015 million base salary and $12.985 million for 2015. In next year’s draft, the Rams have two first-round selections. Could they trade up and pick the top quarterback? Will they trade Bradford or also give him one more chance? This team’s future actions bring a lot of question marks.