This has been one of the craziest off-seasons we’ve ever seen for NFL quarterbacks. Stars like Tom Brady and Philip Rivers changed teams, while former MVP Cam Newton is still looking for a team, among other notable players who experienced significant career changes.
In a new column for ESPN, analyst Bill Barnwell named the “winners and losers” of this off-season. The biggest winners, unsurprisingly, are the young quarterbacks that had the roads cleared for them to start this year. New England Patriots presumptive starter Jarrett Stidham, Jacksonville Jaguars second-year starter Gardner Minshew, and Denver Broncos second-year QB Drew Lock headline that list.
Stidham is the biggest unknown of the year, and he takes over the biggest franchise, inheriting the job from Tom Brady. Barring a big move like signing Cam Newton (one of Barnwell’s losers), no team will know less about its quarterback this fall. He likes what the Auburn product has going for him, though.
“Retaining guard Joe Thuney on a franchise tag and getting back center David Andrews from a pulmonary embolism means the Patriots should be well-positioned to protect Stidham,” Barnwell writes. He also noted the dual-tight end pickups of Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene in the NFL Draft. “It’s obviously way too early to say anything about how he will perform, but he has gone from being an afterthought to taking the reins for Bill Belichick & Co.”
New column: NFL winners and losers for the 2020 off-season https://t.co/QDQwofuf5s
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) May 12, 2020
Minshew and Lock are more straightforward cases. The Jags traded Nick Foles, meaning the cult favorite will get every opportunity to become the franchise quarterback. The Broncos hooked Lock up with serious firepower, adding Melvin Gordon to the backfield and drafting an explosive pair of wide receivers in Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler.
Two more established players were the final two “winners” among the quarterbacks. Kyler Murray is pretty obvious. The Arizona Cardinals traded for DeAndre Hopkins, maybe the best wide receiver in the NFL, for him to throw to. Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is a more interesting selection. He doesn’t have the long term deal he wants, but Amari Cooper is back, and the team added Oklahoma superstar CeeDee Lamb, maybe the steal of the draft, at wide receiver.
If Prescott puts up the numbers he should be capable of on his franchise tag year, Jerry Jones will have no choice but to open up the coffers.