NFL teams search for a franchise quarterback, that’s the standard for a Super Bowl-winning team. Some teams have those slots filled, and some do not. Some teams think they have that slot filled, and some are under fire for their signings. So, who will be the Week One NFL starting quarterbacks for every team?
NFL Starting Quarterbacks: The Clear Holdovers
Well, there are 12 teams in the NFL whose QB position for next season is absolutely no question. The Bills, Patriots, Jets, Bengals, Ravens, Jaguars, Chiefs, Chargers, Cowboys, Bears, Rams, and Cardinals all have QB’s who were either just drafted and will be given at least one more year to show what they have in them, or they have franchise quarterbacks that intend on staying.
Then there are some other teams who seem to be almost guaranteed to name an obvious starter for next season. The Dolphins will stick with Tua Tagovailoa for at least the start of the campaign, Cleveland has voiced their intent on giving Baker one last shot, and rumblings of Derek Carr requesting a trade from Vegas have silenced.
Jalen Hurts, though inconsistent for Philly, will definitely start the season for the Eagles, Daniel Jones figures to have one last shot at impressing the G-men, and Jared Goff showed some of the potential that made him shine in his earlier years, earning him another week one start. Matt Ryan may be in his farewell season in Atlanta, but the Falcons aren’t in position to replace him quite yet at the helm.
Trey Lance’s time seems to be next in San Fran as the ‘Niners have all but found a suitor to trade Jimmy Garroppolo, and the Seahawks, in rebuild very soon, figure to be sticking with Russell Wilson for at least one more year to see if he can turn things around in Seattle.
That leaves 11 NFL teams who are more of a mystery at the QB position for next year: The Steelers, Titans, Colts, Texans, Broncos, Commanders, Packers, Vikings, Bucs, Saints, and Panthers.
The Titans and the Vikings are in a similar position, with QB’s who failed to lead their teams to desired success. But, Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill will be around another year. The Vikings aren’t in position to compete anymore, so moving Cousins now for a big-name QB would be pointless.
The Titans on the other hand need all the capital they have both in the draft and on their roster to continue to compete. Tannehill will get one last shot at things in Tennessee before the Titans are ready to make a big move at QB.
The Saints are going nowhere right now, so they may as well re-sign Jameis Winston, who when healthy actually played pretty well for them last season.
Believe it or not, I think the Colts stick with Carson Wentz. Wentz had an overall solid season, and just a few bad throws at inopportune times cost him the trust of the city of Indianapolis.
They aren’t in position to go after anyone else, and the free agency class at the position is weak. I wouldn’t be shocked if they signed a veteran like a Teddy Bridgewater to backup Wentz just in case he falls apart, but they shouldn’t be ready to move on just yet.
Additionally, the Texans aren’t nearly ready to win yet, so starting Davis Mills in a second season, with a full offseason of work as the starter could benefit both sides.
There are six teams who could really mix things up. The Panthers are in a position to compete with a competent QB, so they may be more aggressive in pursuing a trade. I think they’ll draft a bigger need at the sixth overall pick, and in a surprising move, they make a move for Deshaun Watson.
Should he be eligible to play next year, which I’m not suggesting should be the case, Watson will have weapons at skill positions, and a fantastic defense. If Watson can’t play, the Panthers will give Darnold another go.
I can’t imagine Aaron Rodgers wants to be in Green Bay any longer, and this time I think the Packers will agree to trade him as they begin their shift to former first-round pick Jordan Love. Rodgers will end up on Denver, and with their surplus of talent on offense, it should be a perfect fit.
The Bucs pick may come as a surprise to some, but I think they will trade up in the draft and select Kenny Pickett, quarterback from Pitt. Pickett is a solid pocket passer and has some mobility to him as well.
The Bucs need a QB for the future and the present. So, why not go with Pickett and see if he can utilize the weapons he has in Tampa (mainly Mike Evans because Godwin is a free agent).
It’s a good situation for Pickett to fall into with a great head coach in Bruce Arians, and although Tampa will have to replenish over the next couple of years, they may be back just in time for Pickett to shine.
The Commanders will draft Malik Willis, and he will start. They need a new face in this franchise to lead the team, and Willis is the flashy playmaker this team has been searching for since RGIII went down with his virtually career-ending injury.
Heinicke played alright, but he’s not the future. He’ll start some games for someone this year, but I don’t think it’ll be in Week One.
Pittsburgh’s Next Chapter
Finally, there’s the Steelers, who I project will draft Matt Corral. But, he isn’t ready to start quite yet in one of the toughest divisions in football. The Ravens and Browns defenses will swarm rookie QB’s, and the Bengal’s D is much-improved as well.
The Steelers will sign the second overall pick in 2017, Mitch Trubisky, away from the Buffalo Bills in free agency to start Week One. He has some experience, and he has more mobility in his left pinky finger than Big Ben has had for nearly a decade.
Trubisky was in a bad situation in Chicago and played well through it sometimes. He went to Buffalo to learn, and now deserves one more shot at being a starting QB in the NFL.
If it goes well for Pittsburgh, they’ll have two young QB’s who could help with additional bargaining chips to fix other parts of their roster that need an overhaul. If the Trubisky experiment doesn’t work, they’d have young Corral, ready to attack.