Head To Head: Calling All Quarterbacks


By Brian Preece and Eric Jensen


The quarterback position has long been the most crucial piece to success for NFL teams. Since 1991, only five non-Hall of Fame QBs — Mark Rypien in 1991, Trent Dilfer in 2000, Brad Johnson in 2002, Joe Flacco in 2012 and Nick Foles in 2017 —  have led their team to a Super Bowl victory. In this day and age, unless you have an all-time defense, a top-10 starting QB is a must.

The 2021 offseason has the potential to see as many as 20 teams make a change at the quarterback position. Many expect Saints QB Drew Brees to retire, and Philip Rivers already has hung up the cleats after playing one season in Indianapolis. Longtime Lions QB Matthew Stafford has already been shipped to the LA Rams to replace former No.1 pick Jared Goff. Sam Darnold has struggled with the Jets and Drew Lock has been a disappointment in Denver. The Vikings could look to improve over the inconsistent Kirk Cousins.

Even some big fish could be available for the right price as Aaron Rodgers appears unhappy with how the Packers season concluded, Russell Wilson has expressed frustration over the Seahawks offensive approach and Dak Prescott is without a contract after suffering a serious leg injury last season while playing on the franchise tag in Dallas. The Houston Texans may be sitting on the biggest potential gold mine, a top-5 DeShaun Watson, only 25 years old, who has grown disenchanted with the situation in Houston and has asked to be traded.

With all that in mind, Chrony Sports Desk writers Eric Jensen and Brian Preece sit down and try to predict how some of these scenarios will shake out before NFL training camps open in July.


Russell Wilson

Preece: Rumors have been cropping up out of Seattle that Wilson is not happy with the direction of the Seahawks’ offense. Through the first eight weeks of last season, Wilson was tearing up the league, on pace to finish with 5,000 yards passing and 56TDs with a 71% completion rate. Ultimately, Wilson was limited to 1671 yards and 15 touchdowns on only 67% passing in weeks 10-17. Was it a change in offensive philosophy or was it a personnel problem? If the rumors are true, there is a sense of mutual respect in Seattle, developed by years of success, that I believe will be used to find a way to maintain this fruitful marriage of coach and QB.

Odds of change: 15%


Jensen: I am not so sure of the years of mutual respect developed in Seattle. To prove this fact, look no further than an article that was put out by The Athleticwhich details a culture of nepotism and a power struggle between Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll.

The running theory is that currently, Carroll currently answers to no one, which seems especially prevalent after the passing of Paul Allen in October 2018. The leadership void of the owner has been filled by Carroll, and as such, he has full roster control over the team.

If he’s smart, he will listen to Wilson, but I sort of don’t buy that Pete Carroll is smart or really good at his job anymore. Carroll’s teams have been abject failures for the past 5 years. All that said, if a change comes, it will come next year.

Odds of change: 10%

Jensen’s new team for Wilson: Carolina Panthers


Kirk Cousins

Preece: Cousins might just be the most frustrating signal-caller in the league. Sometimes he looks like an all-pro; at other times, he looks like an overmatched redshirt freshman in the SEC. We’ve seen complaints about Cousins’ inconsistency from his own teammates, coaching staff and front office. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Cousins’ contract has the team on the hook for $41 million in dead money if he is released or traded. Look for the Vikings to add a young QB in the draft or free agency and develop them behind Cousins for at least another season.

Odds of change: 3%


Jensen: If the Vikings can get out of Cousins’ contract and recoup a first-round draft pick, he will be gone. To me, this is the off-season move no one will see coming. I really do think Cousins will get moved this off-season, and watch out for former coach Kyle Shannahan, who is now with the San Francisco 49ers, to be aggressive in his pursuit of Cousins.

The Vikings’ experiment has failed: if someone offers them a value for Kirk Cousins, he is gone. Cousins is not a bad option in the right scenario, though. If he reunites with Shannahan, I truly believe that he can bring a Super Bowl to the Bay Area.

Odds of Change: 75%

Jensen’s new team for Cousins: San Francisco 49ers


Drew Lock

Preece: Calling Drew Lock a disappointment after two seasons is a bit of an understatement. After starting the final five games of his rookie season and finishing with a 4-1 record, the Broncos went all-in on adding complementary pieces to build around Lock. The regression from Year 1 to Year 2 was stark. Lock saw a decrease in completion by seven percentage points, he had a 16/15 TD/INT ratio and he rarely looked comfortable behind an improved Bronco offensive line. With the hiring of new GM George Paton, could Denver try to move on from Lock? I believe they’d be negligent in their duties if all possibilities were not explored. Whether it be trading for an established star QB, and they must be a true star to consider it, or looking to use draft capital to add QB competition, Drew Lock should be firmly on the hot seat.

Odds of change: 65%


Jensen: Brian didn’t bury Drew Lock, so I will. He was the worst QB in the entirety of the NFL last year. He averaged over a pick per game and had issues moving past his first read if you watch the all-22.

Lock was an awful, horrendous, burning trash barge QB. To expect him to make a Josh Allen-type jump in year three is quite frankly the stupidest take a person could have. Don’t let yourself be that person. Brian is right: the Broncos need to bring in real competition for Lock.

The reason I say he won’t make an Allen-type jump is that he has never once shown the traits of an elite QB, outside of a 2018 game against the Houston Texans.

That said, I do not believe in the Broncos’ front office. They are going to sit on their hands and watch the roster and incredible young talent at wide receiver burn away. John Elway’s hands are still all over this project, even from the firing line, and from the GM graveyard he will find a way to ruin this once great franchise. As a fan of the team, I will once again be disgusted.


Tua Tagovailoa

Preece: Drafted 5th overall in last year’s draft, the Dolphins have been saying all the right things about Tagovailoa as the QB of the future, while simultaneously appearing to court DeShaun Watson. Despite some rookie campaign growing pains, the Dolphins had targeted Tagovailoa early in the 2020 draft process and have high hopes for his ability to develop into a Super Bowl-caliber QB in Miami. Unless it’s in a swap for Watson, Tagovailoa stays put and gets his opportunity to be the full-time starter next season.

Odds of change: 50%

Jensen: Not much to say on this one. I do not understand how people have come to the conclusion Tagovailoa is a bad player off of five games with no offensive weapons. He showed a few flashes — look no further than the Chargers game for an example of that.

I hate that people have given up on him so fast. Give the kid some weapons, draft a WR and an OT in the first round and watch this team go from 9-7 to being a contender for the division. Brian Flores is the right man for the job, the team is run well, they make smart moves, but just give the kid some time.

Unless you can get Deshaun Watson, no need to change things up.

Odds of change: 15%


Washington Football Team: 

Preece: Talk about a QB carousel. Last season, Washington saw Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke make starts. Currently, only Heinicke remains on the Washington roster after Smith was released a few days ago. Washington will be in the mix for a number of quarterback possibilities this offseason as they are unlikely to tab Heinicke as the starter before a training camp battle. Making things more difficult in Washington is the 19th pick in the first round: it’s just too low to expect a good QB prospect to fall. Look for Washington to pursue someone in the Sam Darnold/Drew Lock mold in hopes of striking it rich with a change-of-scenery guy.

Odds of change- 100%

Jensen: This is a debate article so I will say: Brian, you are so dead wrong on this. Heinicke is an absolute star and this team is going to the Super Bowl next year… just kidding. What do you want me to say here? Brian is dead on. Washington is also screwed because they made the playoffs and the draft pick they have stinks. Prospect Mac Jones is fine, but not save-your-franchise fine.


DeShaun Watson

Preece: The jewel of the 2021 QB market, DeShaun Watson, has publicly and repeatedly asserted his desire to never again step under center for the Houston Texans. Short-sighted moves with draft capital, poor coaching and a disconnect with the front office and ownership have led to the Watson-Houston falling out. Watson is under contract for four more years at an average annual value of $39-million. He has said he’d be willing to sit out if not traded, but that’s an awful lot of money to forgo. Time will tell on this one, but I suspect that the king’s ransom Houston will rightfully be able to demand in any deal for Watson will end up outweighing the benefit of retaining him. Look for Carolina, Chicago, Miami, the New York Jets and Denver to be the most active in Watson trade talks.

Odds of change: 80%

Jensen: All signs would point to Watson getting traded during this off-season, but then you think, well, the Houston Texans would have to be a football team to do that. And the Houston Texans are not a football team anymore. The Texans are now a cult run by the McNairs and a preacher by the name of Jack Easterby who conned his way into the front office to run the show.

Get ready to hear that name a lot this offseason. If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend checking out this article by Sports Illustrated about Easterby.

In summary, Easterby facilitated trading DeAndre Hopkins, likely had Texans players tailed by PIs and, after a brief rise in New England, was ruthlessly cut out by Bill Belichick when the coach saw the organizational cancer Easterby was. But that’s just reading between the lines.

The Texans won’t trade Watson this off-season. He will sit out a majority of next year, as they have no first-round picks and they are in cap hell with an owner that doesn’t seem to care. The Texans may very well go 0-16 next year and then do nothing about it. Welcome Houston, you are the new Cleveland Browns/New York Jets/laughing stock of the league.


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