This is a more fun way to discuss the options each team has, given their QBs' contracts.
I'll be updating my 2023 Fantasy Football Rankings (posting soon) as each team makes their moves. Follow Underdog NFL on Twitter to stay up to the minute with news from around the NFL. And if you haven't played yet, Underdog Fantasy has 2023 fantasy football drafts in our lobby. Get in there.
Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen
For the first time in his career, Allen's cap hit is ballooning ($40M). That's still a bargain.
Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa
He has one more year on his rookie deal, while Teddy Bridgewater hits free agency.
New England Patriots: Mac Jones
The 2023 offseason will be about finding a legit OC (hopefully) and re-setting the entire pass-catching group. If Mac doesn't improve then, New England can begin poking around in 2024 (maybe when Bill Belichick thinks about retiring).
New York Jets: Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Mike White
The Jets might be the most active team in the QB market this offseason. Zach Wilson should be viewed as QB competition only, and that's if he's on the roster at all. Trading Wilson would come with $11.4M in dead money and would actually cost them $1.8M against the cap, but if another team offers Day 2 picks based on their pre-draft evaluations, it'll be hard to say no to. With Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, and other busted QBs returning value (and more importantly, with the Jets locker room rallying around every non-Wilson QB in 2022), I think odds are fair that Wilson isn't even on the roster. Because the Jets don't have a top-10 pick and have a playoff caliber roster, they're most likely headed for a veteran, win-now upgrade. Derek Carr types could be available via trade, but there are two primary free agent options that seem more realistic - Jimmy Garoppolo and Mike White. Both are extremely familiar with the coaching staff and scheme. Neither will be that expensive. Prediction: Garoppolo signs for $20M/year, White signs for $4M/year, and Wilson gets traded to the Bucs for about two Day 3 picks.
Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson
The Ravens will make another long-term offer, but it's up to Lamar on if he wants to play the franchise tag game. Either way, he'll be a Raven.
Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow
He's in the last year of his deal, with the fifth-year option available in 2024. This remains the Bengals' prime window to win.
Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson
He'll make $54M each year all guaranteed until the 2027 offseason, while Jacoby Brissett hits free agency.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Pickett (with Andy Dalton)
He played good enough as a rookie with questionable play-calling and a porous offensive line to be the unquestioned 2023 starter, but Pickett deserves some level of insurance behind him. Prediction: Andy Dalton (an unthreatening backup with plenty of experience in this conference) signs for $5M.
Houston Texans: Bryce Young vs. Davis Mills
The leading candidates for the 2023 1st overall pick are split between Bryce Young (+180) and CJ Stroud (+180). Either one will compete with Mills for Week 1 duties. The rookie will win that battle.
Indianapolis Colts: Aaron Rodgers
After saving $17M against the cap by cutting Matt Ryan (who retires), Indianapolis is back in the QB market once again with borderline top-5 cap space to spend. Prediction: The Colts make the splash move of the offseason by trading multiple 1st and 2nd round picks for Aaron Rodgers. It's a classic move by owner Jim Irsay, who seems to be power hungry and tired of D-tier QB trades. The Colts can spread out Rodgers' cap charge by picking up the team option on Rodgers. Read the Packers blurb below to see why a trade like this is possible.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence
Only due $10M for each of the next two seasons, Lawrence opens up the Jaguars first window to win in a long time.
Tennessee Titans: Jacoby Brissett (with Will Levis)
January 2nd prediction: Ryan Tannehill's contract is flexible. If he is retained, Tannehill will have a $36.6M cap hit in the final year of his contract. If he is traded, the Titans save $17.8M against the cap with $18.8M in dead money, but there's no way the Titans view Malik Willis as a starter after they benched him for off-the-street veteran Joshua Dobbs. Brissett, as he was in Cleveland, would be a perfect bridge QB with the traits coach Mike Vrabel likes (play in structure, familiarity with play action concepts, good leadership). They can always find a Will Levis type of rookie with Brissett on a cheap contract, too.
December 24th prediction: Tom Brady: Ryan Tannehill's contract is flexible. If he is retained, Tannehill will have a $36.6M cap hit in the final year of his contract. If he is traded, the Titans save $17.8M against the cap with $18.8M in dead money. Malik Willis likely isn't viewed as a legit starting QB option either way based on his play as a rookie. Prediction: Coach Mike Vrabel didn't like how slow-paced this offensive roster rebuild has gone, so he takes matters into his own hands. Vrabel sends Tannehill to re-unite with Arthur Smith in Atlanta and hits up his Patriots boy (and free agent) Tom Brady for one final run. Brady and Vrabel re-shape the offense with WRs and OTs in a suddenly QB-stacked AFC South.
Denver Broncos: Russell Wilson
The easy answer for new ownership is to re-set at head coach and give Russ one more year with hopefully better team injury luck. Even if they wanted to re-set at QB, Russ's contract is nearly impossible to move, with $107M in dead money if cut and $82M in dead money if traded.
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes
For the first time in his career, Mahomes' cap hit breaks the $40M mark ($47M). That is a bargain.
Las Vegas Raiders: Tom Brady
January 2nd prediction: The Raiders (ownership likely) benched Derek Carr after being eliminated from the playoffs because his 2023 money would be guaranteed for injury. They didn't want to take that risk and ultimately sent him home so he wouldn't be a locker room distraction. Those are signs the Raiders don't want his $35M cap hit in 2023, which means he could be released or traded for. I think Carr can go for about a 3rd round pick -- he has a no-trade clause -- if he's willing to re-arrange his contract. ... As for Tom Brady, he'll be a free agent with ties to Josh McDaniels. I've seen multiple reporters hint at Brady choosing between the Raiders, 49ers, or retirement, including Boston-based national reporter Albert Breer.
December 24th prediction: Derek Carr: Consistently floated in trade rumors due to his $40M cap savings, the Raiders ultimately run it back with Carr for one more year with most of the blame going to defensive struggles and bad luck in one-score games. As a consolation, the Raiders scoop up a potential 2024 starter with a 2nd round rookie QB selection in Will Levis. Carr's cap hits are $35M in 2023 and $44M in 2024, both non-guaranteed.
Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert
He's in the last year of his deal, with the fifth-year option available in 2024. This remains the Chargers' prime window to win.
Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott
For the first time in his career, Prescott's cap hit breaks the $40M mark ($49M). It was $19.7M in 2022.
New York Giants: Daniel Jones
He's an unrestricted free agent, but the Giants can use the franchise tag on him without committing to him long-term, or they can sign a shorter (2-year) prove it deal in the $25M annual range. There are tons of wholes to fill on this roster, and Jones played relatively well in his first year with coach Brian Daboll. Prediction: The Giants use their abundant cap space and 11 draft picks to build up the 2023 before making a power move at QB the following offseason. Jones is a Giant, but with dudes to throw the ball to this time.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Hurts
He's in the last year of his deal, with the franchise tag available in 2024. This remains the Eagles' prime window to win.
Washington Commanders: Derek Carr
January 2nd prediction: The Raiders seem to have had enough with Carr, who they can trade to save $29.5M against the cap. The inheriting team would have Carr for $32.9M non-guaranteed in 2023 and $41.9M non-guanratedd in 2024, though a trade could facilitate new numbers each season. Carr has to waive his no-trade clause, but this would be the best defense he's played with and the receiving weapons are already in place. They'd be a playoff team with a trade like this. Plus, Carr is used to playing with organization garbage fires.
December 24th prediction: Jacoby Brissett vs. Taylor Heinicke: After getting benched, Carson Wentz is a lock to be cut ($0 dead money with $26.2M in cap savings), while Taylor Heinicke hits free agency. The Commanders want to make a big QB upgrade, but their inept franchise isn't attractive for top free agents and their 22nd overall pick is too late for top rookies. Prediction: Brissett bets on himself as a franchise QB and the coaching staff believes he's good enough in the pocket to throw to their talented skill group to the tune of $15M. Fan favorite Heinicke re-signs for $5M to be his backup.
Chicago Bears: Justin Fields
The Bears start the offseason with the most cap space. On their to-do list: everything but QB.
Detroit Lions: Jared Goff (with Day 2 Anthony Richardson)
The Lions debate if Goff's $31M year-to-year non-guaranteed contract is worth passing on the rookie QB who'd be available with their 2nd overall pick, but the Panthers make their decision easy by trading up. Detroit pushes their long-term QB decision into the following year with the rights to Carolina's 2024 first round pick in a class that's littered with potential conference changing talent (see: Caleb Williams). Even with Goff retained, the Lions are NFC North favorites as Goff is surrounded by the best roster he's ever had, including in Los Angeles.
Green Bay Packers: Jordan Love
This is from OverTheCap's Jason Fitzgerald: "Rodgers does not have a no trade clause in his contract so he could be traded to a team as well. The timing of the option should give the Packers all the way until the end of training camp to move him. The cap charge here would depend on when he was traded. If Rodgers were to be traded prior to June 1st the Packers would take on a $40.3M cap hit in 2023. If he was traded after June 1st it would be a $15.8M cap hit in 2023 with $24.5M due in 2024. This assumes that the Packers did not exercise the option before the trade. If the option is exercised then the trade number spikes to nearly $100 million. There should be no need to exercise the option until the last possible day."
In other words, Rodgers is tradable, especially after June 1st. Prediction: Jordan Love is in the final year of his rookie contract and the rest of the Packers' roster is aging. This sets up as a re-set year following a 5-8 season (at least through Week 14 when this was written). Rodgers gets traded (to Indy) to give Love a crack at turning into their franchise QB.
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins
Cousins' contract is tradable ($17.5M cap savings and $18.8M in dead money), but who is trading for Cousins? And who is the obvious QB upgrade Minnesota could find? He stays in the final year of his deal.
Atlanta Falcons: Ryan Tannehill
Releasing Marcus Mariota is a no-brainer with his $12M in cap savings and $2.5M in dead money, but Desmond Ridder wasn't picked in Round 3 to be the starter. Prediction: Arthur Smith looks at the three rebuilding units in his division and re-kindles his play-action offense with a familiar face in Ryan Tannehill. Kyle Pitts and Drake London fans rejoice as the Falcons move into being NFC South favorites, especially with tons of cap space to address the offensive line and defense.
Carolina Panthers: C.J. Stroud
Done messing around with bad veteran QBs, the directive from ownership is to make a splash move during the NFL Draft. The Panthers trade up to Chicago's 2nd overall pick to get their franchise QB. Perhaps that's Bryce Young if he falls.
New Orleans Saints: Jameis Winston vs. Carson Wentz
January 2nd prediction: Despite being benched for Andy Dalton in 2022, Winston has reasonable odds of remaining a Saint in 2023 because of his contract. Releasing Winston only saves $4M with $12M in dead money. He'll have competition, of course, but the Saints are in cap hell once again. They will be priced out of top names. Prediction: Enter the cheap Wentz.
December 24th prediction: Jameis Winston vs. Sam Darnold: Despite being benched for Andy Dalton in 2022, Winston has reasonable odds of remaining a Saint in 2023 because of his contract. Releasing Winston only saves $4M with $12M in dead money. He'll have competition, of course, but the Saints are in cap hell once again. They will be priced out of top names. Prediction: Enter the cheap Darnold.
Tampa Bay Bucs: Sam Darnold vs. Zach Wilson
January 2nd prediction: Tom Brady looks around this aging roster with sub-par coaches and says, "Enough already." After he hits free agency, the Bucs look in the mirror and quickly look for rebuilding options. Prediction: Nothing says rebuild like signing Darnold to high-end backup money and firing off multiple Day 3 picks for Zach Wilson in a battle of turnover-prone, New York gunslingers.
December 24th prediction: Tom Brady looks around this aging roster with sub-par coaches and says, "Enough already." After he hits free agency, the Bucs look in the mirror and quickly look for rebuilding options. Prediction: Nothing says rebuild like signing Wentz to backup money and firing off multiple Day 3 picks for Zach Wilson in a battle of turnover prone gunslingers.
Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray (with Marcus Mariota)
Fresh off a massive extension, the Cardinals are married to Kyler no matter what (and there's no reason to believe they want a divorce). But they'll need 2023 insurance following his December ACL tear. Prediction: Marcus Mariota is a poor man's Kyler Murray with enough experience to at least keep the Cardinals' fans hopes up until Murray re-emerges in October or November.
Los Angeles Rams: Matthew Stafford (with Baker Mayfield)
A serious neck surgery makes Stafford a retirement risk, but playing through injury is a part of Stafford's legacy. Still, the Rams have to invest in a backup given the circumstances. They luckily found the best available option via waivers last year in Baker Mayfield, who is a quality backup in this offense and could emerge as a cap-strapped starter if Stafford suddenly retires. The downside risk here is if one retirement domino-effects into others. Aaron Donald and Sean McVay have been rumored to call it quits previously.
San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance vs. Brock Purdy
Brock Purdy played well enough in 2022 relief to be the 49ers' 2023 backup at the very worst, so unless the plan is to move Trey Lance this season (something that'd be hard given his injury), the 49ers plan could be what's already under contract. Re-signing Jimmy Garoppolo would be as expensive as ever after finishing top 5 in EPA per dropback in 2022, and fitting Tom Brady under the cap could be an issue with Nick Bosa and others up for new deals. Most importantly, don't the 49ers have to see what they have in Lance after spending three 1st-round picks on him???
Seattle Seahawks: Geno Smith
A massive decision awaits the Seahawks after dominating the 2022 offseason by (somehow) upgrading QB while getting multiple 1st-round picks and clearing the books: do they re-sign free agent Geno Smith after a breakout season, or do they use their 4th overall pick on a rookie? If someone is willing to move up, that likely is the best option, but they'll have to make their QB decision before the NFL Draft because free agency happens first. It's hard to move on from Smith after ranking 10th in EPA per dropback last year, especially with so many holes remaining on the roster. If Smith stays in the $30M range with little long-term guaranteed money, Seattle sticks with the most improved player of 2022.