The Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals will both feature new starting quarterbacks in 2020. That leaves Cam Newton and Andy Dalton sitting on the open market, waiting for another opportunity to prove their respective former teams made a big mistake.
The offseason market has moved a bit slowly, and that may be due to the fact the exact start date for the season remains unknown. However, Jameis Winston recently went off the market to the New Orleans Saints, and it is hard to imagine Newton and Dalton being free agents throughout the entire summer. Let's look at six teams that should have one or both quarterbacks on their radar as May begins, and rank them by the likelihood of a new addition.
6. Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears plan to have Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles go head-to-head for the starting job in training camp. It is also possible the team declines Trubisky's fifth-year option, signaling he will be gone after 2020. The team is a distant sixth on this list, but could add one of the veterans for some additional security on a one or two-year deal. Foles has dealt with injuries and has only made double-digit starts twice in his career. If the plan is to eventually move on from Trubisky, it wouldn't hurt to add more depth to the impending competition in a do-or-die year for head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace, though a move is far less likely than it was prior to the Foles deal.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers need a proper succession plan behind Ben Roethlisberger. Mason Rudolph was brought in for that role, and looked average in eight starts last year with 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Dalton is 32 years old and Newton is 30. At the start, one would be brought in as the backup to Roethlisberger. But if Big Ben was to go down again, it is hard to imagine either losing out to Rudolph. The incumbent Steelers QB is under contract through 2021, making this another longshot. Newton or Dalton would have to sign up expecting to be the backup for up to two years. Still, the team would be wise to have experienced players on the depth chart, after what happened last season.
4. Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders have four quarterbacks on the roster with Derek Carr as the starter and Marcus Mariota as the backup. But no one should put anything past Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock at this point. The team reportedly targeted Tom Brady this offseason, and would likely add Dalton or Newton and immediately launch a competition in training camp. Carr's dead cap value is $7.9 million, and a successful summer from Dalton or Newton easily makes Carr a cut candidate. Gruden wants to win, and handing out a one or two-year deal to a veteran quarterback would not be a shock.
3. Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins are lacking experience at quarterback. With Alex Smith likely done for his career, 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins is the starter, with 24-year-old Kyle Allen as his backup. Newton is an intriguing option for the Redskins, specifically, because of his relationship with head coach Ron Rivera. The two spent their entire time in Carolina together, and went to a Super Bowl in a 15-1 season. Dalton could also fill the role held by Case Keenum in 2019, who started until Haskins was deemed to be ready. Haskins was a big investment, and there is nothing wrong with bringing in some veteran competition for him to learn from and potentially sit behind for another year.
2. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots surprisingly went the entire 2020 NFL Draft without taking a quarterback. Bill Belichick did sign two undrafted signal-callers, but right now, there is an upcoming competition between Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. Yet it is hard to believe that Belichick won't at least consider Dalton or Newton. Signing one on a Jameis Winston-esque deal gets a veteran on the team who can start right away. Dalton is likely the favorite, considering Newton's health concerns and bizarre fit, and it is possible Belichick was waiting for the Bengals to do the inevitable and cut Dalton loose before pursuing. Bottom line, there has to be some master plan in place.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars settled their quarterback problem last year by signing Nick Foles. He then broke his collarbone, and Gardner Minshew became the new star in town. Foles is now in Chicago, and Minshew is the starter, with Joshua Dobbs as his backup. The Jaguars are desperate for veteran help, and can use the available $21 million in cap space to add Newton or Dalton, and even overpay a bit if necessary. Minshew went 6-6 as a starter with 3,271 yards and 21 touchdowns, yet the sample size is still too small to declare him the future in Jacksonville. The Jags need to go out and sign Dalton or Newton to avoid being way too thin at quarterback in 2020. There's a reason they're the heavy favorites to make a move here.