If there is an NFL season – and the sports world is basically begging for it at this point – it’s going to take some time to adjust to new rosters.
Specifically, it’s going to be tough to remember who is playing quarterback for which team anymore. Nearly all the staples of the game – aside from Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh and Drew Brees down in New Orleans – are gone or moving to new teams.
The biggest move of all is Tom Brady, who is moving from the Patriot dynasty – one officially ended by the Titans – to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even amid perhaps the worst pandemic in modern history, most sports fans heard about TB heading to TB.
The six-time Super Bowl champ wants to play until he is 45. Brady, 42, will get his chance to ride off into the Florida sunset while throwing to one of the best WR pairings – Chris Godwin and Mike Evans – in the league.
While Brady was the biggest name to move, he’s definitely not the only one.
Eli Manning kicked off the QB carousel back in January, announcing his retirement. That left the NFL – and the New York Giants – without a two-time Super Bowl champ.
The man Eli was once traded for back in 2004 – Philip Rivers – is also changing teams. After 16 seasons, and eight Pro Bowl appearances, Rivers is gone from the Chargers. Rivers signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts, who have been looking for a steady signal caller ever since Andrew Luck announced his retirement shortly before last season.
Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson is set to start the 2020 season as the longest-tenured starting quarterback with his squad. Wilson – who hasn’t missed multiple games like longer running starters like Roethlisberger or Packers QB Aaron Rodgers – will go into this season with a 75-game streak of starts for Seattle dating back to 2012.
The quarterback shuffle has also seen Jacksonville jettison Nick Foles – signed to be its long-term starter last offseason – to the Bears and the Panthers signing Teddy Bridgewater and releasing 2015 MVP Cam Newton. Andy Dalton, a nine-year starter for the Bengals and three-time Pro Bowler, will be replaced soon when Cincinnati, presumably, takes LSU QB Joe Burrow No. 1 in this year’s draft.
Joining Newton on the unemployment line right now are 2012 Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco and former No. 1 pick Jameis Winston.
Right now, it’s easier to count the NFL teams who will have continuity at the QB position and are content with who they have. It’s basically Brees, Rodgers, the NFC West with Wilson, Jared Goff (Rams) and Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers), last year’s MVP Lamar Jackson with the Ravens, Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) and, maybe, the Titans with Ryan Tannehill (though they were rumored to be in the Brady sweepstakes).
Every other team either is breaking in young starters with limited success, has health/contract questions with their current guy (Dak Prescott - Cowboys and Carson Wentz - Eagles) or is hanging on to relics (Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan).
The good news for those teams is that it’s easy to find the next guy, just judging by this offseason.