The Kansas City Chiefs are you Super Bowl LIV champions! That said, we now settle into a six-month offseason before football returns in August. Cheer up though, it’s not all bad news! The NFL may look vastly different in week 1 of 2020 than it does today. A big reason why is free agency, which gets underway beginning March 18th. Plenty of big names could be available on this year’s market, on both sides of the ball. From now until March 18th, I’ll give a glimpse of my top 10 players at some of the major positions. For today, let’s start with my quarterback edition of the list…
10. Matt Moore
I’ll start with a name that won’t excite many. Matt Moore is a career backup, and he’ll probably remain as such. Though he did play on a high level in two games Patrick Mahomes missed this season. Moore faced two good teams; Minnesota and Green Bay. He didn’t light up the scoreboard the way Mahomes does, but he still led Kansas City to a win over the Vikings. In his two starts, Moore tossed three touchdown passes and committed zero turnovers. He went over 250 yards passing in both games and completed 69% of his throws. Moore will be 36, so I doubt he finds a starting gig at this point. However, he’s clearly one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league. A team worried about the health of their starter, would find use in Matt Moore.
9. Case Keenum
Case Keenum failed miserably his lone season in Denver. He then went to Washington where he was benched in favor of rookie Dwayne Haskins. Still, Case appeared in 10 games for the rebuilding Redskins and put up mediocre numbers. He did complete 64.8 % of his passes but only threw 11 touchdowns with five interceptions mixed in. Keenum turns 32 this month, so it’s likely he doesn’t improve from here. The former Houston quarterback is probably better off as a backup somewhere. Though, his tenure in Minnesota proved he can win games with the right supporting cast around him. Case Keenum won’t be a hot name on the market, but he’d be an elite backup wherever he goes.
Here, we have another quarterback who was benched early in the year. Ryan Tannehill became the signal-caller for Tennessee and made Marcus Mariota an afterthought. Mariota’s finest attribute is that he limits mistakes. In six starts for the Titans, he was picked off just twice. However, Mariota struggles to throw down the field and completed a lousy 59.4 % of his passes this season. Despite being a mobile guy, Marcus appears uncomfortable facing any type of pressure in his face. On the bright side, he won’t turn 27 until October. Mariota is a talented guy, but his run in Tennessee is likely over. Depending on where he winds up, Mariota can still be a starting QB in this league.
Philip Rivers‘ career is approaching the finish line. While he’s never appeared in a Super Bowl, Rivers has totaled 397 touchdown passes, and 59,271 passing yards throughout his career. The now former Chargers quarterback proved he can still sling it this past season, but the mistakes are alarming. Rivers threw 20 INT’s and also coughed up five fumbles in a disappointing season for Los Angeles. It doesn’t help Rivers that he just turned 38, and his arm strength appears to be on the decline. Rivers completed 66 % of his throws but made terrible mental mistakes at crucial game moments. Philip is good enough to be a starting QB this season, but its’ clear that his days in the NFL are numbered.
Jameis Winston is a roller coaster wearing a helmet. He finished second amongst all quarterbacks with 33 td passes, but also threw an embarrassing 30 interceptions. In doing so, Winston became the first ever QB to join the “30/30 club”. Winston also lead the NFL in passing yards, but was middle of the pack in QBR. In addition, has a strange personality, and his leadership skills have been called into question by many. There’s no doubt he can make every single throw in the playbook, yet his decision making on the field is quite perplexing at times. Winston has the skills to be a top 10 quarterback, and he’s only 26 years old. All in all, Jameis is the biggest gamble of any guy on this list.
Teddy Bridgewater appears to be the opposite of Jameis Winston. His arm strength and downfield passing won’t amaze you, but he limits mistakes and is a very accurate passer. Bridgewater was called upon when Drew Brees went down with a hand injury in October. In five starts for New Orleans, Teddy tossed nine touchdown throws, and only two interceptions. Plus, he even lead the Saints to a perfect 5-0 record during that stretch. Bridgewater doesn’t have blazing speed, but he can move very well in the pocket. As I mentioned earlier, he’s an accurate passer despite having mediocre arm strength. This year, Bridgewater completed 67.9 % of his throws at 7.1 yards per attempt. He’s only 27 years of age, and will be due for a big contract as a starting quarterback somewhere else.
4. Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill took a backseat to Derrick Henry during the Titans unlikely AFC Championship run. However, that shouldn’t take away from the excellent football he played during the regular season. In his first year as a Titan, Tannehill took over for a struggling Marcus Mariota. In 10 starts, he racked up 22 passing touchdowns with just five interceptions. Tannehill was super accurate too, completing 70.3 % of his throws on the year. Despite only making 10 starts, Tannehill still ended the regular season with 2,742 passing yards. Oh yea, he isn’t a statue in the pocket either. Tannehill totaled 185 rushing yards with four rushing scores this year. Whether its’ the franchise tag or a contract extension, he’ll likely be the Titans quarterback moving forward.
3. Tom Brady
No matter what else happens, Tom Brady will remain the GOAT. But, Brady’s 2019 campaign was clearly not one of his finest. TB12 struggled with rookie wideouts and sub-par tight ends for the better part of the year. He threw 24 touchdown passes; his fewest in a full season since 2006. Tom did protect the football well this year, only throwing eight interceptions. However, he struggled to make plays down the field and threw a lot of dump-off passes to his running backs. Brady’s accuracy took a big dip as well. He completed 60.8 % of his throws, which was his lowest mark since 2013. Tom Brady is one of the smartest men to ever play the position, but you can’t argue that his physical tools are diminishing. If New England surrounds him with better weapons, I’d imagine he stays a Patriot. Though, Brady is 43 and could opt for a team with better offensive talent.
2. Dak Prescott
Ranking Dak Prescott ahead of Brady on any list will garner attention. This year, it shouldn’t. Despite heavy criticism, Prescott played great football this season. Dak doesn’t have a huge arm that will strike fear in opposing defenders. However, he continues to be one of the most accurate passers at the quarterback position. In fact, Prescott completed 65.1 % of his throws at 8.2 yards per attempt. Dak’s 30 touchdown throws were a new career high, and gave him the fourth most amongst all QB’s this season. Don’t forget that Prescott also finished second in passing yards with 4,902. His mobility isn’t exceptional, though it is definitely above average. In four seasons as a Cowboy, Prescott now has 21 rushing scores. The former fourth rounder is only 26, and will be due for an insane contract. The question is, will Dallas be forced to use the tag on him?
1. Drew Brees
Drew Brees missed five games in 2019 but didn’t miss a beat upon his return. In 11 games, Brees continued to be the most accurate passer in NFL history. He completed an outstanding 74.3% of his passes, which was his fourth straight season at 70% or higher. Brees hurled touchdowns left and right and tallied a total of 27 on the year. In fact, if Brees had played all 16 games, he easily could have to lead the league in TD throws. Brees also took very good care of the football. He threw just four interceptions this year, after throwing only five last year. Unlike Brady, Brees looked like he can still make any throw in the book despite his advanced age. Drew will enter his age 41 season in September, but he’s easily the biggest fish on this year’s quarterback market. That said, it’s unlikely he switches uniforms.
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