Predicting Each NFL Teams Starting QB For 2020


Predicting Each NFL Teams Starting QB For 2020

By Graham Tuck

January 28, 2020


NOTE: This article was drafted on January 25th, 2020.  All predictions are based off of team cap space, free agency decisions, and rumors as of that date.


By the time the 2020 NFL season begins, the landscape of the league will look very different.  Namely, the quarterback situations for most teams in the league will be drastically changed. Between the humongous free agent class for the position, teams searching for a trade, and teams looking to start anew in the draft, nearly half the league has some sort of question mark at the quarterback position.  Here are my predictions for how next season will shape out for each team in the league:


AFC EAST:


New England Patriots:

The Patriots are on the tail end of one of the greatest dynasties in the history of sports. Tom Brady is at the head of that dynasty.  He is rumored to want to test the waters of free agency, which he likely will this offseason. However, Rob Kraft will do absolutely everything in his power to keep Brady around for at least one more year, even if he is on the decline.  One thing that he has that no other team does: Josh McDaniels. McDaniels failing to be hired for a head coaching position will likely be the key factor for Brady’s return for at the very least, one last run.


Week 1 Starter: Tom Brady

Week 17 Starter: Tom Brady


New York Jets:

The Jets are one of the most puzzling teams in all of football.  They have what, on paper, should be a great offense. Their defense is getting better by the year, led by Jamal Adams who is one of the best safeties in the game already.  Yet, they consistently underperform. Many questions remain to be answered in New York, specifically what will be done with Le’Veon Bell. The one thing that should be certain for the Green and White is that they’ve found their future under center.


Week 1 Starter: Sam Darnold

Week 17 Starter: Sam Darnold


Buffalo Bills:

Josh Allen was an intriguing player this season to say the least.  He led his Bills to a wild card spot, and were in position to win their first playoff game in 25 years before Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt happened.  Despite the sour taste left in their mouth by Houston, Allen’s potential leaves room for hope. He ranked only 23rd among quarterbacks in both passing yards and passing touchdowns, but led 5 game winning drives and 4 fourth quarter comeback wins this year.  His ability hasn’t produced eye popping numbers, but the results speak for themselves.


Week 1 Starter: Josh Allen

Week 17 Starter: Josh Allen


Miami Dolphins:

Oh the pain of being a Dolphins fan.  At least they still got to have their regularly scheduled annual win against New England in 2019.  Besides that and Devante Parker being one of the most productive receivers in the league, there isn’t much optimism in South Florida right now (save for the flocking Chiefs and 49ers fans this week).  Fitzpatrick plays well occasionally but he is certainly not the long term answer, and neither is Josh Rosen (we think). Miami has more cap space than the majority of the league, as well as the 5th pick in the draft.  With that in mind, Philip Rivers recently moved his family to Miami from their home in San Diego, and Tua Tagovailoa will likely be on the board when the Dolphins are on the clock. Look for Brian Flores to use some of that cap space on a bridge quarterback for their young gun that they will undoubtedly bring in from the draft.


Week 1 Starter: Philip Rivers

Week 17 Starter: Philip Rivers

**2021 Week 1 Starter: Tua Tagovailoa**


AFC NORTH:


Pittsburgh Steelers:

After Big Ben underwent season ending elbow surgery in week 2, most people wrote off the Steelers season.  The defense surged, and despite poor offense all around, Pittsburgh was alive for a playoff spot in the last week of the season.  Ben has said that he expects, and wants to play in 2020 for the Steelers, and barring any setbacks, those goals will be within reach come August.  The majority of the defense is staying intact for next season, including DPOTY candidates Minkah Fitzpatrick and T.J. Watt. This will make retirement less appealing for Big Ben for at least one more season.


Week 1 Starter: Ben Roethlisberger

Week 17 Starter: Ben Roethlisberger


Cincinnati Bengals:

The Bengals suck.  That’s the story. Everyone in Cincinnati is hoping that the king from Baton Rouge can save the Bengals from another year of despair, and he will have a full season to show what he can do.  Andy Dalton will either sit the bench, or more likely, be shipped off to another city (more on that later).


Week 1 Starter: Joe Burrow

Week 17 Starter: Joe Burrow


Baltimore Ravens:

I think if John Harbaugh played anyone other than Lamar Jackson at quarterback in 2020, the internet literally wouldn’t be able to contain itself. This is a no brainer.


Week 1 Starter: Lamar Jackson

Week 17 Starter: Lamar Jackson


Cleveland Browns:

I’m sure I’m not the first to say it, but I’ll say it anyway.  I don’t like the Stefanski hire. I think McDaniels would’ve been a much better hire in Cleveland.  But, focusing on the positive, Freddie Kitchens is gone. I had said all season that Baker was a problem, but Kitchens was THE problem.  Mayfield should be safe in Cleveland for at least one more season, but he needs to focus more on winning than cutting the grass in Progressive commercials and shaving his mustache.


Week 1 Starter: Baker Mayfield

Week 17 Starter: Baker Mayfield


AFC SOUTH:


Houston Texans:

Despite all of the underperforming Houston has managed to accomplish, Deshaun Watson has played out of his mind since he came into the league.  He alone can keep Houston in contention for the ultimate title, and he’s only getting better. Whether it’s by an extension this offseason, or after the season next year, Deshaun Watson will be a very, very rich man in the near future.


Week 1 Starter: Deshaun Watson

Week 17 Starter: Deshaun Watson


Indianapolis Colts:

At one point, Andrew Luck was one of the most likeable players in the NFL.  Now, Colts fans are in absolute anguish due to his decision to retire. After going 7-9 and missing the playoffs, Colts fans have question marks at almost every position.  Jacoby Brissett is *probably* not the answer at QB, but their draft position doesn’t allow for them to take a quarterback who is ready to start right away. The Colts have a lot of cap space, so they could make a move for guys like Rivers, Derek Carr through trade, or even Teddy Bridgewater.  That being said, I think the rest of their roster isn’t attractive enough to be a landing spot for any of the big names on the market. I would be shocked if Indy doesn’t look to draft a QB high, and spend big money on skill positions in free agency.


Week 1 Starter: Jacoby Brissett

Week 17 Starter: Justin Hebert


Jacksonville Jaguars:

Nick Foles is a system quarterback.  No doubt about it. The Jaguars are not a very good fit for him right now, but the team will likely stick with him and all the money they owe him, at least for now.  Gardner Minshew took the league by storm this year, but as the season went on, his performances got increasingly less impressive. For now, Foles is the lesser of two evils simply because the Jaguars will want to try to get something out of the gross sum they paid for him, but I’m not expecting anything close to great things from him this year.  The Jags will likely be bottom feeders and in position for a top pick. 2020 isn’t going to be the year for Jacksonville, but could 2021?


Week 1 Starter: Nick Foles

Week 17 Starter: Gardner Minshew II

**2021 Week 1 Starter: Trevor Lawrence**


Tennessee Titans:

The Titans were the league’s surprise team this year and it wasn’t even close.  Derrick Henry led the league in rushing, and his playoff games against Baltimore and New England put him even further into the record books.  This article is written with the assumption being made that the Titans will pay Henry whatever he wants. If that’s the case, Mariota and Tannehill will both likely walk.  The Titans will pick towards the end of the first round, so there won’t be any big name quarterback for them there most likely. That leaves them looking for a trade partner, or a cheap free agent signing.  Enter in the red rocket.


Week 1 Starter: Andy Dalton

Week 17 Starter: Andy Dalton


AFC WEST:

Chargers:

Philip Rivers was outright atrocious this year.  He’s had a great career, and in my opinion he’s a Hall of Famer.  That does not mean that he’s the right man for the Chargers. They have one of the most talented rosters in the league, and due to poor quarterback play they finished dead last in their division.  The good news for the Bolts is that they have a good bit of cap space, and they have a solid defense. That defense when healthy can be one of the best in the league, so they just need someone who can move the ball down the field.  This past season, there was one QB who was better at that than anyone else….


Week 1 Starter: Jameis Winston

Week 17 Starter: Jameis Winston


Las Vegas Raiders:

The Raiders were so hot and cold last season that it was almost unbelievable.  If I were a Raider fan, I would choose to focus on the hot part of that assertion.  They had the best rookie class without question last year, and their offense showed explosiveness at times.  Despite Derek Carr failing to pull out wins when they were needed the most, they remained in the playoff race until the very end.  For that, Carr should get a chance to prove he’s worth his deal for at least the first year of the Las Vegas Raiders.


Week 1 Starter: Derek Carr

Week 17 Starter: Derek Carr


Kansas City Chiefs:

This doesn’t even deserve a paragraph.


Week 1 Starter: Patrick Mahomes

Week 17 Starter: Patrick Mahomes


Denver Broncos:

Joe Flacco is no longer in the conversation for being elite.  Brandon Allen fell flat. Enter Drew Lock, who had a surprisingly good start to his NFL career despite being criticized and doubted during the draft.  He showed flashes, and he could finally put an end to the quarterback carousel for John Elway. He might not be, but Elway said himself that he’d be kidding himself if he said Lock wasn’t the answer at QB for the Broncos in 2020.  He’s got at least one year to prove himself.


Week 1 Starter: Drew Lock

Week 17 Starter: Drew Lock


NFC EAST:


Dallas Cowboys: 

Despite all the shortcomings the Cowboys have had, Dak Prescott has found ways to put up numbers.  Jerry Jones hurt himself by waiting to make his decision between Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott, as they both had incredible seasons, and both deserve to get paid.  There’s certainly a chance that Jerry pays Cooper and lets Dak walk, taking a cheaper option from elsewhere (Marcus Mariota?) but the far more likely scenario is that Dak gets a bag and Amari Cooper gets paid elsewhere.


Week 1 Starter: Dak Prescott

Week 17 Starter: Dak Prescott


New York Giants:

Somehow, some way, Daniel Jones ignored all the noise from Giants fans on draft night a la Porzingis and put together a solid rookie campaign.  His numbers weren’t gaudy, similar to Josh Allen’s, but they succeeded expectations and were enough to somewhat satisfy Giants fans. They’ll be getting O-Line help in the draft no doubt, and their wide receiver situation is one of the worst in the league.  The Joe Judge and Jason Garrett hires were questionable at best. Despite all of that, Saquon and Daniel will be cornerstones for the Giants rebuild, however long it may take.


Week 1 Starter: Daniel Jones

Week 17 Starter: Daniel Jones


Philadelphia Eagles:

Fans in Philly are still waiting for Carson Wentz to have a healthy playoff campaign.  Dallas is their only immediate competitor for the top spot in the division, and they’ve made it exceptionally clear that they will underperform until proven otherwise.  Even when completely depleted, the Eagles managed to make a run for a playoff spot before Carson Wentz went down in the Wild Card Round. The Eagles’ cap situation isn’t particularly good, but it’s not awful either.  They definitely have the potential to build around Wentz, but the important thing is that it’s Wentz they’re building around.


Week 1 Starter: Carson Wentz

Week 17 Starter: Carson Wentz


Redskins:

The Redskins are a mess, but they’re heading in the right direction.  The Ron Rivera hire was my favorite of the offseason, and he will likely be the change needed in the front office.  There are still managerial problems in D.C. but the team has skill players with potential. Landon Collins, Derrius Guice, Terry McLaurin, and Dwayne Haskins all have great skill sets.  The Redskins are doomed to mediocrity at best for at least a couple more years, but I would be shocked if a change is made at quarterback. The only thing that could take Haskins’ job away from him is if the forgotten man Alex Smith makes a miraculous comeback and earns a starting spot.  Not likely to happen in 2020 though.


Week 1 Starter: Dwayne Haskins

Week 17 Starter: Dwayne Haskins


NFC NORTH:


Green Bay Packers:

The Packers have seemingly been cursed in the last decade, because no matter how great the Packers are they can’t make a Super Bowl.  Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and Aaron Rodgers are all top 10 in the league at their positions, and the Smith’s were absolute monsters on the defensive side of the ball this year.  Their run defense and secondary need to be shored up, but Rodgers isn’t the problem, or at least not enough of it to get rid of him.


Week 1 Starter: Aaron Rodgers

Week 17 Starter: Aaron Rodgers


Chicago Bears:

Despite what anyone says, I don’t think the Bears are incredibly sold on Mitchell Trubisky.  He got bailed out by an incredible defense a year ago, and his true colors showed this season.  The Bears will be looking for something, anything, to be their answer at quarterback. I’d expect them to draft a quarterback on day 2 of the draft, as well as finding a trade partner to bring in a quarterback.  They need someone who isn’t right in their current situation, but also isn’t going to be a long term commitment if it doesn’t work out. Cam Newton fits that description perfectly, and I think the Bears could take a waiver on him.  That being said, I don’t think he’ll put up numbers that are convincing enough to resign him next offseason when his deal is up.


Week 1 Starter: Cam Newton

Week 17 Starter: Cam Newton

**2021 Week 1 Starter: Jalen Hurts**


Detroit Lions:

Matthew Stafford is an above average NFL quarterback on a below average team.  The Lions are terrible on defense. If they can shore that defense up in the draft, I think Stafford’s return can catapult the Lions from the third overall pick to back in the playoff race.  T.J. Hockenson showed flashes before being injured, and Kenny Golladay is one of the NFL’s best. A little depth on offense, and A LOT of help on defense could go a long way for the Lions and (HOT TAKE ALERT) potentially send the Lions back to the playoffs for the first time in a long time.


Week 1 Starter: Matthew Stafford

Week 17 Starter: Matthew Stafford


Minnesota Vikings:

The Vikings made the playoffs this year, and beat the Saints on the road, but that shouldn’t mean that Kirk Cousins is safe.  Sure, he got the monkey off his back for winning a big game, but let’s be clear that this team does nothing without Dalvin Cook.  If I’m in the front office in Minneapolis, I would draft a quarterback to both light a fire under Cousins, and have a potential replacement in the event that he doesn’t earn the right to be brought back after this season when his contract expires.  Jordan Love from Utah State could be a good fit for the Vikes and I think they’ll draft him on the second day, but I’m not ready to answer the question of whether or not Kirk should come back in 2021.


Week 1 Starter: Kirk Cousins

Week 17 Starter: Kirk Cousins


NFC SOUTH:

New Orleans Saints:

Three free agent quarterbacks.  One team. Welcome to New Orleans.  Between Taysom Hill, Drew Brees, and Teddy Bridgewater, the most likely scenario is that they let Teddy walk and find a way to bring back both of the other two.  It’s hard to imagine Taysom Hill in a system under anyone other than Sean Payton at quarterback, although he could potentially be a target for Belichick in New England.  Regardless, Drew Brees had a pro bowl campaign this year, and has about two years left in the tank if I had to guess. The Saints don’t have a ton of cap space, but I’d be surprised to see Brees spurn a paycut and test the free agency waters.  The Saints should draft a good replacement in next year’s draft however, and I would not be surprised to see Payton bridge from Brees to a top prospect.


Week 1 Starter: Drew Brees

Week 17 Starter: Drew Brees


Carolina Panthers:

Christian McCaffery is now The Carolina Panthers.  Luke Kuechly’s departure rocked the Panthers franchise in a way never before seen.  Kyle Allen and Will Grier proved this year that they are not the answer, and you’ve already read that I think that Newton will be shipped off to Chicago.  This means that Carolina needs to find a replacement to at least start their rebuild, and they need him now. With McCaffery in the backfield, they don’t need a world beater under center.  The Panthers need a game manager who they can sign to a one year, prove-it deal and potentially bring back if it works out. Ryan Tannehill is that guy. He proved that he’s good enough to be a starter this year, and that he can bring success if there’s a stud in the backfield.  The only problem is that Carolina doesn’t have the defense that Tennessee had this past year, nor do they have the offensive line. Tannehill’s prove-it deal will become a rental and the Panthers will join the league’s other cats in drafting a quarterback at the top of the 2021 draft.


Week 1 Starter: Ryan Tannehill

Week 17 Starter: Ryan Tannehill

**2021 Week 1 Starter: Justin Fields**


Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

The Buccaneers have one of the best wide receiver duos in the league with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and the cap space to bring in a top running back while also improving an already climbing defense.  This puts them in the perfect position to pay a quarterback to help turn them around. Jameis will leave for a change of scenery, meaning Bruce Arians will be looking for a new signal caller. Look for them to stay within the division and start their culture re-brand by taking a chance on one of the worst kept secrets in the NFL.


Week 1 Starter: Teddy Bridgewater

Week 17 Starter: Teddy Bridgewater


Atlanta Falcons:

It’s crazy to think that Matt Ryan and the Falcons are three seasons removed from an MVP campaign and a trip to the Super Bowl.  Devonta Freeman has hit a dropoff, and Julio Jones is worth his paycheck but hurting Atlanta’s wallet. The Falcons won’t return to their playoff form anytime soon, but they’re committed to Matty Ice for better or for worse.


Week 1 Starter: Matt Ryan

Week 17 Starter: Matt Ryan


NFC WEST:


Seattle Seahawks:

The Seahawks were my pick for the Super Bowl this season, and they were still in it for much of the season.  They have a great running attack, and D.K. Metcalf has finally provided an option alongside Tyler Lockett. Russell Wilson was the surefire MVP until Lamar Jackson made sure he wasn’t, and he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.  That being said, Geno Smith (bet you didn’t think you’d see his name in this article) is a free agent this offseason and I doubt the Seahawks will bring him back. The one thing that could keep the Seahawks from a playoff spot in 2020 other than a Rams resurgence is an injury to Russell Wilson, and Marcus Mariota could fit in nicely with the Seahawks system in the event something unfortunate were to happen to Russell.


Week 1 Starter: Russell Wilson

Week 17 Starter: Russell Wilson


San Francisco 49ers:

Jimmy G has led the 49ers to the Super Bowl for the first time since Colin Kaepernick was in the Bay, and he’s definitely getting paid big for it. He’s locked in for the 49ers.


Week 1 Starter: Jimmy Garoppolo

Week 17 Starter: Jimmy Garoppolo


Los Angeles Rams:

One of two things will happen for the Rams this season.  Either Jared Goff will redeem himself and lead them back to playoff position, or he’ll keep climbing the ranks of the worst contracts in the league.  At this point, I don’t think anyone has a good guess as to which one is more likely, but one thing is for sure and that’s that Goff isn’t going anywhere.


Week 1 Starter: Jared Goff

Week 17 Starter: Jared Goff


Arizona Cardinals:

The Cardinals were not good this year.  To be fair, nobody expected them to be. Kyler Murray still put together a solid case for Offensive Rookie of the Year, and of the many questions Arizona has, he is not one of them.  He proved that he was worth the first overall pick, and Cardinals fans will be hopeful he sticks around for the rebuild. David Johnson has declined, and their receiving corps is not good.  That being said, watch out for Hakeem Butler. The 2019 4th round pick missed the entire season with a hand injury, but the raw talent and highlight reel plays he made at Iowa State leave room for optimism at wide receiver.  Even still, the Cardinals will continue to be bad. But Kyler Murray is not.


Week 1 Starter: Kyler Murray

Week 17 Starter: Kyler Murray