This offseason, NFL fans saw a flurry of action, from a free agency period laden with big names like Adrian Peterson and Tony Romo to a shocking and intriguing draft. After the draft, five teams are projected to enter Week 1 with a new starting quarterback, given that the Bears and Texans start their new rookie play callers. In order of the best to worst situations, these are the teams that will be attracting attention in September.
Additions: Deshaun Watson (Draft)
Other Tenured Quarterbacks: Tom Savage, Brandon Weeden
Of all the teams on this list, the Texans were the only one anywhere close to the playoffs last season, and they made the best move to improve their team this season. Though in-state quarterback Tony Romo retired, Houston was able to capture a potential franchise quarterback in the draft by trading up for Clemson product Deshaun Watson, who has a Heisman trophy and national championship on his resume. The addition gives Houston the last piece they needed to become a true contender and gives the team an edge over up-and-coming Tennessee.
Additions: Mike Glennon (Free Agency), Mark Sanchez (Free Agency), Mitchell Trubisky (Draft)
Other Tenured Quarterbacks: Connor Shaw
The Bears were the most confusing team this offseason, but with three new quarterbacks atop their depth chart, they have enough options to enter the season with some confidence. The madness started with the signing of former Buccaneer Mike Glennon, who despite going 0-10 as a starter received a $64 million contract with the team. To back up Glennon, Chicago added Mark Sanchez, the oft-criticized former Jet and creator of the ButtFumble phenomenon. But the biggest shock of all was when the Bears traded up to the second spot in the draft and selected North Carolina product Mitch Trubisky as their quarterback of the future. I’m not saying that any of the three will become Pro Bowlers, but the Bears have options, something they lacked entering the offseason.
Additions: Brock Osweiler (Trade), DeShone Kizer (Draft)
Other Tenured Quarterbacks: Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan
The Browns will be bad in 2017, and they know it. In fact, they used it to their advantage by trading a low draft pick to the Texans for Brock Osweiler and high draft picks, which the Browns were able to do because they use such a low percentage of their salary cap. Cleveland was able to utilize the draft to add potential All Pros on both sides of the ball instead of reaching for a quarterback, and still added an intriguing talent in DeShone Kizer. So the Browns will enter training camp with one talented veteran and one interesting draft pick. Not bad for the worst team in the NFL.
San Francisco 49ers
Additions: Brian Hoyer (Free Agency), Matt Barkley (Free Agency)
Other Tenured Quarterbacks: None
Like the Browns, the 49ers know that they’ll be at the bottom of their conference next year, but San Francisco did almost nothing to fix their quarterback situation. After spending a couple years with Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco retained neither and instead signed two quarterbacks who are downgrades on both of their previous quarterbacks. The 49ers, now led by an offensive genius in Kyle Shanahan, balked on drafting a quarterback when Deshaun Watson or Mitch Trubisky were available and instead added defensive talent. The 49ers have a stronger roster now, but they passed on a chance to be at least watchable next season.
New York Jets
Additions: Josh McCown (Free Agency)
Other Tenured Quarterbacks: Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty
The Jets had a dumpster fire year last season and are doomed for another one. New York needed to draft or sign a quarterback in the offseason and came away with… Josh McCown. Now the job will go to Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty, and neither deserves a spot on the roster, let alone the starting role in an NFL offense. Jay Cutler or Colin Kaepernick were also veteran options, but New York stayed put and ensured that they will be atop the draft board next spring.
Honorable Mention: Kansas City Chiefs
Additions: Patrick Mahomes III (Draft)
Other Tenured Quarterbacks: Alex Smith, Tyler Bray
When the Chiefs moved up to draft Patrick Mahomes out of Texas Tech, the move was surprising, but given that Mahomes won’t see much or any action this year, the decision earns only an honorable mention. However, it was a great decision by a team that has previously played their cards conservatively and needed to find a successor to Alex Smith. Mahomes can learn from Smith, a best-case scenario, and then take over as Kansas City’s quarterback of the future.