Much maligned Mark Sanchez has been up and then down on the popularity and celebrity ratings within New York sports fans ranks in the past couple of years. I’ve read from several sources that this is his last year (as well as Rex Ryan’s) to prove himself as the franchise quarterback. This train of thought got me to thinking, how many teams in the NFL are in this same situation this year? These are the signal callers reported to be possibly moving teams after this season.
Brandon Weeden. While Weeden was a rookie this past year, it’s been reported recently that Cleveland may look to either get another starter to take his spot, or outright trade or cut him. While this is just pure speculation, due to his Chris Weinke-like age entering the season he could be on the way out. Pros: Arm strength, Height, accuracy. Cons: Age, inconsistency.
Philip Rivers. While it may be hard to believe, just this week reports have sprouted everywhere that the annual early exiting Chargers may be getting rid of Rivers. His large contract, inability to win big games, and his sometimes immature behavior, have some saying he may be at the end of his run. Pros: Can make all throws, talent level, Age, Consistency, experience Cons: Maturity level, leadership ability, inability to win under pressure
Blaine Gabbert. “Blame Gabbert” is another young quarterback that may have started too early on a team lacking any real wideouts to throw to. Jacksonville should look to build and put weapons around him on offense. If they do not, they may look to put a new quarterback in the starting line up next year. Pros : Youth, athleticism Cons: Talent & ability still in question
Josh Freeman. Freeman is most compared to Sanchez in that they have similar flaws, and Freeman was drafted where the Jets would have picked, had they not gotten Sanchez. Tampa Bay has had zero playoff appearances with him at the helm the past 4 years, and reports are they are not sold on giving him a new contract. Pros: Youth, size, mobility, arm strength, experience Cons: Consistency, lack of victories despite improving offensive pieces
Jay Cutler. There have been a few rumors springing up that Cutler’s time in Chicago may be coming to an end. A trade with Denver which brought the signal caller to Chi-Town hasn’t panned out with Super Bowl rings and just one NFC championship appearance. Chicago could be in a rebuild mode following this season if something doesn’t change. Pros: Experience, talent level, arm strength Cons: Leadership, durability
Mark Sanchez. The aforementioned hot seat QB. He has had some success, some failure. He’s been streaky, he’s been bad. He’s been called a leader. He’s been called a pampered baby. Weather the Jets are in a full rebuild, or a partial rebuild is dependent on this season. Sanchez’s career in New York, and as a starter are also hinging on a successful 2013 campaign. Pros: Experience, durability, talent and ability to make all throws Cons: Wildly inconsistent, slow improvement rate, possibly peaked
Other teams in doubt are Kansas City with the Alex Smith signing, Buffalo who recently signed Kevin Kolb, Oakland with a still unproven Matt Flynn, Minnesota where Christian Ponder has to take another step, and Tennessee where Jake Locker has been on and off. Obviously some of this will change with at least a half dozen new signal callers coming in through the 2013 draft that will be expected to contribute in some form.
By my count this is six teams that are in definite quarterback evaluation processes, the Jets among them, with possibly as many as ten teams looking to make a change at starting quarterback in 2014. While that estimate may be a little high, it points to the promising nature of this season. If things go well in New York, the current staff and roster can continue to build. If things do not go well, 2014 could possibly be the best quarterback free agent market in over a decade.