Most of the times we hear coaches being on the hot seat. Or ones who could be under fire. With the NFL Draft approaching we hear a lot about where quarterbacks could end up going. The teams who desperately need a quarterback will obviously draft one and other teams with a franchise QB (or allegedly) will surprise a few if they take a quarterback early. So today, I will look at quarterbacks who could be in trouble of keeping their spots on the team after the season and in the future. Some may surprise you. And yes, I’m not a salary cap person so obviously some financial things have to be worked with a few others.
But let’s begin.
ANDY DALTON (BENGALS): Many people point this as an obvious one. Well, there’s probably truth to it especially now with a new coach in Cincinnati (finally). Dalton has been maligned in part because he hasn’t been able to win games in the playoffs for the Bengals but isn’t one of the “gun-slinging” style quarterbacks despite having AJ Green as a top receiver. With all of it said, Dalton hasn’t been too horrible throughout his career, but just nothing overly strong to really think of him as a franchise quarterback anymore. With Zac Taylor at the helm, it isn’t out of the realm to see Cincinnati draft a quarterback THIS year early on and make the move to give Dalton a final hurrah in Cincy.
DAK PRESCOTT (COWBOYS): Now it depends if Dak ends up having a contract extension in his pocket by Week 1. If Dallas extends Dak in the off-season, then he isn’t on here. If they don’t, this will be very interesting. Prescott looked far better after the Amari Cooper trade happened as he finally got a legit receiver to throw at. However, he still has those flashes of inconsistency and it seems like he is a reflection of his coach Jason Garrett. What I mean by that is, if Dallas wins, Prescott gets credit. If Dallas loses, Prescott is the reason why. But keep an eye for that contract extension.
JOE FLACCO (BRONCOS): Well, duh. He really is something to hold over assuming the Broncos draft a quarterback in the first round this year. The Case Keenum experiment backfired and Denver brought in a guy who has generated some playoff success. However, his final years in Baltimore were maligned as well. It’s probably not out of the realm that Denver will be trying to find another QB after this season is over.
MATTHEW STAFFORD (LIONS): I don’t want to put this one here. I don’t even think he NEEDS to be on this list. We have to think back to the pre-Stafford Lions years especially the ones from 2001-2008 where Lions fans had to deal with the likes of Ty Detmer, Stoney Case, Mike McMahon, and Dan Orlovsky to name a few and remember why the Lions were just hideously bad. Stafford arrives and solves the quarterback issue and the Lions are at least a respectable team on the field now with a few playoff appearances. But Detroit has been rumbling about trading Stafford since Bob Quinn took over. Do the Lions really need to take a chance hoping another QB will guide them in the future? It failed when they had the idea of drafting Joey Harrington. People soured on Stafford last year as the numbers dropped all around. But people also failed to realize how horrible and depleted the Lions offensive line was (and has been for the majority of his career-40 or more sacks four of the last five seasons) and somehow he got up and played all 16 games for the last 8 seasons. But then again, this is the Lions. So in other words, if Stafford has another season resembling 2018, he’s gone for good.
AARON RODGERS (PACKERS): Wait, what?! This guy? In trouble? It’s very possible. He’s 35 and will be 36 by the time December arrives. After last year, his leadership was brought into question on a few occasions, thus many thinking he was probably prompted to play in a meaningless Week 17 game against Detroit where he got injured to show “leadership.” People have really pointed the blame at Mike McCarthy for the Packers fall from grace, but others also think that Rodgers has to shoulder some of it as well. So instead of the last few years of being debated alongside Tom Brady as the GOAT, Rodgers has now lost some of his luster and some wonder if his attitude and leadership is going to bring him down a notch. And from what I’ve seen, he hasn’t been too excited for the new head coach Matt LaFleur. Also factor in, Rodgers has been dealing with injuries the last two seasons and while you can go “oh well, he may not be injured this year” a guy at his age, once you start getting injuries, they don’t stop. So while I don’t think this will be Rodgers last year in Green Bay by any means, I do think if he struggles or can’t be relied on health-wise, the Packers could look at drafting a quarterback in the 2020 draft.
JARED GOFF (RAMS): Really? Him too? A few things to note: while Goff had a monster start in 2018 and the first 12 games were stout (3,700 yards, 27 TD 7 INT, completion rating of 67%, and QBR of 109), down the stretch was a mess for Goff (QBR 76, comp% of 60, 5 TD, 5 INT, 900 passing yards). The playoffs weren’t earth-shaking either (55%, 700 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT). Now, it’s not easy to replace a franchise QB at all. But it seems like Goff fell backwards despite having a great head coach in Sean McVay. One argument and it may have something is that when Todd Gurley was getting dinged up, teams focused more on Goff and trying to prevent him from beating them. But if Goff can’t lead a team without Gurley (and godsend signing CJ Anderson signed with Detroit), there has to be some flags at some point for the Rams about Goff. Goff is coming up on an extension, but if he struggles, the Rams may entertain the idea of moving on.
KIRK COUSINS (VIKINGS): Seemed like Cousins was always on the hot seat in Washington and anytime he was, he played well enough to stay off of it as much as possible. You think going to Minnesota would change that. And, nope. Cousins struggled at times and the Vikings fell back in 2018 and the same thing that has plagued him all his NFL career is coming back of being unable to lead a team to the playoffs. For Cousins, it won’t be about numbers, but about making the playoffs.
DEREK CARR (RAIDERS): Duh. And given Oakland added Antonio Brown, he doesn’t have an excuse. We do forget Carr was an MVP candidate in 2016 until he broke his leg so one wonders if he hasn’t fully recovered from that physically or mentally. However, Jon Gruden has not been fully supportive of Carr, saying he needs to play better. If he doesn’t, Gruden will probably try to bring in a veteran QB to replace him.
CARSON WENTZ (EAGLES): Similar to Carr, Wentz had an MVP season in 2017 before falling to injury. We know the story of Nick Foles winning the Super Bowl for the Eagles. But Foles is gone and if Philadelphia wants to return to the Super Bowl, Wentz needs to be at the top of his game and stay healthy. If he can’t do either, Eagles fans will question if he is really the guy.
JAMEIS WINSTON (BUCCANEERS): Has Winston regressed as an NFL quarterback? Controversy surrounded the former Heisman winner at Florida State for acting like a petulant child on numerous instances. He gets to Tampa Bay and has two strong years and people went “well, maybe he just needed some growing up” before back-tracking in 2017 and 2018 to the point of being benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. And the off-field troubles continued. Having issues with now former head coach Dirk Koetter and former teammate DeSean Jackson showed maybe he wasn’t the leader Tampa Bay thought they had. And I don’t see Bruce Arians being a guy to put up with Winston’s foolishness. If Winston doesn’t succeed, he will be trying to find a job somewhere.
MARCUS MARIOTA (TITANS): There are times Mariota has looked great. And there are times Mariota is on the sideline in street clothes. Tennessee is trying to give him a vast assortment of weapons but it is hard to utilize when you’re on the bench injured. Yes, you can’t blame injuries, but if it continues, the Titans have no other solution but to let him go. And they traded for Ryan Tannehill in case Mariota is injured and/or he isn’t considered the guy.
I’m not projecting all of the quarterbacks on this list will lose their job. In fact, I’m not saying any will. But they will be on the hot seat if they don’t perform well or not be on the field. In this case, I think the one most likely to be out would be Flacco, than Winston.
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat