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The 5 O'Clock Club: Musical chairs (or the quarterback carousel)

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

Minnesota Vikings v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

Draft order for top 20 picks

Per PFT, this is the draft order; ties are broken by strength of schedule, and picks 21-32 are determined based on playoff results, with wild card round losers picking 21st through 25th. Here’s a look at the top 20 picks:

1 Browns 0-16

2 Giants 3-13

3 Colts 4-12

4 Browns (from Texans) 4-12

5 Broncos 5-11

6 Jets 5-11

7 Buccaneers 5-11

8 Bears 5-11

9 or 10 49ers 6-10 (coin flip)

9 or 10 Raiders 6-10 (coin flip)

11 Dolphins 6-10

12 Bengals 7-9

13 or 14 Washington 7-9 (coin flip)

13 or 14 Green Bay 7-9 (coin flip)

15 Cardinals 8-8

16 Ravens 9-7

17 Chargers 9-7

18 Seahawks 9-7

19 or 20 Cowboys 9-7 (coin flip)

19 or 20 Lions 9-7 (coin flip)

Free Agency

These quarterbacks won’t have a contract when their 2017 season comes to an end. For some, that has already happened:

  1. Drew Brees
  2. Kirk Cousins
  3. Sam Bradford
  4. Case Keenum
  5. Teddy Bridgewater
  6. Jimmy Goroppolo
  7. Jay Cutler
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Austin Davis
  10. Blaine Gabbert
  11. E.J. Manuel
  12. Brock Osweiler
  13. Chad Henne
  14. Drew Stanton
  15. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  16. Derek Anderson
  17. Ryan Mallet
  18. Mark Sanchez
  19. Matt Moore
  20. Scott Tolzein
  21. Geno Smith
  22. Brandon Weeden
  23. Kellen Clemens
  24. Tyler Bray
  25. Matt Barkley
  26. Tom Savage
  27. A.J. McCarron (RFA)

There are probably 6 starting quarterbacks in that list, maybe 7 or 8.

Return from injury

A few starting quarterbacks will most likely be returning from injury next season:

  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Ryan Tannehill
  • Andrew Luck
  • Carson Wentz
  • Deshaun Watson

The 2018 draft

And there may be as many as 5 or 6 starter-quality quarterbacks in the draft this off-season.

  • Josh Rosen
  • Sam Darnold
  • Josh Allen
  • Lamar Jackson
  • Baker Mayfield

Retirement

We could see some of the older starting quarterbacks in the league hang up their cleats at the end of the season. The most likely seems to be Jay Cutler, who will likely retire again.

Other possibilities include Phillip Rivers, Big Ben, Eli and Drew Brees, though probably no more than one or two of the older QBs will decide to call it quits.

So, will there be enough to go around?

The league needs 32 starters. Let’s see if we are likely to have that many available in 2018:

  1. Matt Stafford
  2. Derek Carr
  3. Andrew Luck
  4. Drew Brees (I think he’ll be back)
  5. Kirk Cousins
  6. Joe Flacco
  7. Aaron Rodgers
  8. Russell Wilson
  9. Phillip Rivers (he may not return, but I think he will)
  10. Eli Manning (he’ll be back somewhere)
  11. Cam Newton
  12. Matt Ryan
  13. Tom Brady
  14. Ryan Tannehill
  15. Sam Bradford
  16. Alex Smith
  17. Patrick Mahomes
  18. Andy Dalton
  19. Mitch Trubisky
  20. Jared Goff
  21. Carson Wentz
  22. Jameis Winston
  23. Marcus Mariota
  24. Deshaun Watson
  25. Case Keenum
  26. Teddy Bridgewater
  27. Jimmy Garappolo
  28. Dak Prescott
  29. Carson Palmer / Ben Roethlisberger (chances are one of these guys retires)
  30. Sam Darnold
  31. Josh Rosen
  32. Tyrod Taylor/Josh Allen/Lamar Jackson/Baker Mayfield

On the face of it, it appears that 2018 may see an unusual situation in the NFL; that is, there may actually be enough legitimate starting quarterbacks to go around at the start of training camp.

Even among the backup quarterbacks, there are a number of guys who have started, or could start for an NFL team:

  • Mike Glennon
  • Josh McCown
  • Nick Foles
  • Blake Bortles
  • Paxton Lynch
  • Deshone Kizer
  • Geno Smith
  • Christian Hackenberg
  • C.J. Beathard
  • Brock Osweiler
  • Bryce Petty
  • Tom Savage
  • Brett Hundley
  • Chad Kelly
  • A.J. McCarron
  • Trevor Simian

What does this mean for the Redskins and Kirk Cousins?

This quarterback-rich environment may serve as a useful backdrop for the Redskins in their negotiations with Kirk Cousins. Supply seldom keeps up with demand in the quarterback industry of the National Football League, but in 2018, there aren’t likely to be many teams that are unable to find a guy with the needed skills. It’ll help that the Vikings won’t have 3 of them under contract.

In addition, there should be only a limited number of teams that will be trying to sign a quarterback. Most NFL franchises have a guy already, and only a small number of teams will be in the market for a free-agent starting quarterback.

Teams that are set:

Eagles, Vikings (they should re-sign one of their 3 guys), Patriots, Panthers, Rams, Saints (I think Brees will be back — if not just swap the Saints for the team that signs Brees), Falcons, Ravens, Chiefs, Seahawks, Cowboys, Lions, Titans, Packers, Bengals, Raiders, Bears, 49ers (assuming they hold onto Jimmy G), Texans, Buccaneers, Colts (assuming they hold onto Luck and he is healthy)

Teams that will probably draft a starting quarterback:

Browns

Teams that may have a need:

Jaguars, Bills, Chargers, Dolphins

Teams that probably have a need:

Cardinals, Broncos, Jets, Steelers, Giants

In short, while there is often talk in the press about teams “lining up” to sign Kirk Cousins, the fact is, there is likely to be a very limited market for his services. Outside of the Broncos or Jets, who both clearly need a veteran signal caller, there are probably only a half dozen teams who my be in the market for a new quarterback — and then, only if they cut their current guy or if that current guy retires.

The conditions seem right for the Redskins to be able to strike a long term deal with Kirk Cousins, or — if they aren’t able to convince him to stay — there is likely to be someone available in the market that has an acceptable skill set at a good price (looking at you Case Keenum) that the Redskins can bring in to keep the team competitive.

This offseason won’t see the Redskins bidding against 31 other teams. It will come down to a choice between just a few options; likely, the Redskins, Broncos, Jets, Cardinals, or Jaguars — and in two of those scenarios, the team currently has a starting quarterback who would have to go to make room for Cousins.

I see this as a two-horse race between Washington and Denver. The Broncos have the defense to win a championship. The real question is likely to come down to where Kirk wants to play the rest of his career.

Poll

Which quarterback is likely to have the best situation in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Alex Smith
    (45 votes)
  • 32%
    Kirk Cousins
    (180 votes)
  • 1%
    Eli Manning
    (11 votes)
  • 51%
    Jimmy Garappolo
    (288 votes)
  • 1%
    Sam Bradford
    (7 votes)
  • 3%
    Andrew Luck
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    Sam Darnold
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Josh Rosen
    (3 votes)
556 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which quarterback is likely to have the WORST situation in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Blake Bortles
    (60 votes)
  • 10%
    Ryan Tannehill
    (54 votes)
  • 13%
    Andrew Luck
    (69 votes)
  • 14%
    Sam Bradford
    (72 votes)
  • 15%
    Mitch Trubisky
    (77 votes)
  • 20%
    Sam Darnold
    (100 votes)
  • 12%
    Josh Rosen
    (61 votes)
493 votes total Vote Now