Predicting the 2019 NFL Opening Day Starting QBs

Last year this time I put together my predictions of Week 1 starting QBs on Opening Day in 2018 and got most of them right…just because there wasn’t that much movement in the offseason. If you thought last year had little QB drama outside of Kirk Cousins’ signing and a bunch of QBs drafted in the first round, wait until you see what 2019 will look like. Don’t expect many notable moves at all…outside of Nick Foles and a few rookies. However in 2020, I anticipate that nearly 1/3 of all teams will have new starters.

For now here are my predictions as to the QB landscape come early-September 2019…

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New acquisitions in red

AFC East

New England:
 Tom Brady – The six time champion says he still has several years left and his play isn’t slowing down. Will go down as the greatest and most accomplished quarterback to ever play the game.

Miami: Case Keenum – The Dolphins acquire the journeyman Keenum from Denver for a late-round pick. He’s a stopgap before Miami picks a QB at the top of the 2020 draft.

Buffalo: Josh Allen – Last year’s first round pick has major accuracy issues but he played a lot better than I would’ve expected towards the end. Has a brighter future than I imagined around draft time last year.

New York Jets: Sam Darnold – Like Allen, he showed flashes at the end of the 2018 season…but it’s time for the Jets to find him a true #1 WR and TE.

AFC North

Baltimore: Lamar Jackson – The Ravens trading Joe Flacco to Denver solidified Jackson’s starting job for the next half decade unless he simply doesn’t develop as a passer.

Pittsburgh: Ben Roethlisberger – How many more years does he have left? Big Ben has taken some serious punishment in his career and Pittsburgh is hoping that either Josh Dobbs or Mason Rudolph will be ready to succeed him in short order.

Cleveland: Baker Mayfield – Might gain LeBron James-esque popularity in Cleveland if he can lead the Browns to the promised land over the next decade.

Cincinnati: Kyler Murray – here’s your first stunner in this column. I predict that the Bengals will trade Andy Dalton to Washington while also trading this year’s and next year’s first round pick to select the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in the top-5. Seeing Mayfield-Murray matchups twice a year would simply be AWESOME.

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AFC South

Houston: Deshaun Watson – A dynamic QB for years to come but I wonder how much more progression he can make under stale coach Bill O’Brien.

Indianapolis: Andrew Luck – Now that he’s healthy once again, I wouldn’t rule out an MVP-type season from the former #1 overall pick in 2019.

Tennessee: Marcus Mariota – You have to wonder how much longer the Titans will roll with the injury-plagued Mariota. If they don’t make the playoffs this year, I bet they let him walk in 2020.

Jacksonville: Nick Foles – The Jaguars still have an elite-caliber defense and Foles gives the team a much better chance to succeed than departed starter, Blake Bortles.

AFC West

Kansas City: Patrick Mahomes – Very well might win another 2-3 MVP awards in his career.

Los Angeles Chargers: Philip Rivers – Still playing at an elite level but for how much longer. The Chargers must address the position and think about a long-term replacement within the next two drafts.

Denver: Joe Flacco – The recently acquired QB will start for the Broncos but Denver MUST draft a potential future QB such as Missouri’s Drew Lock or West Virginia’s Will Grier within the first several rounds.

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Oakland: Derek Carr – I almost predicted a Carr trade to Miami…but that might be a year away. Jon Gruden will give him one more chance to regain confidence or the Raiders will reboot when moving to Las Vegas in 2020.

NFC East

Dallas: Dak Prescott – Unlike coach Jason Garrett, Dak will receive a hefty extension this offseason as the Cowboys’ QB of the future.

Philadelphia: Carson Wentz – Will have to prove he’s healthy once again and that he can play at an elite level similar to in the first 10 weeks of 2017.

Washington: Andy Dalton – A stop-gap solution here as I can’t imagine Alex Smith playing this year after the gruesome leg injury suffered late last season. The Redskins will either draft a rookie this season or very well might be starting from scratch in 2020 if Smith is unable to play again.

NFL: International Series-Washington Redskins at Cincinnati Bengals

New York Giants: Eli Manning – I fully believe that Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins will be the Giants’ pick at pick #6 in the draft…but that Manning will get the Week 1 start. Haskins will make his first start in October 2019 if not sooner though.

NFC North

Chicago: Mitchell Trubisky – Needs to take another significant step forward consistency-wise for the Bears to be considered viable contenders to win the NFC.

Minnesota: Kirk Cousins – Got paid handsomely to play average football throughout last season. Another season of miserable letdowns in big games by the expensive QB would cost coach Mike Zimmer his job.

Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers – I’m optimistic that ARod can flourish with new coach Matt LaFleur at the helm in Titletown.

Detroit: Matthew Stafford – If Detroit were to be offered a first round pick from Miami or Jacksonville this offseason, they likely would accept. But instead Stafford will head into 2019 on thin ice in what very well could be his final season in the Motor City.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions

NFC South

New Orleans: Drew Brees – I predict that 2019 will be Brees’ final NFL season. I don’t believe that Teddy Bridgewater is the right long term replacement so it might not be a bad idea if the Saints drafted a QB high in April.

Carolina: Cam Newton – Assuming his recovery from shoulder surgery goes well. Expect the Panthers to sign a veteran QB such as Ryan Tannehill to back him up just in case though.

Atlanta: Matt Ryan – Still playing at a high level though his team has underachieved since the Super BOWL LI meltdown.

Tampa Bay: Jameis Winston – With Bruce Arians now at the helm in Tampa Bay, this is a make-it-or-break-it season for Winston’s career. I, for one, expect a big breakout in 2019.

NFC West

Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff – I’m a heck of a lot more hesitant after Goff’s dreadful Super Bowl performance to call him LA’s certain QB for the next half-decade.

Seattle: Russell Wilson – It wouldn’t shock me if Wilson played out the rest of his future-Hall of Fame career in Seattle.

San Francisco: Jimmy Garoppolo – Coming off an ACL-injury, Jimmy G might be rusty but he’s still SF’s QB of the future.

Arizona: Josh Rosen – By now, if you’ve read this column enough, you know my feeling on this one. I would trade Rosen and select Kyler Murray if I were the Cardinals…but I doubt that will actually happen.

Predicting other notable offseason QB movement (not mentioned above):
-Blake Bortles: Signs with Cincinnati to backup Murray.
Brock Osweiler: Renews his contract for one season to stay in Miami.
-Ryan Fitzpatrick: Signs with Tennessee to backup Mariota.
-Teddy Bridgewater: Signs a one-year deal to stay in New Orleans behind Brees hoping he’s the long-term successor next season.
Tyrod Taylor: Reunites with old coach John Harbaugh in Baltimore to backup Jackson.

1st Round Rookie QBs
Kyler Murray (Oklahoma): Top-5 pick via trade to the Bengals.
Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State): Pick #6 to the Giants
Drew Lock (Missouri): Mid-teens to the Redskins
Daniel Jones (Duke): Late-1st round to the Patriots

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