Quarterback is the most important position in the NFL; it’s rare that a team wins a Super Bowl without a skilled one. Several NFL teams are in dire need of a franchise quarterback. Drafting or trading for one could significantly impact a team’s future and potentially reverse their fortunes. These four NFL teams still need a franchise quarterback. (All data and win-loss totals are current as of Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay organization hopes offensive-minded coach Bruce Arians can help turn around Jameis Winston’s career. Sadly, Winston hasn’t been consistent since being drafted. After spotty play on the field and questionable decision-making off it, Winston may be on his last leg.
When Winston returned from a suspension last year, there was significant debate over whether he should return to the lineup over backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now Fitzpatrick is gone. If Winston can’t rebound and make the team competitive this season, the Buccaneers may look elsewhere.
Coach Jon Gruden and QB Derek Carr had communication issues in Gruden’s first year. Despite leading them to one playoff appearance, Carr has underperformed in recent seasons. Meanwhile, Gruden fancies himself an expert when it comes to grooming quarterbacks. During his time as an ESPN analyst, he sat down with a crop of rookie quarterbacks prior to the draft to examine game tape.
Carr has this season to turn it around. But with a move to Vegas looming and the franchise getting impatient, Gruden and GM Mike Mayock may look to target a quarterback in next year’s draft. After receiving the Bears’ 2020 first-rounder in the Khalil Mack trade, the Raiders have two first-round picks next year. They’ll have plenty of capital to grab an elite signal-caller.
Right now, the Redskins’ starting quarterback is Case Keenum, a stopgap measure until Dwayne Haskins is ready to play. But Haskins did not look good in the preseason. He may be more of a project than the team anticipated. Haskins will certainly get a chance to prove himself, but it’s currently a crapshoot whether he’ll be a franchise quarterback. After all, he only played one season of college football at the position.
Haskins was great at Ohio State, but this isn’t the NCAA. If the Redskins change coaching staffs this offseason — a high possibility given Jay Gruden’s uncertain status as head coach — it will set his development back. It could also mean the team will still be in search of a franchise quarterback.
The Bengals aren’t in a situation where they have a terrible quarterback. But after 121 games and a 68-51-2 record, they know what they have in Andy Dalton. His career completion percentage is 62.4, which is below average.
Dalton isn’t bad. But he’s not great either. In his eight years of experience prior to 2019, he’s guided the Bengals to the playoffs four times. Batting .500 isn’t bad, but the problem is that he got them to the playoffs during his first four seasons as a starter. They haven’t been back since 2014.
Even worse? Each playoff appearance produced the same result: one and done. The team has yet to win a postseason game with Dalton under center. He is a fine placeholder, but they’ll need a better quarterback to get to the next level of elite teams.