The NFL rarely sees a franchise quarterback moved. In 2017, the possible domino effect of the Tony Romo'simpending departure from Dallas could cause quite a chain reaction in the NFL among starting quarterbacks. That paired with a couple interesting free agents and possibly retirements makes the upcoming offseason a little more interesting than usual.
Romo has been tied to the Broncos, after a recent interaction with their GM John Elway (who wooed middle-aged Peyton Manning in similar fashion). But a sleeper for his services could be the Kansas City Chiefs. They have the best supporting cast, both offensively and defensively, and give Romo — starving for a Super Bowl — the best chance to win one.
But if Andy Reid does land Romo (a seeming necessity, as the Smith-Reid combination is destined for second round playoff exits), it would be the end of Smith's mildly successful stint there.
Smith could return to the 49ers, who pick second and might want the return of the veteran to help tutor whomever they select as their quarterback in the NFL draft. Kaepernick's2017 salary doesn't become guaranteed until April 1, giving San Francisco a window cut him loose.
Kaepernickwould then join Fitzpatrick as a mid-level quarterback free agent who can suitably lead a team, but with a low ceiling. Fitzpatrick got a one-year deal in New York and followed up a record-setting 2015 with a dreadful 2016 that saw him benched. He may find his way to a backup role, a la Mark Sanchez. The Jets could look to a rookie, or free agency for their starter in 2017.
Cousins is no doubt the most valuable free agent quarterback after he bet on himself last season (and won). He had a stellar 2016 regular season and in all likelihood will get paid by Washington — or franchise tagged once again. If he does slip the bonds of the Redskins, watch out, NFL. He could be a killer Denver sleeper addition.
Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers
This pair will undoubtedly always be tied together, and each has reason to hang up the cleats in 2017. Don't expect a new uniform for either, and the chances of them returning is pretty good, but in their late 30s, each has had a long and successful career. Will Rivers move with the Chargers to Los Angeles? Will Brees stick around if the Saints close the book on the Sean Payton era? If so, the starting quarterback landscape will be massively altered.