If you have not started with 2023 NFL Best Quarterback Room Part One: NFC North, please do so for a brief explanation of how this series originally came into existence and why it reads as it does. After that, check out Part Two: NFC West and Part Three: NFC East. As always, I hope you enjoy…
New Orleans Saints/Derek Carr:
Yes, New Orleans has signed Derek Carr to a 4-year deal. Andy Dalton is gone, and you didn’t think Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston were going to be the answer for who was going to be the starting quarterback, did you? Here’s the tough part; Winston is still under contract for $15.6M this year as a BACKUP to Carr. So, Jameis likely will get traded or dumped because the Saints also have Jake Luton (it doesn’t matter who he is) for the next two years as well. Winston is owed almost all that money though, so a very desperate team is going to have to be willing to trade for him, and probably give up some draft picks in the process. The Saints have eight draft picks, and I really don’t see them selecting a QB at this point.
UPDATE (April 5th): In a SHOCKER and for reasons unknown to me, Winston restructured his contract to take $4M with potential bonuses of $8M…but that’s only if he plays! Dumb! The Saints also still have Luton and Taysom Hill listed as the QB4. It’s doubtful the Saints will draft a QB UNLESS they move Hill out of the QB position and just make him full-time TE or WR or something. He’s already proven that he’s not a very good QB.
UPDATE II (May 2nd): One Jake in and one Jake out. The Saints decided to draft Jake Haener from Fresno State at the end of the 4th round. They even traded up to get him. Now, to be fair, Haener was projected to go in the 3rd round and was considered a late-round sleeper. But what message does that send to your two veteran QBs? Oh, and Hill is still listed as QB4 lol. Former 6th round draft pick Jake LUTON is now a FA.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Kyle Trask:
Who the hell is Kyle Trask? Don’t worry, I had to look him up to remember as well. Trask was a Florida Gator in college and was selected by Tampa Bay in the second round of the 2021 draft. Now that we’re all caught up… To put it mildly, Trask is NOT READY for the NFL.
Unfortunately, he’s the only quarterback that the Buccaneers have, which is why I said earlier that Aaron Rodgers is going to play in Tampa so that the Bucs can either continue to develop Trask (with two years left in his contract) or draft another QB to develop behind A-Rodg. Tampa has nine picks this year but six of those are in the 5th round or later, so they could take a shot at Stetson Bennett (if he’s still there) or package a couple of the 5th-rounders to get back up into the third or fourth round. Rodgers will have to renegotiate his contract, but this is what I see happening.
UPDATE (April 5th): While Favre…I mean, RODGERS is negotiating with the Jets, the Bucs had to go out and get the next best thing (LMAO) in Baker Mayfield. So, Baker is the current QB1 in Tampa. They will absolutely be drafting a QB this year as well. My prediction: Will Levis.
UPDATE II (May 1st): So not only did Tampa NOT draft Will Levis, but they didn’t draft ANY quarterback with their eight draft picks. What?!
Aahhh…(insert confused/cringy face here)… I guess they’re good with Mayfield and Trask? Are they going to go after Bridgewater or Wentz? This is odd, and really not a good quarterback solution.
UPDATE III (May 11th): The Bucs went out and got themselves a new QB, and it’s none other than Mayfield’s old mate in Los Angeles…John Wolford. In three seasons in the NFL Wolford has completed 58% of his passes for 626 yards, 1 TD, and 5 INTs. I think I would have taken my chances with a rookie here, Tampa!
Atlanta Falcons/Desmond Ridder:
Marcus Mariota is gone. Maybe we will talk about him later (hint, hint). Ridder played…ok…in his limited playing time in Atlanta last year, completing 73 of 115 passing attempts for 708 yards and 2 TDs. There have been A LOT of rumors that Lamar Jackson will be traded to the Falcons, HOWEVER…I don’t see that happening.
Not because I believe that Jackson will stay in Baltimore, but because I think the Falcons are going to develop Ridder and bring in a half-ass veteran guy like Jamies Winston as a “just in case”. Seeing as how Winston is the odd man out in New Orleans, he may look for a little revenge (if possible) by joining a rival team. The Falcons also have nine picks this year, including the #8 overall, and they are going to use those picks to get another stud WR, and to build up their offensive line and defense. With Drake London, Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Pitts, this could be a force to be reckoned with in the south with the right QB under Center.
UPDATE (April 7th): So, the Falcons went out and signed Taylor Heinicke as a backup. They also decided to pick up Logan Woodside, who was with the Titans for the last two years. I’m not even sure what this means, but they are definitely not going to go after Lamar. It looks like they are really going to hand it over to Ridder.
UPDATE II (May 1st): After not drafting a QB this year, the Falcons most certainly are going to hand this offense over to Ridder. While Ridder might not be ready for this leap, at least the Falcons drafted him the best RB in the draft with the 7th overall pick in Bijan Robinson. Then the Falcons followed that up with offensive line protect by drafting a very good OT in Matthew Bergeron. Looking at the Falcons depth chart, they have moved 2021 draft selection Feleipe Franks to QB4, who wasn’t there previously due to being listed as a TE down the depth chart. This might be Franks’ last chance to play in the NFL. As for the Falcons, it’s “Ridder Time”.
Carolina Panthers/Matt Corral:
Matt Corral is not going to be ready this year due to his foot injury from last season. The Panthers traded Mayfield to the Rams during last season…and Sam Darnold is a bust that they will not re-sign. They were looking at Derek Carr, but he signed with the Saints. They need a QB desperately and they have a Center in Bradley Bozeman who knows just the guy: LAMAR JACKSON! Welcome to Carolina, Mr. Cam Newton 2.0! The Ravens are looking to bounce LJ8, and Carolina becomes a prime spot for him. Since the Panthers have two 2nd round draft picks, giving up their 1st round pick won’t hurt that bad. Carolina will overpay for Jackson to sit on the bench for a third of the season due to injury, and the Panthers will continue to go nowhere.
UPDATE (March 24th): As predicted, Darnold is gone (to the 49ers). HOWEVER, the Panthers just gave up A TON to the Chicago Bears in order to get the #1 overall pick in this years’ draft. What they should do is draft CJ Stroud. What they will do (in a terrible decision) is draft the overhyped and undersized Bryce Young to be their next “franchise quarterback”.
The Panthers also went out and signed Andy Dalton. He’ll look good in baby blue, won’t he? Matt Corral just got a HUGE demotion and sign of no-confidence. Well, I said Carolina was desperate…just not desperate enough to go after Lamar!
UPDATE (May 1st): With the first selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select…Bryce Young, QB, Alabama. They have Young listed as 6’0”, but there is no way he is over 5’10”. Time will tell on this one folks, but I’m thinking he’s going to be a bust, and a massive expense to this organization. With Adam Thielen and DJ Chark as your only “decent” WRs. This is going to be a long season for Bryce, unless he ends up getting crushed by D-Linemen who look like giants compared to him; then it will be short and painful.
Best Quarterback Room?
Unlike the NFC East, this is not a very tough call. Derek Carr is hands-down the best Quarterback out of ANY of the 12 QBs across these four teams. Carr’s backup, Jameis Winston puts up similar numbers to Taylor Heinicke and Andy Dalton…and Baker Mayfield. The QB3s on each one of these teams are all irrelevant; none of them has played or played enough to know what they can actually do. Ridder hasn’t really proven himself yet either, and Bryce Young is a rookie that might not even make it out of training camp alive! Have you seen how small he is?! It looks like one of the players brought in one of their kids, or that he’s a Make-a-Wish Foundation kid. He’s not going to make it, folks. The New Orleans Saints are going to run away with this division because they have the only stable, proven QB in the group, and the best overall QB Room in the NFC South. Stay tuned for more Quarterback Room breakdowns, and thanks for the “read”!