Tom Brady retired. Kyler Murray tore his ACL. Derek Carr is a free agent now. Matt Ryan probably isn’t a starter anymore; neither is Carson Wentz. The Colts, Panthers, Texans, Commanders and others have been cycling through quarterbacks in recent seasons like secretaries on Murphy Brown, and forgive the dated reference, but she had a new secretary every week and it was memorable.

 

Shorter: The quarterback situation around the league is a big ol’ mess right now, and what could happen this offseason begins with how it all shakes out. So with that in mind, five members of the FTN Fantasy staff (Jeff Ratcliffe, Chris Meaney, Mike Randle, Tyler Loechner, Daniel Kelley) attempted to complete the puzzle: There are 32 teams. That means there will be 32 starting quarterbacks in Week 1. Who starts where?

Each of the five made their picks. Here they are below, with a few thoughts on how we get where we’re going.

Unanimous Predictions

All five of our predictors had the same names across the board for these teams:

Atlanta FalconsDesmond Ridder Kansas City ChiefsPatrick Mahomes
Baltimore RavensLamar JacksonLos Angeles ChargersJustin Herbert
Buffalo BillsJosh AllenLos Angeles RamsMatthew Stafford
Chicago BearsJustin FieldsMiami DolphinsTua Tagovailoa
Cincinnati BengalsJoe BurrowMinnesota VikingsKirk Cousins
Cleveland BrownsDeshaun WatsonNew England PatriotsMac Jones
Dallas CowboysDak PrescottNew York GiantsDaniel Jones
Denver BroncosRussell WilsonPhiladelphia EaglesJalen Hurts
Detroit LionsJared GoffPittsburgh SteelersKenny Pickett
Green Bay PackersJordan LoveSeattle SeahawksGeno Smith
Jacksonville JaguarsTrevor Lawrence 
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Some notes from this group:

  • Lamar Jackson, Daniel Jones and Geno Smith are all free agents this offseason, but our team thinks they all go back where they’ve been, whether through a long-term deal or the franchise tag.
  • Everyone thinks the Aaron Rodgers era is over in Green Bay, with Jordan Love taking over.
  • Despite some health questions, no one thinks Matthew Stafford or Tua Tagovailoa are at any risk of losing their jobs with the Rams and Dolphins, respectively.
  • There have been some small rumblings that the Bears could trade Justin Fields and keep the first overall pick (instead of the other way around), but our rankers dismiss that idea. 

The Rookie Class

Interestingly, despite lacking a clear top rookie quarterback and with a lot of teams in the market, our predictors were fairly aligned with where the top three rookies might land this year:

 KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
Will LevisCarolina
Panthers
Carolina
Panthers
Carolina
Panthers
Indianapolis
Colts
Carolina
Panthers
CJ StroudIndianapolis
Colts
Indianapolis
Colts
Indianapolis
Colts
Tampa Bay
Buccaneers
Houston
Texans
Bryce YoungHouston
Texans
Houston
Texans
Houston
Texans
Houston
Texans
Indianapolis
Colts

Our group was nearly universal on the Texans grabbing Bryce Young at second overall in the draft, with Jeff Ratcliffe thinking he lands in Indianapolis instead. Three of our five had the Colts landing CJ Stroud (either at fourth overall or trading up for 1.01), and four had Will Levis going to the Panthers. Only Mike Randle (with Levis in Indianapolis and Stroud going to Tampa in a trade-up scenario) and Jeff Ratcliffe (Stroud to Houston) varied from the crowd.

 

The Less-Sure Scenarios

There was at least some disagreement in the key names on these teams. Here are the predictions, with some justifications when necessary.

Arizona Cardinals

KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
Baker MayfieldColt McCoyBaker MayfieldColt McCoyColt McCoy

This exercise is specifically for Week 1, and with Kyler Murray an extreme longshot to be ready, the Cardinals will need to find an alternative, either internally or externally.

  • Colt McCoy has been in the NFL for 12 years. He’s started 36 games. He’s put up 20-plus fantasy points twice, and one of those was in 2014. He’s a fine backup, but with Kyler Murray missing a good chunk of the season, the Cardinals should be looking for someone who wants to rebuild a start-worthy reputation. That’s the perfect landing spot for Baker Mayfield. — Daniel Kelley
  • Murray will be back in Arizona, it’s just a question of when. It sounds doubtful he’ll be ready for Week 1, so I’ll slot McCoy in there until Murray is ready. — Tyler Loechner

Carolina Panthers

KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
Will LevisWill LevisWill LevisJacoby BrissettWill Levis
Will Levis Fantasy Football Quarterback Carousel

Seven different quarterbacks have started a game for the Panthers in the last four seasons: Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Kyle Allen, Cam Newton, PJ Walker, Baker Mayfield and Will Grier. Five are long gone, Darnold is an unrestricted free agent, Walker a restricted one. Something is definitely changing.

  • Frank Reich has a relationship with Jacoby Brissett, leading to stability at the most important position on the field. Panthers will miss out on big free agent QBs and Brissett is a getable upgrade from Sam Darnold. — Mike Randle
  • The Panthers finally get to make their splash at quarterback with Will Levis. — Jeff Ratcliffe

Houston Texans

KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
Bryce YoungBryce YoungBryce YoungBryce YoungCJ Stroud

There’s no question the Texans will be drafting a quarterback with the second overall pick; it’s only a matter of who ends up getting the call.

  • With Bryce Young going to the Colts in my predictions, CJ Stroud makes the most sense for the Texans to pick with the second overall pick. He's safer than Will Levis and can be a starter from the gate. — Jeff Ratcliffe

Indianapolis Colts

KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
CJ StroudCJ StroudCJ StroudWill LevisBryce Young

Like the Panthers, the Colts have been cycling through quarterbacks ever since Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement — the team hasn’t had the same Week 1 starter in back-to-back years since Luck in 2015-16, and with the Matt Ryan tenure going pretty disastrously in 2022, the streak should continue.

  • The Colts seem desperate to make a splash, and with the fourth overall pick, they’re likely to land one of the top three QBs even if they don’t trade up … and they’re probably the favorite to do that, anyway. The Colts have traditionally leaned hard on “traits,” and Bryce Young’s height makes me think he won’t be the pick. — Daniel Kelley
  • Size and arm strength lead the Colts to select Will Levis. A new head coach (Shane Steichen) wants to build around a talented rookie QB on their initial deal. Colts take a shot on the rising Kentucky product. — Mike Randle
  • Jim Irsay tipped his hand after the Shane Steichen hiring. The Colts are serious contenders to move up to the 1.01 pick for Bryce Young. — Jeff Ratcliffe

Las Vegas Raiders

KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
Jacoby BrissettAaron RodgersAaron RodgersAaron RodgersAaron Rodgers

The Raiders are the anti-Colts/Panthers in this exercise; Derek Carr has started 142 of 146 games for the team since entering the league in 2014. But the last two of those were Jarrett Stidham’s starts to end 2022, and with Carr now released, we’ll have a new Raiders QB in 2023.

  • I’m the lone voice picking Aaron Rodgers to the Jets, and that kind of leaves the Raiders as the team without a chair at the end of Musical Chairs. So sign Jacoby Brissett as the bridge. Draft an Anthony Richardson type and see if you can make that work. — Daniel Kelley
  • I’m so sick of Aaron Rodgers. But here we are talking about his next chapter after another disappointing season in Green Bay. I think the Packers have had enough with Rodgers as well, and I’m willing to bet they’d take just about anything in return to move on. After acquiring Davante Adams last season and hiring Josh McDaniels, I don’t believe the Raiders are looking to rebuild with a rookie QB. I think they go and get Adams his guy. — Chris Meaney

New Orleans Saints

KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
Derek CarrJameis WinstonDerek CarrDerek CarrDerek Carr

Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton and Taysom Hill have all gotten some play as the Saints’ starter, but who it will be in 2023 and beyond is up in the air, especially with Dalton (14 starts in 2022) and Hill (basically a non-quarterback now) probably out of the running.

  • No team is more reluctant to bail on a season, any season, than the Saints, and with Dennis Allen having previous experience with Derek Carr, that’s a logical fit, even if the money would take some massaging to fit. — Daniel Kelley
  • Jameis Winston is still under contract with the Saints, and he performed well in 2021 prior to his injury, with a 14-3 TD-INT ratio and a 102.8 QB rating. He’s not the long-term answer, but he feels like the most logical gap QB to me. — Tyler Loechner
  • He wasn’t traded to them, but Carr will sign with the Saints. — Jeff Ratcliffe
 

New York Jets

KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
Aaron RodgersJimmy GaroppoloJimmy GaroppoloMike WhiteJimmy Garoppolo

The Zach Wilson tenure isn’t necessarily over in New York — the team has said he’ll stick around with a potential eye to the future — but it’s hard to imagine he gets a shot from Week 1 this year, so the team will have to dig through other options.

  • There was a moment this offseason where “Aaron Rodgers to New York” was the betting favorite, but at this point people seem to think he’s more likely Vegas-bound. But there’s a desperation in New York that makes me think this is still more on the table than some think. — Daniel Kelley
  • If Jets fail to land Aaron Rodgers, what are their options? Why Jimmy Garoppolo over Mike White? Jets fans won't be happy, but the 27-year-old signal-caller knows the system and may be best available option. — Mike Randle
  • The Jets bring in a competent veteran to start while Zach Wilson holds a clipboard in 2023. — Jeff Ratcliffe

San Francisco 49ers

KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
Trey LanceTrey LanceTrey LanceTrey LanceBrock Purdy
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The 49ers have a Super Bowl roster with a potential huge question mark at quarterback. Is it Trey Lance, who cost them a huge price to trade up to draft but has 440 pass attempts in the last five years? Is it Brock Purdy, Mr. Irrelevant-turned-Conference Championship Game QB who is dealing with injury? Or is there an Option C out there?

  • This would have been much more interesting without the Brock Purdy injury, but the chances he’s not ready for Week 1, combined with all the other teams in the market this offseason, tells me the 49ers will just roll with their first-round pick. — Daniel Kelley
  • The Cinderella story continues for Purdy following his recovery from elbow surgery. — Jeff Ratcliffe

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
Jimmy GaroppoloBaker MayfieldKyle TraskBaker MayfieldJacoby Brissett

Tom Brady’s retirement opens up a massive hole in Tampa, with a roster built to compete with a veteran quarterback but now only 2021 second-rounder Kyle Trask and his 9 career pass attempts on the roster. 

  • The five of us came up with four different names for the Buccaneers, because this situation is a capital-M Mess. There will still be a lot of veteran talent in Tampa even after they work to fix their cap woes. Jimmy Garoppolo won’t cost a huge amount, and he could still get the ball to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and company. — Daniel Kelley
  • Baker Mayfield to the Bucs would give them more time to develop Kyle Trask, which certainly seems to be what Tampa wants to do. Mayfield is also good enough to prevent the team from being a complete bottom-feeder again. — Tyler Loechner
  • I think the Buccaneers will kick the tires on Jimmy G and Derek Carr, but this team is strapped for cash. Trask spent two seasons behind the best QB to ever play the game. If the Buccaneers decide to hang onto Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, that’ll help. Their cap situation means they won’t have a choice but to see what Trask has. — Chris Meaney
  • The Bucs are in salary cap hell and will have to make it work with a budget-friendly backup type like Jacoby Brissett. — Jeff Ratcliffe

Tennessee Titans

KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
Ryan TannehillRyan TannehillRyan TannehillJimmy GaroppoloTrey Lance

The Titans can get out of Ryan Tannehill’s contract, but Malik Willis didn’t look ready for prime time last year, and if they do move on from Tannehill there are suddenly a lot more questions than answers.

  • If you’re the Titans, why bail on Ryan Tannehill when it’s already a seller’s market for QBs and price tags will shoot up? Give the veteran one more year. — Daniel Kelley
  • New general manager Ran Carthon pulls off a stunner of a trade with his former organization for Trey Lance. — Jeff Ratcliffe

Washington Commanders

KelleyLoechnerMeaneyRandleRatcliffe
Sam HowellDerek CarrSam HowellRyan TannehillRyan Tannehill

The Carson Wentz trade didn’t work out, and Taylor Heinicke appears better suited for a backup. The Commanders could definitely dip their toes in the offseason market, or they could do what head coach Ron Rivera hinted at and roll with Sam Howell, at least to start the season.

  • The Commanders could dive in hard in the market this offseason, but a lot of other teams will be doing the same, and the price tags will be high. Better to see if Howell can develop, and give him as much weaponry as possible. — Daniel Kelley
  • Washington needs a franchise QB, and they showed they aren’t afraid to try to get one outside of the draft (see: Wentz, Carson). Derek Carr will be 32 when the 2023 season begins — young enough to give them several years to draft and develop behind him. Washington was nearly a playoff team in 2023, so it makes a ton of sense for them to go after a big name in free agency. — Tyler Loechner
  • I would love to see Derek Carr in Washington, but all signs point to Sam Howell getting the start come Week 1. This quote from head coach Ron Rivera courtesy of ESPN regarding Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo is very telling: ”We don’t intend to overspend on capital, whether draft picks, players and money.” — Chris Meaney
  • Sam Howell? No thanks. My pick is for veteran Tannehill to land in NFC with solid weapons and strong defense. — Mike Randle
  • Ron Rivera and company swoop in and sign the veteran after he’s cut in Tennessee. — Jeff Ratcliffe