The most important player on any NFL team is the quarterback. His play generally dictates whether a team is contender or a pretender. If you don’t have one, no price is too expensive to pay to find one, whether it be by draft, free agency or trade.
And that’s the subject of our weekly Talk of Fame Network poll – which team got the best deal on a veteran quarterback this offseason? Five teams added a starter-caliber quarterback this month – the Broncos, Browns, Cardinals, Jets and Vikings. Arizona, Denver, Minnesota and New York found their quarterbacks in free agency and Cleveland acquired one by trade.
Remember, the question addresses the best “deal,” not talent. Weigh the talent, age and money in reaching your conclusion. So here are your options:
Sam Bradford, Arizona. Age: 30. Contract: 1 year, $20 million, $15 million guaranteed. The first overall pick of the 2010 draft, Bradford has not been able to stay healthy for a full 16-game season since 2012. Bradford set an NFL record by completing 71.6 percent of his passes with the Vikings in 2016, then outgunned Drew Brees in the 2017 season opener, throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns in a 29-19 victory over the Saints. But he suffered a knee injury in that game that cost him his season. The Cardinals become his fourth team in eight-year career.
Teddy Bridgewater, NY Jets. Age: 26. Contract: 1 year, $6 million, all guaranteed. A first-round pick by Minnesota in 2014, Bridgewater started his first two seasons with the Vikings and his career arrow was pointing up. He passed for 2,919 yards and 14 touchdowns in 13 games as a rookie and 3,231 yards and 14 TDs in all 16 games in 2015. But he tore an ACL and suffered structural damage in a knee in training camp in the summer of 2016, which sidelined him for the season. Bridgewater returned to health midway through the 2017 and appeared in one game for the Vikings.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota. Age: 29. Contract: 3 years, $84 million, $84 million guaranteed. A fourth-round draft pick by Washington in 2012, he took over from Robert Griffin as quarterback of the Redskins in 2015. He passes for 4,000 or more yards and 25 or more touchdowns in all three seasons as the starter. He passed for a career-best 29 TD passes in 2015 and a career-high 4,917 yards in 2016 on his way to the Pro Bowl. He also has rushed for 13 touchdowns in his three seasons as a starter.
Case Keenum, Denver. Age: 30. Contract: 2 years, $36 million, $25 million guaranteed. An undrafted free agent in 2013, Keenum knocked around for four season with the Texans and Rams before having a career year with the Vikings in 2017. Keenum stepped in for an injured Sam Bradford in the second week of the season and steered the Vikings to 11 victories in 14 starts for an NFC North championship. He passed for 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns while throwing only seven interceptions.
Alex Smith, Washington. Age: 33. Contract: 4 years, $94 million. $71 million guaranteed. The Redskins acquired Smith in a trade with Kansas City, then gave him the money they would not give Kirk Cousins. In his 10 seasons as a starter with San Francisco and Kansas City, Smith has engineered four seasons of double-digit victories and has a career record of 88-62-1. He is coming off the best season of his career, having passed for 4,042 yards and 26 touchdowns with only five interceptions for the AFC West champion Chiefs.
Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland. Age: 27. Contract: (inherited) 1 year, $16 million. A sixth-round pick by Baltimore in 2011, Taylor spent four years with the Ravens as a backup to Joe Flacco before leaving for Buffalo in free agency. In his three years there as a starter, he passed for 8,857 yards and 51 touchdowns and also rushed for 1,575 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also won more games (23) than he lost (20).
So who got the best deal? Vote now!