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Quarterback Free Agency Predictions: Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater & Philip Rivers

The 2020 season only has one game left, The Super Bowl, which means that the off-season is quickly approaching. Teams will be getting ready for the Draft in April, making changes to the coaching staff/ team management, and working on their rosters for the 2020 regular season. Right now, one of the biggest challenges facing teams is how to deal with their free-agent players. Normally there are a few big names that enter the free agency, especially at QB, but this year there seem to be quite a few QB’s on in the market.

Drew Brees

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Brees just completed his 19th season in the NFL and his 14th with the Saints. He injured his thumb ligament week 2 and had to have surgery to repair it. While he was out the Saints went 5-0 under Bridgewater. Brees is aging, but he also showed this year after returning that he can play at an extremely high level. In 11 games this year he was still able to become a pro-bowl selection throwing over 70% completions, 27 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions. He showed that he can come back and still operate the offense at an extremely high level. His current contract will expire in March so Brees will technically become a free agent then. At the Pro-Bowl Brees talked about how he will play for the Saints “as long as they would have him” when speaking with Jane Slater of NFL Network . The reality of the situation is that I don’t see Brees playing anywhere else before his career ends. The Saints and Brees are already working on getting his contract situation taken care of and I expect that before his current contract expires the Saints will have him under a new contract for the next few years. He will finish his NFL career in New Orleans where he has had sustained success.

Teddy Bridgewater

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Since entering the league in 2014 Bridgewater has had some ups and downs in his career. Since injuring his knee in 2016 he has not seen the field a ton and has only started 6 games since then. Heading into the off-season this year it looks like he could finally get back into a starting position if that’s what he wants to do. He did a great job taking over for the Saints this year when Brees was out with a thumb injury and led the team to 5 straight wins. Bridgewater showed that he is still extremely talented and in the right situation could be very successful. Unless something strange happens it’s doubtful that he will stay in New Orleans heading into next year after the performances he put up this year. The Saints will most likely get Brees back as their starter heading into next season, and it appears that they will be looking to get Taysom Hill in line to take over for the Saints after Brees retires from football. With all 3 of these QBs being free agents this year, it would be extremely hard for them to keep all 3 of them. So with Bridgewater’s play and the QB situation in New Orleans lets look at where Teddy might end up playing next season.

Tampa Bay

This season did not go the way the Bucs were hoping for, but there was a lot of improvement under Arians’ new offense. The Bucs had 2 receivers with 1,000 yards receiving this year in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. One of the big questions the Bucs have right now is at QB. Winston is going to be a free agent this year so if the Bucs are ready to look for a change at QB then there is not a salary issue at QB that is going to hold them back. Winston seemed to be a good fit for Arians “no risk it, no biscuit” mentality, but throwing 30 interceptions was not part of that plan. If the Bucs have a chance to get Bridgewater I think there is a very good chance that Arians will try and move on from Winston. The only thing in this offense that might be a concern is that Bridgewater does not have the strongest arm for the deep balls that they like to throw into the game plan. He has shown that he can operate a complex offense at a high level and Bridgewater has a very good completion rate. He is an accurate passer that if thrown into the Bucs offense would still have turnovers of course but it is doubtful that he would be at the same pace as Winston has been over his career. Even if the Bucs decide to keep Winston heading into 2020, Bridgewater has shown that he can be a viable backup, and with Winston’s performance, last year his opportunity to keep being the starter could be very limited with a viable backup waiting on the sideline.

Chicago

The Bears have some really good players at their skill positions, including David Montgomery, Anthony Miller, Tarik Cohen, and Allen Robinson to name a few. They also have a respected offensive guru in Nagy as their head coach. The Bears have struggled in recent years, but they also had some games this year that showed that they have some potential. There is a real concern that Trubisky is not going to be the franchise QB they thought they were drafting. The Bears are also in an interesting position this year, as they have the cap space to be able to add a good veteran at QB that could come in and take over if Trubisky doesn’t improve to start next season. This is also probably more likely than the Bears drafting another QB since they do not have a high enough pick or the capital to make a move for one of the best QBs in this draft class. This could be the ideal situation for Bridgewater to take over. Working with Nagy and the playmakers on the Bear’s offense Bridgewater could be an efficient passer in a very effective offense.

Las Vegas

The Raiders showed that they are developing under Gruden this year. They had some great performances on both sides of the ball this year, and the hope is that they will continue to get better heading into 2020. Gruden knows how to win with veteran QBs, see Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson, and has also shown he will go after the players that he wants. While Gruden was away from football, he did a lot of camps and also did some television work where he was able to break down lots of film. Gruden was high on Bridgewater during this time so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go after Bridgewater. Especially since there were rumors that the Raiders were already shopping Carr this season it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see them move on to a new QB, especially since they will be starting over in city starting next season.

Phillip Rivers

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The Chargers did not have the year that they were expecting. Early in the year the Chargers looked to have one of the best Defenses in the league and their offense was explosive, but after injuries, hold outs, and poor play the Chargers finished last in the division and only won 5 games. Now that their season is over there have been comments made by team management, speculation in the media, and reports that Rivers had moved his family out of their California home. Time will tell how much of the speculation is rooted in facts, but Rivers is aging and if the Chargers wanted to move on to Taylor it wouldn’t be a massive surprise, especially with Rivers being a free agent. There are a lot of teams that need a veteran QB this year, and Rivers could be a prime candidate.

Tampa Bay

Arians and Rivers getting together could be a match made in heaven. Both are risk-takers and like to throw the ball downfield. If the Bucs were able to land Rivers the offense could improve under a veteran signal-caller that can command the field. Arians’ has also been called the QB whisperer so if he was able to work with Rivers and get him into good situations each week they could be a very difficult team week in and week out.

Indianapolis

The best location for Rivers by far appears to be Indianapolis. With the Chargers, Rivers has been under duress constantly while behind a line that has struggled mightily. The Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. IF Rivers was behind a solid offensive line, he could be an extremely dangerous pocket passer. The Colts also have Mack in the backfield to take carries as well as being able to throw to TY on the outside would be an exciting venture for all parties. Rivers also has ties to Reich and could very easily integrate into their offensive scheme. The only obstacle the Colts would face with this change is how to handle the 2-year contract they gave Brissett at the beginning of last year. This is probably the best landing spot for Rivers heading into 2020 if he does not return to the Chargers.

Make sure to check out The Fantasy Football Clinic’s article breaking down the Top Free Agents on the market this off-season and check back later in the week for the rest of the free-agent QBs this season and where they might end up.

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