The NFL offseason is fast approaching, and, as usual, all eyes will be on the quarterbacks. The quarterback carousel has dialed it up to 11 recently, with stars like Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson all changing teams over the last three years. While there’s no guarantee a star of that caliber will change teams this offseason, the quarterback carousel will certainly be very active once again.
Now the question is, what teams will be in the mix to acquire a new signal-caller? Several teams have a big need under center and should be looking for an upgrade this offseason.
Contrary to popular belief, not every quarterback-needy team is a bottom-feeder — quite the opposite. There are plenty of teams that have a playoff-worthy roster, but just need a legit quarterback to get there. While we could just list the teams who finished low in the standings, that isn’t very interesting. Instead, let’s talk about the teams who just need a quarterback upgrade to get over the top.
With that said, here are five teams that should be big players in the NFL 2023 quarterback carousel.
5. Carolina Panthers
Although the Panthers finished with just seven wins in 2022, they showed some solid potential in the second half of the season. Carolina is definitely a defense-first team, with young stars like Brian Burns and Jaycee Horn on that side of the ball. The offense isn’t spectacular, but quietly has some good players like DJ Moore.
The main reason why the Panthers’ offense has struggled recently is due to subpar quarterback play. Carolina has had many starting quarterbacks over the last three seasons, including Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, PJ Walker, Baker Mayfield and the shell of Cam Newton. Unsurprisingly, none of those players worked out long-term.
With the NFC South being absolutely terrible this season (and possibly being even worse next season), there’s potential for Carolina to establish itself at the top of the division with a new quarterback. Instead of signing a big free agent, the Panthers will likely look to the draft for their new signal-caller. They could take someone like Will Levis at ninth overall, but they are also a strong contender to trade up to first overall, where they would have their pick of Bryce Young or CJ Stroud.
4. Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas is the most likely team to get a new quarterback this offseason, as Derek Carr has already posted his goodbye to the team. The Raiders are just one year removed from a surprise playoff berth, and they still have many of the pieces that got them there. With studs like Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams and Darren Waller, the time to get a new QB is now.
Las Vegas holds the seventh pick in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft and could easily find its new QB there. However, what seems more likely is that the Raiders will go after a proven veteran in free agency. Many reports have linked them to Brady, so it’s possible the GOAT could be wearing silver and black in 2023.
3. Washington Commanders
Reportedly, Washington is planning to roll with 2022 sixth-round pick Sam Howell as the starter in 2023. Howell looked solid in his first career start against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 18, but handing the reins to him so soon doesn’t seem like a great plan for a team that could be competing for a playoff spot. So, let’s assume that the Commanders are actually in the market for a new signal-caller this offseason.
The Washington Commanders have been reportedly “telling” their OC candidates that Sam Howell is going to be their starting QB in 2023.
Howell started just one game for the Commanders this season 👀 pic.twitter.com/PrUbXxQP89
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) January 14, 2023
Unfortunately for Washington, the team doesn’t have a ton of money to throw around for a veteran in free agency. The Commanders could draft a QB, but it’s likely all the premier ones are gone when they pick at 16th. With all the uncertainty surrounding the Commanders’ QB situation, they are the true wild card on this list.
2. Indianapolis Colts
Since Andrew Luck retired in 2019, Indianapolis’ QB situation has been a revolving door. The Colts have brought in veterans like Phillip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan recently, and none have been a long-term answer. It’s about time the Colts end this trend and bring in a young quarterback of their own.
After finishing the season 4-12-1, Indy is in a prime position to take a QB with the fourth overall pick. Alternatively, the Colts could easily trade up to first overall to ensure they get the QB they want (and one-up the division-rival Texans). There will certainly be a new QB in Indianapolis next season, the only question is who it will be.
1. New York Jets
The Jets are just one QB away from making serious noise in the NFL. New York has an outstanding defense, led by All-Pro rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner. There are also some great players on offense, especially rookies Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson. Everything is in place for New York to be a legit contender, except for a legit quarterback.
Unfortunately for the Jets, former second overall pick Zach Wilson has not developed as they had hoped. In fact, he has been outright bad in his short career, and there’s a real chance he’s already done in New York. Regardless of what the Jets do with Wilson, they desperately need an upgrade under center to realize their potential.
Robert Saleh has promised an aggressive push for a quarterback this offseason, which opens the door for endless possibilities. The Jets could easily land someone like Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo, who would be a steady hand under center. They could also go for the home run of signing Lamar Jackson, giving them their first franchise quarterback in decades. No matter what happens, the Jets should be the most aggressive team in the QB carousel this NFL offseason.