Sean Pendergast

10 Most Interesting NFL Training Camps Based on QB Drama

Baker Mayfield's journey runs through Carolina, which should make for a saucy training camp.
Baker Mayfield's journey runs through Carolina, which should make for a saucy training camp. Photo by Eric Sauseda
NFL training camps open across the league this week, and for the first time in a couple years, the Houston Texans will not be stared at like a carnival freak by other fan bases around the league. Instead, the Texans have settled into being your garden variety, not very good, rebuilding NFL football team. The serenity should be nice, but we all know drama is better for content.

Around the NFL, drama is often dictated and correlated to one position — starting quarterback. We know this first hand from last summer, when all eyes were on the Texans during camp, not because the football was any good, but because there was no bigger vortex of drama than the Deshaun Watson situation.

That's Cleveland's problem now. If you're a Texan fan, though, who happens to get bored with focusing on mundane subjects like rookie first round picks and depth chart battles along the offensive line, which other training camps around the NFL contain the most quarterback drama? Glad you asked, here is a little guide with ten teams to watch in camp, solely for how the signal caller slot is playing out:

10. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
THE BIG QUESTION: Is Jimmy G still an option?

The quarterback trade carousel seems to have died down to a slow spin, at best, with the Baker Mayfield trade to the Panthers finally done a few weeks ago. The next one who should be on the move is Jimmy Garoppolo, who is on the final year of a $25 million per year deal and armed with a "no trade" clause. The Niners appear to be ready to move onto Trey Lance as their guy, but if Jimmy G is still in camp, is it a legit competition?

9. NEW YORK JETS
THE BIG QUESTION: Is this "Zach Wilson sleeping with his mom's best friend" rumor something that is actually a camp topic?

There is zero drama in Jets camp surrounding who will start for the Jets. It will be Zach Wilson. However, Wilson has been in the news lately for entirely non-football reasons, after his ex-girlfriend maintained in an Instagram comment that the Jets QB was "sleeping with his mom's best friend." That's led to the world now getting to know Lisa Wilson (Zach's mom) and Googling "Lisa Wilson best friend" incessantly. I just want to see the first reporter ask Zach Wilson about this whole thing. Tremendous.

8. MIAMI DOLPHINS
THE BIG QUESTION: Will Tyreek Hill murder Tua Tagolvailoa if he can't throw deep?

Hill, the newly acquired and highly paid deep threat for the Dolphins, has already gone on the record saying that Tua is more accurate than Hill's previous QB, Patrick Mahomes. However, Tua is not exactly a walking cannon throwing the deep ball. How will the outspoken Hill feel once he starts to realize he is basically a souped up slot receiver with this particular quarterback? (I suppose he can ask Jaylen Waddle.)

7. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
THE BIG QUESTION: How soon until Wentz alienates THESE teammates?

Carson Wentz flunked out of Philly because he was not viewed as a great leader in the locker room. He was then traded to the Colts, where the exact same thing happened after one season in Indy. For some reason, Washington, one of the most dysfunctional franchises in team sports, thinks Wentz will hit his leadership stride there. Okay then!

6. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
THE BIG QUESTION: Does Kenny Pickett become the first rookie starter for 2022?

For the first time in nearly two decades, the Steelers enter a training camp without Ben Roethlisberger on the roster. They signed Mitchell Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick in 2017, to compete for the starting job with first round pick Kenny Pickett, who is presumably the heir apparent. Can Pickett take the starting job?

5. TENNESSEE TITANS
THE BIG QUESTION: Does Ryan Tannehill finally totally revert to a pumpkin?

Ryan Tannehill was able to resurrect his career back in 2019, and he's made the Titans a perennial playoff team, but some dents in the armor began to really pop up in 2021, culminating in a three interception stinker at home in a playoff loss against the Bengals. Tannehill himself admitted to needing offseason counseling to cope with the fallout of that loss, and the Titans did draft QB Malik Willis in the third round of this past draft. Willis has a chance to become VERY popular in Nashville these next few months.

4. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
THE BIG QUESTION: Is a Geno Smith vs Drew Lock QB battle really happening?

As the Browns held onto Baker Mayfield through the spring months into June, it was widely believed that eventually the Seahawks would make a deal for Mayfield. Instead, Mayfield goes to Carolina, and now it appears as though a fan base who's had future Hall of Famer Russell Wilson for the last decade is going to get a steady diet of either Geno Smith or Drew Lock. I can't wait to hear Pete Carroll have to answer questions about these two.

3. BALTIMORE RAVENS
THE BIG QUESTION: Does Lamar Jackson
 get a new contract?
The big debate over the last couple weeks has centered around Jackson being left off an ESPN.com list of the top ten quarterbacks in football. It has sparked outrage in some corners, and led to Jackson defending himself on Twitter, punching down against numerous random critics. Jackson is operating without an agent, an approach that will get more and more scrutiny with each passing week that there's no new contract for him. He heads into his fifth year prepared to play under the fifth year option, and then hit free agency, if need be. (More likely, he would get hit with a franchise tag after the season.)

2. CLEVELAND BROWNS
THE BIG QUESTION: When does Deshaun's punishment come down, and how long is it?
Yes, Deshaun Watson, one year later, is still bringing ample amounts of drama to the table, but this time it's for a new team. There are so many things that hinge on the length of this Watson punishment — the Browns' strategy at backup quarterback, the viability of the Texans getting another high pick from the Browns, Watson's psychological well being. It's been nearly a year and a half that Watson's legal drama has been part of our lives, and it's no less compelling now than it was in March of 2021.

1. CAROLINA PANTHERS
THE BIG QUESTION: Is Carolina where the 2018 draft will go to die?
Finally, this will be the camp whose QB situation is the most fascinating to me. Think about this — the first and third overall picks from the same draft, at the same position, are now on the same team playing out their fifth year options, and NEITHER of them were drafted by that team. Instead, they're competing with each other to see who will do the honors of leading the Panthers to six wins this season. Meanwhile, the Panthers used their third round pick on a rookie quarterback, as well, in Matt Corral from Ole Miss. This has true train wreck potential, and I am here for it!

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast