The deadline for NFL teams to apply the franchise tag on their marquee free agents came and went on Tuesday afternoon earlier this week, and as it does every year, the tag deadline spurned action, particularly at the quarterback position.
The New York Giants avoided the need to place the tag on their quarterback Daniel Jones, reaching an agreement on a four year, $160 million deal at the eleventh hour. Personally, I think that deal is going to age very, very poorly, as Jones is one of the more overrated commodities in the league, but hey, Giants fans have their guy, I guess.
Meanwhile, the far juicier scenario is the one playing out in Baltimore, where the Ravens placed the franchise tag on Lamar Jackson. Jackson's getting the tag is not a big shock, as it seemed headed this way for some time, but it was mildly surprising that the Ravens hit Jackson with the non-exclusive tag. While that particular tag costs the Ravens less in salary, it does give Jackson the chance to negotiate a contract with other teams. The Ravens would have the right to match any deal, and if they choose to let Jackson walk, his new team would owe the Ravens two future first round picks.
So the Giants lock up their guy, and for now, the Ravens at least control their own destiny with Jackson. If they want to keep him, they can. By my count, this leaves eight NFL teams whose desired Week 1 starter is probably not on their current roster. This list includes the Texans. So what is the likely plan for each? Let's examine:
Currently, the Texans only have Davis Mills under contract at the QB position. Nick Caserio and DeMeco Ryans have both said they plan to add two more quarterbacks, through some combination of the draft and free agency. The Texans are a dark horse, as well, to sign free agent Jimmy Garoppolo, but I think that's unlikely. TEXANS PREDICTED WEEK 1 STARTER: BRYCE YOUNG
NEW YORK JETS
The Jets have had multiple meetings with Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers, and it looks like the Packers may finally be ready to move on from Rodgers' annual offseason drama show. The Jets will likely kick the tires on Jackson, too. JETS PREDICTED WEEK 1 STARTER: AARON RODGERS
The Colts have had five different starting quarterbacks over the last five seasons, including aging veteran Matt Ryan last season. They currently pick fourth in the draft and have made it no secret they intend to select a QB in April. COLTS PREDICTED WEEK 1 STARTER: C.J. STROUD
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
The Raiders parted ways with longtime starter Derek Carr after the season. They have a ton of weapons on offense, and currently have no one to throw it to them. This feels like an ideal landing spot for Garoppolo, who played for Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels in New England early in his career. RAIDERS PREDICTED WEEK 1 STARTER: JIMMY GAROPPOLO
The Commanders were hoping they could be the team that finally got the best out of Carson Wentz. It was not meant to be, as he was released a couple weeks ago. The Commanders don't pick high enough in the draft to get one of the marquee quarterbacks, and they don't seem like a real desirable place for free agents. COMMANDERS PREDICTED WEEK 1 STARTER: ANDY DALTON
Panthers owner Dave Tepper seems to be willing to spend as much as is necessary to get his team to a Super Bowl. He was in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes until the Browns decided to guarantee the full $230 million in Watson's deal. Lamar Jackson reportedly wants the Watson "full guarantee" treatment. Does Tepper give in the second time around? I say YES! PANTHERS PREDICTED WEEK 1 STARTER: LAMAR JACKSON
The Falcons are a good landing spot for Jackson, as well. Honestly, any of the teams in the NFC South, other than the Saints, make sense. Ultimately, Atlanta decides to go young at quarterback. FALCONS PREDICTED WEEK 1 STARTER: WILL LEVIS
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Tom Brady's retirement leaves the Buccaneers with a ravaged depth chart — Kyle Trask is the listed starter right now, YIKES! — and a draft choice that is too low to get a capable rookie. So why not welcome back an old face? I know this is unlikely to happen, but it's fun to think about. BUCCANEERS PREDICTED WEEK 1 STARTER: JAMEIS WINSTON
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