By Matteo Venieri
Boston University News Service
As teams across the National Football League prepare for another season, some fans may end up having to replace their quarterback jerseys. In fact, only about a third of the league can confidently say who will be their man under center next year.
In this five-part series, we will be looking at the quarterbacks who are likely to change colors next season, predicting what we can expect as we divide them into five tiers, starting with the first group: “Superstar QBs.”
Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
Historically, it’s infrequent for a superstar quarterback to be let go by a team — let alone having three quarterbacks possibly swapping jerseys in the same offseason. After falling short in yet another NFC Championship game, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers sparked rumors of his departure from Wisconsin with his enigmatic post-game comments in which he called his future “uncertain.”
In fairness, it’s Green Bay that took the first step in that direction by trading up to draft quarterback Jordan Love in last year’s draft. The move appeared to spur Rodgers to his third MVP campaign, but Rodgers and his teammates were ultimately no match for Tampa Bay.
Trading Rodgers now seems highly unlikely, both because of his brilliant performance on the field and the $31.5 million in dead cap he’d leave behind. However, there is virtually no limit to the franchise’s compensation for the future Hall of Famer if he were officially on the market.
Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans)
Compared to Rodgers, Deshaun Watson’s dissatisfaction with his team has been much more overt. After a disappointing 4-12 season, the Houston Texans quarterback officially requested to be traded to a new team.
Up until now, the Texans have refused to consider the former Clemson standout on the trade block, but they have seemingly done everything in their power to alienate him. In fact, the front office went back on an initial promise of listening to Watson’s input on the team’s future decisions, reportedly infuriating the player.
“I was on 2, then I took it to 10,” Watson tweeted in response, a reference from last season when he said his anger level was at a “2” after the trade of his friend and favorite target, DeAndre Hopkins.
At 25 and after leading the league in passing yards, Watson would instantly change the franchise’s destiny, willing to pay a hefty but necessary price for him. After losing James Harden a month ago, the city of Houston might soon say goodbye to another unhappy superstar.
Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
Finally, Russell Wilson’s relationship with the Seattle Seahawks suddenly appears to be in turmoil. Recently, the star quarterback publicly lamented the lack of protection provided by an offensive line that allowed him to get sacked 47 times in 2020, and almost 400 in total throughout his career in Seattle.
His words came as a surprise since Wilson is the epitome of a team player who has never spoken a word of criticism against the coaches or his teammate in his nine-year career in Seattle. However, the team reportedly didn’t appreciate that its franchise player didn’t keep his comments private. The relationship between the two sides is now being described as “fluid.”
After the end of the “Legion of Boom,” Wilson kept the team competitive almost single-handedly, often compensating for a bad O-line and an even worse defense. The NFC West is, without a doubt, one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL, with the likes of Kyler Murray, Nick Bosa and Aaron Donald battling Seattle twice a year, so parting ways with Wilson now could hinder the Hawks for years to come.