Breaking down the quarterback signings that will impact the NFL


Luis Lopez

Luis Lopez, Senior Staff Member

Quarterback is arguably the most important position in sports.

Amidst free agency season, NFL general managers have made that evident.

Tyrod Taylor is being shipped to Cleveland, Kirk Cousins is heading to Minnesota, Case Keenum is going to Denver and Sam Bradford is landing in Arizona.

So what do these moves mean for these quarterbacks and their new teams?

For Taylor, he’ll look to be a bridge quarterback for Cleveland.

The Browns’ acquisition of Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry makes them more talented on offense and gives them the ability to at least be competitive in 2018.

However, that’s all the Browns should be aspiring for at this point.

The trade for Taylor allows them to focus on getting the best players available in the draft, which could mean Penn State running back Saquon Barkley goes number one overall to Cleveland.

The former Bills’ quarterback will possibly play the role of mentor for any quarterback prospect the Browns get in this year’s draft or the next.

Overall, Taylor represents a solid acquisition for Cleveland.

After seeing Bradford go down to injury, Keenum stepped in and did a phenomenal job, leading the Vikings to an NFC North title and their best regular season record since 1998.

With Keenum to Denver and Bradford to Arizona, Cousins now enters the picture in Minnesota.

The Cousins’ signing is the latest installment of one of the league’s craziest quarterback situations.

The real intrigue is with his contract.

After putting up 99 touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 93.7 over six years with the Redskins, Cousins is getting three years at $84 million, fully guaranteed, making him the highest paid player in NFL history.

The contract is also the first to ever be fully guaranteed, with no incentives required to earn the money.

The Michigan State product will now have to step in and be the face of a franchise that only came one win away from a Super Bowl birth last year.

Cousins has thrown for at least 4,000 passing yards in the last three seasons, and with weapons like Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph at his disposal, that number could be even bigger in 2018.

Keenum will look to come in and bring stability to what has been a rocky situation under center for Denver.

The Broncos haven’t had a stable quarterback situation since Peyton Manning in 2015. Since then, they have seen Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, and none have been successful.

While the former the Viking signal-caller is coming off an impressive year, it seems unlikely that Keenum will be able to replicate that performance.

With the signing, the Broncos have the opportunity to draft a quarterback while Keenum plays the bridge role.

If Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas can be reliable targets, Denver has the chance to be competitive in the AFC West.

Bradford to Arizona is the least impactful move of all as the Cardinals are going through an identity crisis.

Following the retirements of quarterback Carson Palmer and head coach Bruce Arians, along with the release of All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals appear to be hitting the reset button.

After having two disappointing seasons in a row, the Cardinals have depleted their roster and are headed towards the rebuilding route.

What’s concerning about the Bradford move is how expensive it was.

At one year for $20 million, $15 million guaranteed, the Cardinals are investing a lot into an injury-prone player that won’t bring them into playoff contention.

Like most of the quarterbacks on this list, the bridge term is mentioned. With the Cardinals picking 15th overall in the draft and Bradford only staying for one year, that won’t be a viable option.

The Bradford signing will eventually come back to bite the Cardinals and in a bad way.

These four signings shook up the league in a big way.

The draft is likely to see the biggest impact from it, likely requiring analysts everywhere to redo their mock drafts, especially where top quarterback prospects Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen go.

Time will tell how much success these quarterbacks can bring to their new teams, and for those playing the bridge role and having to become mentors for incoming rookies, that success may not be measured by wins in 2018.

These recently-signed free agents can lead the way for the next generation of quarterbacks, and that might be the biggest impact of all.