In the NFL things are constantly changing, the league is getting faster and younger every year. With the exception of a few all-time great quarterbacks that have proven themselves to be timeless, the Tom Brady-Drew Brees’ of the world, it feels as if almost every year teams are reassessing their personnel at the game’s most important position. NFL franchises are always searching for their long-term answer at quarterback, and there can be a very short leash at times when it comes to poor performance and losing football games.
These are the quarterbacks we think could be in danger of losing their starting spot entering the 2019 season.
5. Derek Carr
This may come as a bit of a surprise since Carr has had a few impressive seasons in Oakland, being selected to the Pro Bowl three times from 2015-17, and finishing third in MVP voting in 2016. The team also acquired a few assets this offseason that could only help Carr’s performance, including star WR Antonio Brown, WR Tyrell Williams, and OL Trent Brown. Oakland Raider’s first-year Head Coach Jon Gruden has publically stated that Carr will be the starter entering the season but, Gruden’s impulsiveness as well as shaky numbers from Carr in his first five seasons, says otherwise. Carr exhibits a 32-46 overall record as a starter, and we have watched as his MVP caliber 2016 season becomes more and more of an afterthought. Since 2016, in which Carr threw for 28 TDs compared to just six interceptions, his production has declined immensely along with the success of the Raiders organization. He has thrown fewer touchdowns (22, 19) in the past two seasons, as well as double-digit interception marks and the Raiders have posted a record of 10-21 during this time. He is probably the least likely player on this list to lose his job but, don’t count out Gruden finding his own guy if Carr doesn’t improve right away.
4. Marcus Mariota
The Tennesse Titans have made the postseason just one time in the past 10 years, losing to the New England Patriots in the 2017 Divisional Round. They spent the 2nd overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on Marcus Mariota with the intention of molding him into their franchise QB. Since entering the league, Mariota has shown flashes on greatness making some spectacular plays and flashing his elite athletism. After a strong 2016 campaign, tossing 26 TDs to only nine interceptions, Mariota has struggled to replicate this success and has been nagged by injuries as well. He has failed to start for a full season and even with a talented roster, the Titans have failed to get over the hump finishing at 9-7 each year for the past three seasons. This is Mariota’s job to lose but, it is worth noting that the Titans have upgraded their depth chart behind him by bringing in former Dolphins’ starter Ryan Tannehill to put the pressure on Mariota. If Mariota does not get off to a strong start, and Tennesse is losing games – do not be surprised if we see Tannehill under center.
3. Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton has spent the past eight seasons as the face of the Cincinnati Bengals franchise. Dalton has experienced his share of ups and downs since entering the league. He took the Bengals to the postseason five straight times from 2011-15, which is impressive but, he has also failed to win a single playoff game or return to the playoffs since. Dalton has never been that bad but, also hasn’t proven that he can be the consistent winner that the franchise needs. He has only two years remaining on his contract which puts the Bengals in the market to find a new quarterback soon anyways but, we could see him sidelined prematurely. The Bengals have finally replaced Marvin Lewis, after a long tenure of accepting mediocrity. The team chose to replace Lewis with Zac Taylor as their new Head Coach, which automatically puts added pressure on Dalton to perform. It would not come as a surprise to see Taylor give fourth-round pick QB Ryan Lindley some action in 2019, especially if it becomes a lost year in Cincy early on.
2. Eli Manning
Since joining the New York Giants in 2004, Eli Manning has brought nothing but, class and winning culture to the organization. He is a two-time Superbowl MVP and likely a future Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, past success does not generate wins in 2019. The Giants have attempted to bolster their roster around Manning trying to salvage a few more seasons of contention in recent years but, this simply has not worked out. The Giants went to the postseason just once (2015) since capturing a Superbowl ring in 2011 and have won just eight games in the past two seasons combined. After an ugly three-win season in 2017, the Giants sat at #2 in the NFL Draft and opted to take RB Saquon Barkley, stirring clear of the crop of talented quarterbacks available at the top of the Draft. Barkley has been outstanding but, the Giants collectively have not been. Although highly scrutinized, the Giants reached for former Duke QB Daniel Jones with the #6 pick in the 2019 Draft. Jones is unproven and regarded as someone who is not ready to take the reins of a franchise just yet, so presumably, Manning will be the starter. There is still plenty of time and reps to be taken this offseason but, what we do know is that Jones symbolizes that the end is near for Manning – the question is how near.
1. Jameis Winston
Jameis Winston is undoubtedly the most likely NFL starter to be replaced in 2019. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers spent the first overall pick in 2015 on Winston, expecting him to join the crop of elite quarterbacks already competing in the NFC South. Tampa Bay has failed to make the postseason or win more than nine games since Winston came on board. Winston has experienced a roller coaster ride of a career to this point. He has flashed a big arm and shown he has the talent to be a franchise signal caller but, has also battled injuries and trouble off-the-field. The off-the-field issues began while Winston was a college star but, the Bucs looked through this with hopes that he would mature to NFL standards. Winston failed to do so as he was suspended just last season for three games over an incident involving an Uber driver. NFL teams cannot afford to have the face of their franchise making headlines for the wrong reasons. The suspension, as well as inconsistent play, has already cost Winston his job once before, as he spent four games last season watching Fitzmagic do his thing. When he is on the field, turnovers are a recurring issue as Winston has tossed 58 INT in just four NFL seasons. If he fails to get it together, on and off the field, it is very hard to imagine Winston will be apart of the Bucs plans moving forward. They signed Blaine Gabbert this offseason to add depth to the QB room. Gabbert is not a franchise signal caller himself but, has started plenty of games in his eight NFL seasons. Don’t be surprised if we see first-year Head Coach Bruce Arians make the switch if he cannot maximize Winston’s potentially early on.