With a plethora of quarterbacks landing new homes this offseason, whether it be via free agency or through the draft, a variety of teams find themselves with tough decisions to make.As training camp and the NFL preseason rapidly approach, quarterback battles are set to commence.
Here are five battles to keep an eye on entering the 2019 NFL season. May the best man win.
New York Giants
After posting their fifth losing season in six years, the New York Giants dedicated a top selection on a quarterback, taking Daniel Jones sixth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Amidst a bevy of criticism, Jones made some noise in Giants minicamp. This, along with Eli Manning’s struggles and deteriorating play over the past few seasons, makes the Giants quarterback battle one of the most intriguing to watch. Although head coach Pat Shurmur has made it clear that they intend to start Manning, he didn’t close the door on the possibility of Jones playing week one.
If Manning has a strong training camp and preseason, expect the Giants to start him week one. However, if Manning struggles and Jones outplays him, it might be time for the Giants to hand over the keys to their next (hopeful) franchise quarterback.
During the 2019 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins watched in surprise as prospect Dwayne Haskins fell into their lap at the 15th overall pick. Haskins was widely regarded as the second-best quarterback in the draft behind Kyler Murray, yet Washington lucked out when Giants decided that they preferred Jones. After losing starting quarterback Alex Smith last year to a devastating leg injury, the Redskins were aware that Smith would also miss this season, and may very well never play football again. To replace him, they traded for Case Keenum and then subsequently drafted Haskins.
Although the Redskins are hopeful that they’ve found their quarterback of the future in Haskins, there will be a massive quarterback battle between him, Keenum and veteran Colt McCoy. With Keenum having years of starting experience in the NFL and an established and serviceable NFL backup in McCoy, Haskins’ rode to the starting position will not be an easy one. Let the games begin.
After years of inconsistent play and durability on the behalf of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the Miami Dolphins moved on from their 2012 first-round selection this offseason. In return, the Dolphins brought in veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on a one-year deal and traded a second-round selection to the Arizona Cardinals for Josh Rosen. A 36-year old journeyman of the league, Fitzpatrick has established himself as a top-tier backup whose inconsistencies prevent him from being a full-time starter.
Just one year removed from being drafted No. 10 overall, the Cardinals’ drafting of Murray meant the end of Rosen’s short tenure in Arizona. The Dolphins decided to take a gamble on the young quarterback, who was highly regarded at his position in the 2018 NFL Draft class. Rosen did struggle immensely last season, it’s hard to put the blame on him as he was a rookie quarterback playing for the worst team in the league. With Fitzpatrick and Rosen in Miami, this quarterback position is up for grabs. However, numerous reports indicate that Fitzpatrick has outplayed Rosen throughout Dolphins camp.
Fitzpatrick may be off to a better start, but the real test is approaching in training camp and preseason. Although Fitzpatrick might currently be winning the competition, the expectation would be for Rosen to play at some point this season. With the Dolphins likely boasting one of the worst teams in the league this upcoming season and Miami reportedly interested in 2020 NFL Draft quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, it seems reasonable for Miami to want to see Rosen in game action before deciding which direction to go. Whether it’s Week One or later in the year is something that will be determined during camp.
After eight years as the starting quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals, the Andy Dalton experiment may be coming to an end. Dalton has shown flashes and helped the Bengals make the playoffs four times, but has never established himself as anything more than a middle-tier starting quarterback. In 2018, Dalton suffered a thumb injury in Week 12 and missed the remainder of the season. In his absence, backup Jeff Driskel played better than expected, but there’s a reason he rode the bench behind Dalton.
Everything seemed to indicate that Dalton would be back as the starter until the 2019 NFL Draft when the Bengals selected quarterback Ryan Finley in the second round. Finley excelled during his time with NC State and rose in the draft rankings as the draft approached. Dalton will remain the starter unless Finley blows everyone out of the water, but all it takes is an injury or offseason struggle from Dalton to give Finley a chance.
After a year of Case Keenum playing like… Case Keenum, the Denver Broncos decided to move in a different direction at the quarterback position this offseason. In John Elway fashion, the Broncos traded for a tall, strong-armed quarterback by acquiring 34-year old Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens.
In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Broncos watched as one of the top quarterback prospects in Drew Lock fell to the second round. Not being able to pass up on the low-risk high reward opportunity for Lock, Denver traded up to the 42nd pick and selected the gunslinger out of Missouri. A four-year starter in the SEC, Lock was touted by many prospects as the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft. Flacco is currently the favorite to start, he was benched after proving to be ineffective last year in favor of rookie Lamar Jackson. The mountain air may be helpful to Flacco’s deep ball, but if he plays like he did in Baltimore last season, it’s anyone’s game.