There was something to like in just about every preseason debut from the five rookie first-round quarterbacks, a pleasant surprise given how universally panned the class was from those inside and outside the NFL leading up to the 2018 draft.
While there is still plenty of football to be played—and when Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson face first-string defenses it will inevitably erode our expectations a bit—one has to wonder if the impressive displays will spark a market for trades.
I tend to agree with Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus, who said on Twitter that the NFL is drifting toward an era in which quarterbacks 8-25 are not going to be vastly different, and that scheme, supporting cast and luck will drive success. But we’re not there yet, and teams not fully satisfied with their quarterback room will be hot on the trails of a veteran quarterback in lieu of empowering their backup. The teams of those five first-round passers will be the first place they’ll look.
In that spirit, let’s look at the most tradable assets from those teams, and why they could (or won’t) be wearing different uniforms in 2018.
1. Tyrod Taylor: The most obvious option goes first. Taylor is a starting-caliber quarterback who takes care of the ball and picks up first downs with his legs when plays break down. If another team loses their starter, he is the type of player who could still giude an average to above-average offense into the playoffs. Here’s the thing, though: It’s not going to happen, even with Drew Stanton as a capable piece behind Mayfield.
2. Teddy Bridgewater: Bridgewater looked good this past week against the Falcons. Despite missing a calendar year of football after a devastating knee injury, the former Vikings first-rounder was on point. Like Taylor, Bridgewater is a ball-control quarterback who can make every NFL throw. Mike Maccagnan could be sitting on a nice asset to flip.
3. Sam Bradford: This one has happened before. Bradford’s health is a major concern, but his contract is movable and—by rough estimate—he’s played for 30 of the NFL’s 32 offensive coordinators. The Cardinals aren’t going anywhere (in 2018, anyway) and would be just as well off with a Rosen-Mike Glennon depth chart.
4. AJ McCarron: Word in Buffalo is that McCarron is still rolling with the first-string, while Nathan Peterman is close on his heels. Of course, it wouldn't be a shock to see Allen in the lineup a month into the season, leaving one roster spot between McCarron and Peterman.
5. Joe Flacco: Imagine if the Ravens start the season 0-4 and a contender sitting at 3-1 or 4-0 loses their starter and offers Baltimore a first-round pick. It sounds ridiculous, and it probably won’t happen because Flacco is going to hold on to the starting job this year. The Ravens are my favorite to win the AFC North and, as we noted during the training camp tour, Flacco looks 100% healthy for the first time in years. He also has the best receiving corps since the Super Bowl season in 2012. Still, if the team is forced to confront their future early, what’s the harm in cutting the cord and getting something in return?
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NOW ON THE MMQB: One year ago Sunday, Charlottesville was rocked by racially motivated violence. Here's how a high school football team that shared a backyard with the violence dealt with the emotional trauma. (And here's what that same group of white supremacists looked like during their much smaller anniversary rally) ... Robert Quinn on why he raises a fist.... Is Odell Beckham Jr. being extorted?
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Christian Hackenberg is back in the NFL, with the Philadelphia Eagles.... Ray Lewis was a wonderful player who was also sheltered by a protective bubble in Baltimore... The Pat Shurmur era is off and running in New Jersey.
1.Jalen Ramsey and Dante Fowler got Coughlin'd in Jacksonville and will be suspended for one week (of meaningless football) for fighting at practice and then yelling at reporters for filming it. (Side note: Tom Coughlin may be the first person in a position of power who, even subtly, stuck up for a member of the press since November of 2016. Didn't see that twist coming, did you?)
2. Ultimate Anthem Respecter Jerry Jones would not comment on why he knowingly kept his hat on during the song a few weeks ago. Important to note here: There are no consequences for rich, powerful people.
3. Many fistfights at joint practices between Washington and the Jets Sunday (and apparently some in the stands, too).
4. DeShone Kizer is still working things out in Green Bay.
5.Hue Jackson explains that scene from last week's Hard Knocks that sure as heck looked like most of his coaches disagreeing with the way he wants to run his team.
6. Sam Darnold's impressive debut REFOCUSED.
7. Who is the receiving weapon that has Deshaun Watson doing backflips in Houston? Click here to find out.
9. The Saints have waived offensive lineman Trevor Darling.
I heard this song at a bachelor party over the weekend and decided that it is one of the few in American music history that could simultaneously be considered one of the best and one of the worst songs of all time—but never somewhere in the middle. It is impossible to have an I-don't-really-care opinion on this song. I feel the same way about We Didn't Start The Fire. I also think they're both absolutely terrible.
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