Chaos is very good for this specific business. And quarterback chaos could be coming, very soon.
The 2020 offseason could consist of unprecedented movement when it comes quarterbacks, with a chain reaction of dominoes driven by where and how quickly the biggest rectangular double-squares land.
The biggest domino continues to be Tom Brady. Even as some of the smaller dominoes begin to fall (Eli Manning retires, Philip Rivers leaves the Chargers), Brady will influence the market more than anyone else, arguably in the history of free agency.
And teams will need to know whether they’re in play for Brady. If not, they’ll need to move on to other options, including the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Marcus Mariota, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, and/or Jameis Winston.
The franchise tag will keep Dak Prescott off the open market, but if the Cowboys make a run at Brady (and get him), Prescott would be in play, via tag and trade. Other quarterbacks who are under contract for 2020 but who could be in play include Josh Rosen, Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, Joe Flacco, Derek Carr, and Cam Newton.
And don’t forget Taysom Hill. The Saints backup, whom coach Sean Payton has compared to Steve Young, will be a restricted free agent. Payton expects another team to try to sign Hill to an offer sheet.
Then, once the carousel starts to spin, guys who are safe as of now (like Jacoby Brissett or Mitchell Trubisky) could slide into a different category. Within the next three months, the landscape of the league could dramatically change, via a game of musical chairs that could end up with more butts than seats, and it could end up with more seats than butts.
It’s a process that already has begun, and that will play out through the draft and possibly beyond. Especially if specific quarterbacks (Rivers) wait to see whether one or more teams are left high and dry in early May.
With so many tentacles tying players and teams and possible positions together, everyone needs to be ready for chaos. And the teams, players, and agents with the best plan for navigating it will be more likely to emerge in better position than they currently are.