Six quarterbacks could be playing their final games with their current teams this weekend

Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts
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For the first time since eight games were played in the quarterfinal round of the 1982 playoff tournament, which expanded to 16 teams after a strike shortened the season to nine games, the NFL has more than four games in a postseason weekend. The six games to be played over the next two days, involving 12 total teams, feature key players who could be playing their finals games for their current teams.

Six of the starting quarterbacks — half of them — could be wearing their current uniforms for the final time.

Here’s the list, along with the reasons why they could be moving on.

Philip Rivers, Colts: He signed a one-year, $25 million deal in March 2020. The Colts, at a minimum, would likely offer him something less than that to return for another (likely final) year. At most, they’d thank him and move on. If the Colts upset the Bills today, that could change. Win or lose, the possibility of a trade for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz looms.

Alex Smith, Washington: It’s unclear whether he wants to keep playing, and it’s unclear whether Washington wants to keep him on the team. Smith is due to earn $18.75 million next season, and none of it is guaranteed. He has made $71 million in three seasons with Washington.

Tom Brady, Buccaneers: He signed a two-year contract, and above all else the Buccaneers want Brady back for 2021. It’s ultimately his call. Despite being halfway between 43 and 44, Brady continues to play at a very high level. It’s high unlikely that a loss tonight would send him into retirement. The question is whether losing as significant favorites over Washington would cause Brady to consider looking for another team in 2021. (Yes, he’s under contract for another year; if he wants out, but do you think they’ll tell him no if he wants out?)

Mitchell Trubisky, Bears: He becomes a free agent in March. If he plays well against the Saints and if the Bears lose, the Bears will have to make an offer that will result in Trubisky not hitting the market. The franchise tag remains unlikely; without it, Trubisky’s agents surely will know what’s behind Door No. 2 before accepting whatever the Bears bury behind Door No. 1.

Drew Brees, Saints: All signs point to 2020 being Drew’s last year. Coach Sean Payton on multiple times has indicated that there will be a new quarterback next year, perhaps reflecting the team’s true preferences (recent comments from G.M. Mickey Loomis notwithstanding). Brees has said in the past he’ll play for the Saints or no one. Next year, it’s likely he’ll be playing for no one.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: A quarterback with a penchant for drama surely would at least hint that retirement is a possibility if the Browns somehow win in Pittsburgh for the first time since 2003. The Steelers may have a say in this, too; Roethlisberger has a cap number in excess of $41 million if he stays, but only $22.25 million if he goes. If the stays, a new contract that kicks the salary-cap can down the road becomes a must.

11 responses to “Six quarterbacks could be playing their final games with their current teams this weekend

  1. When you look at the entire league, there could be a LOT of quarterback movement this off-season. There are 11 teams with their QB situation known for next year: Kyler Murray, Aaron Rodgers, Daniel Jones, Baker Mayfield, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Ryan Tannehill, Josh Allen, Joey Burrow, Russell Wilson, and Lamar Jackson.

    Beyond those 11, it’s safe to say the remaining 21 teams will have some decisions to make. Whether it’s potential retirements (Ben, Brees, Rivers, Brady), contract situations (Matt Ryan, Stafford, Wentz, Trubisky), injuries (Dak), incoming rookies (Jaguars, Jets), etc. And the Packers could potentially move Jordan Love.

    Get your popcorn ready.

  2. Rivers and Trubisky will be the ones either retired or going to a different team after this weekend. I think Smith stays one more year as do Brady and Brees. Ben Roethlisberger is the unknown his mood changes as much as the sun sets. You don’t really know what he wants.

  3. Good list but the Packers are not moving Jordan Love. They selected him as their QB of the future. And all the experts laughed (that’s why they’re not GMs) and cried they didn’t draft a WR. What did it get them? The NFL MVP and number 1 seed in the NFC. Gutekunst, Lafleur and the players are owed a ton of credit for keeping their heads down and putting themselves in a good position.

  4. There is no way Brady retires now. He’s not a “bail out” individual. He’ll do the 2 years as he planned and see what happens from there. Probably retire at 45.

  5. You forgot about Baker. If he has a dismal game then there is a strong chance they let him go.

  6. Of all the QBs listed, the least likely to leave is Brady. He’s playing great right now and the team is playing great. It likely will only get better for them as them gel as a team. Brady has a chance to bet more rings with his second team.

  7. About a week ago I woke up from a dream in which the Bucs won the Super Bowl. I can’t recall who they defeated.

  8. Matthew Giarmo says:
    January 9, 2021 at 2:41 pm
    About a week ago I woke up from a dream in which the Bucs won the Super Bowl. I can’t recall who they defeated.
    ————

    It was the raiders. Also, you have been in a coma for the past 18 years.

  9. “Matthew Giarmo says:
    About a week ago I woke up from a dream in which the Bucs won the Super Bowl. I can’t recall who they defeated.
    ————
    edouble says:
    It was the raiders. Also, you have been in a coma for the past 18 years.”

    Also, the Buccaneers have been in a coma for 18 years. So too have the Raiders.

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