Some of these quarterbacks are former Pro Bowlers while others have just a season of starting experience under their belts. But one thing they do have in common though is their odds of remaining a starting quarterback in 2017 are tenuous at best.
Jay Cutler, Bears
Jay Cutler’s time in Chicago is all but over, ending one of the most frustrating quarterback tenures in the history of the franchise. Despite being in the middle of a seven-year, $126 million contract, the team is expected to either cut or try to trade the 33-year-old. Cutler’s arm talent is unquestioned, but his production and leadership have left much to be desired. He played in just five games in 2016, in part because of a thumb injury, but he was later benched in favor of Brian Hoyer. Will another team hand the keys to its franchise to Cutler?
2016 stats: 81 of 137, 1,059 yards, 4 TDs, 5 INTs
Getty ImagesJonathan Daniel
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
Kaepernick restructured his deal in October, wiping out the final four years and allowing him to become a free agent in March. His time in San Francisco might be over, and he will probably find it difficult to earn a starting spot in 2017. He did throw 16 touchdown passes to only four interceptions in 2016, but his 59 percent completion rate might scare off teams. His national anthem stance might also be an obstacle for potential suitors.
In his second season as a full-time starting quarterback, Taylor put up eerily similar numbers. He finished 2016 throwing for 3,023 yards – 12 shy of his 2015 total – with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. But following his Week 17 benching, Taylor questioned his future with the Bills. Rex Ryan’s firing coincided with Taylor’s benching, which might force him to look elsewhere in free agency after the team almost certainly doesn't pick up its giant 2017 option on his contract.
The 34-year-old was in and out of the lineup for much of 2016 due to his turnover-prone play. Coming off a career year in 2015, Fitzpatrick threw 17 interceptions – six of which came in one game in Week 3. He signed a one-year deal with the Jets in July but it’s unlikely he will be back in New York, putting in doubt his days as a starting QB.
RG3 believes he’s silenced his naysayers with his 2016 performance, but that claim is dubious at best. He started just five games, missing a majority of the season after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 1. Questions regarding his durability and ability persist, leaving many to wonder whether he will hold on to his starting gig in Cleveland. It's hard to believe the Browns would try to improve on a 1-15 season with the same quarterback.
2016 stats: 87 of 147, 886 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
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Trevor Siemian, Broncos
John Elway doesn’t think quarterback will be an issue in 2017, but he also didn’t rule out bringing in a veteran quarterback. Siemian played well in 2016 when you consider he’s a former seventh-round pick who had never thrown a pass in an NFL game before this season. But if Elway can lure a more seasoned QB to a team with a top-five defense, he wouldn’t think twice about pulling the trigger, a move that likely would leave Siemian in limbo. Not to mention, 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch remains on the roster.
You know if the Texans could get out of the Osweiler deal without taking a massive cap hit, they wouldn’t think twice. In a matter of months, Osweiler went from signing a four-year, $72 million contract to sitting on the bench in favor of Tom Savage. Houston has to hope Osweiler can become a more effective QB in the offseason, otherwise the Texans will feature one of the most expensive backups in the league.
The Vikings are in a pretty good position at quarterback. Either go with Bradford, who set an NFL record for completion percentage in 2016, or hand the keys to the 24-year-old Bridgewater, who is rehabbing from a major knee injury. Or do the Vikings trade one of the two in the offseason, pinning their hopes in 2017 to either a rehabbing QB or an injury-prone veteran? If Minnesota keeps both, though, one of these signal callers will be left holding a clipboard.
Sam Bradford’s 2016 stats: 395 of 552, 3,877 yards, 20 TDs, 5 INTs