<
>
Get ESPN+

Projecting 2019 starters for 10 quarterback-needy NFL teams

play
Winston projected to have big Week 14 (0:33)

IBM Watson projects the Bucs' Jameis Winston to have the second-highest ceiling among fantasy quarterbacks for Week 14. (0:33)

The 2018 NFL quarterback carousel was chaotic, with movement all across the league in free agency, the draft and via trades. The 2019 carousel? It's expected to be much less frenzied. That's partly because five signal-callers went in the first round of the draft, and because teams doled out huge offseason deals to players such as Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan, locking them into their spots for the foreseeable future.

Still, there are teams with interesting QB decisions to make. Will the Jaguars move on from the recently benched Blake Bortles? Is the Eli Manning era over in New York? Will the Bucs and Titans commit long term to Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota?

We asked ESPN national NFL writers Dan Graziano, Mike Sando and Field Yates to project the 2019 starting quarterbacks for all 32 teams. They reached consensus in picking several 2018 starters to return, but they also landed on 10 intriguing teams that could be in the market for a new signal-caller.

They explain their picks for all 10 teams below -- you can see them in bold -- and discuss each team's other options:


Jacksonville Jaguars: Two votes for Justin Herbert, one for Tyrod Taylor

QBs under contract in 2019: Blake Bortles ($16 million), Cody Kessler ($912,000)
Projected 2019 pick: No. 9
Projected cap space: minus-$19 million

Graziano: The Jaguars are a year late with their entry into the quarterback market. They should have called Kirk Cousins last year and certainly should have addressed the position in the draft. Fortunately, it appears they'll be back in their accustomed top-five spot in the draft, possibly surrounded by teams that don't need to draft quarterbacks. So I say give them Oregon's Herbert, the top QB in this year's class, and they end up getting lucky. What to do with Bortles? Doesn't much matter. They could cut him, owe him only $6.5 million in guaranteed money next year and get by with a rookie who's making very little, making their total QB spend reasonable (even including $16.5 million in dead money). They could keep Bortles as the backup, even at a $21 million cap number, for the same reason. Point is, it's past time for the Jaguars to think about a post-Bortles future at the position.

Yates: The Jaguars seemed to have cast their die when they signed Bortles to a three-year deal this offseason that would carry that hefty dead-cap charge if cut before 2019. The narrative has changed now that Bortles has been benched. How can they keep him as the starter? If Jacksonville keeps losing and gets a top-five pick, Herbert -- or the top-ranked QB prospect if Herbert decides to return to school -- makes a ton of sense. As Dan said, who else at the top of the draft needs a quarterback? It could be an interesting battle between Tom Coughlin's new team and his former team in New York for the No. 1 signal-caller. Either way, the Jags' QB problem can't persist into next season.

Sando: The Jaguars effectively made a two-year commitment to Bortles last offseason, which puts them in a predicament now. Maybe they do bring in Taylor, who is a free agent after the season, in hopes his low-turnover style lets the Jaguars win with their defense and ground game. I expect them to redouble their efforts to field the defense and ground game to support a limited QB. They could draft a prospect as well -- even if he doesn't start right away -- and monitor the Eli Manning situation.