Sometimes a team needs to start over at quarterback, sometimes a quarterback needs a new team ... and sometimes, well, it's complicated.
As we approach the end of the 2019 NFL regular season and the beginning of a new year, this feels like an appropriate time to examine some pressing issues at the game's most important position, Schein Nine style.
THREE TEAMS THAT NEED A NEW QUARTERBACK
1) Chicago Bears
It's over with Mitch Trubisky. It was a huge mistake. All of it. The draft-day trade up from No. 3 to 2, in which Chicago gave up valuable draft currency. This team picked Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Trubisky will never live up to any of it. Heck, he won't live up to Jamal Adams, whom the Bears could've had at No. 3 if they had decided to not pick a quarterback.
Trubisky showed flashes in 2018, but let's not pretend that was a great season, Pro Bowl bid be damned. And in 2019, the 25-year-old has been an abject failure. It's not all on Mitch. Matt Nagy's play selection and game management are confounding. (RUN DAVID MONTGOMERY!) But nearly three full seasons into this ill-fated process, there's no reason to truly believe Trubisky is The Guy. Can GM Ryan Pace swallow his pride, admit defeat and hit the ejector seat on the Trubisky experience? Well, he should, because the Bears can't win with this QB. They need a new, better signal-caller atop the depth chart.
2) Indianapolis Colts
To be fair, Brissett was thrown into an impossible situation this year. No one should have expected him to match Andrew Luck's talent -- and thus, no one should have expected this team to be the contender many envisioned last summer. Who's really surprised by Indy's 7-8 record? The 2019 Colts had key injuries and missed kicks, and Brissett -- who's somewhere between functional and solid -- just can't save a team from the ebbs of a season. He's not a quarterback to build around. The Colts, who have a great coach and culture in place, can do better. They must. They will.
3) Los Angeles Chargers
The saddest scene ever was Rivers' final "home" game of the season, which very well could be his final home game as a Charger. Raider Nation completely overtook Dignity Health Sports Park, to the point where Rivers had to resort to using a silent snap count. Just brutal. Rivers is a Hall of Famer. If that was it, he deserved the same kind of send-off that his 2004 classmate, Eli Manning, received in New York.
And let's be honest: 2019 should be it for Rivers. He looks cooked, on and off the field. Yes, I know he said he still wants to play in 2020 during a recent news conference, but I sense something different when he's talking to the press.
Rivers is one of my all-time favorites. But with his contract up at the end of this season, the Chargers should move on. And Rivers should start the clock on Canton.
THREE QUARTERBACKS WHO NEED A NEW TEAM
4) Cam Newton
These Panthers clearly aren't ready for a Super Bowl push. And if you saw David Tepper's brilliant press conference in the wake of Rivera's firing -- or watched the interview with Bill Voth on the Panthers' website -- the second-year owner has a sensational vision for what the Panthers brass and staff should look like. Carolina can save over $19 million in cap space by cutting its longtime franchise quarterback. And Cam hasn't been healthy in years (plural). Logic says break it down. And give Newton a chance to start fresh.
With Cam's body deteriorating, the quarterback's time as a starter appears to be fleeting. The current timeline in Carolina just doesn't line up. But what if he can get right and join a roster that's more ready to win now? How about the Chargers? Bears? Steelers? Any of those teams would be really juicy with a healthy(ish) Cam Newton as the field general.
5) Andy Dalton
I've made a living ripping Dalton for his prime-time and playoff failures, but make no mistake: He's a solid quarterback who won a lot of games in Cincinnati. That's no small feat -- and the Red Rifle deserves credit for it.
At age 32, Dalton could absolutely still start for a number of teams -- or at least be given the opportunity to win a job. If the Raiders really want to move on from Derek Carr (and I have thoughts on that below), Dalton once played very well with Jay Gruden as his offensive coordinator. I'm sure Jon remembers that.
There will be no mentoring of Joe Burrow in Cincy for Dalton.
6) Marcus Mariota
Mariota never lived up to the hype of being a top-two pick. And I wouldn't make him my starter.
But, could he be the next ... wait for it ... Ryan Tannehill? Is there a situation -- THINK: Denver or Chicago or Jacksonville -- where Mariota could be the 1b and perhaps eventually get a chance to shine?
THREE QUARTERBACKS IN LIMBO
7) Derek Carr
I want to make this abundantly clear, so nobody gets it twisted:
IF I WERE IN CHARGE OF THE SILVER & BLACK, I'D NEVER EVEN THINK OF GETTING RID OF DEREK CARR. HE'D BE THE QB FOR THE 2020 LAS VEGAS RAIDERS!
I just hope Jon Gruden likes Carr as much as I do. I think Carr did a remarkable job after Antonio Brown undermined the season before it even started. Carr was excellent early, though he did struggle during the four-game losing streak -- just like the rest of his team. The scene of Carr getting booed off the field in Oakland was sad, but that was understandable frustration from fans who are losing their team.
8) Jameis Winston
Bruce Arians likes to sum up his offensive approach with a quirky colloquialism: "No risk it, no biscuit." Well, if I'm a Bucs fan, I'm feeling overfed.
The 31 touchdown passes are nice, but what about the 28 interceptions -- 10 more than any other quarterback! The guy's two picks away from becoming the founding member of the 30/30 club. Who wants that?
9) Nick Foles
Foles doesn't have a tenable out in his contract until after next season, but could a team looking for a bridge quarterback/savvy vet make something work on the trade front? It'd be great to attach him to Joe Burrow on the Bengals or a quarterback to be named later on the Chargers (Justin Herbert?). Otherwise, I suppose the Jags could stand pat for the time being, given Gardner Minshew's miniscule salary as a sixth-round pick.