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Zwiller: The QB carousel continues on

| Monday, March 21, 2022

Between break and then school, I have not been able to talk about the crazy NFL offseason.

March 8th saw Russel Wilson traded, March 9th Carson Wentz traded. Later in the week, Tom Brady came back from the dead, and this weekend Deshaun Watson traded to the Browns.

Today, I will cover the QB moves to make up for the lost time. Later in the week, I will turn to other interesting non-QB transactions.

Russell Wilson

This was a move that I detailed way back in March of 2021, where I said that Russell would likely not trade teams because of the salary cap. However, I was undoubtedly less surprised to see him dealt this season. The unhappiness Wilson had experienced combined with Seattle’s lack of success made sense that Seattle would deal Wilson.

The Seahawks traded Wilson to the Denver Broncos (making him the first-ever QB to play for a team he beat in the Super Bowl) and got a good haul in return. The Broncos sent two first-round picks; two second-round picks, QB Drew Lock and TE Noah Fant and DE Shelby Harris. In return, the Broncos got Wilson and a fourth-round pick.

I love this trade for the Broncos. The Broncos offense ranked 18th with Teddy Bridgewater (19th by ZLO) and Drew Lock (47th) at the helm. Wilson, who ranked 16th in a down year, should be a significant improvement that allows the offense to improve dramatically. In addition, Nathaniel Hackett (the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator) should be able to bring elements of the Matt LeFleur offense to Denver.

I think that the Broncos will miss Noah Fant (48th as a pass-catcher, 9th as a TE) and Shelby Harris (30th DE), but getting rid of Lock and his 1.45 million salary cap was helpful, to both sides.

Seattle gets an A. That A is 100% graded on a curve because it is hard to win a trade when you send away the face of your franchise. The Broncos get an A- because I would have liked to have seen them give up a little less.

Carson Wentz

This trade is honestly the most confusing of all the transactions on the Colts’ side. The Commanders had been reported to have wanted Russell Wilson, and once he had been dealt to Denver, it made sense that the Commanders would turn their attention elsewhere.

So, the Colts sent Carson Wentz and a 2022 second-round pick. The Commanders sent a 2022 third-rounder and a 2022 second, and a 2023 third (it can turn into a second if Wentz plays 70% of his snaps).

For the Commanders, I honestly think this was a good pickup. They got Wentz relatively cheap and now have a solidly average QB as their starter (Wentz ranks 18th as a pure passer). Last season, Taylor Heinicke, the starter for 15 games for the WFT, was ranked 33rd. Call it a B+.

The Colts are a little more confusing. When Wentz was initially traded, I predicted that Wentz would have a Passer Rating of 99.05. This season, Wentz had an RTG of 94.6, so while he may have come up short, he still performed well. Since the beginning, I have said that the Colts had to have had a second move coming down the pipeline. I sincerely doubt that the Colts would simply send away a QB who performed well to have no one at the spot.

Initially, I figured that QB would have been Jimmy Garoppolo, as Trey Lance has spent his rookie year mainly on the bench, and the 49ers would like to try out their young prospect. However, I think it could just as easily be Baker Mayfield with all the Deshaun Watson drama (more on that in a bit).

Tom Brady

Tom Brady un-retiring before Tampa Bay could even play one snap without him killed me inside. As a Panthers fan, we have only had to play Brady twice a year for two years, but the prospect of facing him for another year is daunting.

With Brady back, there is no reason that Tampa is not the automatic favorite to win the division. The roster is loaded, and with Brady coming back, I expect players like Gronk (who only wanted to play for a contender) to come back.

Deshaun Watson

Sigh. You write a whole column about this one. First things first, I will not immediately jump to the football side of things. The grand jury in charge of the Watson case declined to charge the Texans QB. Legally speaking, he is innocent. Now, the 22 civil suits filed against Watson remain, those will likely be settled, and we will never get an answer as to what happened.

In addition, I imagine Watson will at least be suspended for six games, and I could see it going to as many as eight. He has not been suspended thus far because the Texans had zero interest in playing him. The Browns, of course, will look to start Watson, which will result in a suspension being handed out by the league office. Just because there was a lack of a legal charge does not mean the NFL cannot suspend someone.

The Browns sent away three first-round picks (including this year’s 13th pick) and a future third and fourth-round pick. The Texans sent Watson and a fifth.

This trade gets an automatic A on the Texans’ side. The Texans have a cheap young QB in Davis Mills to build around and have the assets to do so. They got rid of Watson and the negative PR surrounding him. In addition, they are only on the hook for 16.2 million of Watson’s gargantuan contract

The Browns get an A on the football side of things (the morality grade is slightly different). With Amari Cooper and Watson, the Browns are now the best team in the AFC North, in my opinion. Winning the North is another question, seeing as Watson could easily miss half the season with a suspension.

Jimmy G and Baker Mayfield

Watson is an upgrade over Baker Mayfield, and the Browns should be able to get some assets by trading Mayfield. The most likely landing spot should be the Colts, who have the capital, cap and need for a starting QB. That, of course, is assuming Jimmy G is not dealt with the Colts, which is entirely possible. However, according to Panthers beat reporters, the Panthers have made some inquiries into Jimmy G, so Carolina is undoubtedly a potential landing spot.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Thomas Zwiller

Thomas is a sophomore currently in attendance at Holy Cross College, studying Business and Theology He is from Saint Joseph MI, and went to high school at Saint Joe SB, playing both varsity football and hockey. Feel free to contact him about all things NFL and NBA.

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