Chicago Tribune

A wild NFL offseason of QB musical chairs has officially begun

The NFL calendar is designed for the league to dominate headlines all 12 months. While the COVID-19 pandemic has erased one of the biggest landmarks of the offseason — the scouting combine in Indianapolis — it will be replaced by the greatest game of quarterback musical chairs the NFL ever has seen. A subjective overview shows 11 teams are set at quarterback in 2021 after the Los Angeles Rams ...

The NFL calendar is designed for the league to dominate headlines all 12 months.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has erased one of the biggest landmarks of the offseason — the scouting combine in Indianapolis — it will be replaced by the greatest game of quarterback musical chairs the NFL ever has seen.

A subjective overview shows 11 teams are set at quarterback in 2021 after the Los Angeles Rams struck first Saturday night, agreeing to terms on a trade with the Detroit Lions to acquire Matthew Stafford. At least seven teams, including the Chicago Bears, are in the hunt for a starting quarterback, and as many as 14 teams could be considering an upgrade, a draft pick or a change.

Super Bowl LV on Sunday in Tampa, Fla., pits the greatest quarterback of all time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady, against the league’s top young passer, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes. After the confetti falls at Raymond James Stadium, there will be storylines galore as teams jockey for quarterbacks.

The Lions moved quickly to maximize value for Stafford. They will get first-round picks from the Rams in 2022 and 2023, a third-round pick and quarterback Jared Goff — and the $43 million in guarantees remaining in his contract. The trade cannot be official until the first day of the new league year March 17.

That’s not even the biggest quarterback news: Deshaun Watson has asked for a trade out of Houston, and the haul the Texans could get for him would dwarf what the Lions are getting for Stafford.

If the Texans reach the point of no return with Watson, they will receive outrageous offers for him, and two theories exist on which direction the bidding will go. The Texans publicly stated Friday that they have “zero interest” in trading Watson. If their reconciliation bid fails, some believe they would seek two first-round picks and at least one franchise-caliber player. Others believe bidding would begin with three first-round picks and go from there. NFL rules prohibit teams from trading picks more than three years out.

Other quarterbacks could be on the trading

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