The Footballguys staff was asked to mention their most significant veteran quarterback who changed teams over the offseason. Most significant can have a lot of meaning, so - in this case - it means we just asked our guys to pick the quarterback they most wanted to write about. Here are the results.
Player Receiving 7 Votes
Brock Osweiler, Houston
Alexander: Osweiler didn't show much in seven starts with the Broncos last season to suggest he'll be more than a low-end QB2 for the Texans, but his competition in this category -- Mark Sanchez and Robert Griffin III -- makes him the answer by default. Even in the likely scenario Osweiler is not worth the $37 million guaranteed he got from Houston, there are reasons to believe he'll have some useful weeks. The move gives Osweiler six games against AFC South opponents. Besides the Texans, no team in the division allowed less than 25.5 points per game in 2015. DeAndre Hopkins has been making bad quarterbacks look good his entire career, while Lamar Miller and Will Fuller V round out a dangerous supporting cast. The fast pace of Bill O'Brien's offense should only help Osweiler's counting stats. In O'Brien's two years as head coach, the Texans ranked ninth and first respectively in total offensive snaps. You can certainly do better than Osweiler as your QB2, but he'll at least make an adequate streamer or bye-week fill-in when the matchup is agreeable.
Fahey: Is there even another option? Osweiler is still an unknown as an individual, he hasn't played enough to truly be judged, but playing in Houston should give him every opportunity to be a QB1. DeAndre Hopkins has his own gravitational pull, Will Fuller V will be inconsistent but offers big plays, while Lamar Miller and Braxton Miller will be able to create YAC on simple throws for their quarterback. If Osweiler can just be an improvement over Hoyer his production could skyrocket.
Feery: The Houston Texans made the surprising move of handing the keys over to Brock Osweiler early on in the free agency period. The move left the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos scrambling to find a signal caller, and led many to question which franchise will actually benefit more from the transaction in the long run. Osweiler won five of his seven starts last season, throwing for 10 scores and six picks along the way, but also seemed out of sorts at times while behind center. The Texans will also be welcoming new additions Lamar Miller and Will Fuller V to the offense, and top-tier WR1 DeAndre Hopkins remains in place. Bottom line, Osweiler has the supporting cast and tools in place to succeed, but we’ll have to see how quickly he adapts to the Texans offense – and to the weight of the $72 million contract the Texans used to lure him from Denver.
Holloway: Brock Osweiler signed a four year free agent contract with the Texans for $72 Million, including $37 Million guaranteed. They potentially greatly overpaid for a quarterback that had started only eight games, all in his fourth NFL season and only after Peyton Manning was injured. He has completed only 61.3% of his passes with 11 TDs and 6 interceptions. He is not a highly sought fantasy option going into this season, but he will undoubtedly start for the Texans and they have a solid group of receiving options. Their team added a lot of speed to the offense this off-season and could be greatly improved. A year ago, with quarterback snaps split among a group of four lackluster players the Texans passed for 4,058 yards and had 28 passing TDs. Osweiler is capable of improving of that and possibly more.
Magaw: There isn't a lot to choose from in this category, Osweiler is one of two starting QBs to emerge from the 2016 free agency cycle, with a highly suspect, hinky health-wise Robert Griffin III of CLE (several examples from the draft, such as Jared Goff of LA and likely Carson Wentz of PHI and Paxton Lynch of DEN at some point). He inherits an outstanding defense good enough to propel the Texans to the playoffs last season (though ultimately not good enough to overcome severe offensive shortcomings). Osweiller enjoys good timing, coming to a Houston offense that has dramatically reshaped their skill positions after star WR DeAndre Hopkins, with ex-MIA RB Lamar Miller and rookie first and third round WRs in Notre Dame speed merchant and scoring machine Will Fuler and former Ohio State QB and WR conversion Braxton Miller. HC Bill O'Brien has coaxed some career best work out of less physically talented signal callers, which bodes well for both his immediate and long term projection.
Miglio: Brock Osweiler is the obvious answer here, right? He goes from heir apparent in Denver to quarterback Messiah in Houston, perhaps lifting DeAndre Hopkins to the top of the fantasy ranks in the process. Or he could be another flop under center for the Texans—it's not as if he was young Peyton Manning in relief of old Peyton Manning last season.
Pasquino: With all due respect to Robert Griffin III, the most significant veteran quarterback that moved teams this offseason has to be Brock Osweiler. Even with the opportunity to be the guy after Peyton Manning, Osweiler decided to move on from Denver (who later added both veteran Mark Sanchez and rookie Paxton Lynch). Osweiler is now the bona fide starter for the Houston Texans, who have changed over their quarterback and running back (Lamar Miller from Miami). Houston made a big financial commitment to Osweiler (four years, $72M) so he will be under center all season long. With a true WR1 for Osweiler in DeAndre Hopkins and Miller catching balls out of the backfield, Osweiler has solid QB2 value with some QB1 upside in good matchups in 2016.
Player Receiving 4 Votes
Mark Sanchez, Denver
Harmon: Denver’s change in quarterback is significant not in how it creates a starter out of either Sanchez or Lynch, but rather the value opportunity it affords drafters. Demaryius Thomas was the WR11 in PPR last season. He’s currently going off the board in the mid-third round as the WR14. Emmanuel Sanders checked in as the WR19 in 2015, but slides all the way to the late fifth-round with a WR27 ADP. Both receivers accumulated those figures with a finished Peyton Manning posting a career-worst 67.9 passer rating and a Brock Osweiler, who the Broncos did not re-sign. Bad quarterback play was already a factor in Denver. The specter of Sanchez has drafters overthinking. Sanders and Thomas accounted for 51.9 percent of Denver’s targets last season, and with nary another pass catcher around that volume is secure for 2016. They won’t be top-12 fantasy receivers like in 2014, but their target loads and roles are more than enough for WR2 seasons.
Hicks: Of the few veteran starter moves at quarterback in the offseason, one that will be underrated is the defending Super Bowl champions taking on Mark Sanchez. The Broncos were horrible at quarterback last year and will be significantly weakened on defense this year. The potential for upside at the position is there. The uncertainty as to who will start prevents many from viewing Sanchez as a viable option this year, but this offense has weapons and Sanchez has proven he can move a team into the end zone. Turnovers are another matter, but if, as expected, he can beat out Trevor Siemian for the starting job then drafting Sanchez as 2nd or 3rd QB will be worth it to those who have deeper rosters.
Waldman: This pick should be subtitled "Also known as Peyton Manning's retirement." Manning could no longer move well enough to execute Kubiak's offense, which led to the offensive compromise of a pistol set last year. Although it worked enough to win a Super Bowl, the success was due to Manning's ability to read defenses and manage an offense on the field. One of the positives of Kubiak's real scheme is that it can make a lesser field general with sound physical fundamentals at the position a productive passer. In theory, Sanchez fits this description rather well. Sanchez ran a west coast scheme at USC and despite the infamous butt-fumble, he's a skilled ball handler and an accurate passer on plays with designed rolls and boots. The Broncos have a strong supporting cast and if Sanchez hits, fantasy owners will find the Broncos offense a productive source of fantasy talent. If he fails, the bottom could fall out for at least half of the viable fantasy prospects Manning once supported with his skills.
Wimer: The Broncos let Osweiler walk AFTER he gained almost seven games worth of experience as a starting quarterback. His best years are ahead of him, and though he was not routinely stellar, he threw more interceptions than TDs only once during his time on the field, while going over 300 yards passing once and over 269 yards passing three other times during that seven game span. I think that Denver will rue trading Osweiler away and the Texans will be celebrating his arrival while participating in (at least) two rounds of the playoffs come next January. From the fantasy perspective I think Osweiler has the most upside of quarterbacks who switched teams, and expect him to be a solid number two fantasy quarterback for his owners with starting potential when the matchup is favorable for him/Houston.
Player Receiving 3 Votes
Robert Griffin III, Cleveland
Bloom: Griffin was once a fantasy and NFL darling. His speed and eerie deep accuracy were building blocks of an elite fantasy quarterback despite being in an undermanned Washington offense his rookie year. Griffin is again paired with one of the best offensive minds in football in Hue Jackson, and an optimist that can help him reboot his mindset to the game to boot. There is talk of an uptempo offense and the Browns have a terrific offensive line to give Griffin a sense of security. He and the Browns could make more fantasy noise than expected if things click.
Simpkins: While most viewed Griffin’s year on the bench in Washington as a negative, it really was a positive thing for Griffin. Not only did he get to heal his battered body, he began to mentally move on from Washington and prepare for his next chance to lead a new team. While Cleveland has been the butt of many jokes, we must be open to the fact that things are changing there. Those around the team affirm that Hue Jackson has his players buying into the culture change. Griffin has always had a scarily accurate deep ball. With the addition of Corey Coleman in the Draft, he has been given a great weapon who excels at bringing in those kinds of downfield passes. Look for Griffin to surprise many by reviving his career in 2016.
Wood: The Browns have been a laughing stock for years and they’re undertaking yet another rebirth attempt. Hue Jackson – the man who helped Andy Dalton reach elite status (let that fact sink in for a second) is now at the helm in Cleveland and gets to work his magic on Robert Griffin. Griffin’s talent was never in question, but his reckless play and subsequent injuries led to frustration and conflict with his coaches in Washington. Now he gets a chance to start anew in a QB-friendly system with very modest expectations. While the “big name” free agent this year was Brock Osweiler – Griffin is the better player and will be the much better fantasy asset, particularly if the offensive line plays up to its potential.
Player Receiving 1 Vote
Chase Daniel, Philadelphia
Howe: Color me thoroughly unimpressed by the veteran quarterback market for 2016. The new starters are thoroughly unimpressive, so I’ll take this opportunity to look for deeper options – completely free in any fantasy draft – and remind you that the Eagles paid a whopping $12 million to career backup Chase Daniel. Targeted specifically by his former coordinator, Doug Pedersen, Daniel has to be considered a viable horse in the Eagles’ race to Week 1. He’s posted blah numbers across just 77 career attempts, so I expect nothing close to fantasy relevance even if he winds up under center. But his presence alone could muddy the waters of an already hard-to-grasp quarterback situation in Philadelphia.
Situation Receiving 1 Vote
Parsons: The most significant quarterback move this offseason have been a lack of movement. Colin Kaepernick going to Denver was a possibility and he says in San Francisco for now. Mike Glennon is a starting caliber option, but Tampa Bay has not found the right deal to move him before starting his contract season. Finally, the Ryan Fitzpatrick game-of-chicken stare down continues. The Jets drafted Christian Hackenberg in Round 2 as another option if they do move on from the veteran retread Fitzpatrick and call his bluff. The duo of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker has plenty to lose if Fitzpatrick is not the Week 1 starter for the Jets.