The new league year has produced quite a reshuffling of rosters across the league. With that in mind, NFL Network analyst and 11-year NFL quarterback David Carr evaluates the recent relocations of seven signal-callers (presented in alphabetical order), examining how each QB will fare with his new team in 2022. Who will ball out? Whose production will fall?
Old team: Denver Broncos
Lock struggled in Denver, posting a 59.3 completion percentage in three seasons, the worst among 35 QBs with at least 20 starts since 2019. I do think he still has a lot of ability and could do well in a system like Seattle's that features a run-heavy approach and more play-action. And while he is the team's QB1 right now, Lock must do more than just enough to win the job if the Seahawks draft a quarterback at the end of the month. He'll have a hard time keeping a dynamic first-round signal-caller like Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett off the field, but stranger things have happened.
2022 projection: 60 completion percentage, 3,200 passing yards, 18 TDs, 12 INTs
Old team: Las Vegas Raiders
I like Mariota in Atlanta. And while I don't think Arthur Smith utilized him correctly in Tennessee as primarily a dropback passer – ultimately leading to Mariota’s benching in Week 6 of 2019 – I believe the coach now realizes how best to use the dual-threat QB. Look no further than how Mariota was used in two seasons with the Raiders. His 8.9 yards per rush on designed runs since 2020 ranks first among quarterbacks with at least 10 such rushes, according to Next Gen Stats -- besting the likes of Lamar Jackson (5.8), Jalen Hurts (5.2) and Kyler Murray (4.8). Using Mariota’s running ability in the ground game with Cordarrelle Patterson and in play-action and RPOs, the Falcons’ offense should be more creative than it’s been with the statue-esque Matt Ryan in recent years. I envision the unit looking similar to the Bills’ offense with Josh Allen – but less explosive, obviously.
2022 projection: 63 completion percentage, 3,300 passing yards, 15 TDs, 10 INTs; 350 rushing yards, 5 TDs
Old team: Atlanta Falcons
The Colts have searched high and low for a quarterback since Andrew Luck’s abrupt retirement in August 2019. And while I did like Philip Rivers in Indy and was hopeful that Carson Wentz would rediscover his MVP form with Frank Reich, I think Ryan will actually be the best fit. The soon-to-be 37-year-old still has playmaking potential. Maybe not with this legs, but he throws with anticipation and routinely gets the ball to the right guy. Ryan can practically throw for 4,000 yards rolling out of bed -- a mark he nearly hit last season in the Falcons’ makeshift offense that ranked in the bottom third of the league in every major offensive category. Now with improved talent around him -- including Jonathan Taylor spearheading an elite run game -- Ryan and the Colts’ offense should see improved success in 2022.
2022 projection: 68 completion percentage, 4,200 passing yards, 27 TDs, 10 INTs
Old team: Buffalo Bills
As it stands pre-draft, Trubisky is in position to be Pittsburgh’s starter after signing a two-year contract with the team last month. In minimal action during his year in Buffalo with Brian Daboll, Trubisky played well while using his legs, putting pressure on the defense by making it honor him in the rushing attack. (This forced the opposition to play more single-high coverage, allowing wideouts to be in one-on-one situations.) The Steelers weren’t able to be all that creative or forward-thinking with Ben Roethlisberger under center, but they aren’t afraid to change schemes and involve the quarterback in the run game. Not to mention, Trubisky is surrounded by solid talent, with Najee Harris, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth making life easier for the sixth-year pro. If the Steelers do end up drafting a quarterback later this month, which certainly seems possible, Trubisky will have to win the job. He’s fully capable of doing so -- and if he rises to the occasion, it could play in his favor (and the Steelers’, for that matter) come September.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the horrible news of Dwayne Haskins' passing over the weekend. Haskins was the third quarterback on the depth chart behind Trubisky and Mason Rudolph and was expected to compete for the starting job ahead of the 2022 season. It's going to be a long few months for the Steelers' QB room and organization as everyone takes time process the tragedy.
2022 projection: 67 completion percentage, 3,200 passing yards, 20 TDs, 10 INTs; 250 rushing yards, 3 TDs
Old team: Houston Texans
The first thing that has to be answered here is: How available will Watson be for the 2022 season? He remains under investigation by the NFL and could face a league suspension. However, there is no timeline for a decision, with the 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions still pending. The Browns knew trading for -- and handing out a fully guaranteed $230 million contract to -- the controversial QB would come with much scrutiny. From purely an on-field standpoint, this is a slam dunk. Watson is built to play in an offense like Kevin Stefanski's -- one with zone runs, QB-designed runs and RPOs, among other aspects that will spotlight the quarterback's electric talent. Playing behind a good offensive line and alongside a talented group of playmakers in Amari Cooper, David Njoku, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, there really is no negative to this on-field marriage. It will come down to Watson's availability and how he's viewed by the guys in the locker room. That could be a huge hurdle. But if he's willing to go above and beyond, the Browns' offense could be running like a well-oiled machine by midseason.
2022 projection (if playing a full season): 68 completion percentage, 4,500 passing yards, 30 TDs, 10 INTs
Old team: Indianapolis Colts
Wentz appeared to be in the perfect situation in Indianapolis with Frank Reich, the guy who perhaps had the most confidence in him. But the former No. 2 overall pick failed to capitalize, faltering mightily with the playoffs on the line in Week 18 -- and prompting some strong words from Colts owner Jim Irsay. Now back in a familiar NFC East, Wentz must prove himself on the field and off, as there’s a reported narrative surrounding his lack of leadership. He’ll have to be the first guy into the facility and last guy out and really put in the time to build chemistry and a rapport with his offensive counterparts. The Commanders are set up well with underrated playmakers (SEE: Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Antonio Gibson); it’s up to Wentz to make the most of what could be his final chance as a starter in this league.
2022 projection: 64 completion percentage, 3,300 passing yards, 24 TDs, 10 INTs
Old team: Seattle Seahawks
I think we can all agree that Wilson is a great quarterback who’s going to do well in Denver. One person who will be a huge factor in Wilson’s success is Nathaniel Hackett. During Wilson's final season in Seattle, there was a disconnect between the run and pass games. OC Shane Waldron’s scheme typically leans on play-action off the run game, but the veteran passer wanted to see the defense, drop back and throw -- essentially, Russ wanted to cook. The Packers ran the same system with Aaron Rodgers once Matt LaFleur and Hackett arrived in 2019, and there were rifts between Rodgers and the staff concerning the QB's responsibilities that were eventually ironed out – Rodgers has won back-to-back league MVP awards, after all. Hackett knows how to work out a compromise so a veteran QB can have control at the line of scrimmage without changing the entire scheme. And now that we know Hackett and Wilson are “joined at the hip,” I envision Wilson having one of the best statistical years of his career while not compromising his skill set or Hackett's vision for the offense.
2022 projection: 67 completion percentage, 4,200 passing yards, 30 TDs, 8 INTs