The 2021 NFL offseason is going to be an exciting time for fans and teams around the country as the league deals with a reduced salary cap, the NFL Draft, and a Free Agency that could see a quarterback carousel unlike anything seen in recent years.
Some of the sport’s most recognizable quarterbacks could be on the move after a 2020 season that led to disappointment, fired coaches and in some cases a complete rebuild heading into 2021.
NFL betting sites have taken notice of these potential QB moves and have released some prop bets to wager on. So, let’s huddle up to examine these odds and see if we can make some winning predictions.
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) January 6, 2021
Will the Jets Move on From Sam Darnold?
- New York Jets (-220)
- Indianapolis Colts (+400)
- Washington Football Team (+600)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (+750)
- Chicago Bears (+800)
- San Francisco 49ers (+1000)
- Las Vegas Raiders (+1500)
Since they drafted Sam Darnold with the 3rd overall pick in 2018, the New York Jets have been an awful franchise. From the front office to the coaching staff and down to the players on the field, this team has been an embarrassment.
Following a 2-14 season, the Jets fired head coach Adam Gase. This followed the firing of defensive coordinator Greg Williams one month prior. However, despite many Jets fans and critics calling for it, GM Joe Douglas seems to be safe for now.
Speaking of Douglas, at his end of the season press conference, he was noncommittal on the future of Sam Darnold which has led to more questions than answers:
“Look, we’ve got a lot of decisions to make. I think Sam’s going to be a great quarterback. I’m excited to get a head coach in here and go through our process. I think Sam has a very bright future in this league. We’re going to get a head coach in here, we’re going to get together and we’re going to talk about quite a few decisions. I’m excited about Sam.”
Douglas is singing a different tune at the end of the season than he did in past interviews. In 2019, Douglas stated that Darnold was untouchable in regards to trading him. During the middle of the 2020 season, Douglas said that Darnold was the future of this franchise.
For Darnold, he had his worse statistical season in 2020 having thrown nine TDs to 11 INTs. He only completed 59 percent of his passes, averaged about 184 yards per game, and was dead last with a 40.7 QBR.
With that said, did you see what this organization surrounded the young QB with? They had no number one receivers, a young and inconsistent offensive line, a 37 year old starting running back and an offensive system that did nothing to develop or protect Darnold.
Look at how the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens have built their teams around their young franchise QBs that were also drafted with Darnold in 2018. Do you see the Jets doing this at all? Absolutely not!
So, now, the question is whether the Jets will trade Darnold or build around him. This might not be resolved until they get a new head coach.
Case for Trading Darnold
In addition to the stats above, Darnold will cost the Jets $25 million dollars if they decide to pick up his 5th year option. Although he’s only entering the 4th year of his rookie contract, teams typically make the decision on a 5th year by the beginning of season four.
The Jets will have the #2 overall draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. They could trade Darnold and then draft a QB like Justin Fields from Ohio State. From there, the team could use the rest of their draft picks to build a team around Fields.
Case for Building Around Darnold
Darnold has showed flashes of his potential in the three seasons mired in dysfunction with the Jets. With the #2 pick in the upcoming draft, the team could trade down for more picks to a QB needy team. They could also stay put and take Alabama’s DeVonta Smith who just won the Heisman Trophy.
He seems like a generational talent that they could pair with Darnold. Add another veteran WR via free agency along with building up the o-line and the Jets could finally have a winning formula with Darnold.
He’s just 23 years old and there’s no guarantee that any of the QBs in this draft class can be more successful with the Jets than Darnold.
Where Will Darnold Play in 2021?
There are certainly cases to be made for trading and keeping Darnold. Right now, the online betting sites are favoring the Jets keeping the 23 year old QB. I have to agree.
The smart approach for the Jets is to trade down in the Draft, build around Darnold, and see if he’s truly the franchise QB that you drafted him to be. Other than Trevor Lawrence who will be drafted by the Jaguars #1 overall, none of the other QBs are clear upgrades over Darnold.
Where Will Darnold Play in 2021? –New York Jets (-220)
Will Cam Newton Return to the Patriots?
- Washington Football Team (+110)
- Denver Broncos (+350)
- Chicago Bears (+375)
- Indianapolis Colts (+600)
- New England Patriots (+800)
- San Francisco 49ers (+1100)
When the New England Patriots signed Cam Newton to a one year, $3.7 million dollar deal last summer, many so-called pundits and Patriots fans felt that the team would still be good enough to challenge for a Playoff spot.
The beginning of the season started off well, but the wheels fell off by the midpoint of the season. And with a few games remaining, the Patriots experienced their first early elimination from Playoff contention in the Bill Belichick era.
New England closed out the season with a win over the Jets and one of Newton’s best performances of the year. Yet, that could be his last game with the Patriots.
Cam Newton in what could be his final game with the Patriots:
242 passing yards
3 passing TDs (0 INTs)
79 rushing yards
19 receiving yards
1 receiving TD
SuperCam did a little bit of everything today 🙌 pic.twitter.com/NzWdi8qsqj
— Guy Boston Sports (@GuyBostonSports) January 3, 2021
Although reports indicate that the Patriots are far from making a decision on what to do with Newton, the former NFL MVP seemed resigned to the fact that he was done in New England. Newton has gone on record saying that he doesn’t want to be a backup in 2021:
“If you’re asking me, ‘Do I want to be a backup?’ Hell no. Because when I look at other teams and I’m looking at other players play, there’s been guys that have been getting away with, I feel, murder for years for subpar play. Do I have the right to say that with the year that I had this year? No. But I’m going to be honest and say it, because that’s what I do.”
There’s no way that the Patriots head into the 2021 season with Jarrett Stidham penciled in as the starter. He hasn’t developed into a starting QB as of yet. However, there’s also no way that the Patriots go into next season with Newton and the same offense from 2020.
So, either they keep Newton and add more pieces around him or they let him walk and sign a free agent veteran QB or draft one.
Of these options, keeping Newton and surrounding him with talent would be the best path for the Patriots. Of course, this would only happen if the Patriots could sign Newton at the right price.
More than likely, Newton is going to get interest elsewhere and that could derail any low offer from New England.
Where Would Newton Go?
For Newton, since he doesn’t want to be a backup, the two best options are Washington and Chicago.
The WFT is where Newton’s former coach Ron Rivera is running things. They could use Newton’s services if Alex Smith retires or if the team doesn’t feel confident in Smith’s ability to improve the offense. WFT could bring in Newton to compete with Taylor Heinicke for the starting position.
Chicago can’t possibly think that Mitch Trubisky is their answer to the QB position. His erratic play has been a hindrance to the team’s overall success. Trubisky seems to be destined for a backup spot somewhere else.
They do have Nick Foles on the roster, but he already showed this past season that he’s not the answer to the Bears QB problem. Cam Newton is better than both QBs that the Bears rolled out in 2020. In fact, the Bears should’ve gone for Cam last year in the first place.
As for this wager, it’s hard to argue against Newton heading to WFT. He could become a low risk starting QB that bridges the gap for Washington to find a long term franchise quarterback. Newton knows the system and showed that he could still succeed in the NFL if he has a supporting cast.
Washington has the supporting cast and a run first mentality that would suit Newton. Terry McClaurin is a #1 wide receiver, Logan Thomas is a Top 10 tight end, and the team has a franchise running back in Antonio Gibson. Plus, the defense is Top 10 and would complement a Newton led offense.
Where Would Newton Go? –Washington Football Team (+110)
Will Matthew Stafford Leave the Detroit Lions?
- Detroit Lions (-200)
- Indianapolis Colts (+400)
- Washington Football Team (+650)
- Chicago Bears (+800)
- San Francisco 49ers (+1000)
- New England Patriots (+1100)
At 32 years old, Matthew Stafford’s time in Detroit could be coming to an end. With the franchise set to underdgo a complete rebuild, following the firing of their head coach and GM, Stafford heading to greener pastures could be a mutually beneficial decision for both sides.
Stafford’s 12 year career with the Lions has been filled with many wonderful stats, but no real meaningful victories. Following the 2020 season, Stafford has 44,816 yards, 279 TDs, and 143 INTs in his career.
BRING YOUR TISSUES
Matthew Stafford mic’d up for the Week 17 finale is an emotional one.
Video here: https://t.co/hQkOUTDpL6
— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) January 7, 2021
In his time with the Detroit Lions, Stafford has already had three head coaches and four offensive coordinators. You can add one more to each of those as he will be getting a whole new regime in Detroit.
On the flip side of the coin, the new regime could decide that trading Stafford and getting back draft assets would be best for their rebuild. Stafford only has $9 million of his $34 million dollar salary guaranteed for 2021. His contract is movable.
If there were any justice in the NFL then the Lions would let Stafford move on so that he can try to lead another team to the postseason. The Lions aren’t going to the Playoffs anytime in the near future with or without Stafford.
Of all the QBs in this article, I would say Stafford is the one to target. He’s still young enough to lead a team for 3-4 years and still productive enough to be a Top 15 or Top 10 starter.
The safe bet is with Stafford returning to Detroit. However, if you really believe that Stafford is leaving the Lions then look at the Colts and the Bears.
With the Bears, Stafford could upgrade the QB position on a Playoff caliber team. He would have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball especially if Chicago fortifies their offensive line.
With the Colts, Stafford could help the team become a Super Bowl contender. He would perform just as well, if not better, than Philip Rivers did in 2020 and would give the Colts enough time to see if Eason is their QB of the future.
Both Rivers and Jacoby Brissett will be free agents this offseason, so the Colts could be in business to make a move. Would they turn to Stafford as an option?
Where Would Stafford Go? –Detroit Lions (-200)
Is Carson Wentz Done in Philly?
- Indianapolis Colts (+155)
- Chicago Bears (+200)
- New England Patriots (+550)
- San Francisco 49ers (+550)
- Denver Broncos (+700)
- Washington Football Team (+700)
- Detroit Lions (+700)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (+1000)
These betting odds were released prior to the Eagles firing Doug Pederson on January 11th. As of now, football betting sites haven’t listed updated odds. If they did then the prop bet would certainly include the Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, the Eagles could be the favorite.
After five years with Philly, and a 4-11-1 season, Doug Pederson was fired despite bringing a Super Bowl to the franchise and the city just three years prior. Pederson finished with a 42-37-1 record with Philly and a 4-2 Playoff record.
From The Aftermath: The #Eagles fired coach Doug Pederson and now the chances have increased dramatically that QB Carson Wentz will return to Philly. Had Pederson stayed, he would have wanted out. pic.twitter.com/jmOxZtEw5D
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 11, 2021
Recently, reports surfaced that Carson Wentz was going to ask for a trade from the Eagles during the offseason. This came after Wentz was benched for rookie QB Jalen Hurts and appeared to fall out of favor with Doug Pederson.
Philadelphia Eagles’ owner Jeff Lurie commented on the firing of Pederson and also talked about Wentz as well. None of his comments gave confidence in Wentz remaining with the team. In fact, Lurie spent more time talking about building for the next five years and how Carson was an asset.
Neither of these sentiments imply a view that Wentz is the franchise QB. Instead, they imply that Wentz could be expendable and that the Eagles could be looking towards a future without Wentz.
If Lurie truly believed that Wentz was a franchise QB then he would be looking to build a team around him and not thinking about how to build towards the future when your QB is entering his prime.
Philly drafts 6th overall. Although QBs Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence will be gone by then, BYU’s Zach Wilson and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance will still be available.
Could you imagine if the Eagles decide to move on from Carson Wentz by drafting another QB from his alma mater of North Dakota State?
That’s a story you can’t even make up in Hollywood. But, it certainly could happen if Lurie and the new head coach feel that the team would be better off moving on from Wentz and Hurts.
Would the Eagles Actually Trade Wentz?
If Philly does trade Wentz, they will take a $30 million dollar dead cap hit. That’s an insane amount of money considering that they have to reshape their entire roster due to the number of free agents and the age of many of their veterans.
Yet, they could get away with it in 2021 because they do have Jalen Hurts on a rookie contract that makes it easier to absorb.
Furthermore, any team that trades for Wentz would only take on four years, $98.4 million dollars of a contract, which is roughly $24.5 million per season. That would put Wentz right in the middle of the top franchise quarterback salaries.
The one team in this prop bet that makes the most sense is the Indianapolis Colts. They have $58 million dollars in cap space for next season. Furthermore, they would have a need for a starting QB as mentioned above.
The obvious reason for the Colts to trade for Wentz is the fact that head coach Frank Reich used to be the Eagles offensive coordinator and was a big help to Carson in his first two years in the NFL. Wentz’s second season is arguably his best in his five year career.
As for this prop bet, I would hold off for now. Let’s wait to see who the Eagles hire as head coach before we jump on the Wentz prop bets. For all we know, he could end up sticking with Philly for another year.
Would the Eagles Actually Trade Wentz? –Wait!
Where Will Jameis Winston Play in 2021?
- New Orleans Saints (-130)
- Cincinnati Bengals (+450)
- Washington Football Team (+700)
- Indianapolis Colts (+700)
- New England Patriots (+750)
- New York Jets (+2000)
After a disappointing career in Tampa Bay, Jameis Winston signed a one year contract last season to play as a backup QB for the New Orleans Saints.
The belief is that quarterback Drew Brees will retire after the 2020 season is finished. He has a TV job waiting for him upon retirement.
With that in mind, the Saints will need to address their potential vacancy at the starting QB position. Currently, most reports indicate that Sean Payton wants to re-sign Jameis Winston this offseason to pair with Taysom Hill.
Hill is a unique player that Payton loves. However, Hill might not be a franchise quarterback. We saw what he could do when he took over for an injured Brees instead of Winston. And, it wasn’t something that looks sustainable for the long term.
Yet, if the Saints had a traditional pocket passer along with Hill then they could continue to implement the different packages that Payton likes to throw at teams.
By all accounts, Winston has been well liked by his teammates as there were reports that some players were frustrated that Winston didn’t get the start when Brees was out.
With a full offseason to groom into a starting QB, Payton can see the upside in keeping Winston on the team.
Would Winston Even Want to Leave the Saints?
Let’s be honest here. Winston hasn’t shown enough growth to warrant any other team other than the Saints to give him a shot at a starting QB spot. Only the Saints have seen Winston’s growth on the practice field and in the locker room.
The Bengals have a franchise QB in Joe Burrow even if he’s coming off a devastating knee injury. Plus, they’re content with their backups for now. No need to bring in Winston as a stop gap until Burrow returns.
We are merely seven minutes away from Jameis Winston winning his first playoff game. pic.twitter.com/ZN4wh8zonv
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) January 11, 2021
The WFT could bring in Newton, keep Alex Smith, or bring back Tyler Heinicke. All three offer the same, if not more, upside than Winston does.
The Colts are frontrunners for Wentz or Stafford. In fact, they could even bring back Philip Rivers who would be better suited for the team than Winston.
The Jets have Sam Darnold or they could draft a QB with the #2 pick. So, there’s no need to bring in Winston. As for the Patriots, I just don’t see Bill Belichick putting the reigns of his offense in Winston’s hands. He might as well keep Cam Newton who already knows the system.
As for this prop bet, the Saints make the most sense. And, they still offer value at -130 odds. Winston would be foolish to walk away from the Saints if they were interested.
Will Winston Stay With the Saints? –New Orleans Saints (-130)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …