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Where Will Justin Herbert Be Drafted? Post Free Agency

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Where could the former Ducks signal caller be headed after a wild QB free agency carousel?

NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

After a wild opening salvo of NFL free agency, the quarterback carousel has largely settled with a few names (Jameis Winston, Cam Newton) still waiting to sign. LSU quarterback and Heisman winner Joe Burrow is considered a stone cold lock for the first overall selection. Who will be the second quarterback off the board in April’s draft?

I took a look at possible Herbert destinations before the wild west of the NFL offseason started. What changed? Besides the global COVID19 pandemic effectively shutting things down worldwide.

I will rank them as most to least likely as I did in the previous article.

Most Likely

5. Miami Dolphins

  • Miami could shock the world and select Herbert over a still recovering Tua Tagovailoa, however unlikely it is. They have the draft capital to move up to select whichever quarterback they desire with three first round picks at their disposal. Miami is coming off a five win season (which likely was four wins more than anyone expected) with a roster not worthy of the XFL. The Dolphins, armed with a ton of cap space, went on a spending spree in free agency to build their roster further to compete in a Brady-less AFC East.

6. Los Angeles Chargers

  • The Chargers “mutually agreed” to part ways with future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers (he’s since landed in Indianapolis) before free agency and did nothing to rectify the issue in free agency. The current incumbent is longtime NFL journeyman Tyrod Taylor. The Chargers aren’t completely bereft of weapons as Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and Austin Ekeler remain with a budding young defense. Taylor could be an effective bridge quarterback until Herbert is ready or a capable backup.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • The Jaguars move up the list by somehow miraculously dumping Nick Foles’ insanely stupid contract to the Bears and getting a solid pick in return too. Seriously, how were they able to do that? The only QB of note on the roster is rising sophomore Gardner Minshew. He was only a sixth round selection so the current regime is not married to him that much. However, I just don’t see the Jaguars taking Herbert as they have other needs on the roster and an angry locker room to smooth over. The Jaguars can move up to get Herbert if they so wish due to having multiple first round picks.

Maybe (if you think about it hard enough)

3. Detroit Lions

  • It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Lions draft a successor to Matt Stafford. They have needs elsewhere (like all the cornerbacks after trading perennial All-Pro Darius Slay). I’m not sure the current regime could survive to 2021 should they fail to make the playoffs even with a rookie QB excuse built in. The Lions hold the key to the whole draft as they are prime candidates to trade down with a QB needy team (Miami or LA).

7. Carolina Panthers

  • Yes, they just signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three year, $63 million deal in free agency to replace a cut Cam Newton. Also, they have an OC in Joe Brady that is familiar to Bridgewater. Hear me out though. In actuality, virtually all of the guaranteed money owed to Bridgewater is in year one. If Bridgewater doesn’t play up to the standards of that contract, the Panthers can just release him with very little in cap penalties in 2021. What complicates this scenario is that the team just signed XFL sensation P.J. Walker as a backup.

Unlikely (but you just never know)

2. Washington Racial Slurs

  • They doubled down on Dwayne Haskins and just (stupidly) traded for Kyle Allen. If they don’t trade down, it’s a sure bet that they select Ohio State EDGE Chase Young with the second overall pick.

12. Las Vegas Raiders

  • No. It’s very unlikely they do the former Oregon QB double in Vegas after giving Marcus Mariota a large incentive based contract and are paying Derek Carr a lot of money as well. They will be in the Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields market if both Carr and Mariota fail in 2020 regardless. The Raiders can also move up as they have multiple first round picks.

13. San Francisco 49ers

  • The reigning NFC Champions have the 13th overall pick as a result of the trade of former Oregon Duck DeForest Buckner trade to the Colts. They still have a lot of love for Jimmy Garoppolo, not to mention over $80 million in salary commitments to him left. However, they can cut him in 2021 with a minor dead cap hit of just over $2 million. I’m not sure if Herbert fits what they want to do given their needs elsewhere.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Given how the aforementioned Garoppolo was railroaded out of New England, it’s extremely unlikely that the Bucs draft Tom Brady’s successor this soon. It’s not happening. They are going for the win now selection.

16. Atlanta Falcons

  • Atlanta is in a place where they have to win now and do it fast as both GM and head coach are under fire with a mandate from ownership to win or else. As much as we would love to see Herbert throw vertical bombs to the ageless Julio Jones and company, they have needs elsewhere more than a rookie quarterback.

17. Dallas Cowboys

  • Cap space is at a premium in Dallas. Dak Prescott isn’t going anywhere as the Cowboys placed the franchise tag. The Cowboys need all the draft picks to retool around their high priced defense and a first round QB no matter the relationship between Prescott and the team seems a waste.

20. Minnesota Vikings

  • 0 chance that Herbert lands in Minnesota. They are stuck on the Kirk Cousins train for a long time. Raise your kids to be a player agent or a mediocre quarterback, folks. Cousins and his agents have finessed TWO teams for close to $160 million FULLY GUARANTEED to date and has the potential to get at least another $90 million more guaranteed over the next four years.

Wild Cards

23. New England Patriots

  • The Patriots have a vacancy after one Thomas Brady left for the sunny income tax free beaches of Florida like most old people from the Northeast. They do have the assets to swing a trade up in order to get Herbert as the heir to the throne. The Patriots say they are committed to young gun Jarrett Stidham but we shall see.

24. New Orleans Saints

  • Drew Brees is back on a two year contract but he’s year to year at this point in his Hall of Fame career. Taysom Hill is likely to come back as well but is he really the heir? Hill was tendered the highest tag possible (a team interested in signing him must give up two first round picks plus his contract). No team with their mental capacities fully functioning will do that, not even the Dan Snyder ran Washington team. Herbert would fit in nicely as the heir apparent to Brees with a LOADED team and brilliant offensive minded head coach.