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Understanding the Quarterback Craziness of NFL Free Agency

The wild world of NFL free agency is finally here and there are going to be some major shakeups when it comes to the modern NFL landscape. Between a massive quarterback shuffle and a slew of franchise tags being desperately thrown around, it’s tough to predict who is going to land where. We’re here to help you make sense of it all.

By now you may have heard a something about the retirement of a little known player named Peyton Manning. The sheriff’s retirement came as a surprise to pretty much no one, but it does raise some major questions as to the quarterback position for the Broncos and how this will affect the rest of the league. Following the exit of Manning, many had assumed that Denver would keep around backup Brock Osweiler to take the reins of the ship as the team had been grooming the player since drafting him in 2012. But Brock was pretty salty about being benched in Week 17 of the 2015-16 season for the reanimated corpse of Manning, and Osweiler was quickly snagged up by the Houston Texans. Houston has given Osweiler a four-year, $72 million contract with $37 million of that being guaranteed money. That’s a lot of cash for someone whose stats for his first seven starts eerily resemble those of current Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer. Of course, we did just watch Hoyer have one of the worst playoff games we’ve ever seen with a whopping five turnovers. There’s only so far that J.J. Watt is going to get you if you keep giving the ball to the other team.

This development has Denver scrambling to find a new QB with word on the street suggesting the team might be looking to take Colin Kaepernick off of San Francisco’s hands. It’s no secret that the last two years haven’t been kind to Kaep, but let’s not forget that the team blew up its team and threw everything out with the bathwater in 2014. The last few years have seen owner and CEO Jed York clash with Jim Harbaugh (the team’s most successful coach in recent memory) and fired him for Jim Tomsula in an effort to gain more control of the team. Granted, Harbaugh is a raging psychopath, but at least he’s a winning raging psychopath.

This was a team that had previously won the NFC Championship in 2012 and narrowly lost out in 2013 to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. However, there’s a precedent for the team to be able to turn things around. The 49ers had a 6-10 record in 2010 that improved to 13-3 the next year, so the team can definitely turn this ship around. The big question is whether or not the team has the right players for the job, and if new coach Chip Kelly is the man to do it. Blaine Gabbert is certainly not going to win anyone a Super Bowl and new journeyman QB signing Thad Lewis has played a grand total of seven games since joining the league in 2010. In those games, Lewis has thrown five touchdowns and four interceptions. Not exactly a resume that instills a great amount of confidence for the future.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Houston, Hoyer is looking like he’ll be moving back to the bench so it’s not surprising that the sixth-year QB is reported to be looking for greener pastures. And speaking of green, the early reports are that the New York Jets might be interested in picking up Hoyer now that they might be finished with the Geno Smith experiment. Smith spent much of last season on the sidelines with a broken jaw after getting cold-cocked by one of his teammates during an argument.

These are but a few of the change-ups happening as the league looks to fill a massive, Manning-sized hole that we already know is set to drastically affect the futures of at least four teams. We expect many more huge headlines to come through this summer, so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open. The NFL is going to look very different by the time September rolls around.

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