Last offseason, the NFL’s quarterback carousel spun like never before. Tom Brady left New England and wound up in Tampa Bay. Philip Rivers’ 16 year-run with the Chargers came to an end as he finished his career in Indianapolis. Teddy Bridgewater went from the Saints to the Panthers and Jameis Winston from Tampa to New Orleans. The Eagles spent a second-round pick on Jalen Hurts to become Carson Wentz’s backup. And Eli Manning hung up his cleats after 16 seasons in New York.
All that, and it still might not even compare to what could happen this offseason.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter predicted that more than 18 quarterbacks would change teams in 2021, with big names like Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, Matt Ryan, Wentz, Cam Newton, and Jared Goff potentially on the move.
A couple of those shoes began to drop on Thursday as Pittsburgh and Houston begin preparations for next season.
Big Ben Willing to Take Pay Cut
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Thursday that he's "pretty sure" he wants to return to the team for the 2021 season and that he is willing to restructure his contract to help the team.
The salary cap is likely to decrease due to a drop in revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic. Roethlisberger's $41.2 million cap hit for next season is problematic for the Steelers, but Roethlisberger believes a restructure could bring Pittsburgh the help it needs.
"I want to do everything I can and made that very clear to them from the very beginning that it was my idea to basically help the team however I can this year," Roethlisberger said. ”I am pretty sure I want to go one more year [because] I think I can do it and give us a real chance [at] winning."
Team President and CEO Art Rooney II also told reporters the Steelers have left the door open for Roethlisberger to return, but it will depend on whether adjustments are made to his contract.
Roethlisberger threw for 3,803 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 2020. Playing next year would mean that Big Ben would have outlasted fellow 2004 draftees Eli Manning and Rivers.
Watson Demands Trade
Deshaun Watson has officially requested a trade from the Houston Texans. While news of the request was made public on Thursday, Watson submitted the formal request weeks ago.
Watson has a no-trade clause in his four-year, $156 million contract. That clause gives Watson some leverage in determining where he goes. The hiring of new head coach David Culley has had no impact on Watson’s decision as the franchise quarterback has not spoken to the team’s general manager or executive vice president.
Watson’s displeasure with the organization has become very public since the end of the regular season, with the team ignoring his input on potential candidates for the GM and head coaching vacancies.
Watson set career highs this season in passing yards, touchdowns, and completion percentage. He also threw a career-low seven interceptions. His 33 touchdowns and 4,823 passing yards were single-season franchise records, but the team struggled mightily, going 4-12 and firing Bill O’Brien after an 0-4 start.