NFL News & Analysis

Realistic trade value and landing spots for veteran QBs: Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr and more

Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

• Would Ravens franchise-tag Lamar Jackson and trade him?: In this scenario, Baltimore sends Jackson to the Giants and recoups a massive draft pick haul — 2023 first-, 2024 first-, 2025 first-, 2023 second- and 2024 third-round selections.

• Raiders send Derek Carr to Buccaneers: Carr’s contract was structured in a way that provides an out for Las Vegas, as very little money was tied up in prorated bonuses.

• New Orleans a potential landing spot for Davis Mills: Mills was selected with the No. 67 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and has done about as much as you could ask of a young quarterback in such a situation, but he ultimately doesn't appear to be the Texans' future at the position.

Estimated Reading Time: 11 mins

For the third offseason in a row, the NFL quarterback carousel will be turning. Big decisions loom for the Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, among others. We’ve written this article in each of the past two years — 2020 and 2021 — and had some solid projections on trade value. 

RUSSELL WILSON, 2022

Last offseason, Wilson ended up fetching the Seattle Seahawks another second-round pick along with quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant and interior defender Shelby Harris. In hindsight, Denver is regretting not only this trade but also the five-year, $245 million extension for Wilson that could make it a struggle to be competitive until at least 2025. 

CARSON WENTZ, 2021

Over the 2021 offseason, we came fairly close on the compensation package for Wentz, who ended up going to the Indianapolis Colts for a third-round pick and a future, conditional first-round pick. 

We’re back at it again this year with another full crop of prospective trade candidates, with fireworks expected once again as the new era of NFL player movement continues to fundamentally change team-building. 


Green Bay Packers QB Aaron RodgersNew York Jets

  • Terms: Jets send 2023 1st, 2024 1st, 2023 2nd, 2024 2nd
  • Packers dead cap: $40.3 million
  • Contract acquired: Four years*, $144.7 million, $108.8 million guaranteed

*An acquiring team would truly be inheriting a two-year, $108.8 million deal with control for two more years if Rodgers elects to continue playing, presumably on a reworked contract.

Rodgers has a $58.3 million fully guaranteed option bonus due this offseason, but the exercise window is open until just before the 2023 regular season kicks off, which is, in theory, conducive to a trade. Moving on from Rodgers via trade this offseason is the only real way Green Bay can get out of this deal without too much damage — around $40 million in total dead cap — though dead cap is less of a consideration with a back-to-back MVP quarterback in his final years.

Even with Rodgers turning 39 earlier in December and playing on the richest contract in the NFL, he’s still potentially worth a trade package roughly in line with Russell Wilson’s — though perhaps Wilson’s performance scares some teams from pulling the trigger. Rodgers has shown recently he can adapt to new systems and isn’t at risk of regressing to the same magnitude. There are no real concerns from a play standpoint, but he may not offer a large enough playing window to command a return of this degree.

Over the past three seasons, Rodgers’ 92.5 passing grade leads the NFL, with Tom Brady’s 92.1 mark — in seasons all played well over 40 years old — right behind. Rodgers’ 97.2 mark on throws 20-plus yards downfield since 2020 ranks fourth, and his 6.8% big-time throw rate leads the league over the span. A healthy Rodgers has shown no signs of slowing down and could make the Jets an immediate contender.

The Jets have a very good roster at almost every position besides quarterback, as they’ve utilized extra draft capital over the past two years to the tune of seven top-50 draft picks. First-round guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and first-round tackle Mekhi Becton will return in 2023, and Rodgers would have Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore and Corey Davis to throw to at wide receiver. Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur is Packers head coach Matt LaFleur’s brother and could provide some familiarity with offensive verbiage. 


Green Bay Packers QB Jordan LoveWashington Commanders

  • Terms: Commanders send 2023 2nd, 2023 5th
  • Packers dead cap: $1.64 million
  • Contract acquired: One year, $2.3 million + fifth-year option 2024 (~$20 million)

We’re not suggesting both of these trades will happen; it’s an either/or decision for Green Bay. It has already been rumored that Love may request a trade if Rodgers returns for 2023, and it makes sense in a pivotal offseason where Love has a fully guaranteed fifth-year option for 2024 valued around $20 million that must be exercised or declined — whether that’s by the Packers or another club.  

The toughest thing to gauge from a trade compensation standpoint is whether a lack of playing time is actually a benefit to Love’s value, as he hasn’t definitively proven one way or another exactly what caliber of quarterback he may become. It was probably to be expected that Love would take a year or two of learning the NFL game out of Utah State before he reached his full potential, and in the very limited film we have from 2022, he played well in relief against the Philadelphia Eagles

Love was 6-of-9 for 113 yards (12.6 yards per attempt) with one touchdown, one big-time throw, and no turnover-worthy plays. Despite the very small sample size, he looked like a player who has made strides behind the scenes with the game starting to slow down. 

The Packers traded up from No. 30 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft to No. 26 overall to select Love, also giving up a fourth-round pick in the process. Here, three years later, they recoup a little less than that value.

Washington has once again played its way out of a top pick but still has nothing but question marks at the most important position in all of sports. The Commanders may be hesitant to once again trade Day 2 draft capital for a quarterback after the Carson Wentz move flopped, but Love is in a very different situation. They can’t take this roster into the 2023 season with Taylor Heinicke the planned starter under center, with his 48.6 passing grade through Week 15 ranking 48th out of 50 quarterbacks with at least 25 passing attempts on the year. 


Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar JacksonNew York Giants

  • Terms: Giants send 2023 1st, 2024 1st, 2025 1st, 2023 2nd, 2024 3rd
  • Ravens dead cap: $0
  • Contract acquired: One year, $45.25 million*

*Projected 2023 quarterback exclusive franchise tender

The Ravens would have to first place a franchise tag on Jackson, which is a near certainty this offseason even if they ultimately come to terms on a multi-year extension after the fact. Jackson has played well in a contract year, leading the team to an 8-3 record before going down with an injury in Week 13.

Jackson’s rushing prowess speaks for itself, with his 136 missed tackles forced since 2019 the top mark among quarterbacks by 45, his .23 missed tackles forced per rush the highest rate and his 134 explosive rushes 50 more than second most. Jackson’s 1,781 rushing yards after contact would rank fifth in total rushing yards among quarterbacks since 2019. 

As a passer, Jackson’s 5.1% big-time throw rate since 2019 is sandwiched between Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady over the span and his 2.9% turnover-worthy play rate ranks 11th among qualifying quarterbacks. He is singlehandedly responsible for more offense than arguably any other player in the NFL and is just nine months older than Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett.

Baltimore deserves credit for consistently building out a quality offensive line in front of Jackson but has completely failed to add reliable wide receivers for the majority of his tenure. The Miami Dolphins seemed like a potential fit before the season, but after forfeiting a first-round pick for tampering and trading another to acquire former Denver Broncos edge defender Bradley Chubb, they don’t appear to have the capital even if they did still want to move on from Tua Tagovailoa, which seems very unlikely at this point.

The New York Giants have been the surprise team of 2022 under head coach Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale — who battled Lamar Jackson in Ravens practice from 2018-22 — and could perhaps look to make a splash this offseason after letting quarterback Daniel Jones hit the open market.

Jones ranks fifth in rushing yards among quarterbacks with the lowest stuff rate (1.7%) thanks to Daboll scheming things up for another mobile quarterback after tapping into Josh Allen’s potential in Buffalo. Daboll and Jackson could be a dynamic offensive duo, and while the Giants also have injury issues and a lack of talent at wide receiver, it can’t be any worse than it was in Baltimore. 


Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek CarrTampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Terms: Buccaneers send 2023 1st, 2023 3rd
  • Raiders dead cap: $5.625 million
  • Contract acquired: Three years, $116.3 million

Carr’s contract was structured in a way that provides an out for Las Vegas here, as very little money was tied up in prorated bonuses. Furthermore, a three-year deal for less than $40 million per year could also be enticing enough to potential suitors with no need to immediately revisit the contract just one year after Carr signed.

It seems unlikely that the Raiders would trade for Carr’s good friend in wide receiver Davante Adams and then immediately move on, but anything can happen with head coach Josh McDaniels at the helm. While the team has spoken about the steep learning curve of the McDaniels offense, and despite injuries to tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, Carr has not been good enough.

Carr’s 66.4 passing grade in 2022 ranks 25th among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts, his 18 turnover-worthy plays are tied for fifth most, his 7.1 yards per attempt ranks 18th and his 61.2% completion percentage is 34th. This team just spent a small fortune to add talent this past offseason and may only get worse before things improve because of aging contributors. 

For Tampa Bay, we’re of course operating under the assumption that Tom Brady will either step away from the game altogether or perhaps push to play elsewhere (San Francisco?). Tampa has a tough road ahead in figuring out their salary cap situation but is too talented to just let Kyle Trask step in as the starter.

Carr would be the best quarterback in the NFC South as opposed to third place at best in the AFC West, and the Buccaneers can make a few more runs in a weak NFC conference before more fully turning over this roster.


New Orleans Saints QB Jameis WinstonIndianapolis Colts

  • Terms: Colts send conditional 2024 4th (could become third-round pick based on Winston's playtime in 2023)
  • Saints dead cap: $11.2 million
  • Contract acquired: One year, $12.8 million, $5.8 million guaranteed

Winston has expressed frustration over being relegated to the backup role for what he believes was due to his injuries earlier this season, but the Saints have fully handed the reins to Andy Dalton and don’t seem to have any plans to go back to Winston for the foreseeable future.

Dalton has been surprisingly productive behind a top offensive line, with rookie wide receiver Chris Olave the only truly reliable target in the passing game over the course of the season. Winston was far more erratic early in the year, and his 12.6-yard average depth of target is the top mark in the NFL, whereas Dalton has succeeded as more of a facilitator. 

Player Passing Grade Adj. Net Yds/Att. Big-Time Throw % Turnover-Worthy Play %
Jameis Winston 66.9   5.07 (28th) 6.1% 5.4%
Andy Dalton 86.2 6.89 (9th) 4.8% 1.7%

The Saints can use some cash/cap savings wherever they can get it, and if a team is willing to take on Winston’s $12.8 million or a significant portion of it, they would probably take that deal in a heartbeat considering they could re-sign Dalton — currently playing for $3 million — as the bridge quarterback once again in 2023 for cheap. 

Indianapolis may finally be in range to use its first-round pick on a potential franchise quarterback and end the cycle of veteran retreads that ultimately led to the firing of head coach Frank Reich, especially after blowing an NFL record 33-0 lead to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15. However, they could still remain fairly competitive as they bring a rookie along. The Arizona Cardinals are an interesting team to monitor for quarterbacks like Winston if Kyler Murray is expected to miss most of the 2023 campaign. 


Houston Texans QB Davis MillsNew Orleans Saints

  • Terms: Saints send 2023 6th, 2025 3rd
  • Texans dead cap: $579K
  • Contract acquired: Two years, $2.5 million

Mills was selected with the No. 67 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and has done about as much as you could ask of a young quarterback, given his surrounding situation, working with his second offensive coordinator in as many years, the lowest-graded interior offensive line in the NFL since 2021 and the meager talent at wide receiver — especially with a disgruntled Brandin Cooks now out with an injury. 

All of that said, Houston ultimately benched Mills earlier this season in favor of journeyman Kyle Allen and is now using Mills in a rotation with hybrid quarterback/tight end Jeff Driskel. It’s becoming quite clear that the plan in Houston is to secure the No. 1 overall pick, which they’ll most likely use on a quarterback. 

Mills’ 2.56-second average time to throw is tied for 10th fastest since 2021, and he’s posted a positive touchdown-to-interception ratio in each season thus far. We’re not going to sugarcoat a bunch of statistics, but compared to performances this season from fellow 2021 Draft class members like New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson or New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, he’s overcome playing on the worst roster in the NFL to a degree. 

The Saints are already sending their 2023 first- and 2024 second-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, so here they trade a Day 2 pick from 2025 to bring in a young quarterback in the meantime. A trade of former head coach Sean Payton could bring in enough draft capital to enable New Orleans to trade for a top target in the draft or among veteran options, but this is a backup plan of sorts if they can’t pull that off. Dalton will turn 36 in 2023 and is obviously not a long-term option. 

Safety worth way more than 2 points. Help protext your family with fast, affordable life insurance. You could be covered in 10 minutes! Get a Free Quote.
Sponsor

NFL Featured Tools

Subscriptions

Unlock all tools and content including Player Grades, Fantasy, NFL Draft, Premium Stats, Greenline and DFS.

$9.99 / mo
$79.99 / yr