PFR Polls

Poll: Who Will End Offseason As NFL’s Highest-Paid Defender?

The league’s seen a large number of standout players skip mandatory workouts this week, setting up an eventful stretch despite teams being on break between minicamps and training camps.

The star power from the 2014 draft is driving part of this spree of holdouts, and this summer figures to produce at least one mega-contract for a defender (and likely more). By the time this offseason concludes, the defensive contract landscape will look different. Who will be the league’s new standard-bearer here?

Von Miller‘s held that title for two years, since signing his six-year, $114.6MM extension at the 2016 franchise tag deadline. Multiple stars drafted in the 2014 first round are gunning for contracts that would surpass Miller’s.

Will it be Aaron Donald? Despite playing a position that has not been traditionally compensated as well as Miller’s, Ndamukong Suh‘s 2015 free agency windfall notwithstanding, Donald has been the league’s most dominant interior defender for a bit now. With quarterbacks’ release times steadily accelerating, defenders lined up closer to the ball have seen a change in compensation patterns. Defensive tackles like Fletcher Cox and Kawann Short are each paid more than $16MM annually, and Donald’s operated on a higher level than each during his four-year career.

Holding out for a second straight year, Donald is a key component to a Rams operation that’s taking a more aggressive approach to contention than it did last year. While no deal is imminent, talks will presumably heat up soon. Les Snead‘s already said a Donald resolution will need to involve an NFL-high defender contract, but will other defenders end up with a better deal?

Khalil Mack didn’t follow Donald’s lead and hold out last year, despite both being on the same timeline and the Raiders defensive end beating the Rams defensive tackle to the defensive player of the year throne. Now, Mack’s stayed away from the Raiders throughout the offseason. While the Raiders may be a tad behind the Rams on the preseason hype scale, Mack has been vital to their defense — a perennially shaky unit despite his dominance — and plays the game’s most valuable defensive role.

At 27, Mack is two years younger than Miller. And the cap is now $22MM higher than it was when the Broncos signed their edge-rushing phenom. It stands to reason Mack will sign a more lucrative deal. However, Derek Carr accepted less than market value at $25MM per year to help Oakland be in better position to keep its core together. With that contract on the books, and a situation the Rams do not have to navigate with Jared Goff just yet, will Mack end up just behind Donald in this pursuit? The Raiders also signed Carr in June of last year. Mack signing in June, to conclude a less contentious process than Donald’s, would open the door for Donald to come in and exceed whatever deal the Bay Area parties reach.

What about Jadeveon Clowney? Not as accomplished as the California-dwelling duo, the No. 1 pick in 2014 has become a star in his own right. And at 25, he’s two years younger than both. As injuries have sidetracked J.J. Watt‘s otherworldly career, Clowney’s become one of the league’s best players. The Texans have a history of authorizing this kind of contract — as they did with Watt’s six-year, $100MM pact in 2014 — and have a quarterback at least two years away from an extension.

While Watt’s maladies have clouded his future and made Clowney more indispensable in the process, might Houston be leery of paying league-record money to another injury-prone performer? Clowney is not holding out, but he did not participate in minicamp while recovering from another surgery.

So, which defender will assume Miller’s position? What will it take to finalize such a deal? Will this derby end with a $20MM- or $21MM-per-year contract? Is there a darkhorse player (perhaps the franchise-tagged Demarcus Lawrence?) that could swoop in here? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your view in the comments section!

Poll: Which AFC East Team Had The Best Offseason?

Over the past week, we’ve asked you which team had the best offseason from the AFC North, NFC West, and AFC West. Today we’ll take a look at the offseasons of teams from another active division, the AFC East.

The Jets started things off by making a bold move to acquire their quarterback of the future when they traded up to get the third overall pick from the Colts. They ended up selecting Sam Darnold, and also signed Teddy Bridgewater to complete their quarterback room that will return only Josh McCown from last year. They released Bryce Petty and traded Christian Hackenberg, giving up on both of their former draft picks. They signed cornerback Trumaine Johnson to a huge contract in free agency, and also picked up kicker Cairo Santos and running back Isaiah Crowell. They cut longtime headache defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson and signed Terrelle Pryor to bolster last year’s woeful receiving corp. They fired offensive coordinator John Morton and replaced him with Jeremy Bates. The Jets shocked everyone last year with how competitive they were able to be, and will look to build on that progress in 2018.

The Bills also had a bold draft strategy. They too traded up for their quarterback of the future, taking Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick. They took linebacker Tremaine Edmunds later in the first to be the quarterback of their defense. They lost guard Richie Incognito to retirement, and were mostly quiet in free agency aside from signing Star Lotulelei to a five-year deal. They did add A.J. McCarron to compete with Allen to be the starting quarterback, and fired offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, replacing him with Brian Daboll. The biggest move they made however, was trading their starting quarterback from the past three seasons, Tyrod Taylor, to the Browns. The Bills ended the longest active playoff drought in major professional sports this past season, and will look to build on that progress with a first-time starter under center in 2018.

The Patriots had a relatively quiet offseason in terms of transactions. They did trade wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Rams for a first round pick, but didn’t make many moves in free agency. The real story of the Patriots’ offseason was all the drama surrounding Tom BradyBill Belichick, Robert Kraft, and Rob Gronkowski. They took two players from Georgia with their two first round picks, offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel. The Patriots will return mostly the same roster from last year’s AFC-winning team, and will hope Brady can continue to play at an MVP level as he gets another year older.

The Dolphins mostly stayed pat like the Patriots, presumably due to their dire cap situation. After lots of speculation they would look to add a quarterback in the first round to replace Ryan Tannehill, they ultimately selected Minkah Fitzpatrick with the 11th overall pick. Their offseason was mostly defined by the players they got rid of, like Ndamukong Suh, Julius Thomas, Mike Pouncey, and Lawrence Timmons. They did sign receivers Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson, and veteran running back Frank Gore. The Dolphins had a disappointing season last year after Tannehill re-tore his ACL, and the team’s success in 2018 will be nearly entirely dependent on his health.

Which team do you think had the best offseason in the AFC East? Vote in PFR’s poll below and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

Poll: Which AFC North Team Had The Best Offseason?

Over the past week we’ve asked you which AFC West and NFC West team had the best offseason. Another division with a lively past few months has been the AFC North. All four teams drafted quarterbacks, and all four teams changed one of their coordinators. Here’s a quick recap:

The Browns had the most high profile offseason. Holding the number one and four overall picks, the Browns and their draft plans were the topics of endless offseason discussion. When the draft finally came, they ended up taking quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward with those picks. They made a string of splashy trades, acquiring Jarvis Landry, Tyrod Taylor, and Damarious Randall. They were also very active in free agency, signing Carlos Hyde, Chris Hubbard, E.J. Gaines, and Drew Stanton among others. Cleveland did have some significant departures with Joe Thomas retiring, Isaiah Crowell signing with the Jets, and DeShone Kizer traded for Randall. They also added an offensive coordinator for the first time under coach Hue Jackson, hiring Todd Haley after he was not retained by the Steelers. It’s been a long time since there was a competitive Browns team, but with all the offseason moves GM John Dorsey has made, this should be the most talented Browns team in recent memory.

The Ravens joined the Browns in drafting a quarterback in the first round, taking Lamar Jackson 32nd overall. Joe Flacco remains the starter for now, but it won’t be long before Jackson is pushing him. After Dean Pees retired, the team promoted Don Martindale to replace him as defensive coordinator. The team released Jeremy Maclin and signed Michael Crabtree to replace him, also adding John Brown and Willie Snead to further bolster their receiving corp. They also signed Robert Griffin III, who will be fighting for a roster spot this summer. Other than that, they were mostly quiet during free agency, and didn’t make many trades. It will be virtually the same Ravens team taking the field in 2018 as they seek to build on their 9-7 record from last season when they just barely missed the playoffs due to tiebreakers.

The Steelers also drafted their potential quarterback of the future, taking Mason Rudolph in the third round. They notably let Haley walk due to years of disagreements with Ben Roethlisberger, replacing him by promoting quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner. They used their first round pick on safety Terrell Edmunds and took wide receiver James Washington in the second. Other than that, they were mostly quiet, not signing any well-known free agents other than linebacker Jon Bostic. The Steelers elected mostly to return the same team that has dominated the division in recent years.

The Bengals had the most low profile spring. They signed defensive tackle Chris Baker and signed Matt Barkley to replace A.J. McCarron as Andy Dalton‘s backup. They swapped first round picks with the Bills to acquire offensive tackle Cordy Glenn, who the team hopes will help shore up the offensive line deficiencies they’ve faced the last couple of seasons. They took center Billy Price in the first round, and lost their defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to the Raiders. They hired Teryl Austin away from the Lions to replace him. The Bengals will have to hope that Dalton can have a career renaissance and bring them back to being the team that made the playoffs five straight years not too long ago. They’re currently projected by many to finish last in the AFC North, but have the talent to potentially make some noise.

Which team do you think had the best offseason in the AFC North? Vote in PFR’s poll below and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

Poll: Which NFC West Team Had The Best Offseason?

A few days ago we asked you which AFC West team had the best offseason. Perhaps the only division which had a busier offseason than the AFC West was the NFC West. The NFC West is quickly becoming one of the most exciting divisions in football, with a pair of young innovative coaches and several franchise quarterbacks. Each team made moves this spring with lofty ambitions in mind, but only one will reign supreme this time next year.

The Cardinals probably had the most eventful offseason of all NFC West teams. They have a new head coach and totally remade their quarterback room from last year after the retirement of Carson Palmer and free agency departures of Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert left them without any quarterbacks under contract. First they signed Sam Bradford, and weeks later made a splash in the draft, trading up to take Josh Rosen with the 10th overall pick. They also added Mike Glennon after he was cut by the Bears. Bradford will likely begin the season as the starter, but with his lengthy injury history, it’s very possible Rosen sees the field early. They cut longtime staple of their defense Tyrann Mathieu and hired Steve Wilks to replace the retiring Bruce Arians as head coach. They brought in Andre Smith and Justin Pugh to help improve last year’s dreadful offensive line, and signed Brice Butler away from the Cowboys as an extra pass-catcher behind Larry Fitzgerald. They’re being cast as the underdogs of the division, but have enough talent on paper to make some noise.

The Seahawks officially dismantled the once vaunted ‘Legion of Boom’, cutting one former staple in Richard Sherman and trading another in Michael Bennett. In a bid to get younger, the Seahawks have moved on from several longtime veterans this offseason. They made what many called the surprise move of the draft by taking running back Rashaad Penny in the first round. The Seahawks’ running game has been abysmal since Marshawn Lynch left, so it makes sense they reached for a running back early. They signed wide receiver Jaron Brown away from the Cardinals, but overall weren’t too active in free agency. The story of the Seahawks’ offseason was definitely more about what they subtracted rather than what they added. Last year snapped a streak of five consecutive seasons of reaching the playoffs, and the Seahawks will face a much tougher path back to the postseason than they have in recent years. With the NFC West set to be the best it’s been in a long time, the Seahawks will need some heroics from Russell Wilson to regain their dominance division.

The Rams made the biggest acquisitions of any team in the NFC West. After coach Sean McVay led the team to an 11-5 record and division title in his first year, he’ll have even more pieces to work with in year two. General manager Les Snead was aggressive in the trade market, acquiring wide receiver Brandin Cooks and All-Pro cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib in exchange for draft picks. The Rams also signed Ndamukong Suh after he was let go by the Dolphins. Due to all the trades, the Rams didn’t have many draft picks, but they still added a ton of talent to the team. They did lose cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who signed with the Jets, but the additions of Peters and Talib should more than make up for that. If quarterback Jared Goff can take a leap next year with a full offseason to digest McVay’s complicated playbook, the Rams should be able to repeat as division champs.

The 49ers were maybe the most quiet NFC West team this offseason. After winning five straight games to end the season once Jimmy Garoppolo became the team’s starting quarterback, the 49ers opted to mostly stay put. They did sign center Weston Richburg and Sherman after he was cut by the Seahawks, but didn’t do all that much in terms of adding pieces. They drafted offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey with the ninth overall pick to help keep Garoppolo upright for years to come. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is confident that he’s found his guy in Garoppolo, and the 49ers should be able to build on last season’s late success and turn it into a playoff birth in 2018.

Which team do you think had the best offseason in the NFC West? Vote in PFR’s poll below and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

Poll: Which AFC West Team Had The Best Offseason?

Of all the divisions in the NFL, perhaps none had a busier offseason than the AFC West. The Chargers were the only team in the division that didn’t change their head coach or starting quarterback. Each team had their own clear strategy for navigating the spring, but only one will emerge as the top dog in the division next season. 

The Raiders kicked off a new era in January when they signed Jon Gruden to a ten-year deal to be their new head coach. Over the last few months, Gruden has totally remade the team to fit his vision of a squad with lots of veteran leaders, while getting rid of some players whose personalities he didn’t like such as Michael Crabtree and Marquette King. They’ve signed a slew of aging veterans like Doug Martin, Jordy Nelson, and Leon Hall. They added offensive tackle Kolton Miller with their first-round pick to help bolster their offensive line and keep Derek Carr upright. The 2018 season will be the team’s first without Sebastian Janikowski as their kicker since 1999, as the team let the longtime fan favorite walk in free-agency. This Raiders team will be one of the oldest in recent league history, but with some top-line talent in Carr, Amari Cooper, and Khalil Mack, along with a very experienced locker room, they have the potential to make some noise in the AFC.

The Chargers had by far the quietest offseason of all the AFC West teams. They opted to mostly stand pat in free agency, although they did sign Mike Pouncey after he was cut by the Dolphins. The Chargers are mostly counting on the talent from last year’s team being able to get them over the hump this year. They got what many considered to be the steal of the draft when Florida State safety Derwin James fell to them at the 17th pick in the first-round. They’ve sought to address the kicking game, the team’s biggest weakness in 2017, by bringing in Caleb Sturgis and former second-round pick Roberto Aguayo to compete. On paper, the Chargers are one of the most talented teams in the league. A couple of missed field goals at the end of games was the only thing stopping them from being a playoff team last year. They’ve been a popular media pick so far to win the AFC West in 2018, and could make a deep playoff run if they can put it all together.

The Chiefs kicked off the NFL offseason by making a blockbuster trade with the Redskins, shipping out quarterback Alex Smith and officially starting the Patrick Mahomes era in Kansas City. The team had no first-round pick, but did make a splash in free agency. They signed Sammy Watkins to a three-year deal to pair with Tyreek Hill on the outside. They lost offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, who took a head coaching job with the Bears. They also traded All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams, in part due to his clashes with the coaching staff. It was a tumultuous offseason for the Chiefs as they look to restart rather than rebuild. Mahomes showed flashes of brilliance during his lone regular season start last year, but it will be hard to win in a tough division with a quarterback making his first meaningful starts. Still, if any coach could pull it off, it’s probably Andy Reid.

The Broncos are coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history. Following their Super Bowl win in 2015, they went 9-7 in 2016 only for the wheels to come off this past year. They ended up starting three different quarterbacks, and none of Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, and Brock Osweiler were effective. Siemian and Osweiler are gone now, and Lynch will be fighting for a roster spot this summer. The team brought in Case Keenum to be their new starting quarterback, and added defensive end Bradley Chubb with the fifth overall pick. They traded Aqib Talib, a former staple of their legendary “No Fly Zone” to the Rams, and traded for former second-round safety Su’a Cravens. While the Broncos didn’t do anything crazy to revamp their roster other than bringing in Keenum, things tend to change quickly in the NFL, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the Broncos rebound fast from their dismal 5-11 season.

Which team do you think had the best offseason in the AFC West? Vote in PFR’s poll below and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Who Will Be Next FA Safety To Sign?

The slow development of the safety market has been one of the major storylines of the offseason, and while there are a number of reasons as to why some of the top available players at the position remain unsigned, it is still surprising to see players of their ilk without work at this point in the league year. Indeed, three of PFR’s top 10 remaining defensive free agents are safeties, and we would like to know which one you think will be the first to sign with a club.

Our top-rated defensive player still available, Eric Reid, could be having difficulty fining a team because of his history of protesting the national anthem. Indeed, the only team that has brought him in for a visit, the Bengals, asked him about his plans in that regard moving forward. But Reid’s fellow free agent safeties on our Top-10 list, Tre Boston and Kenny Vaccaro, have not made the same public stances — though Boston was fairly outspoken following the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott by a Charlotte police officer two years ago — and they haven’t had any better luck, so it could be his status as a safety, more so than his status as a political activist, that is dampening Reid’s market.

Of course, Reid himself feels differently, and he has filed a collusion grievance against the NFL. That will surely not help his cause, but on the field, Reid is a solid and versatile player capable of playing either defensive back or linebacker. His skillset would fit nicely on a team like the Cardinals or Buccaneers.

Boston, meanwhile, has drawn interest from a number of clubs, and he is coming off the best season of his career. He is far from a perfect player, but he does have the ability to play deep safety, and he picked off five passes for the Chargers in 2017. He appeared to be coming into his own after being released by the Panthers last year, and while he is not great in coverage, he has shown that he can at least be serviceable in that regard. He is also a capable pass rusher.

Vaccaro, on the other hand, was terrible in coverage in 2017, but he has shown the ability to line up at safety or at slot corner in his career, and he could theoretically play linebacker in sub-packages as well. He recently met with the Colts, and two weeks ago we heard that he was going to meet with the Jets, though it is unclear whether his summit with Gang Green has actually happened yet. He met with the Dolphins earlier in the offseason, but after the Fins used their first-round pick on Minkah Fitzpatrick, they are probably no longer interested in Vaccaro.

Again, these three players are not without flaws, particularly in coverage, and with the league moving further and further away from traditional in-the-box safeties, maybe we shouldn’t be as shocked that they remain without work. After all, younger players on rookie contracts frequently offer a strong presence in the run game while they work on their coverage skills, so it could be that teams just don’t want to pony up the cash for a veteran to do the work that a less experienced player can do.

Presumably, however, Boston or Vaccaro will eventually find a new team, and Reid may as well, despite his grievance. Let us know which of them you think will sign first, or if you think another safety like Corey Graham will get a chance before they do. We’d also like you to explain your choice in the comments section and let us know what you believe is holding up the safety market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Should The Chargers Re-Sign Gates?

Earlier this year, the Chargers informed Antonio Gates that they would not re-sign him for a 16th season with the Bolts. However, their situation has changed in recent days after Hunter Henry‘s season-ending ACL tear. 

We’ll look at all the options that are out there. We’ve got time to do it right now,” GM Ted Telesco said when asked about Gates earlier this week.

Gates, 38 in June, isn’t quite the player he was in 2009, but he was highly productive as recently as two years ago when he caught 53 passes for 548 yards and seven scores. On a limited snap count, Gates could help replace some of Henry’s production in 2018, even if he doesn’t match his 12.9 yards per catch average.

Gates’ familiarity with the Chargers’ offense and personnel also shouldn’t be discounted. He’s been catching passes from Philip Rivers since 2004 while earning eight Pro Bowl nods and three First-Team All-Pro selections along the way.

The 6’4″ tight end probably represents the splashiest move they could make, but he’s not the only noteworthy tight end available. Julius Thomas, Brent Celek, and Coby Fleener are all out there for the taking and it’s possible that one of those three players would be more amicable to playing in a limited role than Gates.

Alternatively, the Chargers could patch things up at TE by shifting sixth-round rookie Dylan Cantrell from receiver to tight end. Cantrell has the height (6’3″) and may have blocking ability ability to make the move, but he’s untested.

All things considered, do you think the Chargers should change course and re-sign Gates? Cast your vote below and support your decision in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Which Team Best Addressed QB Spot This Offseason?

This turned out to be an important year for quarterback acquisitions. Many teams’ short- and long-term futures will depend heavily on the players they added over the past two months.

A fourth of the NFL made major investments in outside talent at the quarterback position this offseason. Which team did you think is in the best position after all the dominoes fell?

Three teams acquired their unquestioned starters via trade or free agency. The Redskins’ trade for Alex Smith ensured they were not going to pick a quarterback in the draft. As did the Vikings’ subsequent Kirk Cousins agreement. The Broncos entered the draft as a borderline QB destination, but John Elway valued Bradley Chubb more than Josh Allen or Josh Rosen, eschewing a Bills offer that would have given his team extra first- and second-round picks. So, Case Keenum is going to be Denver’s starter.

Four of the five teams that used first-round picks on quarterbacks made sure to add bridge-type solutions, with the Browns moving first to get Tyrod Taylor. The Jets and Cardinals then respectively proceeded to bring in Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. And the Bills made the final stopgap addition in A.J. McCarron. But these players, for the most part, are 2018 placeholders — at best.

Was Baker Mayfield worth the No. 1 overall pick? Or did the Browns make what could turn out to be the costliest of their spree of modern quarterback misjudgments last month? Several Cleveland executives independently rated Mayfield as the draft’s premier passer, going against the grain of the many teams that viewed Sam Darnold as this year’s top passing prospect. The Jets appear to have appreciated this bold move, and Darnold is almost certainly going to see extensive time in 2018. PFR readers believe he will.

The Bills worked the phones relentlessly in an effort to install Allen behind McCarron, and the Cardinals reportedly had the Wyoming prodigy rated as their top QB as well. But Allen could need extensive seasoning, and as of now, a returning playoff team has a fifth-year player with 133 career pass attempts set to open the season and possibly close it as the starter.

Conversely, the player the Cardinals invested in was tabbed by many draft experts as the readiest pro. And Bradford being in front of Rosen for 16 games may be asking a lot from the injury-prone veteran. The Ravens are already planning Jackson packages, and although the player whom some teams wanted to work out as a wide receiver may need a season to develop, this draft’s most dominant college QB resides in Baltimore behind Joe Flacco.

Armed with one of the league’s most talented rosters, Minnesota had the most obvious case to pursue a veteran. And the Vikings made history by authorizing a $28MM-AAV fully guaranteed deal for the soon-to-be 30-year-old Cousins, who may be the safest option among all of these players. But he’s now the league’s second-highest-paid passer and tethered to the Vikings through 2020. Smith is coming off his best NFL season, but his Chiefs teams disappointed in two home playoff opportunities. Washington could also be much further away from contention than Minnesota, and the Redskins have now brought in quarterback who for all the stability he offers is four years older.

It’s debatable the Broncos’ contention window could still be open, with many of their core Super Bowl 50 performers still on the team and having played the past two seasons without much help at quarterback. But a 5-11 team armed with only its second top-five pick since 1992 passing on two coveted QB prospects to pursue the 30-year-old Keenum, a late-blooming talent or a player who benefited from better circumstances, could also be classified as a bold choice as Rosen and Allen’s careers unfold. The Broncos only committed to Keenum for two years and are paying Football Outsiders’ No. 4 2017 DYAR passer $10MM less per year than Cousins commanded.

So, with all things considered, which of these franchises is best set up after this offseason? Did one of the teams that spent a first-round pick on a QB ensure a decade and then some of stability and promise? Or did the teams that went strictly for vets get this right? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Which Rookie QB WIll Log The Most Playing Time In 2018?

Six quarterbacks were taken in the first three rounds of the 2018 draft, including the Browns taking Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick.

Though teams spent high-value picks on quarterbacks in 2018, not every quarterback will be in a position to take over a starting role in 2018, though each seemingly has a decent possibility at finding the field in their rookie year. Along with the Browns selecting Mayfield, the Jets selected Sam Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick, the Bills took Josh Allen with the No. 7 overall pick, the Cardinals took Josh Rosen with the No. 10 overall pick and the Ravens selected Lamar Jackson with the No. 32 overall pick. The Steelers also selected Mason Rudolph in the third round of the draft.

Each quarterback has a roadblock to finding playing time in 2018. The Browns acquired quarterback Tyrod Taylor via trade, the Jets re-signed Josh McCown and added Teddy Bridgewater, the Cardinals signed Sam Bradford and the Bills traded for A.J. McCarron. The Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger entrenched in the starting role, though he’s missed eight games over the last three seasons.

So, which quarterback do you think will receive the most playing time in 2018? Will injuries to Ben Roethlisberger or Joe Flacco force Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph into action? Or can Mayfield, Darnold, Rosen or Allen win battles in crowded quarterback rooms?

Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

Poll: Who Will Browns Take At No. 1 Overall?

In one of the wilder lead-ups to a draft in many years, the Browns have been connected to several players with their No. 1 overall pick. The quarterback-desperate franchise is almost certain to announce its expected Tyrod Taylor successor tonight, but the buildup to that moment has been a process featuring many twists and turns.

Having bypassed Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson the past two years, the Browns have now been linked to three quarterbacks at No. 1. The latest could be one of the most unique first-overall picks in memory.

The Browns are now strongly connected to Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner and a player who did not appear in the top half of the first round of Todd McShay’s first offseason mock draft. But John Dorsey brought on former Redskins GM Scot McCloughan as a consultant before the draft, and the longtime scouting guru has been an outspoken proponent of the polarizing Oklahoma-developed quarterback. The news the Browns will take Mayfield at No. 1 emerged this week, and that rumor is rapidly gaining steam.

However, the Browns’ previous debate was believed to be a two-horse race between Sam Darnold and Josh Allen. Dorsey has a history of selecting big-armed passers or being affiliated with organizations which have done so, most recently pulling the trigger on Patrick Mahomes in his final draft as Chiefs GM. Viewed as a high-ceiling, low-floor prospect, Allen would represent that kind of bold choice. A report earlier this week indicated Cleveland was down to the Wyoming prodigy or the fast-rising Mayfield.

Darnold has gone from a player viewed as arguably the best combination of production and upside to one that may fall out of the top two and be there for the Jets at No. 3. The Jets scheduled a Darnold visit once they began to sense the USC product falling to them was a legitimate possibility.

The Browns have also been linked to Saquon Barkley at No. 1. While Barkley is viewed as the top running back and possibly the No. 1 overall player in this prospect pool, it’s hard to believe the Browns would again bypass their chance at landing a possible franchise quarterback.

They have not been closely tied to Josh Rosen during this pre-draft stretch, and the latest on a trade-down occurrence is that line of thinking could transpire with the Browns’ No. 4 pick rather than their No. 1 choice.

So, which passer will be bound for northeast Ohio? Is the Mayfield surge legitimate or a massive smokescreen operation? Does Allen’s upside, the unearthing of several tweets from his high school days notwithstanding, warrant this kind of an investment? Or should the Browns take the player they’ve been most connected to in Darnold with the top pick? How about a trade-down scenario? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.