Editor's note: This post was updated March 17 after the Jets traded up for the No. 3 overall pick in the draft in a deal with the Colts.
The free agency frenzy has more than lived up to the hype this week. There has been a flurry of activity around the league, especially at the game's most important position. Now that Kirk Cousins, the main attraction in this year's player pool, has made his union with the Vikings official, all of the top free-agent quarterbacks are off the market.
Free-agent movement helps shape the way the NFL draft plays out each year, and we now have a pretty good idea of the teams that should be in the QB market in the 2018 draft. The outlook became a little more clear on Saturday, with the Jets trading up for the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. With that in mind, here are the five teams that I believe are most likely to select a signal-caller in the first round of the draft.
1) New York Jets
First pick: No. 3 overall.
QBs currently in the fold:Teddy Bridgewater, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, Joel Stave.
The Jets re-signed McCown and are expected to sign Teddy Bridgewater. However, they missed out on their main target, Kirk Cousins. If they had signed Cousins, I would've expected them to pass on selecting a quarterback with their top pick. Now, I can't see them passing on one, certainly not after packaging four draft picks to secure the No. 3 overall selection in their trade with Indianapolis. You don't trade that many picks for anything other than a QB. Prior to the trade, I had them third on this list, but they're now the team most likely to pick a QB in the first round. They clearly feel comfortable with three prospects at the position, and the trade guarantees they will land one of them. This is a team with a talented young nucleus on defense -- and if it lands the right quarterback, the squad would be set for the foreseeable future. Josh Rosen is the QB prospect that's been closely associated with this organization over the last few weeks.
2) Cleveland Browns
First-round picks: Nos. 1 and 4 overall.
QBs currently in the fold:Kevin Hogan, Cody Kessler, Tyrod Taylor.
The Browns' addition of Taylor shouldn't alter their draft plans. I expect them to select a quarterback with the first overall pick, and everything I'm hearing leads me to believe that choice will likely come down to Sam Darnold vs. Baker Mayfield. While we're all well aware of the Browns' struggles over the years, I believe landing in Cleveland is a great situation for a rookie signal-caller. Taylor's presence allows the Browns to take their time and avoid rushing a rookie onto the field. They've added some weapons on offense -- including Jarvis Landry and Carlos Hyde -- and the offensive line is in good shape, even with the retirement of Joe Thomas.
3) Buffalo Bills
First-round picks: Nos. 12 and 22 overall.
QBs currently in the fold:AJ McCarron, Nathan Peterman.
The Bills didn't view Tyrod Taylor as their long-term solution at quarterback. That wasn't much of a secret, but it was certainly confirmed once they traded him to the Browns. Even after signing McCarron, the former Bengals backup, to a two-year deal, Buffalo is still clearly a team in the market for a QB. The talk I'm hearing around league circles has the Bills coveting Wyoming QB Josh Allen. With five of the first 65 picks in their possession, including two first-rounders, keep an eye on the second (Giants) and fourth (Browns) overall picks as potential trade targets for Buffalo. The Jets and Colts set the market for what it will cost to trade up for a top QB in this draft. It won't be cheap, but I expect the Bills to aggressively attempt to move up for a quarterback, whether it's Allen or someone else.
4) Arizona Cardinals
First pick: No. 15 overall.
QBs currently in the fold:Sam Bradford, Mike Glennon.
The Cardinals were in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, but they fell short of landing him. However, they did sign Bradford to a two-year contract. Bradford is a bridge at the position, and I still believe they could take a quarterback in the first round, should one of the top guys fall in the draft. I like the fit of Baker Mayfield in that division, but I wouldn't be shocked if Josh Allen were their intended target.
5) Denver Broncos
First pick: No. 5 overall.
QBs currently in the fold:Case Keenum, Chad Kelly, Paxton Lynch.
Denver's another team that kicked the tires on Kirk Cousins before electing to sign Keenum, who's coming off an excellent 2017 campaign. His presence at least creates some doubt as to whether the Broncos will draft a quarterback with the fifth pick. If for some reason Sam Darnold were to fall to them, I think they would scoop him up. Outside of that scenario, I'm beginning to think they will look to add an instant-impact position player. Someone like Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson or N.C. State DE Bradley Chubb makes perfect sense if Darnold doesn't somehow fall into the Broncos' lap.