Analysis

Quarterback relocations: Sam Darnold, Matthew Stafford benefit from move; Jared Goff will struggle

NFL free agency produced quite a shuffle at the offensive skill positions, including quarterback. NFL Network analyst and former QB David Carr has surveyed the recent relocations of eight signal-callers, answering one question for each: Will the player post greater, similar or lesser production with his new team in 2021 than he did with his previous club in 2020?

Greater production

Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton
Chicago Bears · Age 33

Old team: Dallas Cowboys


A reunion with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor should bode well for Dalton. The quarterback's best statistical season in the last five years came in 2016, when Lazor was Cincinnati's QBs coach and Dalton piled up 4,200 yards, 18 touchdowns, eight picks and a 91.8 passer rating. The veteran passer is set up to thrive under Lazor with a talented group of pass catchers and a run game that finally found its groove down the stretch last season. With experience in the system, Dalton can provide the stability at the quarterback position Chicago has searched for for quite some time.


2021 projection: 65 comp. percentage, 3,500 pass yards, 25 TDs, 12 INTs

Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold
Carolina Panthers · Age 23

Old team: New York Jets


I like everything about this fit for Darnold and Carolina. Not having a consistent run game or plethora of talent around him in New York, Darnold now gets the opportunity to perform under a play-caller in Joe Brady who will create offense for the fourth-year quarterback. Getting Christian McCaffrey back will take a lot of pressure off Darnold and the passing attack, and I won't be surprised to see the young signal-caller get the ball out to his dynamic pass catchers on quick pass concepts (much like Teddy Bridgewater did last season), as well as push the ball downfield to his former teammate Robby Anderson and the Moores (D.J. Moore and David Moore) on the perimeter. We'll see this offense take another step forward in Matt Rhule's second season at the helm with a QB capable of extending plays and making more happen off platform.


2021 projection: 65 comp. percentage, 4,000 pass yards, 20 TDs, 10 INTs

Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Washington Football Team · Age 38

Old team: Miami Dolphins


Fitzpatrick comes in as the team's QB1 -- though there will be competition, according to coach Ron Rivera -- and will provide this offense with more consistent play than it had last year. The grizzled vet is playing as well as he ever has, as evidenced by his career-high completion percentage (68.5) last year in Miami. At 38 years old, Fitzpatrick's physical ability hasn't dwindled -- and joining an offense with more firepower, along with a defense that will provide him with two or three more possessions per game, will allow Fitz to put up one of his best statistical seasons. Washington has a good chance to win the division once again with Fitzpatrick under center. 


2021 projection: 70 comp. percentage, 4,000 pass yards, 32 TDs, 15 INTs

Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams · Age 33

Old team: Detroit Lions


This is my favorite pairing of the offseason so far, as both the Rams and Stafford should benefit, with the most notable area of Rams improvement coming via play-action. Sean McVay's offense relies heavily on play-action, and the veteran quarterback has been one of the better performers off play-action over the last two seasons, completing 67.3 percent of his pass attempts, recording an 8:2 TD-to-INT ratio and a 107.9 passer rating. The downfield passing game will also improve with Stafford under center. Stafford's willingness to throw the ball deep (and his accuracy in doing so) will take this offense to the next level and give it a chance to match the success of the Rams' dominant defense. L.A. made a great choice in pursuing Stafford, and I doubt we'll have to wait long to see why.


2021 projection: 70 comp. percentage, 4,300 pass yards, 35 TDs, 8 INTs

Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz
Indianapolis Colts · Age 28

Old team: Philadelphia Eagles


We've all been waiting for Wentz to return to the MVP-caliber form we witnessed in 2017, and I think we'll begin to see something closer to it now that he's reunited with his old offensive coordinator in Frank Reich. After a tough, three-year decline in Philly, Wentz is set up to turn the corner in Indy behind a premier offensive line and with a dominant run game and more established weapons in the passing game. Reich has routinely put his quarterbacks in position to succeed by getting the ball out of the passer's hands and leaning on young talent in the run game to open up the aerial attack. Wentz won't be running for his life (sacked a league-high 50 times last season despite playing just 12 games), and having better protection alone should allow him stay on schedule with his throws and regain confidence in his skills as a passer.


2021 projection: 62 comp. percentage, 3,100 pass yards, 23 TDs, 14 INTs

Similar production

Tyrod Taylor
Tyrod Taylor
Houston Texans · Age 31

Old team: Los Angeles Chargers


Taylor's medical mishap with the Los Angeles Chargers last season was really unfortunate. Now in Houston, Taylor could be in line to see the field this fall with all of the uncertainty surrounding Deshaun Watson, from his trade request to the 22 lawsuits recently filed against him


Taylor is familiar with the type of offensive system Texans head coach David Culley, who spent the last two seasons in Baltimore, wants to run. The veteran, who'll be 32 at the start of the 2021 season, still moves extremely well and has the goods to move the chains with his arm or legs. He's "a baller" who will put his team in position to compete, and his experience should help get this almost entirely new group of players on the same page come September. If Taylor ends up on the field this fall, I see him passing for just under 3,000 yards, 18 TDs (against seven INTs), while also rushing for around 400 yards and a handful of scores. Time will tell what Houston's quarterback position will look like this fall. 


2021 projection: ???

Lesser production

Jared Goff
Jared Goff
Detroit Lions · Age 26

Old team: Los Angeles Rams


Goff's coming off a rocky season in which he suffered a thumb injury that might've caused him to lose some confidence and play tentatively in January. The former No. 1 overall pick has a chance to regain that confidence in the Motor City with an offense that looks to lean on the run with players like D'Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams and Kerryon Johnson in the backfield. The rushing attack will be critical to Goff's success, as his new group of pass catchers won't be nearly as dynamic as the one he's used to playing with, especially after Detroit let its top two wideouts (Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones) walk in free agency. I see Goff having a solid year, but it won't be near what we got used to seeing when he was paired with Sean McVay.


2021 projection: 65 comp. percentage, 3,200 pass yards, 20 TDs, 10 INTs

Mitchell Trubisky
Mitchell Trubisky
Buffalo Bills · Age 26

Old team: Chicago Bears


A starting gig for Trubisky in 2021 wasn't likely after his up-and-down stint with Chicago. Trubisky's strengths as a runner weren't consistently utilized there, which I've written about several times since he was drafted, so it was smart of him and his camp to go to a place where he has a similar skill set to the starting quarterback (Josh Allen). I'm hopeful Trubisky, even as a backup in Buffalo, will get opportunities to prove he can be a competent quarterback in this league. 


2021 projection: ???

Follow David Carr on Twitter.

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