There's been a shuffle at the offensive skill positions in the free agency. NFL Network analysts Maurice Jones-Drew, David Carr and Nate Burleson surveys the offseason relocation of notable running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers, answering one question for each: Will the player have more or less success with his new team than he did with his previous club? Today, Carr examines quarterbacks (in alphabetical order).
Sam Bradford, Arizona Cardinals: MORE SUCCESS
There's no denying Bradford is a top-tier quarterback when healthy. In his last 17 starts over two seasons, the former No. 1 overall pick posted a 71.8 completion percentage, 101.1 passer rating and 23:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. If we're solely looking at that from a production standpoint, Arizona got a bargain in today's market -- even if it's dishing out $20 million for one year. Bradford's accuracy shouldn't be hindered by his knee issues, and Mike McCoy's system will play to the quarterback's strengths. With David Johnson at the center of the offense -- and given his elite ability to catch passes out of the backfield -- Bradford is likely to run an up-tempo attack that won't put him in many situations where he could get dinged.
Bradford's been around long enough to know what's at stake with this one-year deal, and he has the ability and surroundings to enjoy a career-best season.
2018 prediction: 68 completion percentage, 3,500 passing yards, 25 TD, 7 INT.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings: MORE SUCCESS
Cousins is the first quarterback in NFL history to change teams after recording 4,000-plus passing yards in each of the previous three seasons. He established himself as better than average while playing in a pro-style offense that didn't cater to his strengths. Given that and the dwindling relationship between Cousins and Jay Gruden, the QB's final year in Washington was pretty painful to watch. Now, Cousins joins an offense with much more talent and a new coordinator in John DeFilippo who ran a cutting-edge offense in Philly.
Cousins can do everything the elite quarterbacks do, and with a supporting cast of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen (the NFL's top receiving duo in 2017), TE Kyle Rudolph and a healthy Dalvin Cook in the backfield, this should be his best season to date. The Vikings provide a perfect situation for Cousins -- he should take them back to the NFC title game ... and maybe beyond.
2018 prediction: 68 completion percentage, 4,200 passing yards, 30 TD, 10 INT.
Case Keenum, Denver Broncos: LESS SUCCESS
I don't think anybody expects Keenum to repeat last year's performance, yet I still believe he'll play well in 2018. He joins a Broncos team with fewer offensive weapons than he had in Minnesota, but he'll be supported by a similarly stout D. Keenum's going to fit in well with what Bill Musgrave aims to accomplish on offense, and has a history with senior personnel advisor Gary Kubiak, the former Texans coach who scooped up Keenum as an undrafted free agent in 2012. Denver quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan recently told me Keenum was the team's No. 1 target in free agency (yes, over Cousins), which tells me this hand-picked quarterback just might be the one Denver's been looking for since Peyton Manning left.
2018 prediction: 65 completion percentage, 3,500 passing yards, 20 TD, 8 INT.
Alex Smith, Washington Redskins: LESS SUCCESS
Smith's walking into a pro-style offense and it's not to his advantage. Jay Gruden and OC Matt Cavanaugh must adapt to Smith's strengths -- using more run-pass option, for example -- to give the team and the quarterback any chance for success. And it seems like they're going to, according to The Washington Post, which is promising. Smith also has the challenge of not having speedster Tyreek Hill and playmaker Travis Kelce to throw to this time around. He's going to have to do a lot to produce 2017-like numbers (4,000-plus yards, 26 TDs and 104.7 passer rating) due to the lower talent level and Gruden's offensive playbook. I hope I'm way off when I say that Washington might just have the first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, but there's a chance I could be right. Think about it.
2018 prediction: 65 completion percentage, 3,700 passing yards, 24 TD, 10 INT.
Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns: MORE SUCCESS
Taylor has to feel great. The Browns actively pursued him, and Hue Jackson already named him the starter, regardless of Cleveland possessing the Nos. 1 and 4 overall picks in the upcoming draft. I have to believe Taylor's going to take full advantage of his opportunity, especially coming from a place where he wasn't necessarily valued despite having successful seasons. His steady play puts him behind only Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers when it comes to TD-to-INT ratio in the last three seasons (1,000 pass attempt minimum). The 28-year-old keeps plays alive with his legs and is a better pocket passer than people give him credit for.
Not to mention, Jackson will (finally) have the luxury of being creative with a steady veteran under center, a dangerous receiving corps and a solid backfield. Taylor's ability to run the ball or deliver a pass from the pocket will open up the playbook, allowing Jackson and his offense to flourish.
2018 prediction: 63 completion percentage, 3,000 passing yards, 20 TD, 4 INT; 100 rushing attempts, 500 yards, 5 TD.