As we head toward the conclusion of the 2021 regular season, there are plenty of fans who have already started to think about the offseason. By my count, there are only 15 teams that can identify their 2022 Week 1 starter at quarterback with total confidence. More than half the league will either be shopping for a quarterback or shopping their quarterback in the spring.
Of course, those moves can drastically shift the way the league looks. What would this season be like if the Panthers had successfully traded for Matthew Stafford and the 49ers had drafted Mac Jones with the No. 3 overall pick in April? Would Jared Goff still be on the Rams? Would Justin Fields be on the Vikings? There's a slightly different NFL universe, and we get a totally different campaign.
Every year, I try to imagine a series of worlds in which one key decision or trade begins an offseason of quarterback movement around the NFL. Today, I've put together three such scenarios and tried to make logical decisions for how different teams might approach their quarterback conundrums. The three universes are all separate from one another, so you might see your team make a move for one quarterback in the first scenario and a different signal-caller in the second or third.
One thing to keep in mind before I start: Given the sexual assault allegations that Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is facing and his uncertain future with the organization, I didn't include any Texans trades as part of this exercise. I do think they will consider drafting a quarterback in the first round -- they're projected to pick No. 3 overall -- so one trade is included in which a team moves ahead of Houston for a passer.
The two big-name quarterbacks who might be on the move are the same guys who were the subject of rumors last offseason. Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson could presumably leave their longtime teams before the 2022 season. Here, we consider three scenarios in which one or neither of the two future Hall of Famers makes his move.