While the San Francisco 49ers are trying to figure out what’s going on at the quarterback position, other teams face questions that might be a little more positive with the position. The Chicago Bears lost to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5, but saw Brian Hoyer throw for 397 yards and two touchdowns. The Dallas Cowboys thumped the Cincinnati Bengals, with Dak Prescott completing 17 of 23 passes for 216 yards, a passing touchdown, and a rushing touchdown.
Tony Romo is working back from a back injury, and Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Cowboys are targeting a Week 8 return. That would come after their Week 7 bye, which means Prescott has one more week, traveling to face the Green Bay Packers, to show his stuff.
In Chicago, rumors spread over the weekend that the Bears are considering moving on from veteran quarterback Jay Cutler. Jason La Canfora reported Cutler has “fallen out of favor” with the team, while Ian Rapoport tweeted prior to Sunday’s performance that this is Hoyer’s job to lose. Hoyer has thrown for 300+ yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in each of his three starts. The Bears are only 1-2 in those starts, but he’s at least helping move the ball.
Could we see Romo and Cutler available in free agency this offseason? If the Cowboys release Romo in the offseason, a pre-June 1 cut would include $19.6 million in dead money and $5.1 million in cap savings. A post-June 1 cut would include $10.7 million in 2017 dead money (and $8.9 million in 2018 dead money) and $14 million in cap savings. The Bears could cut Cutler and would only have $2 million or $1 million in dead money as a pre- or post-June 1 cut, respectively.
There is a very good chance the 49ers are going to be in the market for a quarterback next spring. Blaine Gabbert will be a free agent and really hasn’t provided any reason to keep him. Colin Kaepernick might get a restructured contract done that allows him to get out after this season. And if that doesn’t get done, he’ll be gone after this season when the 49ers release him. And there’s Christian Ponder, signed to a one-year deal.
We hope the team will be looking at quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft, but it is also possible they sign a veteran to bridge to any young QB. You can look through the list of free agents here, but some notable potential free agents next spring include:
There are others, but those are the four that seem most likely to land a starting job elsewhere. But, if the Cowboys and Bears were to consider cutting Romo and Cutler, it could make the market a little more interesting. That doesn’t mean the 49ers will be going after either, but they could help set the market.