Over the weekend, Orlovsky was told the team will let his contract expire at the end of the league year in order to go in a different direction at backup quarterback. The main beneficiary in this situation is Jake Rudock, the Lions' sixth-round pick in 2016 who will replace Orlovsky as the No. 2. It isn't clear what sort of market awaits the 33-year-old veteran, but he should be able to latch on somewhere due to his serviceability as a second-string signal caller as well as the veteran presence he could provide a locker room.
The 33-year-old Dan Orlovsky acted as the Lions' backup quarterback in each of the past three seasons, but over the weekend he was informed the team will let his contract expire this offseason and promote Rudock to the No. 2 role. Here, Detroit is essentially swapping veteran experience for the youth and upside Rudock brings to the table. However, since starter Matthew Stafford hasn't missed a game in six years, Rudock is highly unlikely to see any meaningful playing time in 2017.
A preseason compression fracture of the L1 vertebrae in Romo's back allowed the Cowboys to discover their quarterback for years to come in Dak Prescott, who along with fellow rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott helped their side to the No. 1 seed on the NFC side of the playoff bracket in 2016. With Prescott entrenched at the top of the QB depth chart, Dallas' front office has a tough call on its hands with Romo this offseason. If Romo is to be believed, he'll enter the open market in the coming weeks or months, giving him another chance to start elsewhere. Clearly, interested parties will have to weigh risk versus reward, but a 78-49 record as a starter and more than 34,000 passing yards on his odometer will likely supersede the soon-to-be 37-year-old's checkered medical chart.
The Browns want Pryor back, that's not in question. What matters is the price it would take to re-sign him. Should Cleveland slap Pryor with the franchise tag, they'd be on the hook to pay him north of $15 million in 2017. By comparison, Julio Jones and A.J. Green are scheduled to make $11.5 million and $10.3 million in base salary, respectively. The deadline to assign franchise tags is March 1. After that, Pryor and the Browns have until March 9 to reach a long-term deal or else the receiver will hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. In other news, Pryor is progressing from the finger surgery he required in mid-January as the video he posted on Twitter today revealed he's now able to hold weight in his right hand. Barring any sort of setback, he should be full go for the start of offseason workouts in April regardless of whichever team he belongs to.
Shaw missed the entire 2016 campaign due to a broken leg suffered in the preseason. When healthy, he'll enter an interesting situation regarding the status of the Bears' QB corps. Not only is Jay Cutler (shoulder) facing an uncertain future with the organization due to his underwhelming on-field performance since signing a seven-year, $126 million contract in 2014, but the other two names above Shaw on the depth chart, that being Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, are both set to be unrestricted free agents. Shaw and No. 5 QB David Fales, on the other hand, will be restricted free agents. Further complicating matters is the likelihood of the team selecting a signal caller in this year's draft. All in all, at this point in time it is anyone's guess what the future holds in store for the 25-year-old.
Romo suffered yet another debilitating injury in the preseason, paving the way for Dak Prescott to direct Dallas' offense with a surprising veteran savvy. As Romo grew closer to full health from a compression fracture of the L1 vertebrae in his back, Prescott established a stranglehold on the starting gig with an 11-game winning streak, the tail end of which Romo yielded to the rookie. Active from Week 11 onward, Romo served as Prescott's primary backup, making one brief appearance in the season finale. The Cowboys are now sure to explore all options, whether it's via trade, cutting Romo, or keeping him around as an insurance policy for Prescott.
Henne played in just one game in 2016 and didn't attempt a single pass. He'll be locked in as Blake Bortles' backup once again in 2017, and he isn't likely to see the field unless Bortles is injured.
Fitzpatrick more or less held the Jets hostage last offseason, inking a two-year contract on July 27, with only the first season guaranteed. Immediately confirmed as the starting quarterback over Geno Smith, Fitzpatrick was unable to uphold his standard from 2015. One factor in Fitzpatrick's dismal play was Eric Decker's season-ending torn rotator cuff, but with weapons like Brandon Marshall (hip) and Matt Forte (knee) on his side, the graybeard signal-caller was unable to display a modicum of consistency. The first stumbling block was a six-interception performance in Week 2, but Fitzpatrick was also benched twice for the likes of Smith (in Week 7 before the latter suffered a torn ACL in that game) and rookie Bryce Petty (at halftime in Week 13). Poised to hit the free-agent market on March 9, the best-case scenario for Fitzpatrick may be bridging the gap to a younger QB for a season or two.
Progress has been made from the broken right fibula that brought Mariota's second season to a close in Week 16. In particular, his rehab now includes work on a pool treadmill. Prior to the update from Mularkey, Mariota was expected to be a participant in OTAs in May or June, per Jason Wolf of The Tennessean. However, the Titans will now be "very cautious" with their franchise quarterback to ensure he avoids any setbacks as the offseason unfolds.
It's also been reported that Taylor would prefer to return to the Bills, but Carucci's sources say the quarterback and his agent are convinced they can receive a boatload of money if Taylor hits the open market, so they may be unwilling to take a pay cut to keep Taylor in Buffalo. We'll see how much new coach Sean McDermott pushes to keep Taylor in the fold, though the thought all along had been that if the quarterback was going to return for another season, it would be under a reduced deal given that the team has mixed feelings about his 2016 performance.