Georgia quarterback Carson Beck John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

5 NFL Teams Already in the Running to Draft 2025 QBs Carson Beck, Shedeur Sanders

Brent Sobleski

A peek toward the future, particularly at the quarterback position, is always in play for NFL front offices.

While the 2025 class doesn't carry the same panache at this year's quarterback crop does, multiple options are in play as future first-round selections, with Georgia's Carson Beck and Colorado's Shedeur Sanders driving discussions.

Currently, Beck is the consensus QB1.

"I think he'll be the No. 1 overall pick," a veteran SEC coordinator told The Athletic's Bruce Feldman. "A few things really stood out to me after playing him. He runs better than you think because he doesn't do it often and he has such a quick release. He gets rid of it fast as s--t. And he's really intelligent. ... He's really impressive."

Sanders will be the class' lightning rod because the natural ability is apparent, yet he still has plenty of rough edges to smooth out as the cycle continues.

"I was more impressed with Shedeur than I thought I was gonna be," a former Pac-12 head coach told Feldman. "But I didn't think he was as good as some of the other (Pac-12) quarterbacks we saw, like (Michael) Penix and Caleb (Williams) and (Bo) Nix. But I will say, it was hard to tell with how much pressure he was under. He got pummeled. That was as hard as it gets, but if they can keep him upright, he can make plays and extend plays. I do think it'll be a better evaluation this year of what he can really do."

Alabama's Jalen Milroe, Texas' Quinn Ewers, Notre Dame's Riley Leonard and Houston's Donovan Smith should be in the mix as well.

Five NFL franchises already find themselves in quarterback limbo before the '24 campaign begins. They either lack a young, promising option to develop long-term or are stuck with veterans who can be moved in the next year or so.

The slides are ordered from the teams that have the greatest need to those who might be able to wait slightly longer.

Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas quarterback Aidan O'Connell Ian Maule/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders became the bridesmaid among the franchises looking to marry themselves to a long-term quarterback prospect this offseason.

The organization simply never found itself in a position to acquire one of this year's top options. Any attempts to trade up in the draft were rebuffed. A record-setting six quarterbacks were selected among the top 12 picks. The Raiders happened to sit at No. 13 overall.

The Raiders have now resigned themselves to entering the 2024 campaign with Gardner Minshew II and Aidan O'Connell as their quarterbacks. The two are very different in how they approach the game.

Minshew is a wily and mobile veteran whose game is predicated on short and intermediate passing, though he tends to struggle with pressure and will force a throw or two per game that he simply can't make.

O'Connell is different in that he's a strong-armed statuesque passer who's going to stand tall in the pocket and deliver. But he's not going to give you much off platform or outside of structure.

However, the latter at least provides some upside. Everyone knows exactly what Minshew is (and he's not a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback). In contrast, O'Connell provides some upside as a second-year option still learning and growing.

O'Connell played in 11 games (10 starts) as a rookie, throwing for 2,218 yards and posting a 12-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

"[For] him to get thrown into the way … and to see the adversity," new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy told reporters on Tuesday. "I mean, I think it was like a zero, they didn't score [against the Minnesota Vikings] and then they go score all those points [against the Los Angeles Chargers]. I mean, that's a really cool reflection of the type of kid that he is and the approach that he brings.

"There's one thing that I would definitely pat him on the back for at this point is just the willingness to be taught and willingness to be vulnerable in this opportunity to get better. I mean, that's really cool to see a guy who's had success now really excited to learn some new stuff."

The staunch reality is Minshew can be a high-end backup but not a quality starting option, while O'Connell must win the job and then play extremely well. Otherwise, the Raiders can't miss out on a first-round quarterback prospect for a second straight year.

New York Giants

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones Ian Maule/Getty Images

Daniel Jones is the New York Giants' starting quarterback. He may not be for much longer. He may not have even been the starting quarterback right now had a deal materialized during the NFL draft.

Jones is coming off a horrific campaign where he missed time because of a neck injury before suffering a season-ending torn ACL. As a team, Big Blue fell apart after going to the postseason a year earlier. Plenty of fingers pointed at Jones and not because of the injuries.

When on the field, the 2019 sixth overall draft pick didn't play well. He's still a turnover machine. The fact the Giants considered making a big move this offseason despite signing Jones to a four-year, $160 million contract extension a year prior says a lot.

To be clear, the Giants did pass on Michigan's J.J. McCarthy and Washington's Michael Penix Jr. when they were on the clock with the sixth overall draft pick.

However, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer confirmed that the Giants did attempt to trade up to this year's No. 3 overall pick for North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye. An organization isn't making that type of move, or even trying, if it is happy with the current setup at the game's most important position.

Ultimately, the New England Patriots weren't enticed enough by any offers, because they wanted to select Maye for themselves. Now, the Giants most move forward as if nothing happened, when everyone knows they tried to replace their current quarterback.

In the short term, the Giants signed Drew Lock on a one-year deal to help as Jones continues in his recovery. But unless Jones returns and then plays at a much higher level this fall and leads a playoff appearance, New York should very much be looking to go in another direction.

The extension isn't as prohibitive as one might think. After this season, the Giants can release Jones and save $19.4 million. That number balloons to $30.5 million if he's designated as a post-June 1 release, per Over The Cap.

New York remains in the quarterback market for the foreseeable future.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are set at quarterback, until they're not.

The organization deserves credit for not falling victim of the sunk-cost fallacy. Pittsburgh made an ill-advised move two years ago when it used a first-round pick to address quarterback in the worst class of the last quarter century. Instead of trying to coax whatever they could out of Kenny Pickett, the Steelers sought an upgrade by signing Russell Wilson and then shipping the former top pick to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Wilson isn't the same caliber of quarterback today as the one who made nine Pro Bowl squads and led the Seattle Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. But he still presents more than Pittsburgh's options since Ben Roethlisberger retired.

After an abysmal first season with the Denver Broncos, the 12-year veteran started to play a little like his old self, with his best completion percentage (66.4) and most touchdown passes (26) since the 2020 campaign. Still, the effort and attitude didn't align with the Broncos' vision or Wilson's paycheck. Thus, he was released despite Denver taking on the biggest dead-cap hit in NFL history.

The Steelers didn't stop with Wilson, though. They also traded a conditional 2025 sixth-round draft pick to the Chicago Bears for Justin Fields.

While Wilson is clearly the favorite to win the job, Fields is the more intriguing of the two because he still presents significant upside as a 25-year-old former first-round pick with game-changing athleticism.

"We're competing against each other every day," Fields told reporters at minicamp " ... I definitely don't have the mindset of me just sitting all year. I'm coming in every day giving it all I've got—pushing him to be his best, and he's pushing me to be my best each and every day."

Here's the thing: Neither of the team's new signal-callers is under contract beyond this season. Wilson signed a one-year, veteran-minimum deal, while Pittsburgh didn't pick up Fields' fifth-year rookie option.

As of now, the Steelers don't have a long-term solution at quarterback. Most would even argue their current options aren't all that good, though better than last year's offerings.

New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr Chris Graythen/Getty Images

As currently constructed, the New Orleans Saints are treading water. One of the biggest reasons is what they currently have at quarterback.

The Saints are basically a team that hovers around the .500 mark. New Orleans is 16-18 since Dennis Allen became the head coach. Last year, the team had a shot at a division title with a 9-8 record but fell short and missed the postseason altogether.

As everyone else in the division arguably got better, at least on paper, the Saints didn't make any significant improvements this offseason. The squad is largely the same as last season, with Derek Carr leading the way.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the reigning NFC South champs. They retained quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Mike Evans. The Atlanta Falcons acquired quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Michael Penix Jr. to improve upon one of the game's worst situations behind center. Even the Carolina Panthers, who aren't expected to make a significant jump this season, should be better off, particularly with the offensive acquisitions of wide receivers Diontae Johnson and Xavier Legette, running back Jonathon Brooks (when healthy) and guards Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis.

Meanwhile, Carr continues to be the same solid player that he's been for most of his career. It's not good enough to be a legitimate contender in an NFC that includes Dak Prescott, Jalen Hurts, Jordan Love, Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and Brock Purdy, as well as this year's first and second overall draft picks, Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels.

Red-zone issues have continually plagued the veteran signal-caller. Last season, he finished 23rd in red-zone completion percentage among quarterbacks with 25 or more attempts, according to Pro Football Reference. He completed less than 45 percent of his passes inside the 10-yard line.

The Saints are basically stuck in mediocrity limbo. Carr turns 34 next year and his salary-cap charge escalates to $51.5 million, which will rank among the league's top five.

Unless some type of unexpected surge occurs from the Saints this season, New Orleans should be looking to make a change at quarterback in 2025.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Geno Smith continues to write a wonderful story about perseverance and redemption after being a failed second-round pick-turned long-term backup-turned viable starting option.

As good as his tale is, Smith's final chapter with the Seattle Seahawks may very well come this season. It could have been this year had a deal been reached on draft day.

According to James Palmer, the Seahawks attempted to trade into this year's top 10 to select Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. The first point about this failed attempt is obvious: New Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald hired Ryan Grubb to serve as his offensive coordinator after doing the same with the Huskies program during the previous two seasons.

At the same time, Seattle was clearly looking ahead to its future. Smith has been good the last two seasons, but the Seahawks have been a fringe playoff squad with him leading the way.

"The first thing that I want you to know, and everybody to know, is that as an organization we're always looking, we're always trying to figure out what's best for the team all the time," Macdonald told reporters in March. "We're always going to try to make the best decisions for the team."

As of next year, Smith will turn 35 during the season, while his salary-cap figure escalates from $26.4 to $38.5 million. But none of Smith's remaining salary is guaranteed after this season. He does have a $10 million roster bonus due next offseason, which will likely spur action on a decision.

With a new coaching staff in place and the front office having already tried to draft a successor, Smith's days as Seattle's starter might be numbered.

   

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