Sadly, father time is undefeated.
While we’ve become accustomed to seeing certain quarterbacks trot out onto the field week after week and year after year, it appears there will be a quartet of longtime field generals who could be meeting their eventual replacements this spring.
Adding to their duties as the leading forces of their team’s offenses, these four future Hall of Fame quarterbacks could be counted on to start training their heir apparents.
While the New Orleans Saints living legend has been adamant he wants to play another two to four years, Sean Payton hasn’t been shy about the team’s desire to bring in another quarterback.
After signing former backup Chase Daniel to a one-year deal, the Saints are set up to bring in a young pass thrower. Daniel is well experienced as a second stringer, so he can fill in on all the backup duties (holding the clipboard, keeping track of stats, etc.) or fill in for Brees if he needs to miss some time before a rookie is ready.
Brees hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down at age 38, leading the league in passing yards once again last season, but his time will come. With potential project quarterbacks scattered throughout the draft, this could be a good time to grab an eventual successor.
Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said Tuesday he could see Geno Smith potentially replacing Manning, although team owners are hinting the draft is where an heir will be found.
Manning, 36, has been a steady, consistent presence for the Giants throughout his 14-year career, not missing a start since his rookie season. However, his production dipped last season with many pointing to Manning’s deteriorating arm talent as the reason.
With Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard set to give the Giants a solid receiving tandem for the foreseeable future, New York can’t afford to waste much time searching for a new quarterback if Manning has a drop off similar to his brother.
The 35-year-old Rivers made his feelings about adding a young quarterback pretty clear last week, saying, “Whoever it is they bring in here, they’re going to sit for a while.” But that didn’t change head coach Anthony Lynn’s mind about the need to add a young passer.
Like Manning, Rivers has led the Chargers for every game since 2006, though his statistics have regularly surpassed Manning’s.
The Chargers are already getting younger with Joey Bosa, Jason Verrett, and Melvin Gordon stepping into major roles. As Rivers’ team moves to a new city, gaining a new identity, this would be an ideal time to bring in a quarterback to learn from the veteran – whether he wants to teach him or not.
Big Ben has been taking hits his entire career, and as proud as he is of those bumps and bruises, they’re adding up.
Roethlisberger admitted he was considering retirement right after the season, as many veteran players are known to do during their season recovery period. His team is expecting him to play next season, but head coach Mike Tomlin has admitted it’s time to plan for life after Ben.
The Steelers are expected to be a championship contender again next season, allowing for a young quarterback to come into the league experiencing team success. Pittsburgh has a few holes to plug in the first round or two, so don’t look for them to add an arm until a little later on.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)