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A look at possible quarterback movement in NFL free agency

By BOB GLAUBER Newsday via AP Published: March 8, 2017 4:00 AM

The NFL's unrestricted free agency begins Thursday at 4 p.m., giving teams a chance to add firepower to their rosters by throwing plenty of cash at their preferred players. And while there are several worthy candidates available on the open market, it's the impending quarterback movement that will be the more compelling offseason storyline.

By the time training camps open around the league in July, there could be as many as seven teams -- including the Jets -- that will have different starting quarterbacks than at the end of last season. Add in a draft class that may have four first-round passers -- Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes and DeShone Kizer -- and the changing of the guard at the sport's most important position will continue at a frantic pace.

Only two divisions -- the NFC East and NFC South -- are virtually assured of heading into the 2017 season with the same starters as last year. And there's no telling when that might change, since the Giants are sending clear signals that they're looking for Eli Manning's eventual successor and 38-year-old Drew Brees' tenure with the Saints is getting closer to the end.

Here's a look at the teams in the market for a new quarterback:

BROWNS

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Second-year coach Hue Jackson is in the market for a new quarterback after the ill-fated and short-lived Robert Griffin III era. The former Washington quarterback was injured in Cleveland's first game last season and didn't come back until the final month.

The Browns have the first and 12th picks in the draft and are looking to come away with a franchise quarterback and pass rusher. There's a growing consensus they'll take Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with the first pick, and they may have interest in Watson, who won the national championship for Clemson last season.

The Browns also may try and work a trade for Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo, who is going into the final year of his rookie deal. The Patriots have indicated they don't intend to trade Garoppolo, but for the right price -- a first-round pick and more -- Bill Belichick will make a deal.

JETS

The Ryan Fitzpatrick era inauspiciously ended after two seasons, leaving Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg as the only two quarterbacks under contract.

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Geno Smith is a free agent and hasn't closed the door on returning, and the Jets are strongly considering Bucs free agent Mike Glennon as a potential starter. They'll have some competition for him, though, because the Bears are interested. Tyrod Taylor, who is expected to be released by the Bills, is another consideration. And don't rule out Jay Cutler, who may be traded or released by the Bears. Other veterans available: Josh McCown and Brian Hoyer.

BILLS

With coach Sean McDermott hired to replace Rex Ryan, the Bills are widely anticipated to release Taylor, a favorite of Ryan who had some encouraging moments in his two years as a starter but wasn't vibrant in the passing game and was dependent on the Bills' mostly reliable rushing attack. The Bills are ready to move on from former first-round pick E.J. Manuel, and former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones has a chance to compete for the starting job.

BRONCOS

GM John Elway has been cryptic about his plans at quarterback, but there is increasing speculation that he's ready to bring in Tony Romo. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will consider trading or releasing Romo, who lost his job to Dak Prescott after suffering a preseason back injury.

BEARS

The Jay Cutler era in Chicago almost certainly is at an end, and the Bears actively are trying to trade him. But with the expectation that they would release him if they can't find a suitor, the more likely scenario is that the Bears simply say goodbye to Cutler without any compensation.


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