State of the South: AFC South has its own quarterback carousel


Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson walks off the field before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. Star quarterback Deshaun Watson has requested a trade from the Houston Texans, a person familiar with the move told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, because they weren’t authorized to discuss the request publicly. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Three seasons ago, the AFC South quarterbacks were Marcus Mariota, Blake Bortles, Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson.

Fast forward to today and three of those signal callers are no longer quarterbacking in the division and the one who’s left doesn’t want to be.

In what could only be described as a weird game of, “What if I told you,” Ryan Tannehill is the only secure quarterback in the AFC South.

Let’s start with the only team not blanketed by snow or ice currently: The Jacksonville Jaguars. The sometimes-exciting Gardner Minshew experience turned into the Jake Luton experiment and then made it all the way to the Mike Glennon enigma. After enduring five Glennon starts and 15-straight losses, the team’s reward is Trevor Lawrence. Seems fair.

The Clemson quarterback will undoubtedly be selected first in the 2021 NFL Draft. With an extra hand from his fiance as he recovers from surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, Lawrence can start packing his bags for Duval County. The transition from college to the NFL will be made easier by his new NFL coach who only has experience coaching in college.

At least Urban Meyer knows who his quarterback is for the upcoming season. His new foe, Frank Reich is still working on that. Signs (and reports from reputable media members) indicate Reich may look to reunite with Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz. Indy is also reportedly interested in Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota (which would be so fun). The current Colts head coach was the Eagles offensive coordinator when Wentz saw his best years as a pro. Before tearing his ACL ahead of Philadelphia’s miraculous run to the Super Bowl in 2017, Wentz threw 33 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions and went 11-2 as the starter. His performance earned him a Pro Bowl nod.

But 2017 was a long time ago. Again, Luck, Mariota and Bortles were starting in the division Wentz may be headed to. The Jaguars battled the Patriots in the AFC Championship in 2017. Tom Brady had only won four Super Bowl rings. OK, I’m done.

If the Eagles trade Wentz, they’re willing to take on an NFL-record $34.7 million cap hit just for him to go away. Why? He was benched in Week 13 for rookie Jalen Hurts after posting a 16-15 touchdown to interception mark. Can Reich recreate the magic from 2017? We’ll see.

We may not see Deshaun Watson in a Texans uniform if he gets his way. The disgruntled quarterback has reportedly requested a trade. His frustration stems from owner Cal McNair allegedly asking for his feedback in the hiring of a new general manager and head coach and then hiring a GM without his knowledge. Although, that may be the tip of the iceberg. It’s unknown exactly what’s the root of the standoff, but suffice to say, he ain’t happy. Both General Manager Nick Caserio and Head Coach David Culley have reiterated Watson is their quarterback, but this saga is nowhere near over.

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