2. Carolina Panthers
After reportedly laughing off a Kirk Cousins trade rumor internally, and a Deshaun Watson trade hardly a guarantee to happen even if they have heavy interest, where might the Panthers look for a quarterback? They should have their pick of the top rookie options with the No. 6 pick in the draft (Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett), and even with Sam Darnold still around a lot of other options could be on the radar.
Head coach Matt Rhule is on a scorching hot seat in Carolina, so he won’t want to put his fate in the hands of Darnold or a rookie who might not be ready. It ultimately may not matter who the quarterback is, as Rhule also keeps an eye on job openings back on the college level knowing he’s not long for his current job. But if they upgrade the offensive line and they don’t trade Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers could make hay in an NFC South that looks vulnerable around them right now. It may just be a matter of having a quarterback who isn’t erratic, at least for 2022.
The Panthers would surely like to send Darnold back to Detroit in a deal for Goff. If the Lions would take Darnold as a new bridge/backup and an offer with Darnold as a piece is made, never say never here.
1. Indianapolis Colts
After parting with Wentz just one year in, the Colts are now naturally in the market for a quarterback. Garoppolo is a clear option for them, as is Mariota or another free agent like Mitch Trubisky or Jameis Winston.
Goff had success with high-level structure around him during his time with the Rams. The Colts are similarly situated, with a top-notch offensive line, a stud running back in Jonathan Taylor (with other pieces like Michael Pittman) and a very good defense. They just haven’t found a sustainable answer at quarterback, now onto a fifth starter in as many seasons under head coach Frank Reich heading toward next season.
Goff is also not a likely long-term answer for the Colts. But without draft capital to clearly take someone who could be the quarterback of the future in April’s draft, all options are on the table to try to a least stay a contender in the AFC South next season.