2013 Outlook: Kolb's two-year tenure in Arizona was a disaster of Gigli-esque proportions. For $12 million guaranteed, he played in 15 of a possible 32 games and showed minimal arm strength. Now he'll compete for the Bills' starting job for cheap money. We believe he'll win the gig over rookie E.J. Manuel, and he'll probably start the most games for Buffalo in '13, but how can anyone trust Kolb to make it through a full season? Manuel is incredibly raw, but he may see action if and when the Bills want a glimpse of their future. Kolb most assuredly is not in that picture.
2013 Outlook: Manuel was the shocker of April's draft. The Bills kept their infatuation close to the vest, and drafted him 16th overall. At 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds, Manuel approximates Cam Newton's size and has a big arm, but his throwing mechanics and consistency were a mess in college. Nobody's denying this kid's raw tools, but we consider it resoundingly unlikely he's ready to win the NFL right away. Manuel and Kevin Kolb will battle for the starting gig this summer, and certainly Buffalo believes Manuel is their future franchise QB. We're betting both guys start games this year, and underwhelm.
2013 Outlook: How bad was Gabbert in '12? The Jaguars benefitted after he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. In the nine games before Gabbert got hurt, the Jags averaged 14.1 points per game. Once the immortal Chad Henne was under center, they averaged a more respectable 18.3, and they did that entirely without Maurice Jones-Drew. Nevertheless, new coach Gus Bradley seems committed to handing Gabbert the starting job, which means we can expect another September filled with inaccurate checkdowns and plenty of three-and-outs. Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon make an interesting WR duo, but not with Gabbert throwing the rock in their general direction.
2013 Outlook: Henne had one shining moment last year, a wild four-TD performance in a Week 11 shootout loss against the Texans. Erstwhile starter Blaine Gabbert was soon placed on IR and Henne got another chance to prove he's a legit NFL starter, but from Week 12 forward he completed 54.4 percent of his throws and tossed six TDs and 10 INTs. Do we believe Gabbert will make it through the '13 campaign as Jacksonville's starter? We do not. But do we think Henne can be a fantasy asset in Gabbert's absence? That would be an unequivocal no.
2013 Outlook: Foles started last year when Michael Vick suffered a Week 10 concussion and played fine, but his game tape doesn't blow us away. His arm talent is average and his athleticism is poor. Now that Chip Kelly is running the Eagles, the fit doesn't seem right: Kelly wants to go up-tempo with a dual-threat QB. That's not Foles' game. Though Vick has returned to be the starter, the smart money says he gets hurt again at some point. But can Foles do anything in a spread run attack? And can he stay ahead of rookie Matt Barkley for the backup job?
2013 Outlook: It's obvious why the Jets drafted Geno Smith: Sanchez is on his last legs with the Jets. He committed 26 turnovers in 15 games last year and has a career completion rate of 55.1 percent. At press time, Sanchez was still on the New York roster, and the team would take a massive salary-cap hit if they dump him, but it's a possibility. Although Smith isn't ready to start in the NFL, he's probably under center Week 1, meaning even if Sanchez is around he'll likely be holding a clipboard. And if by chance he's the September starter? Expect an eventual benching.
2013 Outlook: Cassel's final two years as a starter in Kansas City were marked by injury and ineffectiveness: He threw 21 interceptions and lost nine fumbles in 18 games. The Vikings signed him as a pure backup to Christian Ponder, hoping to avoid the disaster that befell them in last year's playoffs, when Joe Webb was forced into action. Ponder has thus far proven unable to take shots down the field, and it's certainly possible that at some point, Leslie Frazier turns to the bigger-armed Cassel. We'd simply worry his mistakes as a Chief would follow him to the Twin Cities.
2013 Outlook: Campbell started only one game as the Bears' backup QB last year and played poorly, ensuring he wouldn't be handed a starting job anywhere in '13. However with the Browns, Campbell will at least get a shot to unseat Brandon Weeden in training camp. We'd make Weeden the favorite if only because Campbell's upper limits are pretty well known: He can make all the throws, but he'll always hurt you with a mistake. Still, Weeden turns 30 in October and didn't exactly shine in '12, plus he was drafted by a previous administrative staff. It's not impossible Campbell starts some this year.
2013 Outlook: Gradkowski has only thrown 29 regular-season pass attempts the past two years, and the Steelers will be his fifth NFL team. But Ben Roethlisberger gets hit and hurt regularly, having missed seven games over the past three years, which means provided he beats out rookie Landry Jones for the backup job, Gradkowski could find himself in a starting role for multiple games in '13. We're not promising that will go perfectly; after all, Gradkowski has an ugly career 21/24 TD-to-INT ratio. But it couldn't go much worse than it did for Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich over the past few seasons.
2013 Outlook: Cousins got one start for the Redskins as a rookie, a Week 15 tilt at Cleveland in which he went 26-of-37 for 329 yards, two TDs and one INT. Of course, Washington hopes beyond hope that Cousins gets zero starts in '13, because that would mean Robert Griffin III's torn right ACL has healed. But that's far from certain. We're skeptical that Cousins would excel as a full-time NFL signal caller because we don't love his arm strength or receiving weapons. But rational Skins fans have to admit there's a strong chance Cousins will get to prove our assessment wrong.
2013 Outlook: Fitzpatrick is riding a streak of three consecutive 3,000-yard seasons, but he probably won't add a fourth. The Bills cut him in March, having tired of his weak arm, poor decision making and big contract, so FitzMagic will serve as Jake Locker's backup in Tennessee. The Titans would clearly prefer that Locker make strides with his accuracy and health in his third pro season, but by replacing Matt Hasselbeck with Fitz, they've at least ensured they have a viable big-league alternative should Locker's career stall out.
2013 Outlook: Ryan Mallett's fantasy potential most likely will not be realized in a Patriots uniform. That's what happens when you're Tom Brady's caddie. But we said the same thing about Matt Cassel in '08, and after Brady went down in Week 1 that year, Cassel became an honest-to-goodness fantasy factor. Mallett has as many interceptions as completions in his regular-season career (one apiece), but he also has a rocket arm and prototypical NFL size. Plus should the Pats decide to deal Mallett this summer, he could become someone's starter of the future.
2013 Outlook: Clearly, Osweiler is not going to see a lot of game snaps with The Sheriff ahead of him on the Denver depth chart. But Peyton Manning is just a year removed from multiple neck surgeries and is 37, and time waits for no man. It was surprising that Osweiler won the Broncos' backup QB gig as a rookie, but he's ensconced in that role now, and would inherit three terrific receivers should he ascend to the throne. Would he produce Sheriff-esque numbers as Denver's starter? Probably not. But he'd be worth a speculative fantasy add for sure.
2013 Outlook: Four different men started games under center for the Cards in '12, and they all were terrible. So the Cardinals brought in Carson Palmer to be the starter this year, with Stanton as his backup. Stanton spent the '11 campaign with the Colts learning Bruce Arians' offensive system, so he should have a leg up here, as Arians is the new head man in Arizona. Palmer is 33 and really hasn't played well since '07, so we're not ruling out the possibility that Stanton gets some game action in '13.
2013 Outlook: Matthew Stafford hasn't missed a start in back-to-back seasons after missing 22 in his first two campaigns, so Hill's job description has consisted of much clipboard-holding lately. We know that when called upon, Hill does a decent job. He started 10 games for the Lions back in '10, throwing for 16 TDs and 2,686 yards, and last year he stepped in Week 3 and forced overtime with a Hail Mary as time ran out. There's every reason to believe that should Stafford get hurt, Hill could make sweet music with Detroit's pass-first offense.