Which teams need to evaluate their QBs for 2016? Browns lead the list (Shutdown Corner)

Johnny Manziel gets the chance he wanted. He’ll be the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback the rest of the season. “It’s big news for me,” Manziel said, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I wanted the chance to be the guy and that was always my goal. I couldn’t be more excited.” Some teams are totally out of it for 2015 (the Browns are obviously in that group) and still have seven weeks to go. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to play for. For many teams out of it — and one prominent team that is a championship contender — the rest of the season will be used to evaluate their quarterback options for 2016. That at least makes those teams interesting to watch the rest of the way. So here are the teams who will use the rest of the season to figure out if their 2016 starter is already on the roster: Cleveland Browns: They top this list. Not too many 2-8 teams in recent memory will be so interesting playing out the string. Manziel was a first-round pick, we’ve seen a few instances in which it seemed like the Browns didn’t have a ton of interest in seeing what he can do, but he has been fairly productive. Manziel has 933 yards, five touchdowns, two interceptions and an 88.4 rating. He’s coming off a 372-yard game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Manziel still does things that drive offensive coaches nuts, such as leaving the pocket when there’s no pressure, looking down at the rush and not delivering the ball in the rhythm of the offense, but he gets his shot in Cleveland’s last six games. Josh McCown is under contract for next year but isn’t the future; if Manziel fails badly in this opportunity it’s likely back to the drawing board in Cleveland. Denver Broncos: Can a team that is 7-2 and still very much a contender in the AFC look ahead to its quarterback situation the following year? Of course, just take a look at the Broncos. Brock Osweiler gets his first career start this week because Peyton Manning is injured. But as we all know, Manning hasn’t played well and it’s hard to believe he’ll be back next season. What really makes this a really interesting situation is Osweiler is a free agent next offseason. Will Osweiler play so well that he continues to start and prices himself out of the Broncos plans? Will they know enough about him by the end of the season that they’ll know if they want to invest in him as their quarterback of the future? There’s an incredibly wide range of outcomes for the Broncos and Osweiler, anywhere from him starting all the way through the Super Bowl to him giving back the job to Manning after one start. It’s a really unique situation. Detroit Lions: I don’t think Matthew Stafford is going anywhere. There isn’t much precedent for a move like that in NFL history. But there have been rumors, and I suppose that if the Lions get the top pick it’s possible. And it’s possible they get the top pick.  Still, Stafford is just 27 and even though he has an 83.7 career rating, people talk themselves into his arm strength and size and think he can be turned around. Hey, Jay Cutler got a good coordinator in Adam Gase, is having a good season and got the Chicago Bears off this list, so anything is possible. Houston Texans: I’m not willing to say that Brian Hoyer is definitely the starter in 2016, but realistically, their options won’t be much better this offseason. Hoyer has played well, has 13 touchdowns and four interceptions, and has rebounded nicely after being benched in the season opener. But we’ve seen Hoyer play well before (don’t forget, Deion Sanders was ready to give him a $100 million deal) and falter at the end. So I don’t think we’re quite past the evaluation stage. New York Jets: Ryan Fitzpatrick has had a nice, solid season. But the Jets have to ask: Is Fitzpatrick, who turns 33 this month, their best option going forward? If not him, then who? Fitzpatrick isn’t anyone’s idea of a franchise quarterback, but it’s not like the Jets will have a ton of great options next offseason. They’re 5-4 and even in the unlikely event of a total collapse they won’t have a top-five draft pick. The wild card is Bryce Petty, who was drafted this year as a project. But they’re in the playoff race and won’t be giving Petty any playing time (they hope) this season so it’ll be hard for them to know what they have in Petty. Maybe if Fitzpatrick leads New York to the playoffs, it erases all doubt. Philadelphia Eagles: That Sam Bradford-Nick Foles trade didn’t work out too well for either side, did it? What do the Eagles have in Bradford and do they sign him to a contract that will undoubtedly be pretty risky? Bradford didn’t have a great start to this season. He has played better lately, but now he might miss time with some injuries — and injury history is a big part of the Bradford puzzle too. Either the Eagles are going to gamble and invest in Bradford long term or look really crazy for sending a second-round pick to the Rams for a one-year, expensive and unsuccessful rental. Either way it seems like a losing proposition. The Eagles just have to hope Bradford returns soon and they have a clear opinion about him heading into the offseason. St. Louis Rams: Benching Foles this week is interesting on a few levels, including the 2016 angle. The Rams signed Foles to a two-year, $24 million extension before he started a game for them, with a $6 million roster bonus in 2016 that is guaranteed. You have to think since they have to pay him $6 million, he’ll be sticking around.  But benching him now for Case Keenum, at 4-5 and still able to get in the playoff race, doesn’t indicate that the Rams are thrilled about the prospect of starting him in 2016. They don’t want to start him now when their only other option was Keenum. It’s probable Foles gets another shot this season, and if he plays better he can establish himself as the guy for 2016. Though I suppose it’s also possible Keenum could play well enough to get himself in that conversation. This situation is odd because the Rams seem stuck with Foles for another year whether they like it or not. San Francisco 49ers: This one will be interesting to track. The 49ers benched Colin Kaepernick for Blaine Gabbert, and there was a report that the franchise is done with Kaepernick . It’ll be interesting to see if the team’s actions play out that way the rest of the season. If Kaepernick doesn’t play the rest of the season, it’s really hard to imagine they pay him an $11.9 million salary for 2016. Then again, it’s really hard to see the 49ers ending this season excited about Gabbert starting in 2016. Their draft position and chances of picking one of the top quarterbacks in the draft might dictate offseason decisions. But it’ll be interesting to watch if Kaepernick gets one more shot, and what he does with it if that happens. Washington Redskins: I assume Kirk Cousins has done enough to get another year, but there’s one thing to keep in mind about his recent surge: Cousins has had two monster games at home against bad defenses, and not much else. Here are Cousins’ ratings the last five weeks: At Atlanta: 69.7 At New York Jets: 57.9 Vs. Tampa Bay: 124.7 At New England: 68.4 Vs. New Orleans: 158.3 Cousins has been incredibly inconsistent. early in the season, he had 68.8 and 69.9 ratings in losses to the Dolphins and Giants and 110.3 and 91.8 in wins against the Rams and Eagles. So yes, he has an incredible 122.6 rating in four wins and a 66.7 rating in five losses. That’s hard to completely overlook. Though, with the state of quarterbacking in the NFL being what it is, it’s hard to see how Washington could figure out a better plan this offseason than Cousins in 2016. Barring anything crazy, we can probably guess who these teams are starting at quarterback in 2016: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans. Listen to Yahoo Sports’ Grandstanding podcast for more NFL coverage: Grandstanding: A Yahoo Sports podcast Subscribe via iTunes or via RSS feed – – – – – – – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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