NFL Free Agents: Quarterback Edition
Written by: Andrew Felton
The NFL offseason is always dominated by rumours about free agents and it is no different when it comes down to the quarterback position. However, with not many top names entering free agency, many players may just be looking at a back up position in the hope they get a start come the beginning of the season.
Jameis Winston, (New Orleans Saints)
Starting with Jameis Winston, who took over from a retired Drew Brees for the New Orleans Saints, started the season in good hopes, leading the Saints to a 4-2 record, before a season ending ACL tear in the early stages of a win, against Tampa Bay in week 8. Although, Winston showed promise at the start of the season, he still enters free agency, possibly looking for a new team.
With the retirement of Tom Brady, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could show interest in Winston to fill the position on a one-year contract, returning to the team where he started his career, in the hope for the starting spot. Other options could be the Pittsburgh Steelers, who saw Ben Roethlisberger retire after their play-off loss, the Houston Texans, who could lose Tyrod Taylor during free agency and also the Denver Broncos who's QB will also enter free agency.
Teddy Bridgewater, (Denver Broncos)
(Image by: Justin Edmonds / Getty Images)
Bridgewater had his best season for the Broncos regarding touchdown passes with 18, showing his mediocre abilities and cementing his role as a back up, to which ever team he lands with. Bridgewater can be a very positive influence on and off the field for teams and could be a good mentor for a younger QB starting off in the league. Leading the broncos to a 7-6 season when starting, Bridgewater maybe looking for the fifth team of his career.
Possible options could be the New York Jets, where Bridgewater could be back up to Zach Wilson, who will enter his second year and could relieve pressure when needed in tough games. The New Orleans Saints are in the market for a QB, but maybe looking for a future starter, so could use Bridgewater as a one year only option, equally Pittsburgh Steelers may do the same, as a cheap one year option.
Marcus Mariota, (Las Vegas Raiders)
(Image by: Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports)
Marcus Mariota could be one of the more experienced and safer options to take in free agency, when looking for a starting QB. However, Mariota is yet to complete a full season in the NFL, but does offer a dual threat option at this position and being replaced at Tennessee by Tannehill and only a back up to Derek Carr at the Raiders, Mariota will be pushing to join a team with the number one spot open.
Options for Mariota could be the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and the Washington Commanders for a starting position, again similar to others during this free agency, this could be a one year cheap option for teams looking to start a re-build or who are waiting for young quarterback to come up through the draft.
Mitchell Trubisky, (Buffalo Bills)
Similar to Mariota, Mitchell Trubisky could be a cheap, one year starting option for many teams without a quarterback. In his second year with the Bears, Trubisky won 11 out of 14 games when starting, leading the Bears to the playoffs. However, since then you can see a decline in Trubisky's stats, not solely down him, as the Bears offense declined and he spent a year as back up to Josh Allen at the Bills, who will look to continue building around him.
Landing spots for Trubisky will be similar to that of Mariota and Winston, with the Denver Broncos, Washington Commanders and the Houston Texans all looking for one year options, that wont eat into their salary cap. However, an option with the New York Giants could be on the table, as Dan Jones has struggled to perform since taking over from Eli Manning and the Giants have no real depth, backing him up.
Cam Newton, (Carolina Panthers)
Cam Newton is a player who still believes in his ability to play at the highest level and is probably the best quarterback entering free agency, if history is to go by. After one year at the New England Patriots playing 15 games, he returned to the team where he had spent all his career, the Carolina Panthers, who where excited to see him back. However, performances did not go as planned, losing five games in which he started.
Options will be there for Newton with teams such as, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears who are looking for a strong back up for both their young quarterbacks, as the franchises may look to drop their current stars and go with younger options as starters such as, Trey Lance and Justin Fields. Two seasons too late but, the Washington Commanders could approach Newton as a starter, with them looking to launch almost a new franchise as the 'Commanders'.
Tyrod Taylor, (Houston Texans)
Tyrod Taylor took the starting job in Houston after law suits against Deshaun Watson side lined him for the season. Taylor looked to be best fit for the Texans, when injury struck through ligament damage in his left wrist. Coming back, Taylor was not the same and lost his place again to a rookie QB leaving him questioning his options for next season.
An lifeline could come in the way of the Indianapolis Colts if they chose to replace Carson Wentz, whose season did not go as projected and promote Taylor to starter. The Denver Broncos may have an opening, but would Taylor be the best choice out of all the free agency possibilities and finally the Pittsburgh Steelers may look to acquire Taylor, with their options also running very thin on the ground.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, (Washington Commanders)
Ryan Fitzpatrick, or known to the NFL community as Fitzmagic, will enter free agency at the age of 40 and with all the comedy value that he adds when starting an NFL game, he may consider retirement. With several injuries over the past few seasons, Fitzpatrick will be settling for more of a back up role, maybe alongside a young or rookie quarterback, helping them develop and learn what the league is all about.
There are two possible options for Fitzpatrick, the first is Jacksonville Jaguars, where he would be back up to Trevor Lawrence who's first season as rookie did not play out how the franchise wanted. Saying that, Lawrence does not have the best receiving core and having a helping hand from an experienced veteran, could give him a well needed boost, entering his second year. The second option could be to play back up to Dak Prescott at the Dallas Cowboys, who could land Fitzpatrick cheaply and help with resting Dak in blowout games.