NFL: Top 5 Free Agent Quarterbacks This Offseason

With the NFL season only 2 weeks from it’s conclusion, many teams are looking forward to the next portion of the season.  Free Agency.  With quite a few teams not having a solidified starter for 2021-2022, quarterback is one of the most intriguing positions to take a look at.  While the market is not extremely deep, the demand is extremely high.  This may lead to quite a bit of reaching for prospects both in FA and in the 2021 NFL Draft.  With that said, here are the 5 most notable free agent quarterbacks this offseason.

Dak Prescott  – Unrestricted Free Agent

Ya this one was relatively obvious.  Dak is the clear cut most notable QB in free agency this year, maybe even the most notable player overall.  He has been extremely great at the position, and was in conversations for being a top 10 QB in the NFL now prior to his major injury.  As most of us remember by now, he had a season ending injury to his ankle in Week 5 of this season.  The results were a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle, which ultimately led to immediate surgery.  Since then, it’s been pretty quiet around how his healing was going and how rehab was progressing.  

With that said, ESPN and came out with a news report about 11 days ago stating the following:

“Prescott (ankle) is making impressive progress in his recovery and is expected to be in the Cowboys’ plans for the 2021 season, Adam Maya of reports.”

This is interesting for multiple reasons.  Firstly because it means there is a good chance he will play this coming year and is getting better, which is great news one way or another.  Secondly, it talks about the potential for him to re-sign with the Dallas Cowboys.  While this is obviously not solidified yet, the fact that they are bringing up that he is in their future plans would lead me to believe that.  Overall, Dak is easily the best QB free agent this offseason, considering we have seen him be one of the best in the league when healthy.

Mitchell Trubisky – Unrestricted Free Agent

Mitchell Trubisky is the 2nd best free agent quarterback for this season.  Now granted, he has not lived up to where he was picked in the draft.  Comparing him to Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson is unfair in a way, as they are two of the best quarterbacks in the league.  I think he needs to be compared to the other starting quarterbacks in the league, all of them, not just 2.  At the end of the day, he really is not too bad of a quarterback, he could just use a new scene to play in.  Over his 4 years of playing, his stats look like this:

  • Games Started: 50 started out of 51 played
  • 29-21-0 record as starting QB
  • 1010/1577 passes completed (64% completion)
  • 10,609 passing yards (average of 2,652 per season)
  • 64 passing touchdowns to 37 interceptions 
  • Over 6 yards per attempt every season played

Is this the best statline out of any free agent quarterback in the NFL right now?  No.  Is it about average and middle of the pack?  Yes.  I think Mitchell could be a quality starter for an NFL team with weapons around him and a solid offensive line.  He performs well when he is not under pressure from what we have seen to date.  If a team can make him comfortable in the pocket and not feel rushed, he could be a productive option for someone to take a chance on.

Jameis Winston – Unrestricted Free Agent

Yes, the 30 and 30 QB is on this list.  I think too many people are still looking at his days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and not looking at him as a person since then.  He has become a vegan and lost 17 pounds or so, putting him in amazing physical shape.  He had Lasik eye surgery to clear his vision, which was heavily clouded for years.  Most importantly however, is he has had a chance to sit behind and learn from the most accurate quarterback in NFL history, Drew Brees.  What was the biggest issue with Jameis prior to this season?  Accuracy.  

Now we have not seen Jameis start a game since 2019, that much is true.  But the potential for him to be great is there, he just has to get rid of the mental lapses.  There is a good chance the free agent QB returns to the New Orleans Saints however as coach Sean Payton has talked quite a few times about giving him his chance.  However if the Saints pull off some other deal for a different quarterback, Jameis could and should be given a chance elsewhere.  

Ryan Fitzpatrick – Unrestricted Free Agent

Ryan “Fitzmagic” obviously has to be on this list, especially after the throw he had against the Las Vegas Raiders.  Besides that however, he is still a pretty quality starter in this league, and has a lot to teach.  I foresee another scenario where he gets to start half a season or so in front of a rookie QB like Trey Lance or Mac Jones, and then one of them takes over later on in the season.  Ryan had his best season in terms of completion percentage this year, putting up a 68.5% on the season.  He also went 4-3 as a starter, which is not horrendous considering the Miami Dolphins are still not a fully formed team.

Fitz would be a cheap veteran option for quite a few teams, whether they need a mentor to a young QB or just a bridge the gap quarterback.  Considering his cap hit is normally under 8 million a year, around 5.5 or so, he is a good option for a team up against the cap room as well.  He is definitely coming up to the end of his career unfortunately, but he still has enough left in the tank to produce at an above average level.

Andy Dalton – Unrestricted Free Agent

2 Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks end up on this list, and for good reason.  Andy Dalton had a pretty productive year all things considered.  Filling in for (as previously mentioned) Dak Prescott, Dalton had a good year in terms of keeping the ball safe and doing what he needed to do.  His stats ended up looking like this:

  • 9 games started (11 played)
  • 216/333 passes completed (64.9%)
  • 2170 passing yards (5.2 air yards per completion)
  • 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions
  • 28 rushes for 114 yards

Realistically Andy did not have the best season of his career or anything.  But he was also absolutely blasted by Jon Bostic of the Washington Football Team, which led to a concussion.  At 34 years old, he is also getting to the end of his lifespan as a viable NFL quarterback.  With that said, I think he has a year or two left in the tank as a bridge quarterback or even a veteran mentor for a rookie.  He will likely find a good fitting team later on in free agency when teams realize they need a quarterback and end up whiffing in other departments. 

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Who do you think the top 5 free agent quarterbacks are this offseason? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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