The QB market has already started to take it’s shape this year with Russell Wilson moving to Denver, Wentz being sent to the Commanders, and Aaron Rodgers stay with Green Bay. With free agency is just a couple days away, we are going to see a lot of these QB needy teams try to find their guy for 2022 (and beyond in some cases). The Steelers, Colts, Texans, Giants, Bucs, Panthers, Saints, and Seahawks should all have their eyes on the QB market. With such a weak draft, I think we can expect to see some of these teams try to strike gold on the QB market.
Honorable Mentions: Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jacoby Brissett
These three guys are all going to get looks to come in and be backups. However, I don’t think any NFL franchise is going to go into next season with these three guys as their potential starter. Taylor struggled last year on the field and with injuries, Fitzpatrick barely played last year with a hip injury, and Brissett just isn’t a starting QB in the NFL. They’ll all get nice contracts to be backups, but they don’t make the top 5 because that’s all they’ll be.
5. Andy Dalton (Age 34)
2021 stats: 1,515 yards, 8 TDs, 9 INTs, 63% CMP, 3-3 as a starter
No one wants to have Andy Dalton as their starting QB next season. BUT – Dalton is the perfect guy to grab if you plan on drafting a QB. He’s a veteran that will be able to step in and start the season off and ultimately hand the reins to your rookie in the middle of the season. He’ll come cheap and you know you’ll get mediocre production, which is perfect for a stop gap QB.
4. Marcus Mariota (Age 28)
2019 stats: 1,203 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs, 59.4% CMP, 29 ATTs, 129 yards rushing, 2-4 as a starter
Marcus Mariota has spent the last 2 seasons backing up Derek Carr in Vegas. His last start was in Week 6 of 2019. Mariota has always felt like a QB that has untapped potential, and even if he doesn’t, an NFL team is going to believe they can find it. Mariota had to come in and play for an injured Carr in 2020 in a Week 15 game against the Chargers and put up 226 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT while also rushing for 88 yards and a touchdown. The Raiders lost by 3.
In a draft where the QB talent is mediocre, Mariota should find himself with the opportunity to compete for a starting job somewhere.
3. Teddy Bridgewater (Age 29)
2021 stats: 3,052 yards, 18 TDs, 7 INTs, 66.9% CMP, 7-7 as a starter
Is Teddy Bridgewater good? Absolutely not. Is there any untapped potential like other guys on this list? Nope. But Bridgewater is one thing – consistent. That might be consistently below average but it’s consistent. He went 7-7 as a starter last season, which shows he’s capable of at least getting out of the way enough so that a team can win. But he’s not going to win you any football games. Ask Broncos and Panthers fans about that. He’ll still likely settle in on a QB needy team and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him as a Week 1 starter in 2022.
2. Mitchell Trubisky (Age 27)
2020 stats: 2,055 yards, 16 TDs, 8 INTs, 67% CMP, 6-3 as a starter
After a year behind Josh Allen in Buffalo, where Trubisky didn’t play any meaningful snaps, Mitchell Trubisky is expected to be a hot commodity in free agency. This is a copycat league – after the success Ryan Tannehill has had in Tennessee, it’s not surprising that a guy like Trubisky will get a 2nd chance to start. Trubisky has a 29-21 career record, he had 64 TDs in 4 seasons, and the Bears made the playoffs twice with him at QB. Out of Matt Naggy’s offense, the NFL looks at Trubisky as a guy with potential plus starter upside.
1. Jameis Winston (Age 28)
2021 stats: 1,170 yards, 14 TDs, 3 INTs, 59% CMP, 5-2 as a starter
The Holy Grail of free agent QBs is Jameis Winston. Winston had the Saints cruising at 5-2 before exiting the Week 7 match up vs the Bucs. The Saints simply fell apart without him, finishing 4-6. Winston is a gun slinger at QB with a big arm. He will be a starter in 2022. That’s a fact. I think a majority of NFL teams would take Winston over every single QB in this class, even with him coming off an ACL injury. Expect Winston to garner interest from the Saints, Colts, and Steelers.