This has to be one of the most interesting crops of QBs in recent years. Really the entire QB carousel is exciting this year. From darkness retreats with Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr refusing to accept a trade for the Raiders, and Lamar Jackson playing tango with the Ravens – we are set up for a fun offseason. Before we get into the top NFL free agent QBs, let’s hand out some honorable mentions:
Notable QBs not in the top 5:
🏈 Taylor Heinicke, WAS
🏈 Jacoby Brissett, CLE
🏈 Baker Mayfield, LAR
🏈 Sam Darnold, CAR
🏈 Andy Dalton, NO
🏈 Gardner Minshew, PHI
5. Jimmy G
Two-time Super Bowl winning QB Jimmy Garoppolo had a really solid 2022 season on the stacked 49ers roster. Garoppolo went 7-3, tossing 16 TDs to just 4 INTs. But we all know who the 31 year old QB is at this point in his career – he’s a game managing QB. There’s a reason Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch traded up for Trey Lance.
Jimmy G is a stop gap QB and should be treated as such.
4. Geno Smith
2022 was the season where Eugene Smith finally played like Geno. This was a Seahawks team that many thought would be picking first in the draft and Smith won 9 games while tossing for nearly 4,300 yards,30 TDs, and completing 69.8% of his passes.
Geno stumbled down the stretch a bit and he’s 32 years old. That makes it tough for a team to really go all out with Geno at QB. He’s a solid bridge for the Seahawks, who could potentially look to draft a QB in this year’s draft.
3. Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones “breakout season” was finishing 18th in total yards per game (rushing and passing) among QBs and totaling 22 TDs. Outside of a handful of games, it wasn’t anything special for Jones, who spent most of the year managing games for Brian Daboll and the Giants.
Jones makes the list ahead of Geno Smith because of his age and his ability to use his legs. In 2023, mobility matters – and there aren’t a lot of QBs that can run better than Jones.
2. Derek Carr
Is Derek Carr a good QB? Sure. Is Derek Carr going to carry an average roster through the playoffs? Absolutely not. Carr only makes sense for teams that are stacked everywhere else and need a plug and play QB.
2022 wasn’t a good year for Carr, but Josh McDaniels is also a really bad head coach. In the right system with the right support, Carr is good enough to lead a team to the playoffs, but you’re gonna need one hell of a roster to have him take you to a championship.
1. Lamar Jackson, BAL
Lamar is the crème de la crème of free agent QBs. He’s only 26 years old and has an MVP on his resume. That’s what makes him the top free agent QB. The problem? He’s never going to hit free agency. The Ravens are going to franchise tag Lamar Jackson. The question becomes, what tag will the Ravens use? The exclusive tag is worth ~$45M and would keep Lamar from negotiating with other teams. The non-exclusive tag is ~$32M but would allow Lamar to negotiate around the league with a catch – if he agrees to a contract with another team the Ravens have the chance to match it. If they don’t, they’ll receive 2 first rounds picks. Could those first rounders tempt Balitmore?
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