It’s exceptionally rare to see an elite quarterback make it to free agency, so it does mean that every signing will come with a large element of risk.
Fans will often look to the draft to yield the next QB of the future and it tends to be the most likely route to success, but there are some interesting names who look set to hit the market.
Here’s a look at the most interesting QBs’ who should be available
Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
Dak’s situation is still up in the air as he took a season ending injury while playing on the franchise tag, so it’s hard to figure out who has the upper hand in negotiations here.
The Cowboys can’t really afford to tag him again and there’s a good chance he wouldn’t sign it due to what happened this year, but they’ll also be reluctant to meet his demands with a big-money long term contract too.
He was demonstrating last year that he is an elite QB in the league and he was on an MVP pace until the injury struck, so there’s every reason to think he might be happy to reach free agency so he can see what else is out there.
The injury issues are the only drawback here and there could be rewards for any team who are willing to take a risk and throw a lot of money his way, but it would be a bold move.
The Patriots, Jets and Jaguars all have a ton of cap space and a need for someone like Prescott, but it’s likely the latter two take their guy early in the draft so the Patriots would be the only team with the obvious space to pay him, but it doesn’t feel like a Belichick kind of move.
Mitch Trubisky – Chicago Bears
Trubisky takes a lot of stick because of what the Bears gave up to get him and who was picked later on, but not everything that has gone wrong in Chicago is his fault.
He’s the kind of QB who is solid at every aspect of the position without being outstanding, but that does give his playcaller some options so you could see him having a Jared Goff type ceiling if he has someone who knows how to use him.
He doesn’t throw a lot of picks and he’s good for a few hundred yards on the ground each season too, while it would be interesting to see him in a more friendly system.
There have been accusations that he’s being forced to run long developing pass plays with an O-line that offers limited protection so it’s never going to work, so a new start could tell us how true that is.
If he’s allowed to keep things simple and has a solid O-line and running game then he could lead a team to the playoffs, but he probably is a “system type” QB who needs weapons and help rather than being capable of elevating a team on his own.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Miami Dolphins
One of the most entertaining players to watch because you never know what you’re going to get, he was playing some outstanding football last season before the Dolphins decided to switch to Tua instead.
That arguably cost Miami their spot in the postseason as Tua wouldn’t take the same risks that Fitzmagic did, but that’s also part of the problem.
He will take chances and look to make things happen which is brilliant when he’s on form, but it will also result in some ugly defeats if it’s not going his way.
He’s probably going to end up as a backup somewhere but he would be fascinating as a bridge QB for the likes of the Patriots, Steelers or Saints, but that does look unlikely.
Jameis Winston – New Orleans Saints
It does look like Winston will end up back in New Orleans as the successor to Drew Brees, so it will be fun to see if a combination of Payton and the LASIK surgery can allow him to blossom into a top level QB rather than a turnover machine.
He’ll throw for a ton of yards if he starts and he’s good on the ground too, but both aspects of his game have come with a crazy amount of turnovers in the past and it’s not sustainable.
His next team will need to teach him when to take a checkdown and how to sharpen his decision making skills, but it’s important not to kill his instincts too much or he could turn into a safety first checkdown machine which would be too far in the other direction.
Other notable names
Andy Dalton – A safe option who won’t lose you many games, but he’s also unlikely to win you anything when it matters most, probably seen as a high level backup at this point.
Cam Newton – Praised for his leadership qualities in New England but his mechanics were god-awful by the end of the campaign. He did play through injury and it looked like covid-19 struck him down, so could be an interesting option if he’s fit again.
Nick Mullens – Another decent level QB who’s demonstrated the work ethic and dedication that you love to see in a QB, but hard to see him getting a starting job.
Jacoby Brissett – Another backup who’s known as a great leader and a good guy to have around, he turned into the short yardage situation QB for the Colts last year with mixed results. A return to New England could make sense if they reach last resort levels.
Tyrod Taylor – A solid running option who could be a good backup around a high draft pick – Tends to stay healthy when he’s not being ruined by his own team doctor.