As you know, there is no real off-season for fantasy football fanatics. While the NFL playoffs are still in progress, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared for the next season. FullTime Fantasy‘s 2023 Free Agent Rankings: Quarterbacks previews the top veteran signal callers available this spring.
Overall, there isn’t a lot of depth available at the NFL’s most important position. This free agent class is top-heavy but the uninspiring incoming rookie class could make for some big-money deals.
Lamar Jackson – Jackson is clearly the preeminent free-agent quarterback. Just now entering his prime, Jackson is one of the elite dual-threat options in the NFL. However, the Ravens have unsuccessfully tried to engage Jackson for some time. Were he to hit the open market, Jackson could command north of $40 million annually. However, the most likely outcome is that Baltimore franchise tags their quarterback. This could lead to a holdout situation, but only time will tell.
Tom Brady – Even at 46, Brady will attract plenty of suitors. Brady’s touchdown numbers dipped significantly in 2022. However, an offensive line that ranked 28th in DVOA played a large role in that. Most Buccaneers’ teammates got the impression that Brady is unlikely to return to Tampa. Wherever Brady lands will almost certainly have to be a potential Super Bowl contender. Time is running out for the GOAT, but he could still be the difference for a handful of veteran rosters.
EDIT: Brady announced his retirement on February 1st. Unless he has another change of heart, the GOAT should be avoided in all drafts.
Geno Smith – Timing is everything and Smith parlayed his best-ever campaign into a ton of money. If Brady retires and the Ravens tag Lamar Jackson, Smith could be the most attractive QB on the open market. A reunion with the Seahawks makes the most sense but Smith might command 10 times more than the $3.5 million he pocketed in 2022.
Daniel Jones – The Giants declined their fifth-year option, which makes Jones free to test the market. Jones is probably a better fantasy option than a real NFL difference-maker. However, he is a plus athlete who doesn’t throw a lot of interceptions. However, New York’s two playoff games were very indicative of Jones’ week-to-week inconsistencies. Still, Brian Daboll did coach Jones to a solid campaign and a reunion makes the most sense. Other interested teams might include the Jets, Colts, Raiders, and Panthers.
Jimmy Garoppolo – 2022 was a whirlwind season for Jimmy G. However, there will not be a reunion in San Francisco. Still just 31, Garoppolo will appeal to many teams. But, the jury is still out on if the nine-year veteran can ever emerge beyond “tweener” status. A reunion with Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas makes sense. However, has Garoppolo proven he is an upgrade over Derek Carr?
Speaking of Carr, it should be noted that he will be released or traded this off-season. Were he to hit the open market, Carr would slide in as the third or fourth-best option.
This second tier of free-agent QBs is unlikely to attract attention as potential starters. While some can fill in as bridge options, most are destined for clipboard duties.
Baker Mayfield – Last season was a wild ride for Baker Mayfield. First, he opened the season as Carolina’s starter. Secondly, Mayfield was relegated to the bench and unceremoniously released. Finally, was the improbable Thursday night win as the Rams’ starter. Regardless, it has become aware that Mayfield isn’t a long-term option. However, he can find a role if he is willing to guide a rookie.
Jacoby Brissett – Brissett did an admirable job replacing Mayfield and holding down the fort for Deshaun Watson. As a result, he might attract teams as a bridge option or in a mentor capacity.
Taylor Heinicke – Although he was able to usurp Carson Wentz, Heinicke is unlikely to be viewed as a viable starter. Heinicke is capable of playing well in small stretches. Therefore, he’ll attract interest as a dependable veteran backup.
Gardner Minshew – It has been two full seasons since Minshew was a starter. Most likely, Philadelphia is the ideal fit for a player like Minshew because the Eagles have a locked-in starter who takes a lot of punishment as a runner. It’s unlikely that Minshew will find a starting gig. Above all, a reunion with the Eagles or a similar role with another team is the most likely outcome.
Mike White – White could be a dark horse option to earn a starting gig. However, that would only happen if he re-signs with the Jets. It seems painfully obvious that the Jets missed on Zach Wilson, which would open the door for White to win the job in camp. However, this outcome is rather unlikely as the Jets would be better served to start fresh.
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