2013 NFL Free Agency: Quarterback Rankings
The NFL Playoffs are about to start, and before you know it we’ll be knee-deep in free agency. However, before we get to that point, it’s always good to look ahead and see what we might be in for. After all, the NFL free agency period comes before the NFL Draft, and goes a long way in exposing the landscape of the draft and what NFL teams need to do to get better.
While Geno Smith and a few other quarterbacks will be coveted players in this year’s draft, some teams may opt to just pluck a free agent passer out of this year’s crop and see if a veteran can get them by until the next draft class rolls along. With that said, here’s a look at the top quarterbacks that are set to be available for the highest bidder:
1. Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens
It might be a telling sign that the Ravens are about to play a playoff game and their would-be franchise quarterback isn’t under contract for 2013 and beyond. Flacco has loads of talent and potential, but he hasn’t made any huge strides and actually had a pretty disappointing 2012 season. He’s probably coming back either way, but a strong showing in the playoffs will definitely help his case for a nice long-term deal.
2. Jason Campbell – Chicago Bears
Campbell is done in Chicago. He didn’t look great in spot-duty, but he was working behind a terrible offensive line and in a sketchy system led by Mike Tice when he was under center. He still has the size and arm to be a starter if someone believes in him enough. One thing is for sure, he’ll find work as a backup if all else fails.
3. Matt Moore – Miami Dolphins
Moore won’t be back in Miami and will look elsewhere for a nice backup gig that might give him a shot at starting. Kansas City needs to scrap all the guys they have, so that’s a possible destination.
4. David Garrard – Miami Dolphins
Garrard’s main issue is his back and knees. If he can prove he’s healthy, he could get a crack at a starting gig again in 2013. Reports suggested he’d be the starter in Miami before knee surgery got him cut.
5. Tarvaris Jackson – Buffalo Bills
T-Jax wasn’t awful as a starter in Seattle in 2011, so his career isn’t over just yet. He could return to Buffalo, while I wouldn’t be shocked if he turned up wherever Chip Kelly ends up coaching. He can be a solid backup in this league, even if he can’t sniff a starting job again.
6. Rex Grossman – Washington Redskins
Grossman is better than a third stringer in Washington. He isn’t the answer for anyone as a starter, but he can be a quality backup somewhere for sure. Green Bay still doesn’t have a backup quarterback, while San Francisco could use a veteran backup once they trade/cut Alex Smith.
7. Derek Anderson – Carolina Panthers
Anderson can’t hit the broadside of a barn, but he still has size and arm strength you just can’t teach. He could easily re-up with Carolina, or look elsewhere for a backup job that has some kind of path to a shot at starting. He knows that doesn’t exist with the Panthers behind Cam Newton.
8. Drew Stanton – Indianapolis Colts
Stanton has shown glimpses of nice potential in Detroit in the past, but is just a solid backup these days. It’ll stay that way as he tries to sniff out a better situation that all-time second place behind Andrew Luck, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t just stick in Indy.
9. Bruce Gradkowski – Cincinnati Bengals
Gradkowski is a smart quarterback with some decent mobility, so he’ll get looks from other teams. I’d expect him to re-up with the Bengals, though.
10. Matt Leinart – Oakland Raiders
Leinart out-ranks guys like Brady Quinn and David Carr, but not by much. He hasn’t been completely awful in spot-duty the past two years, but he hasn’t shown us anything we didn’t already know, either. He won’t be back with Oakland, but he should still be able to land a backup job somewhere.
Others who could be made available:
1. Michael Vick – Philadelphia Eagles
Vick isn’t a free agent and the Eagles would probably prefer to trade him than cut him, but he probably has a 50/50 shot at getting his walking papers. While things didn’t work out in Philly, he’s still got a huge arm and elite wheels, so he’ll find a place with little effort.
2. Alex Smith – San Francisco 49ers
Smith has some trade value since his contract isn’t insane like Vick’s, but if he wants out (and he will), I can definitely see the 49ers showing him respect and granting him his release. If that happens, the Bills, Jets, Chiefs and Cardinals could all show interest.
3. Matt Hasselbeck – Tennessee Titans
Jake Locker was shaky in his rookie year, but Hasselbeck is aging and there’s no turning back from Locker now. That means Hasselbeck probably will want out, and if the Titans can find a decent backup, they’ll probably allow it. Hasselbeck might not land a starting job, however.
4. Matt Cassel – Kansas City Chiefs
Cassel is done in KC and his release is just a formality. I can see him going back to New England again, but it’s safe to say he won’t be starting anywhere again anytime soon.
5. Tim Tebow – New York Jets
I personally would take Tebow over Hasselbeck and Cassel, but I do understand how they have more value. It’s become quite clear that the Jets are done with Tebow and he’ll be released or traded. One way or another, we can expect him to find his way to Jacksonville.