NFL Top Free Agent Quarterbacks

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NFL teams are in one of two positions. You either have the quarterback that you think can win it all, or you are searching for that quarterback. It’s why so few good quarterbacks ever hit the free agent market. When you have one, you hold on to him with everything you have.

Kirk Cousins

Winning a Super Bowl with Nick Foles, as the Philadelphia Eagles did, or Brad Johnson, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did, are the anomalies. Otherwise, you need a Patrick Mahomes, Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning type. Except for Foles in Super Bowl LII, those four have won nine of the last 10 Super Bowls.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is easily the best available quarterback on the market. Often criticized for his big game performances, Cousins has been a top 10 quarterback in most of his NFL seasons. Seven times he has gone for more than 4,000 passing yards, and he was well on his way to that number again this year when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon.

And that is the question with Cousins. He’s 35 and he’s coming off a serious injury. Normally, he would be 100% reliable. What you pay for is what you get. But as the only bonifide available star, will the bidding war outstrip his value? And if you are the Vikings, can you afford not to pay it?

NFL online sportsbooks think the Vikings will open up the checkbook. They are paying -200 on Cousins staying in Minnesota.

Baker Mayfield

Former overall No. 1 draft pick Baker Mayfield was a year ago a man in search of a team. Now, he is a man in search of a payday. Last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he made $6.85 million. says that his market value is now four years at $108.5 million.

That’s how desperate teams are to land a quarterback with playoff wins on his resume. Mayfield was shipped from team to team in 2022. But in 2023, he won the NFC South, and now someone is going to pay.

The resurgent season for Mayfield landed former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales a head coaching job in Carolina. Stands to reason that Mayfield should also benefit.

Ryan Tannehill

Once upon a time, Ryan Tannehill had the Tennessee Titans one game away from the Super Bowl. This past season, he lost his job in Nashville, and he is now in search of a new team.

Injuries have plagued him in recent years, and he’s creeping up in age. He will turn 36 before the 2024 regular season kicks off in September. He’s also seen as a quarterback very dependent on his supporting cast. Even as the quarterback of a playoff team, the leader of the offense was always running back Derrick Henry.

Tannehill may find a starting job as a placeholder until someone younger and better comes along. But in all likelihood, he will spend next season as a backup.

Gardner Minshew

Gardner Minshew will never have to buy a beer in Jacksonville, and after filling in for the injured Anthony Richardson this last season with the Indianapolis Colts, he will never have to buy a beer in Indiana. The question now is in which city he will next be able to drink for free.

Fans love him and so do teammates. And at times, he plays like a playoff-caliber quarterback. But he’s not the guy you bring in to help you win a championship. You bring him in as a top-tier Plan B who doesn’t scare you if he has to start a few games.

Indianapolis still seems like a good spot for him. But the Las Vegas Raiders might also be a good fit.

Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco was a washout as a backup with the New York Jets in 2022, but became a star with the Cleveland Browns in 2023. So which Joe Flacco is a team signing for 2024? The guy stuck behind Zach Wilson and Mike White, or the guy who won Comeback Player of the Year and made the playoffs?

You’re probably getting a quarterback who is somewhere in-between. Flacco will be a fine backup quarterback, and his veteran presence will benefit any quarterback room he occupies. But we’ve probably seen his last playoff run as a starter.

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson is not a free agent – yet. It seems like the relationship between Wilson and the Denver Broncos is broken, and that a split is upcoming. Be it by trade, or him being cut now, or as a designated June 1 cut, most pundits don’t expect to see him next season with the Broncos. Colorado online sportsbooks agree, and have the Pittsburgh Steelers as the -110 favorite to be Wilson’s home in 2024.

Everyone agrees that his 2022 was the worst year of his career. But he was significantly better in 2023, and he is one of just five current quarterbacks who have won a Super Bowl. Other potential landing spots, according to the oddsmakers, are the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.

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