Free Agent Market For Quarterbacks

Our list of 2015 free agents provides a comprehensive position-by-position breakdown of which players are eligible to hit the open market this year. However, that list of names doesn’t include much context or additional information about those players. So, with March’s free agent period fast approaching, we’ll be taking a closer look this month at the free agent market for each position, starting today with quarterbacks. Let’s dive in….

Top unrestricted FAs:

Outside of Moore and Ponder – who have combined for more than 60 career NFL starts in past seasons – everyone in this group saw at least a little time in a starting lineup during the 2014 season. Of course, many of them didn’t finish the season as starters, or were only forced into duty due to injuries.

Nonetheless, if a club is looking to the free agent market for a veteran to compete for a starting job with its incumbent QB, this is probably the first group of players that team will consider. Sanchez and Hoyer are perhaps the top available options here, as both players showed several flashes of effectiveness as they led their respective teams to records of .500 or better during their starts.

Other intriguing names on this list include Mallett, who backed up Tom Brady for several seasons before getting a brief look in Houston; Locker and Ponder, 2011 first-rounders who were relegated to backup roles during the final year of their rookie contracts; and Moore, who has been one of the league’s most highly-paid No. 2 QBs for the last two seasons.

Other unrestricted options:

Whether you’re looking for a veteran who can play in a pinch (Campbell, Hasselbeck) or a younger option with some upside (Taylor, Tolzien), there’s something for everyone in this group — albeit not many names that inspire excitement.

McCoy and Clausen had some good moments during their limited playing time in 2014, and Jackson hasn’t been terrible during his stints as a starter. Still, none of those three players should be more than backups at this point in their playing careers, and the same goes for virtually everyone else on this list as well. In some cases, these guys were listed third on their respective teams’ depth charts.

I’d expect a good percentage of these players to return to their current teams, or to follow an old coach or coordinator to his new club. When it comes to backup quarterbacks, familiarity with an offensive system is crucial, and would certainly be a tiebreaker if the gap in talent between two players is marginal. Flynn might be the best example of this, as he hasn’t had much success anywhere besides Green Bay.

Restricted FAs:

Davis and Lindley saw some action in 2014, but neither player was overly effective — Lindley, in particular, had a ton of trouble moving the Cardinals’ offense when he was forced into action after injuries knocked out Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. Generally, if a team wants to keep a restricted free agent, that team has most of the leverage, so if one of these players is wearing a different uniform in 2015, I expect it’ll be because his club had little to no interest in re-signing him.

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