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2016 Free Agents: Quarterbacks

We looked at the free agent WRs and RBs available for 2016. Now we’ll focus on the free agent Quarterbacks.

QB Needs

No NFC North teams need a starting QB currently. Stafford and Rodgers are good franchise QBs, Cutler has just done enough to be retained by the Bears these past two years and Bridgewater is a young game manager 1st round pick for the Vikings that could develop more.

The Vikings and Packers have decent backup QB situations with Shaun Hill and Brett Hundley. The Lions and Bears could use a good back-up QB. The Lions may go the cheap route again and re-sign veteran Dan Orlovsky to back-up Stafford for the third season in a row.

Starting QBs

None of the North teams require a starter. However, there will be a couple available for QB needy teams.

Sam Bradford is a free agent after a disappointing year with the Eagles. The Eagles could retain Bradford with a franchise tag but this might be unlikely considering the cost. Bradford did complete 65% of his passes and had an 86.4 rating. He had 19 TDS but 14 interceptions at 7 YPA. The Eagles have a new head coach in Doug Pederson (former QB) who may be able to develop Bradford. Bradford has some injury (knee) concerns in previous seasons so the Eagles may not want to back up the brinks truck just yet. Bradford’s demands will be interesting after the last few disappointing seasons.

Kirk Cousins had a break-out year in 2015. Cousin’s completed 69.8% of his attempts at 7.7 YPA with a 101 QB rating. The Redskins will surely franchise Cousins after they drop the 5th year option for Robert Griffin III.

Speaking of RG3, he would be an intriguing backup for some North teams. RG3 had a great rookie year with a 102 QB rating and 815 rushing yards. A late rookie season knee injury hurt RG3 and he struggled the next two seasons in Washington with an 82 and 86 QB rating in 2013 and 2014. RG3 didn’t play at all in 2015 as the Redskins chose Colt McCoy as the back-up QB.

Ryan Fitzpatrick had a nice year with the Jets with an 88 QB rating. Fitzpatrick had a 95 QB rating with the Texans in 2014 after struggling with the Titans and Bills previously. The Harvard grad can pick up new offenses quickly but the Jets may try hard to re-sign Fitzpatrick after a 10 win season with him. Fitzpatrick is 33 and probably has a few solid years left.

Brock Osweiler had success in 6 games with the Broncos this year. Brock had an 86.4 QB rating and 7.2 YPA which was much better than current starter Peyton Manning. Osweiler should get less than starter money (15 per or more) but the Broncos or another team may give him a big raise to be their franchise QB once Manning retires.

Backup QBs

The Browns are going to cut former 1st round pick and Heisman trophy winner, Johnny Manziel. Manziel has 57% completion and 74.4 rating in 2 seasons. The Heisman trophy winner is a bust and if somebody makes him a starter’ that would be a huge mistake. He’ll get a one or two year deal to prove himself at best if he’s not out of the league due to strong off field issues.

Chase Daniels is the backup for the Chiefs with the highest 2015 back-up cap hit. Daniels has only 77 career attempts with the Saints and Chiefs. He’s a risky pickup for 4 million per season.

Drew Stanton is a former Lion’s second round pick from 2007. Stanton has been a backup since leaving Detroit for the Colts and Cardinals. Stanton had some success with the Cardinals in 2014 after Carson Palmer got hurt but Stanton’s numbers weren’t very impressive despite several wins (78 QB rating in 2014). Stanton is 31 but a decent backup option and should be cheaper than Daniels.

Matt Moore is 31 and the back-up to Ryan Tannehill in Miami. Moore has experience with Carolina and Miami but is a good back-up and clearly not a starter. Moore hasn’t played many snaps since 2011 (87 QB rating). Moore will be more than Stanton and less than Daniels for an experienced back-up.

Chad Henne is another average back-up option. Henne has been a Jacksonville Jaguar the last four years before playing for Miami (four seasons). Henne gave way to Blake Bortles the last two seasons. Henne is a career 75 QB rating and played the majority of time in four of his 8 seasons only.

Scott Tolzien was Green Bay’s backup QB the last two seasons. Tolzien looked outmatched in 2013 when called upon which led to the Packers adding Matt Flynn. However, Tolzien has grown in 2014 and 2015. Flynn is also a free agent so no tag and trade is required. The Packers may add Tolzien back depending how they feel about Hundley in year 2.

Other QBs

Michael Vick is a free agent. He lost his spot to Landry Jones in Pittsburgh. Someone will give him one more chance I’m sure even though he is a shell of his former self.

Matt Schaub is long gone from his successful days early in Houston. Schaub is 34.

Former Viking starter, Tarvaris Jackson is a free agent. Jackson has been a backup for Seattle the last four seasons. Russell Wilson, by some miracle, never gets hurt scrambling around. Seattle should try and retain Jackson. Jackson last played significant snaps in 2011 and has a 78 QB rating.

Case Keenum and TJ Yates have had some success but very poor backup options. Both are young enough to stick with a team. Dan Orlovsky has a shot to come back on minimum deal for Detroit due to the system he knows. Clipboard Jesus, Charlie Whitehurst is still in the league. Matt Hasselbeck better retire after the beating he took with the Colts.

Luke McCown, Bruce Gradkowski, Jimmy Clausen, Ryan Lindley have played football previously.

Summary

The QB class, per usual, is sub-par with free agents. There are backups to be had and the Sam Bradford and RG3 and Osweiler sagas should be interesting. Manziel will be discussed ad-naseum.

The Bears and Lions will probably add a new back-up. The Packers probably keep Tolzien and the Vikings roll with Bridgewater and Shaun Hill. Given Hill’s arm strength, the Vikings could upgrade their backup with a younger player.