The veteran quarterback carousel has been active every year. The 2023 offseason could be just as busy at the NFL’s most important position.
For the first time since 2020, it looks like the GOAT himself, Tom Brady, is about to switch teams. He could join a high-profile younger venture led by 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson, who has not been signed by the Ravens so far.
Although some of these QBs will return to their current teams on new short- or long-term contracts, many will be available through either unrestricted free agency, trade, or publication as the new league year begins.
Here are the top 15 quarterbacks not on a team in 2023:
NFL DRAFT 2023: SN’s Latest Mock | Top 75 large board
Ranking of the best QBs available in the NFL offseason
1. Tom Brady, Free Agent, 45
Brady peaked early in Tampa Bay with a great first season of 2020 that ended in a Super Bowl 55 win on his home field. The 2021 campaign brought a division title before a division playoff-out.
Unfortunately, going 8-9, 2022 was a losing season with Brady struggling around him with limited help hinting at a quick one-and-done at home against the Cowboys in the wild-card round. He must seek the new ideal situation to support coaches and staff to have a shot at his eighth Super Bowl ring at age 46.
Best New Team Fit: robber
2. Lamar Jackson, Ravens (free agent/trade), 26
The Ravens haven’t changed their stance on Jackson all that much. You want to agree on a reasonable multi-year contract with the right money guarantee and other parameters.
However, the end of the season, with Jackson continuing to miss time with his knee injury without being signed until 2023, raises serious questions about a potential split. Now a franchise tag and trade scenario is in play. Stay tuned to how Baltimore is handling this one-of-a-kind jam.
Best New Team Fit: hawks
3. Daniel Jones, Giants (Free Agent), 25
Jones is enjoying a breakout season into the playoffs as a passer and runner under the ideal quarterback brain trust of coach Brian Daboll (formerly with Josh Allen) and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka (formerly with Patrick Mahomes). The Giants have built a good system around his arm and athleticism and can build on that by improving his receiving corps. It should also be held without breaking the bank for market value. It would be shocking if the Giants let him run now after he didn’t pick up his fifth-year option.
Best New Team Fit: foal
4. Derek Carr, Raiders (trade/publication), 31
Carr is done in Las Vegas after being benched for Jarrett Stidham for the final two games of the season. That suggests the Raiders will get a serious run at another Josh McDaniel’s New England QB in Brady.
The Raiders will do their best to persuade Carr to make a decent return. They can save $29 million for the cap by trading or firing him, so it’s a good time to part ways.
Best New Team Fit: commanders
5. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (free agent), 31
Garoppolo should be on the radar the most of two AFC East teams that aren’t the Patriots. The Dolphins and Jets both have some concerns about QB depth while running a San Francisco-style offensive run by Kyle Shanahan under Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur. Jimmy G also can’t be ruled out as a veteran contingent for Bill Belichick with Mac Jones in New England.
Best New Team Fit: nozzles
6. Geno Smith, Seahawks (free agent), 32
Smith found the perfect team and system for him in Pete Carroll and Shane Waldron. He clicked well with their accomplished wide receivers and used his own athleticism and experience to work well off the traditional running game. There is an expectation that he will be re-signed as he won’t cost Seattle a high-profile deal.
Best New Team Fit: Aries
7. Jacoby Brissett, Browns (free agent), 30
Brissett played very well, replacing Deshaun Watson during the latter’s 11-game suspension. He wasn’t the reason Cleveland stayed out of contention while Watson was out. – that would be the below-par defense, especially against the run.
Brissett made good decisions, drew well on strong running play with Nick Chubb and developed his own good chemistry with key targets Amari Cooper, David Njoku and Donovan Peoples-Jones. He’ll likely settle for another high-end backup role rather than a forced starting job.
Best New Team Fit: viking
8. Carson Wentz, commanders (release), 30
Wentz got another starting shot after his late flameout with the Colts. He had some of the same sloppy turnover problems, often not playing within the system and forcing things. Major durability concerns also resurfaced and he was unable to get his starting Washington job back, although the other options were Taylor Heinicke and development rookie Sam Howell. Now Wentz will likely have to settle for a No. 2 gig to continue his career.
Best New Team Fit: jaguars
9. Teddy Bridgewater, Dolphins (Free Agent), 30
Bridgewater came through well when he had to fill in for Tua Tagovailoa, but he also proved he shouldn’t be more than an experienced number two. Miami should continue and Bridgewater has the profile to fit in well behind Watson, who replaces Brissett in Cleveland.
Best New Team Fit: Brown
10. Mike White, Jets (Free Agent), 27
White flashed a little out of necessity for the Jets as Zach Wilson flopped in Year 2 and Joe Flacco was limited late in his career. It must remain elsewhere in the system to have an appropriate emergency value.
Best New Team Fit: dolphins
11. Sam Darnold, Panther (Free Agent), 25
Darnold reignited the Panthers a bit in his second season as a starter, but he happened to be their best option as Matt Corral got injured, Baker Mayfield struggled and PJ Walker reached his low ceiling. However, he was an extended backup and was set to take on that role to finish his career.
Best New Team Fit: Charger
12. Andy Dalton, Saints (Free Agent), 35
The Panthers were supposed to draft a QB in the first round, and right now he’s planning to be Kentucky’s pocket-passing Will Levis. With Darnold and Mayfield not under contract, they need a willing veteran to back them up, and Dalton can provide a bridge to Levis or another newcomer.
Best New Team Fit: Panthers
13. Baker Mayfield, Rams (free agent), 27
Mayfield may have done enough with the Rams to remain as a backup and contingency for Matthew Stafford. But he might also want to explore No. 2 options at another team, and it doesn’t get any better than operating behind Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.
Best New Team Fit: bosses
14. Taylor Heinicke, Commander (Free Agent), 29
Heinicke isn’t cut out to be a long-term starter, but his arm, guts and athleticism suggest he can become a reliable No. 2 again. Buffalo needs one as Case Keenum goes free.
Best New Team Fit: bills
15. Mason Rudolph, Steelers (free agent), 27
Rudolph couldn’t see a starting line-up between Mitchell Trubisky and first-round rookie Kenny Pickett. There’s no point in him staying in Pittsburgh without a real role. He should visit Detroit as the new replacement for Jared Goff.
Best New Team Fit: lions