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Ranking All 30 NFL Free Agent Quarterbacks



New England Patritos quarterback Jacoby Brissett

The legal tampering period begins for NFL free agents on Monday, March 11. With the New England Patriots trading quarterback Mac Jones to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, QB may be a position the franchise explores. New England. will likely be drafting a quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft but adding a veteran to the roster would still make a lot of sense.

Using the 2023 grades from Pro Football Focus, a look at the 2024 NFL free agency class of quarterbacks. They are divided into five groups: Will start, could start, former high draft picks, shouldn’t start, and did not play in 2023. For comparison’s sake in terms of the PFF grades, New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe received a 52.2 in 2023.

Group 1 – Will Start (3)

86.1 – Kirk Cousins, Vikings
77.5 – Russell Wilson, Broncos
77.2 – Baker Mayfield, Buccaneers

Cousins is the key domino to determine where all others (including Bears QB Justin Fields) land in the quarterback market. There is a strong belief that he could be headed to Atlanta, where his wife is from and where Cousins recently purchased a home. Mayfield will get paid handsomely after a strong 2023 season. He is likely headed back to Tampa Bay. Wilson could arguably be knocked down to Group 2 here. However, Wilson will be making league minimum wherever he lands, which allows him to have more leverage than most in his position would have while choosing a landing spot.

Group 2 – Could Start (7)

84.6 – Jacoby Brissett, Commanders
72.8 – Joe Flacco, Browns
71.4 – Tyrod Taylor, Giants
68.7 – Ryan Tannehill, Titans
65.9 – Joshua Dobbs, Vikings
64.8 – Mason Rudolph, Steelers
62.0 – Gardner Minshew, Colts

This group consists of players with recent starting quarterback experience. They are all capable of being bridge quarterbacks and veteran mentors for a rookie. Brissett’s number is slightly inflated here, as he attempted so few passes (23) in 2023. But it was stated here months ago that bringing Brissett back to New England to be paired with a rookie quarterback makes a lot of sense.

This group’s expectations are being allowed to compete for a starting job. They could also handle being the backup positively. No matter who is the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots in 2024, the most important QB in the building is going to be a rookie. Having them begin a positive work environment with an opportunity to learn and develop is huge.

Former Top 50 Picks

80.7 – Carson Wentz, Rams
66.3 – Marcus Mariota, Eagles
66.0 – Sam Darnold, 49ers
61.3 – Drew Lock, Seahawks
56.3 – Jameis Winston, Saints

These guys have a group of their own. Mariota and Winston are the oldest at age 30, but these five have all been backups to established NFL starters when they have served as backups. Would they serve as positive examples to a rookie quarterback? Would their career struggles be a positive for a newcomer?

Quarterbacks like Mariota and Winston are entering Year 10 in the NFL, which is far different than a player like Lock. Perhaps all are now accepting of their role as a backup/veteran mentor at this point, but it would require New England to be very comfortable that the player will accept whatever role they wind up with in Foxboro.

Baker Mayfield (Group 1), Joe Flacco and Ryan Tannehill (Group 2), Blane Gabbert (Group 4), and Teddy Bridgewater (Group 5) all qualify for this group too. But as in free agency, it comes down to finding the best home for each quarterback.

Group 4 – Should Not Start (7)

64.8 – Easton Stick, Chargers
63.8 – Tyler Huntley, Ravens
60.7 – Blaine Gabbert, Chiefs
58.0 – A.J. McCarron, Bengals
55.2 – Brian Hoyer, Raiders
34.9 – Trevor Simien, Jets
24.8 – Logan Woodside, Falcons

This list consists of QBs no NFL fan would be thrilled to start for their franchise in Week 1. Being a bridge quarterback does not change that sentiment. Some could argue that members of Group 2 belong here as well. These players are coming to training camp on a non-guaranteed contract and hoping to land a roster spot. If these quarterbacks want more than that they would not be a great fit for the New England Patriots.

Group 5 – Did Not Play in 2023 (8)

This group consists of eight quarterbacks: Brandon Allen (49ers), Kyle Allen (Bills), Matt Barkley (Jaguars), Teddy Bridgewater (Lions), Feleipe Franks (Falcons), Garrett Gilbert (Patriots), Josh Johnson (Ravens), and Nate Sudfeld (Lions).

Bridgewater retired. He is becoming a high school football coach. But including him here made the list an even 30.

What Will New England Do?

The New England Patriots should still look for their quarterback of the future in the NFL Draft. That means targeting Group 2 makes the most sense. As stated back in January on Patriots Football Now, and a feeling that seems to be gaining momentum as free agency approaches, bringing Jacoby Brissett back to New England makes the most sense from this perspective to all parties involved.