Free Agency Diary

2016’s Top NFL Free Agent Quarterbacks


There are plenty of teams around the NFL that need quarterbacks.  Whether it be starters or backups, there are plenty to choose from.  As we all know, elite level starters are difficult, if not impossible to come by in free agency so we rank the best of what’s available and where they would fit best.

  1. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins- Cousins is ranked No. 1 because of his nine-game streak at the end of the year which vaulted Washington to the NFC East title.  He will be a starter somewhere next season, but it doesn’t seem to make sense for the Redskins to franchise him, although it is a distinct possibility.  Best fits: Washington, Houston, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Denver. 
  2. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos- Osweiler has a small body of work, but he played well in his shot and was a big part of the Broncos Super Bowl title, even though he didn’t play in the postseason.  In a perfect world, the Broncos and Osweiler will come to an agreement, but he will begin 2016 as a starting quarterback.  Best fits: Denver, Houston, Washington, Los Angeles, Cleveland. 
  3. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles- The perception of Bradford’s talent seems to be much greater than his actual talent.  Still, he’s a former No. 1 overall pick and that will get him some probably undeserved opportunities and he’s going to get paid eight figures to play mediocre quarterback for some team.  Best fits: Philadelphia, Houston, Cleveland.
  4. Chase Daniel, Kansas City Chiefs- Daniel has never been given the chance to be a full-time starter, but he’s looked great in relief.  He has great command of the West Coast offense and his arm strength limitations make him a good fit in a short passing game.  He’ll likely be a backup again, but don’t count out the chances of him going somewhere to compete for a starting job.  Best fits: Denver, Kansas City, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco.
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets- Fitzpatrick was a solid starter, but he imploded when the team needed a win in the season finale.  He won’t be a hot name based on his age (33), but he is a band-aid type of starter who can keep a team in contention while they groom his replacement. Best fits: New York Jets, Philadelphia, Washington. 
  6. Matt Hasselbeck, Indianapolis Colts- Hasselbeck is the consummate professional backup quarterback.  He can take over an offense and limit mistakes for a few weeks while instilling confidence in his team.  At 40 years old, he shouldn’t be considered for any teams needing starters, but any team who believes they’re a contender could use a guy like him. Best fits: Indianapolis, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Green Bay, Denver, Baltimore, Buffalo, Atlanta, Arizona. 
  7. Drew Stanton, Arizona Cardinals- Stanton did an admirable job filling in for Carson Palmer in 2014 and is a solid backup for any contending team.  Stanton has mobility and would work best in a short passing game. Best fits: Arizona, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Buffalo. 
  8. Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins- Moore has been a solid backup for his entire career and is comfortable in the role.  He’s not a threat to any young starter and he can run most offenses.  That’s a valuable commodity.  Best fits:  Miami, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta. 
  9. Brandon Weeden, Houston Texans- After finding himself out of work, Weeden bounced around and played reasonably good football in the state of Texas. He’ll never get another starting job, but he could have a nice backup career.  Best fits: Houston, Miami, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Denver, Baltimore. 
  10. Tavaris Jackson, Seattle Seahawks- Jackson has settled into being a nice backup quarterback with a good amount of mobility.  He can not only be a solid professional backup, but he can also mirror opposing mobile quarterbacks on the scout team.  Best fits: Seattle, Denver, Miami, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Indianapolis. 

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.