Free Agent Predictions (Quarterbacks)

Every year, I play a little matchmaker with free-agent moves and teams that seem apparent to me as perfect matches. As the season plays out, it is fun to see which ones I got right and wrong and which should have followed my advice.

Aaron Rodgers–New York Jets  

Finally, the football world is no longer held hostage by Aaron Rodgers as the NY Jets, and the Green Bay Packers agree to a trade involving the Hall of Famer for two first-round picks. Green Bay turns the page and the NY Jets for the remaining years of Aaron’s contract.   

Derek Carr—Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

With Tom Brady retiring, the quarterback spot is open in Tampa Bay, and Derek Carr would be a slam dunk add with the receivers under contract in Tampa Bay. Granted, they have salary cap moves ahead of them, but Carr is immediately the best QB in the division and can drive a team with wide receivers like in Tampa Bay to a playoff run and a division title.

Jacoby Brissett–Carolina Panthers

Frank Reich was a great addition as head coach, but the need is still there for a new signal caller after the failed Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and other experiments did not work. At worst, Brissett would be a great bridge quarterback while Reich gets his man in place without mortgaging the future by moving way up in this draft. Brissett would allow the team to select someone like Hendon Hooker in the second or third round and bring him along slowly over the next two years while adding a day-one starter in round one. At best, Brissett is his Nick Foles to the offense, and the team builds the talent around him on offense and contends for the division. 

Ryan Tannehill –Atlanta Falcons

The Tennessee Titans will save nearly 18 million by cutting Ryan Tannehill, and his old offensive coordinator and current Falcons head coach Arthur Smith will be more than happy to have him join him in Atlanta. With Tannehill as the starter, the Falcons will give Desmond Ridder another year to develop. 

Baker Mayfield—Arizona Cardinals

The team needs a player who can come in and start but understands this is likely an audition for another franchise in 2024. After his impressive play with the Rams, Mayfield is friends with Murray and would be an excellent fit to take the reins for the Cardinals while Murray recovers. If Baker is moderately successful without off-field issues, he could secure a legit starting spot in 2024. 

Gardner Minshew—Indianapolis Colts

It is easy to connect the dots as Gardner follows Shane Steichen to Indianapolis and is a possible day-one starter until the rookie number-one pick is ready for game action. Minshew is a perfect number two and bridge starting quarterback, and that is what the Colts need in 2023.

Sam Darnold—-San Francisco 49’ers

Darnold showed enough last year in Carolina to make Coach Shanahan willing to invest a contract in him to compete for the starting role and more likely provide depth. With Jimmy Garoppolo leaving and Trey Lance and Brock Purdy recovering from injuries, San Francisco needs a veteran with starting experience to add to the roster. Darnold gets to return to California.

Jimmy Garoppolo—Las Vegas Raiders

McDaniels needs a quarterback who he is comfortable with and who will work within his offensive system. Jimmy G. is that man, and with the weapons in Las Vegas and his lifestyle, this would be a beautiful marriage. Jimmy G in Vegas is the second coming of Elvis.   

Andy Dalton—Washington Commanders

With the ownership issue still not resolved and the declaration that Sam Howell is the starter, the Commanders would be wise to grab Andy Dalton as a bridge/mentor to the young signal caller. A prominent quarterback splash is likely once a new owner is in place, so 2023 looks like a year of Howell and Dalton as your signal callers. 

Mike White—Tennessee Titans

The Titans need a quarterback who can throw up to 25 times a game and hand off to Derrick Henry and not make mistakes. Josh Dobbs showed promise last year and should be brought back along with Malik Willis. White has game manager-type skills, and that running attack and defense is what the Titans need at quarterback. 

Cooper Rush…Los Angeles Chargers

He had a five-game stretch that was nearly legendary in Cowboys circles, but he is limited in arm strength, mobility, and athletic ability. He does know the Kellen Moore system, and with the Chargers needing a backup and a guy to ramp up Justin Herbert’s learning curve, it makes too much sense to see Cooper join his old offensive coordinator in Los Angeles. 

Tyler Heinicke—New Orleans Saints

Still trying to understand why the Commanders are moving on from Heinicke, as he has limitations but has a lot of intangibles and feel for the game that should secure him a roster spot and a chance to contend for a starting role. Heinicke playing in the Saints system has the feel of a perfect situation. A strapped cap team needs a veteran young quarterback and a quarterback needing a starting role. 

Matt Ryan—-Dallas Cowboys

Indianapolis clears $17,205,882 by cutting ties with Matt Ryan. Dallas needs a veteran backup to fill in a few games and act as a sounding board and mentor to their beleaguered franchise quarterback. Dallas hired Will Harriger as an offensive assistant and possible quarterback coach who worked in Atlanta while Matt Ryan had his best years. Ryan is now at the point in his career where he can either retire or take the Joe Flacco route and pick a spot where he can become a significant number two for a playoff-caliber team. Ryan would be almost a player-coach for Dak and act as his new voice. With Dan Quinn controlling the defense and potentially the next head coach in Dallas, it would make sense the comfort level with Ryan would exist with a basic veteran minimum deal with some incentives.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know at @ftballdialogue

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