NFL free agency 2022: the five best available quarterbacks
With most NFL teams now focusing on their preparations for the 2022 season, we take a look at the best quarterbacks available as free agents.
Should anyone ever question the idea that the quarterback is the most important position in any team, all that’s needed to assuage their scepticism is a look at the performances of the Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen and the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes in the NFL Playoffs this weekend.
All but four NFL teams now planning for 2022
As Mahomes and Kansas City prepare for the AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals, 28 organisations have now turned their attentions to planning for the start of next season in September. Many with the intention of bolstering their offence with a quarterback who can raise their hopes of reaching the Super Bowl.
Now that we’re in the final stretch of the 2021 season, the free agency period is approaching and several teams have already identified their targets for improving their roster.
According to the sports contract specialists Spotrac, there are 35 quarterbacks who are free agents and are available to talk to suitors once the free agency period begins.
Among the most notable names on the list is veteran Ben Roethlisberger. The two-time Super Bowl winner’s contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers has expired, but most reports indicate that Roethlisberger will announce his retirement from the NFL in the coming days.
With ‘Big Ben’ seemingly not on the market, the most talented available QBs are:
Winston was involved in 371 plays in seven games with the New Orleans Saints in the 2021 season. He suffered an ACL tear that pretty much ruled him out of the second half of the campaign. The 28-year-old no longer looks like being the quarterback he promised to become when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted him in 2015, but he’s a player who can win games and manage leads. Winston threw for 14 touchdowns and 1,170 yards in the regular season. He earned $5.5 million in 2021.
Among the free agent quarterbacks available, Bridgewater is another player below 30 with the calibre to be a starter at a number of organisations. With a better offensive line than he had at the Carolina Panthers, he surpassed 3,000 yards gained by passing with the Denver Broncos. The 29-year-old earned $10 million last year. Given the paucity of talented quarterbacks in the current generation of college players, he could well bag another big contract.
As understudy to Josh Allen, Trubisky was basically paid $2.5 million to enjoy a year off at the Buffalo Bills. He left the Chicago Bears for the Bills having been on the end of huge criticism for his performances in the Windy City, but he has the throwing arm and the fitness to lead a team or be a good back-up QB.
At 28 years old, Mariota still has the tools to be a successful addition to the roster at several teams. A man who knows how to run the ball, he scarcely appeared for the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2021 season. He earned $3.5 million.
Taylor began the Houston Texans’ first two games in the 2021 season, after the franchise opted to sideline Deshaun Watson. The 32-year-old then sat out the next six games, before returning in Weeks 9, 11, 12 and 13. He had a 2-4 record as a starter this term.