2021 Free Agency Primer: Quarterbacks
Hello everyone, I have been in and around Walt’s site spouting my opinions on everything between mock drafts to preseason team summaries to other opinionated pieces that are able to be had on his site. Now I will dip my toes into what could be a very unique offseason that sees a lot of big names hitting the open market. However, I am not sure you really want to be a free agent this offseason with the salary cap going down and many teams already in bad situations in that department. If you are a free agent looking to get a big deal it might be hard to find. In any case, in the Free Agency Primers to come over the next week or so I will go over who I think are “The Best Ones, the Busts, and the Sleepers” of each position. So without further adieu, here we go!
Bust: Cam Newton
I understand there’s always going to be a love of Cam from his college days to his MVP days to his broken down days. People always seem to have his back, but I would beg to say that he was starting to slip even a few years prior to his injuries. He was never the most accurate quarterback and always thrived off his big arm and athleticism. Now without his big arm to help him overcome some accuracy issues teams are able to clue in on his only remaining asset being his athleticism. Even that can be coming into question now thanks to his health and body failing him. Just like last offseason I am not sure who will sign the former MVP, but I am sure someone will try to take a flyer on him again. Maybe New England if they whiff on other bigger names or miss out on prospects in the draft. I doubt he even is able to return to being one of the top 30 quarterbacks in the game at this point.
Best: Dak Prescott
This is a no brainer and I have no idea what the Cowboys are doing at this point. I understand why Washington jerked Kirk Cousins around for a few years with the franchise tag, but in the end they came away without a quarterback after giving Cousins way too much money for two seasons. The same could happen to Dallas if they allow Dak to roll under the Franchise tag again. If they give him the tag again they will certainly lose him in free agency next year and will be in a major conundrum at the most important position. Without him they are one of the worst teams in the league as we saw last season. Sure a freak injury could be used against him, but for the majority of his career he has been a steady rock not missing any time. If he became available I can assume the teams that would not try to sign him to be in the single digits.
Sleeper: Jacoby Brissett
I know he is probably not an ideal starter, but I can at least see him being a very high end back up wherever he lands. He offers starting experience and has gotten some of the best coaching from the Patriots brass and the Colts brass to have a lot to offer in the quarterback's room. He has also spent time with Phillip Rivers and Andrew Luck, two of the brightest quarterbacks around. He has had a lot of opportunity to learn and watch how some of the best operate. Teams like Chicago, Washington, Raiders, and the Lions could do a lot worse than sniff around Brissett to add to their roster. I would not be surprised if he lands in Chicago or Washington if he wins a starting job or wrestles one away from an underperforming starter in front of him.
Bust: Mitchell Trubisky
This free agency class at quarterback essentially starts and ends with Dak and maybe Cam. So there really are not many to choose from that could really be busts. Most are probably destined to be back ups who will have to fight for starting gigs. However, I feel like Trubisky since he was a former first rounder will be highly sought after to be a developmental back up. A landing with New England, New Orleans, or even Miami could be in his future as a strong back. I do not think he is even able to do that job to be honest. At no point do I think he can step in and play it safe like a backup should. He has horrible decision making and cannot even hit the wide open receiver when the play is designed properly. I feel like he is a bit of Fool’s gold and will get the benefit of the doubt just because he was a top five pick once upon a time.
Best: Jameis Winston
I am not one to say Winston has it all figured out, but I do think he deserves another crack at a starting job. Once upon a time he was a stat stuffer down in Tampa, of course a lot of it was his own fault due to him gifting the opposing team with a lot of picks that forced his team to throw a lot to get back in the game. One has to hope being with Drew Brees and Sean Payton has helped him understand how to play the position better. However, in many moments on the sideline for the Saints it could clearly be seen that he is still a little immature, which worries me that he might have not been humbled enough to still put the work in. In a typical shallow class of quarterbacks hitting free agency he is probably one of the best who can be available.
Sleepers: Alex Smith
It may be too soon to put him in this, but he is rumored to be let go by Washington at some point this offseason. I have no idea why after he played strong enough to sneak them into the playoffs despite playing behind the league’s worst o-line. Not to mention coming off what was a 2 year rehab for his devastating leg injury. I liked what I saw out of him last year. He seemed to be still quick enough to make damage with his legs and still showed his typical accuracy with the ball. If he lands on a strong defensive team like Chicago it could be an ideal match. He will provide the safe and accurate throws that Nagy will love that will allow him to draw up those plays that Trubisky was never able to hit. It would also help their defense to not be forced onto the field a lot with Smith taking care of the ball. They also have a strong run game to work off and their offensive line could bounce back after a year filled with injuries. All in all I find Smith to be one of the best sleepers in this free agency class if he becomes available.