There are some interesting options at quarterback as we get ready to open up 2023 NFL free agency in March. There are plenty of teams looking to find short and long-term solutions under center and this list provides both. While running backs and wide receivers are of great interest this offseason, the quarterback position is the most important in all of sports and with many teams in need of answers, all eyes are on what will unfold next month in this particular market.
2023 NFL Free Agency: Top Five Quarterbacks
1. Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson won’t stay on this list too long but there are a lot of questions to be answered about the star quarterback ahead of 2023 NFL free agency. There are three realistic options for the Baltimore Ravens when it comes to Jackson. We knew two of them were franchise-tagging him or signing him to a huge multi-year deal. Now there are reports that the Ravens would consider trading the former NFL MVP for a wealth of draft picks if they use the franchise tag on him.
In only 12 games, Jackson threw for 2,242 yards and 17 touchdowns to only seven interceptions in 2022. He also rushed for 764 yards and three touchdowns. Lamar missed the last five games of the regular season due to injury but that won’t stop the elite two-way star from getting what he wants whether it’s with the Ravens or someone else.
2. Derek Carr
It’s been an interesting last couple of months for Derek Carr as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders. The nine-year veteran, all with Vegas, only played in 15 games this past season after being benched in favor of Jarrett Stidham due to team struggles for a squad that was supposed to be a playoff contender. That led to Carr stepping away from the team for the remainder of the season and the rest is history. The Raiders planned on trading him but now Carr has informed the team that he will not accept any trade, forcing the Raiders to release him.
Now Carr enters 2023 NFL free agency for the first time in his career as the second-best quarterback on the market. Part of what went wrong with the Raiders as a team in 2022 was Carr throwing nine interceptions through the first five games, giving him 14 interceptions overall. That didn’t help matters but he did throw for 3,522 yards and 24 touchdowns after having four-straight 4,000-yard seasons prior to that. He is one of the few top-priority free agents for teams around the league and will be pounced on quickly when the new league year approaches.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo
When the San Fransisco 49ers took Trey Lance third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, Jimmy Garoppolo knew his time was coming to an end and that was becoming more and more apparent this year. While the 49ers will still be trying to figure out what they have in Lance, Brock Purdy emerged and put on a show for nine games that led them to the NFC Championship Game.
With all that and the comments made by Kyle Shannahan, Garoppolo will hit 2023 free agency as the most sought out quarterback on the market behind Jackson and Carr. In 11 games this season, he threw for 2,437 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. While Garoppolo won’t light the world on fire, he knows how to get the job done and manage a game, going 40-17 in his career as a starter. He will get a lot of looks on the open market with teams in need of a quarterback.
4. Daniel Jones
After years of getting slammed by New York Media and others alike, understandably, Daniel Jones finally put together a career year when he needed it most. He tallied 3,205 yards and 15 touchdowns through the air with only five interceptions, while placing sixth in completion percentage (67.2%). Jones not only got it done in the passing game but he showed that he is a dual-threat quarterback, having by far a career year on the ground with 708 yards and seven touchdowns. This also while being fourth in yards per rushing attempt (5.9).
This resulted in Jones helping the New York Giants to a 34-21 Wild Card round win against Minnesota but unfortunately ran into a great Philadelphia team the next week. His performance in 2022 started serious conversation on whether the Giants should commit more than $30M to a player that people ask if he’s just a one-year wonder. Whatever the consensus ends up being, Jones is an interesting quarterback to watch in 2023 NFL free agency.
5. Geno Smith
“They wrote me off, I ain’t write back though.” That is the famous quote Geno Smith used on his way to being named 2022 Comeback Player of the Year. While it’s all but likely he stays with the Seattle Seahawks, he deserves a spot on this list after the season he had. Smith had the best year of his career by far, throwing for over 4,000 yards with 30 touchdowns while having the best completion percentage in the league at 69.8%. He also added 366 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
With his performance, Smith took the Seahawks to the playoffs after everyone had them pegged as a bottom-five team in the league. He wasn’t given much hope, rightfully so, after bouncing around as a backup with four different team’s in his nine-year career but the 32-year-old quarterback came out and earned every bit of the contract he will sign this upcoming free agency period.
Other Notable Free Agent Quarterbacks
Main Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports