• Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: Whether it’s signing Jackson via the franchise tag or a multi-year deal, the Ravens arguably have too much committed to the rest of this team to start over at the quarterback position.
• New York Giants QB Daniel Jones: The Giants' brass publicly expressing interest in bringing Jones back does not seem like fluff at all, but rather a genuine desire to lock him up long term just one year after declining his fifth-year option.
• San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo: With head coach Kyle Shanahan saying in his end-of-season press conference — after third-string quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a potentially lengthy elbow injury — that there was no scenario in which Garoppolo returns, that door seems officially closed.
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Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
2023 team prediction: BALTIMORE RAVENS
Whether it’s signing Jackson via the franchise tag or a multi-year deal, the Ravens arguably have too much committed to the rest of this team to start over at the quarterback position.
That being said, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler shared in his notes from the Senior Bowl that some folks around the league believe the team and Jackson could be apart by up to $100 million in fully guaranteed money. Fellow ESPN insider Chris Mortensen reported in September that Jackson declined an offer including $133 million fully guaranteed at signing. Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson received $230 million fully guaranteed on his extension, so that gap between the two sides seems entirely plausible.
Jackson seemingly makes strides every season in the areas of his game previously identified as weaknesses. In 2022, Jackson’s 57.1% of passes being charted as accurate was a career high, and his 54.8% accuracy rate on balls thrown outside the numbers was more than a five-percentage-point improvement compared to his previous season high, an area for which he has long received criticism.
With continued growth as a traditional passer — which should only continue if Baltimore can add more receiving weapons and an offensive coordinator with more pass-game prowess — Jackson can be a walking highlight reel through the air and on the ground for years to come.
Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
2023 team prediction: Seattle Seahawks
Both the team and player here seem very happy with where negotiations currently stand, and head coach Pete Carroll has made it clear he’s excited about the prospect of spending around a quarterback who takes a more reasonable mid-market deal that enables the club to better surround him with talent.
We modeled our contract projection for Smith off Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s extension signed in 2020 — adjusted for salary cap inflation — as the two were similar ages coming off a bounce-back season after a career downturn. This may be too bullish for a few reasons, one primary one being Tannehill had roughly $77 million in career earnings before his extension and Smith has around $17 million right now. This leverage could provide a greater incentive for Smith to take a team-friendly deal, as he would still likely more than double his career earnings within a month of signing just via the signing bonus alone.
Dating back to last season, Smith’s 7.5 yards per attempt ranks 10th, his 69.6% adjusted completion percentage ranks second and his 63.2% accurate pass rate, per PFF charting, ranks fifth. With both parties motivated to get a deal done, it’s possible a franchise tag doesn’t even come into play. But even if it does, we expect a long-term agreement will be reached before the July 15 deadline.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants
2023 team prediction: New York Giants
The Giants' brass publicly expressing interest in bringing Jones back does not seem like fluff at all, but rather a genuine desire to lock him up long term just one year after declining his fifth-year option. The apparent complete 180 gives some reason for pause, with Jones’ production through the air far from spectacular, but new head coach Brian Daboll cooked up an offense that perfectly suited his skill set, ranking in the top five in the number of play-action plays and designed quarterback runs.
Nevertheless, Jones’ 63.3% accurate pass rate ranked eighth and his 81.1% adjusted completion percentage ranked first, though it's important to note his 6.4-yard average depth of target ranked 46th out of 47 quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts. Still, it’s hard to completely hold this against Jones when he was working with bottom-of-the-depth-chart, waiver-wire receivers for much of the season.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
2023 team prediction: Las Vegas Raiders
It was already a near certainty that Garoppolo would be playing elsewhere in 2023, but with head coach Kyle Shanahan saying in his end-of-season press conference — after third-string quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a potentially lengthy elbow injury — that there was no scenario in which Garoppolo returns, that door seems officially closed.
The Las Vegas Raiders decided to move on from Derek Carr and will likely consider taking a big swing at the quarterback position this offseason, perhaps looking to reunite wide receiver Davante Adams with his former quarterback in Aaron Rodgers once he’s back from his four days of voluntary solitary confinement. However, if the Raiders can’t get a deal done for a veteran, they will presumably look to make a splash in the 2023 NFL Draft with the No. 7 overall pick.
The club expressed optimism in the continued growth of Jarrett Stidham, who made a few impressive plays against a ferocious San Francisco 49ers defense in Week 17 but fell back to earth with four turnover-worthy plays and a 6.1-yard per attempt outing against the rival Kansas City Chiefs in Week 18. Realistically, with Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller all signed to big deals, this team would be wasting everyone’s time if they don’t have at least a solid starting-caliber option as a bridge to a high draft pick.
While Garoppolo has obvious deficiencies, he’s a timing and rhythm quarterback who has experience working with head coach Josh McDaniels and can let the Raiders’ bevy of receiving weapons go to work in space. Garoppolo’s 8.3 yards per attempt over the past three seasons ranks second, and his 2.53-second average time to throw puts him among the fastest quarterbacks over the span. He brings a high floor and is significantly cheaper than Carr was going to be over the next season or two.
Jacoby Brissett, Cleveland Browns
2023 team prediction: Houston Texans
Brissett should be a very attractive bridge option for any team looking to get quality starts out of their signal-caller while simultaneously developing a potential franchise quarterback, and this scenario just makes too much sense for the Houston Texans. Davis Mills is in the fold, but Houston could perhaps get some additional draft capital in return for Mills and then add a veteran to help bring along their next young draft pick.
There is the obvious connection to Texans general manager Nick Caserio, who played a role in drafting Brissett to the New England Patriots in 2016, but Brissett's 2022 situation was also emblematic of exactly what you want to see from a bridge quarterback to a young draft pick. Brissett was an effective pocket passer with a big enough arm to push the ball downfield and has good situational awareness, which would help other young players across this Texans roster develop while the heir apparent gets up to speed behind the scenes.
The journeyman's 75.2 passing grade in 2022 ranked 12th among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts on the season, and he placed in the top 10 in big-time throw rate at 4.9%, including some highlight-reel passes down the sideline to wide receiver Amari Cooper. A great stat in Seth Galina’s recent piece discussing the stylistic pros and cons of each of these quarterbacks highlighted Brissett’s 73.3 passing grade when removing RPOs, rollouts and play-action attempts, which ranked 10th in the league. He can win on the ground as a scrambler and on sneaks, as well, adding additional value if he does get relegated to the backup role with certain packages or plays where his presence would be an asset.