NFL News & Analysis

2023 NFL Free Agent Rankings: Quarterback

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) signals at the line of scrimmage in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With the new league year just around the corner, it's time for all 32 NFL teams to turn their attention to free agency in a bid to improve their rosters for a new campaign.

Here are the top free agents at quarterback, taken from PFF's free agency rankings

Editor's note: For up-to-the-minute updates based on everything we’re hearing around the NFL, go to PFF's free agency rankings, where you can sort by position, team needs, and more all offseason long.

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1. QB Lamar Jackson

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings


Who else but the 2019 MVP and most electrifying player in the NFL? No one produces more must-see TV than Jackson, and the facade that a quarterback can only win with a certain play style is slowly fading.

Jackson is not just the league’s most electrifying open-field runner at the quarterback position. His 4.9% big-time throw rate since 2019 is a top-16 mark among qualifying quarterbacks, and he boasts a 93.3 passing grade on throws 10-plus yards downfield in that same span.

The Ravens once again elected to largely neglect the wide receiver position this past offseason, which doesn’t get discussed enough when people criticize Jackson’s game, as they seemingly love to do. Jackson will never be a pure dropback passer, but the belief this is necessary to win in 2022 needs to disappear; that’s just not the era of football we’re in anymore.

2. QB Geno Smith

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings

*Re-signed with Seahawks

Imagine before the season began, mired in a quarterback battle with Drew Lock in Seattle, that we’d have Geno Smith as a top free-agent target for the 2023 offseason. It’s not often you hear about the age-32, Year 10 breakout, but that’s exactly what we witnessed this past season from Smith. 

Nothing about what he’s doing is fluky or excessively bolstered by things like play action, an outlier performance in unstable metrics like passing grade against pressure, or any other method you use to try to poke holes in his production this season. Smith’s 79.8 overall grade and 87.6 grade from a clean pocket this season ranked ninth and 12th, respectively. His 14 passing touchdowns on throws of 20-plus yards were two more than the next best quarterback, and his 5.6% big-time throw rate ranked fifth.

There’s no current indication we should expect some massive regression, either. Smith’s 85.8 passing grade against middle-of-field-open coverage further illustrates that he didn't benefit in an outsized fashion from loaded box counts that freed up his receivers in an effort to sell out against the run. We can go on and on, but the fact of the matter is that Smith played like a legitimate top quarterback in the NFL in 2022.

3. QB Derek Carr

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings

*Signed with Saints

While it is unquestionable that Carr had a down 2022 season, he was a top-half-of-the-NFL quarterback for a number of years.

From 2019 to 2021, Carr ranked ninth in passing grade (86.3), ninth in yards per attempt (7.8) and seventh in big-time throw rate (5.4%). While the nine-year veteran has the athleticism to navigate the pocket and the ability to scramble for a first down if necessary, he also tends to leave a few plays on the field that have you scratching your head from time to time.

Nevertheless, it's not often a quarterback of his caliber hits the free-agent market, and that helped him earn a solid four-year, $150 million deal with New Orleans.

4. QB Daniel Jones

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings

*Re-signed with Giants

The new Giants regime declined Jones’ fifth-year option for 2023 last offseason, and it ultimately may have been the best thing that could have happened to him. Now entering this offseason fresh off a breakout campaign as more of a dual-threat quarterback in head coach Brian Daboll’s scheme, Jones cashed in big time, allowing the Giants to use their franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley

Jones finished the year strong before a rough finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, with his 78.8 passing grade from Week 10 (following the Giants’ bye week) through the wild-card round ranking seventh among quarterbacks and his 84.0% adjusted completion percentage placing first. All of that said, Jones did not have much production downfield, but an injury-decimated wide receiver corps is partially to blame. We still have major reservations about Jones as a true franchise quarterback, but the Giants brass doesn’t seem to.

5. QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings

Garoppolo once again finished his season on injured reserve, but Tom Brady’s retirement makes Jimmy G the top free-agent quarterback who will actually hit the open market. Garoppolo has limitations, and odds are we’ve seen his absolute peak production in Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers offense, but he’s a solid backup option for teams like the New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders and whoever else doesn’t land a top draft prospect or trade for a veteran like Aaron Rodgers

Over the past two seasons, Garoppolo’s 8.3 yards per attempt is the top mark in the NFL, and he gets the ball out quickly with a 2.53-second average time to throw that is among the 10 fastest over the span. He may not elevate an offense, but he can certainly keep one on schedule and raise a team’s floor.

6. QB Jacoby Brissett

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings

Brissett proved to be a great choice for the Browns as their interim quarterback in 2022, and he doesn’t get enough credit for his solid play through the first 11 games. His 75.2 passing grade ranked 12th among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts on the season, and he placed in the top 10 in big-time throw rate (4.9%). 

Brissett should once again become one of the highest-paid backup quarterbacks in the NFL if he doesn’t get a shot as a bridge starting quarterback.

7. QB Baker Mayfield

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings

8. QB Teddy Bridgewater

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings

9. QB Gardner Minshew

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings

10. QB Marcus Mariota

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings

11. QB Andy Dalton

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings

12. QB Taylor Heinicke

Contract projection: Available in PFF's free agency rankings


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