NFL News & Analysis

Sign Mariota or Trubisky? We picked the most overrated and underrated free agents at each position

Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs the ball against Los Angeles Chargers safety Jaylen Watkins (20) during overtime at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency is an important piece to the NFL team-building puzzle, giving organizations an opportunity to improve with instant-impact players before the 2022 NFL Draft. Finding a crucial value in free agency — which begins next week — can make a team into a contender, while spending significant money on a player who doesn't live up to his contract can set back a franchise multiple years.

Last year was all about the quarterback movement, while this year's class is heavy on contributors in the secondary and at tight end. A big part of the puzzle, though, isn't just making the big splash. It's making the moves for lesser money that pay off big, such as wide receiver/running back Cordarrelle Patterson last year with the Atlanta Falcons.

PFF is here to look at the players at each position who could end up being overpaid mistakes and who could be under-the-radar value signings. With the help of PFF's unique play-by-play grading system and other advanced data, we can best identify those candidates. Here are the most overrated and underrated free agents at every position.

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Player Grades


QUARTERBACK

Overrated: MITCHELL TRUBISKY

2021 team: Bills | Age entering 2022 season: 28

Trubisky ranked third-to-last in passing grade across his four seasons starting for the Chicago Bears. No downfield passing, poor decision-making and inaccurate throws plagued Chicago's offense with the 2017 No. 2 overall pick. It has been rumored that many quarterback-needy teams are interested in Trubisky's services anyway, blaming some of the struggles on Matt Nagy. There's enough data to show that the woes are a Trubisky problem.

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Underrated: MARCUS MARIOTA

2021 team: Raiders | Age entering 2022 season: 28

There is an argument to be made that Mariota is the most alluring free-agent quarterback on the market. That says a lot about the options out there, but if there has to be a choice, it's Mariota. He has played meaningful NFL action in just one game over the last two years in Las Vegas — Week 15 of 2020 — and the results were quite good, as evidenced by his 82.1 PFF grade. However, prior seasons showed that he shouldn't be counted on to produce at that level on a weekly basis. His career-best passing grade with the Titans (72.1) occurred in 2017, and it ranked 17th in the NFL. Mariota is the definition of a midtier option and could be seen as a bridge for a team with a rookie. His next team needs to employ a play-action-heavy offense that uses his skill in the designed run game.

RUNNING BACK

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