Examining the QB Market

I wanted to write an article examining and trying to summarize the QB situations around the league as it affects the Broncos. Hopefully this helps give a feel for the market and can be a useful reference during the offseason.

Teams without a clear starting QB

TeamCurrent OptionsDraft PicksCap Space
HOUDavis Miles (2021 2nd round) or Deshaun Watson#3, #37$ 4 Mil
NOTaysom Hill (Vet contract, 4 year 40 million)#18, #49$ -79 Mil
DENDrew Lock (4th year)#9, #40, #64$ 33 Mil
NYGDaniel Jones (4th year)#5,#7, #36$ -23 Mil
CARSam Darnold (5th year, 18 mil guaranteed) or PJ Walker (Journeyman)#6$ 12 Mil
WFTTaylor Heinicke (Journeyman)#11,#42$ 26 Mil
TBKyle Trask (2021 2nd round)#27, #60$ 5 Mil
PITMason Rudolph (1 year $4 million deal)#20, #52$ 29 Mil

There are 8 teams who don’t appear to have any obvious starter on their roster. (Throughout the article, I’m listing teams draft picks in the first two rounds.)

I’m assuming Watson is done in Houston. Davis Miles improved as the year went on, so he could be an option. Taysom Hill played poorly and will no longer have Sean Payton. Daniel Jones didn’t improve at all in year 3, but there still seems to be some hope for him. Excluding rookies, Darnold was statistically the worst QB in the league, but given his fully guaranteed contract and lack of better options, I think it’s plausible they keep him as a bridge. Kyle Trask couldn’t beat out Blaine Gabbert for the top backup spot and didn’t play at all this year, so he will likely see some competition.

Teams with Stale Starters

Additionally, I count 10 teams with what I’ll call “stale starters”, where either the team is unhappy with the QB, or the QB is unhappy with the team and is rumored to want out. I tried to order these roughly from most likely to leave to least likely.

Thinking about this list from the perspective of the 8 teams above, I am guessing 2 QBs from this list will end up becoming available, but it could be more or less, or it could end up being some of the less desirable names. Keep in mind that every team that gives up their starter, will be that much more likely to pursue a QB in the draft or a top tier backup.

TeamStarterBackup optionsCap spaceDraft picks
GBAaron RodgersJordan Love (2020 1st round)$ -56 Mil#28, #59
SFJimmy GaroppoloTrey Lance (2021 1st round)$ -7 Mil#61
ATLMatt RyanFeleipe Franks (2nd year UDFA)$ -12 Mil#8, #43, #58
MINKirk CousinsKellen Mond (2021 3rd round)$ -19 Mil#12, #46
SEARussell WilsonJacob Eason (2020 4th round)$ 35 Mil#41
MIATua Tagovaloia$ 57 Mil#30, #50
INDCarson WentzSam Ehlinger (2021 6th round)$ 38 Mil#47
TENRyan TannehillKevin Hogan (journeyman)$ -9 Mil#26
DETJared GoffSteven Montez (UDFA)$ 10 Mil#2, #31, #34
LVRDerek Carr$ 17 Mil#22, #53

Aaron Rodgers could retire, or the offseason could play out with everyone assuming he’ll retire only for him to commit in August. With the loss last night, Jimmy Garoppolo seems likely to be traded but it’s possible the 49ers decide to give Lance one more year on the bench. The others option seem less likely and some like Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Tannehill or Jared Goff may not attract a ton of interest.

Teams who may draft a QB

Here are the teams I thought could be in the market for a QB early in the draft. It’s every team listed above except for SF, plus Cleveland. For some of these teams, I think it’s very likely they take a QB in the draft, for others, it’s only an outside possibility. All in, this list includes 18 teams

TeamDraft PicksTeamDraft Picks
DET#2, #31, #34NO#18, #49
HOU#3, #37PIT#20, #52
NYG#5,#7, #36LVR#22, #53
ATL#8, #43, #58TB#27, #60
DEN#9, #40, #64GB#28, #59
WFT#11,#42MIA#30, #50
MIN#12, #46SEA#41
CLE#13, #44IND#47

Available QBs

With all that, here is the list of QBs who are set to become free agents. I’ve chosen not to list Deshaun Watson. He might become available, but his cases aren’t moving quickly, and he could end up suspended for some or all of 2022. Even if everything is settled, it’s hard to know how the court of public opinion or NFL discipline will play out. Gardner Minshew is another possible trade candidate not listed above. I tried to order these roughly from best to worst.

  • Jameis Winston
  • Teddy Bridgewater
  • Marcus Mariota
  • Mitch Trubisky
  • Geno Smith
  • Andy Dalton
  • Tyrod Taylor
  • Jacoby Bisset
  • Cam Newton
  • Blaine Gabbert
  • Trevor Siemian
  • Mike Glennon
  • Nick Mullens
  • Brandon Allen
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Brian Hoyer
  • Chad Henne
  • Colt McCoy
  • Josh Johnson
  • Joe Flacco
  • Tim Boyle


To go back to the list of 8 teams without a clear starter, options appear slim. If you take my assumption that 2 veterans will be available in the trade market, and that Jameis Winston is the only FA QB worthy of another starting role, that leaves 5 teams who either have to roll with their current unknown or underperforming options, or look to the draft for their starter. QBs like Marcus Mariota and Mitch Trubisky may be hot commodities in the backup market, as teams look for both high potential upside, and a safety net if the draft doesn’t fall the way they hope, or their in house options don’t progress as planned. I still am of the believe QBs in this draft class are going to go higher than people expect, as free agency progresses and teams end up more desperate for good QBs. I could be underestimating the trade market for certain veteran QBs, since those moves have not worked out for Denver so many years in a row. Other teams may be more inclined to go that route than the Broncos are.

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Lifelong Broncos fan and current Engineer living and working in Denver.