2024 NFL free agents: Ranking the top 10 quarterbacks

2024 NFL free agents: Ranking the top 10 quarterbacks originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots have several glaring needs on their roster, none more clear than the quarterback spot.

It was a disastrous 2023 campaign for the offense with Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe leading the charge. After winning just four games and missing the playoffs for the third time in four years, it’s time for the Pats to start fresh at the QB position.

They can do just that by selecting the best quarterback available with the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. It also may not be a bad idea to pair a young QB with a veteran signal-caller, and there are several options set to hit free agency.

Here are the top 10 QBs scheduled to become free agents in March.

2023 Stats: 62.8 completion percentage, 2,464 yards, 13 TD, 10 INT, 6 rushing TD (13 games, 12 starts)

Dobbs started the 2023 season for the Arizona Cardinals with Kyler Murray on injured reserve. The 28-year-old journeyman went 1-7 as Arizona’s starting signal-caller before being traded to the Minnesota Vikings, who lost veteran QB Kirk Cousins season-ending Achilles injury. He went 2-2 starting for the Vikings and was benched in Week 14 for Nick Mullens.

Perhaps Dobbs could recapture some of the magic he found during his hot streak, but it’s more likely he’ll return to his role as a backup in 2024 and beyond.

2023 Stats: 60.9 completion percentage, 297 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 1 rushing TD (10 games, 1 start)

Darnold served as Brock Purdy‘s backup in San Francisco. The 2018 third-overall pick made only one start for the NFC West champs. He wasn’t terrible in six starts for the Carolina Panthers two years ago, so he could look to revive his career with a QB-needy team next season.

2023 Stats: 60.3 completion percentage, 1,616 yards, 13 TD, 8 INT (5 games)

Flacco showed he still has something left in the tank after signing with the Cleveland Browns. Following the season-ending injury to starter Deshaun Watson, Flacco stepped in and led Cleveland into the postseason with four wins in his five games. He couldn’t carry that success into the playoffs, but his regular-season performance should have been enough to get teams interested in signing him this spring.

2023 Stats: 74.3 completion percentage, 719 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT (4 games, 3 starts)

Rudolph started the ’23 season as the third-string QB behind Kenny Pickett and Mitchell Trubisky. He took over as the starter in Week 15 with Pickett injured and Trubisky playing poorly. From there, he went 3-0 to lead Pittsburgh into the postseason but fell to the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round. He’ll likely be a backup wherever he lands in 2024.

2023 Stats: 60.3 completion percentage, 1,616 yards, 13 TD, 8 INT (5 games)

Tannehill began the season as the Tennessee Titans‘ starting quarterback but suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 6. He was replaced by rookie Will Levis, who started under center for the remainder of the campaign. Entering his age 36 season, Tannehill is nothing more than a backup or a bridge for a team looking to start over at the position.

2023 Stats: 53.2 completion percentage, 264 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT (7 games, 0 starts)

Winston, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft, served as Derek Carr‘s backup in New Orleans. He hasn’t played a full season as a starting QB since 2019, the season before Tom Brady took over for him in Tampa Bay. He isn’t a QB to build around, but he can still be a decent spot starter at this point in his career.

2023 Stats: 78.3 completion percentage, 224 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT (3 games, 0 starts)

Brissett backed up second-year QB Sam Howell on the Washington Commanders last season. The former Patriots backup appeared in only three games but was an efficient game manager in his limited time on the field. He’s a solid albeit unspectacular option for teams looking to add a veteran presence to their QB room.

2023 Stats: 62.2 completion percentage, 3,305 yards, 15 TD, 9 INT, 3 rushing TD (17 games, 13 starts)

Minshew was rookie Anthony Richardson‘s backup in Indianapolis to start the ’23 season. He took over as the starter after Week 5 when Richardson suffered a season-ending AC joint sprain. While he wasn’t a world-beater by any means, Minshew proved capable of assuming a starting role on a team desperate for QB help. If he doesn’t start in 2024, he’ll be among the league’s most competent backups.

2023 Stats: 64.3 completion percentage, 4,044 yards, 28 TD, 10 INT, 1 rushing TD (17 games)

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Buccaneers franchise tag Mayfield after his bounce-back 2023 season. Mayfield propelled Tampa into the postseason with arguably his best year yet as a pro. If the Bucs don’t retain him, he’ll join the next QB on this list as the most coveted signal-caller on the market.

1. Kirk Cousins

2023 Stats: 69.5 completion percentage, 2,331 yards, 18 TD, 5 INT (8 games)

After leading the Vikings to a 13-4 record in 2022, Cousins went 4-4 as the starting QB before suffering a torn Achilles. Suffering such a serious injury ahead of his age-36 season may come as a concern for some teams, but there’s little doubt Cousins is the most talented quarterback set to hit free agency. As long as he’s healthy, he could be a slam-dunk signing for a team that’s only QB away from contention.

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