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NFL free agents 2023: Ranking top 10 quarterbacks

/ by Justin Leger
Presented By NISSAN-NFL
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Teams looking for quarterback help this offseason will have no shortage of options.

From superstars to solid backups, there are a number of intriguing signal-callers scheduled to become free agents this spring. Lamar Jackson and Tom Brady are the biggest names on the list, but Geno Smith and Daniel Jones should get plenty of attention after solid seasons in which they led their respective teams to playoff berths.

Jimmy Garoppolo could also get a fresh start with a new team in 2023. After that, it's mostly backup QBs who can be counted on as spot starters if needed.

2023 NFL free agents: Top 25 overall | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB

Here's a look at the top 10 quarterbacks set to hit the market in March.

10. Sam Darnold

Age: 26

2022 stats (Panthers): 1,143 passing yards, 7 TD, 3 INT (6 games)

Darnold took over as the Panthers' starter following the release of Baker Mayfield and actually looked solid in his six starts. He still projects as a backup QB who will try to compete for a starting job in camp depending on where he ends up.

UPDATE March 13): Darnold is joining the 49ers, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

9. Andy Dalton

Age: 35

2022 stats (Saints): 2,871 passing yards, 18 TD, 9 INT

You know what you're getting from Andy Dalton at this point. He's a veteran on the back nine of his career who can help win games as a backup. That could still be enough to land him a solid gig with a QB-needy club.

 

UPDATE (March 14): Dalton is joining the Panthers on a one-year deal worth $ 10 million, per NFL Media's Tom Pelissero.

8. Baker Mayfield

Age: 28

2022 stats (Panthers/Rams): 2,163 passing yards, 10 TD, 8 INT (12 games, 10 starts)

Mayfield showed flashes with the Rams after being released by the Panthers. If he doesn't land a starting job, he'll at least make for a serviceable backup somewhere.

UPDATE (March 15): Mayfield signed a one-year, $ 8.5 million deal with the Buccaneers.

7 . Taylor Heinecke

Age: 30

2022 stats (Commanders): 1,859 passing yards, 12 TD, 6 INT (9 games)

Heinecke can hold his own as a starter if necessary, but it's pretty clear at this point he is meant to be a backup. The Commanders could bring him back as insurance in case Sam Howell struggles.

6. Jacoby Brissett

Age: 30

2022 stats (Browns): 2,608 passing yards, 12 TD, 6 INT (16 games, 11 starts)

Brissett was solid as Cleveland's starting quarterback while Deshaun Watson served his 11-game suspension. The ex-Pats QB is one of the league's best backups, and that makes him an attractive option in free agency.

UPDATE (March 16): Brissett signed a one-year, $ 8 million deal with the Commanders.

5. Jimmy Garoppolo

Age: 31

2022 stats (49ers): 2,437 passing yards, 16 TD, 4 INT (11 games, 10 starts)

Garoppolo's injury history could scare teams off in free agency, but his career record of 40-17 speaks for itself. The ex-New England Patriots quarterback could absolutely help a QB-needy team as long as he can stay healthy.

UPDATE (March 13): The Raiders are signing Garoppolo to a three-year deal worth $ 67.5 million, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

4. Daniel Jones

Age: 26

2022 stats (Giants): 3,205 passing yards, 15 TD, 5 INT; 708 rushing yards, 7 TD

Daniel Jones enjoyed his best season as a pro as he did damage with both his arms and his legs. The result was a trip to the playoffs for the Giants, who should reward him with a new contract before he officially becomes a free agent in March.

UPDATE (March 7): The Giants are signing Jones to a four-year contract worth $ 160 million, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

3. Geno Smith

Age: 32

2022 stats (Seahawks): 4,282 passing yards, 30 TD, 11 INT; 366 rushing yards, 1 TD

Geno Smith was one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2022 NFL season. The former New York Jets draft bust went from battling with Drew Lock in training camp to becoming one of the league's top-performing QBs. He should earn a pretty penny after a resurgent year in Seattle.

UPDATE (March 6): Smith and the Seahawks have agreed to a three-year, $ 105 million contract

2. Tom Brady

Age: 46

2022 stats (Buccaneers): 4,694 passing yards, 25 TD, 9 INT

 

Brady could either stay with the Bucs, start a new chapter with his third NFL team, or sail off into the sunset and start his new career as a broadcaster with FOX. If he decides to return for his age-46 season, he'll have no shortage of suitors.

UPDATE (Feb. 1): Brady has called it a career -- for good this time. The legendary quarterback announced his retirement in an emotional Instagram video.

1. Lamar Jackson

Age: 26

2022 stats (Ravens): 2,242 passing yards, 17 TD, 7 INT; 764 rushing yards, 3 TD (12 games)

Jackson will headline the 2023 NFL free agent class if the Baltimore Ravens can't find a way to retain their star quarterback. A knee injury sidelined him for the final five games of the regular season and the playoffs, but that shouldn't dissuade teams from pursuing him if he indeed hits the open market. The former MVP remains one of the league's elite signal-callers.

Honorable mentions: Teddy Bridgewater, Gardner Minshew, Jarrett Stidham, Cooper Rush, Drew Lock, Mike White, Joe Flacco.