Ranking the 2013 Free Agents: Quarterbacks

Khaled Elsayed sifts through a shallow class of free agent quarterbacks to prop up the best options of the bunch.

| 4 years ago

Ranking the 2013 Free Agents: Quarterbacks

Every day this week (and some of next) we’re going to be breaking down the top free agents at each position. It’s more than just looking at our grades, but factoring in longevity, age, injuries and so much more in order to tell you who we think are the best gets out there.

We’re not going to insult your intelligence though when it comes to guys unlikely to hit the open market because of restricted free agency, so don’t expect to see names like Victor Cruz or Brian De La Puente in these pieces. Instead we’re focusing on guys with a real shot at dipping their feet into the free agent pool and making your team better.

You’ve seen our lists of the top free agent running backs and fullbacks, here are the quarterbacks:


1. Matt Moore – stays in MIA: 2-year, $2m

2012 Grade: +2.5
2012 Snaps: 56

Summary: Poor old Matt Moore. He wasn’t ready to start for the Panthers in 2010 and with crazy high expectations, he flopped… in the kind of way that had people writing him off for good. It’s a shame then that his play in 2011 didn’t get the press it deserved. He took over a failing Dolphins franchise and breathed life into it with some composed play that none of us expected to see from him.

When it was all said and done, he finished the year our 11th-ranked quarterback on the back of some impressive passes. What he offers that nobody else on this list does is his ability to challenge defenses. He’s no dink-and-dunk merchant as evidenced by the fact 17% of his attempts went over 20 yards in the air (what’s more, his 47.5 Accuracy Percentage on those throws was ninth-best in the league).

This guy looked like a starter in 2011, and he has earned the right to legitimately battle for one of those jobs.

2. David Garrard – to NYJ: 1-year, $1.1m

2012 Grade: 0.0
2012 Snaps: 0

Summary: Garrard was in the pole position for the Dolphins’ starting job when injury struck and he ended up spending his second season in a row watching football rather than playing it. That presents a big problem for teams trying to evaluate him, and it speaks volumes about the crop of available quarterbacks that he’s still the second-best guy out there.

During his time in Jacksonville, Garrard was a safe option at quarterback. He had an Accuracy Percentage over 70% in each of his three years and for the most part was exceptional at not turning the ball over. The big problem with him at times was an unwillingness to go deep or attempt to beat tight coverage, and at 35 years of age it’s hard to see that changing.

Indeed, at this stage of his career Garrard is a transitional quarterback who would be best served helping to bring along a long-term prospect. Whether that be on the bench in case things don’t go right, or starting until the other is ready, that’s his role now — but for injury it’s the one he’d probably have with the Dolphins. A year removed from that chance, who will give him another?

3. Jason Campbell – to CLE: 2-year, $3.8m

2012 Grade: -5.7
2012 Snaps: 129

Summary: It didn’t really work out that well for Campbell when he came in for an injured Jay Cutler. His 71.4 Accuracy Percentage was actually better than Cutler’s 70, but his 5.2 yards per attempt were 1.8 less than Cutler, and indicative of the type of quarterback Campbell is.

In some respects it’s a shame the Raiders thought Carson Palmer was the answer to all of their problems. Campbell was playing some decent football at times, earning a +4.0 grade for his 363 snaps in six games in 2011. Even then, his work under pressure was something of a worry, completing just a third of his passes when pressured. He’s good enough up to a point and if you surround him with talent he can do a job, and that alone should make him the kind of backup prospect teams go after.

4. Chase Daniel – to KC: 3-year, $10m

2012 Grade: 0.4
2012 Snaps: 13

Summary: There’s no way we’ve seen enough of Daniel to properly evaluate him, and that in essence is why he’s a guy we’d take over the handful of other quarterbacks who could be looking for a new job.

I mean, you know what you’re going to get with guys like Derek Anderson, Rex Grossman, and Matt Leinart, and even as a stop-gap it isn’t appealing. So why not take a shot in the dark that Daniel has learned from Drew Brees and has something to offer? What’s the worst that can happen? That he looks as bad as any of those guys mentioned previously.

5. Rex Grossman – stays in WAS: 1-year, $1.0m

2012 Grade: 0.0
2012 Snaps: 0

Summary: When the other options are Derek Anderson, Josh Johnson and Drew Stanton, it kind of means Rex Grossman is sitting a lot prettier. Sure you’re going to get some mind boggling interceptions from the soon to be former Redskin, but can you really say that a team like Arizona wouldn’t have been better off with him starting? Back in 2011 Grossman would actually finish the regular season with a higher grade for passing than Joe Flacco, Cam Newton and Andy Dalton. Why? Because he wasn’t as bad as his reputation would suggest.

Don’t think we’re advocating making him your starter on opening weekend next year, but just realize it could be a lot worse.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled


    No Alex Smith?

    • Whiteladder1984

      He’s not a free agent.

  • jmei

    Brian Hoyer could be a dark horse here. 

    • Richard L.

       Brian Hoyer spent a lot of time last year sitting on his couch. He spent the rest of his time bouncing from team to team.

      He’s nothing special.

  • Tropical Gene

    Chase Daniel at five…..Did Neil put you up to this?