The NFL veteran QB market will likely not be as robust as last year, when Kirk Cousins was on the open market and Case Keenum was coming off a NFC Championship appearance. But there will be plenty of names, and two former Super Bowl champions likely to be in new places in 2019.
As part of this ranking, I include similar quarterbacks since 1978. These quarterbacks are based on looking at the combined league-adjusted stats for seasons necessary to get to 1,000+ attempts for each player, and comparing similar players over the same age range.
Here’s how we rank the options among the veterans likely to change teams:
#1 Nick Foles, age 30
Nick Foles hasn’t started the last two seasons in Philadelphia, but he has finished them. He has a Super Bowl ring. His career has been up and down, but the ups have been high enough that he is the best option for a team wanting a veteran starter. Between the regular season and playoffs the last two years, he’s averaged 7.2 yards per attempt, and thrown 21 TDs to 11 INTs in 13 starts. He’s shown himself to have good leadership qualities and handled being the backup well. He just turned 30 and has a few years as a starter remaining.
He exercised his buyout of the mutual option, and the Eagles only alternative now is to franchise him to facilitate a trade, or let him go to free agency. But as Mike Florio points out, it would be a CBA violation if they are applying the tag only to trade him.
He’s likely to get overpaid because of the market, and get a deal in the $20 million per year range for three years, but he’s also the safest bet given his age and recent production.
Similar Players (Age 24 to 29): Kyle Orton, Bill Kenney, Bobby Hebert, John Friesz, Jake Delhomme, Stan Humphries
#2 Ryan Tannehill, age 31
Ryan Tannehill’s time in Miami is finally coming to an end. After a lost season in 2017 to a knee injury, he played in 11 games this year and took a beating. He was sacked 11.3% of the time he dropped back. QBR does not look kindly on his season, putting him at a career low 33.1. His career stats have been pretty much near or just below average up until this point, and he’s not young anymore.
But I put him here because (a) he could bounce back two years removed from the knee injury, and in a different environment, and (b) he could still be Mr. Right Now if he’s not Mr. Right, and serve as a bridge starter for a team that needs a starter for 2019 (think Washington because of the Alex Smith injury, for example).
Similar Players (Age 27 to 30): Jay Cutler, Bubby Brister, Vinny Testaverde, Marc Wilson, Chris Miller, Jeff Blake