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Playing Matchmaker with NFL Teams and the Big Name Quarterbacks on the Market

The NFL has a Quarterback problem. There aren’t enough high-quality starting QBs to satisfy the demand of all 32 teams.

For the league, it’s a great problem to have! Every offseason, the entire NFL world revolves around the pursuit of an answer at the game’s most important position. Where will the top Free Agents land? Which NFL Draft prospects can be the next elite passers? Which teams are actually in the market for an upgrade at QB?

The answers to these questions shape the offseason landscape, and it keeps the fans locked-in to the action despite no actual on-field play taking place.

This offseason, the QB intrigue is especially spicy with big name veterans and intriguing young talents available through a variety of avenues. How the QB carousel turns in the coming months will tell the story of the 2024 NFL season.

With that in mind, I wanted to take a look at 10 of the biggest names on the market and match them with the team that, in my opinion, could best use their services. Let’s dive in!


Is it written in stone yet? If not, it’s close. The Bears need to move on from Justin Fields and reset the QB contract timeline and immediately add the most hyped, highest upside QB prospect in team history. Despite Ryan Poles comments of undecidedness at the NFL Combine, this is a no-brainer decision I believe the team has already made. The only thing that could change this is an unprecedented trade offer from either Washington or New England. I don’t see it happening.


Justin Fields has the highest upside of any of the remaining QBs on the market, whether in free agency or in the draft. He’s one of the league’s most explosive athletes regardless of position and he’ll still be only 25 years old at season’s start. Why this match makes sense is easy. First, if you’re the Patriots, you can send over your 2nd-round pick (2:34) for Fields and land a far better QB than anything that would be available to you at that pick in this year’s draft class. Second, you have the opportunity to stick and pick at 1:3 and add a generational receiving talent like Marvin Harrison Jr. to pair with Fields or trade back in the 1st round and recoup draft assets while adding top talent to a roster that needs help at multiple positions. Fields would cost less than $30M over the next two years if NE picks up his 5th year option. That’s a bargain deal for a player with his upside.


The Falcons need stability and proven production at QB for their new head coach and front office to get things rolling right out of the gate. Cousins is the least risk for the most reward for Raheem Morris and co. because if he doesn’t work out, it can easily be blamed on his age and recent major foot injury rather than a draft bust or swing-and-miss at Justin Fields. For a fanbase itching for relevance in a weak NFC South, Cousins would immediately give them something to get behind. Atlanta has nearly $42M in projected cap space this offseason as well, so Cousins’ big contract wouldn’t be a problem.


The Commanders feel like they’re years away from relevance, but add a foundational leader and potentially elite passer in Mayes and you could potentially see Houston Texans-like returns very quickly under a veteran head coach who should help solidify the defense and a dynamic offensive coordinator in Kliff Kingsbury who could bring out the best in Maye’s game. It’s a cheap and effective plan to turn your franchise around quickly under new ownership. What Washington shouldn’t do is send all of their draft capital for the next 3 years to Chicago for Caleb Williams when a prospect of Maye’s caliber (Drake Maye is my QB1 in this class) is sitting there right behind him for the taking.


Steelers fans pining for anything other than Kenny Pickett as their 2024 starting QB should be thrilled if the team makes a move for Russ this offseason. Getting him in the building shouldn’t cost much more than the veteran minimum salary, and at worst he’s best backup/mentor to your young, unproven QB in the league. At best, Russ gets a fresh start and turns into the type of QB the Broncos thought they were getting when they mortgaged the farm for him 2 years ago. The real answer probably lies somewhere in between, but even that would be a significant upgrade on any quarterbacking Steelers fans have seen since probably 2018 Ben Roethlisberger. It’s a no-brainer move for Pittsburgh in my opinion.


The Giants might have the worst QB situation in the league with a vastly overpaid Daniel Jones playing more like a mid-level backup than a Top 10 starter, which is what he was paid to be last offseason. The injuries are a concern with Jones as well. Enter Daniels, who the Giants presumably would have to trade up to acquire. In this scenario, the Giants would send pick 1:6 and other draft compensation to the Patriots in exchange for the 3rd overall selection and take Daniels. His 2023 tape is the best of any of the QBs in this class, and his upside is through the roof. Daniel’s is the easiest way to move on from Jones while mitigating the impact of his massive contract.


I’ll keep this one brief: it worked in 2023; run it back in 2024. Baker was better than anyone expected last season and it makes no sense to move on from him with where the Bucs are in the draft order and their salary cap situation. Bring back Bake.


This is a match made in heaven for Broncos HC Sean Payton. The quick-decision passing of McCarthy as well as his underrated athleticism will fit well with Payton’s style preferences and should allow him to coach up McCarthy in his offense. The other benefit of McCarthy going to Denver is the fact that QB Jarrett Stidham is there and starter capable if McCarthy needs some time to acclimate. Payton and the Broncos trade up ahead of the Vikings to get their reset, and McCarthy gets a chance to grow up in one of the league’s best offensive systems for QBs.


The Vikings likely miss out on getting one of the consensus Top 3 QBs in the draft process since they’re picking 11th. In a world where Kirk Cousins ends up in another town, it becomes imperative for the Vikings to draft a starting-caliber QB. In this scenario the Vikes get leaped by the Broncos for JJ McCarthy, so they settle for Penix later in the draft. Honestly, he’s an incredible fit for HC Kevin O’Connell’s offense which focuses on rhythm passing and makes things easy for the QB to read the defense. Penix’s ceiling might not be equal to his higher-valued contemporaries in the draft, but he’s NFL ready and could be an immediate starter for the Vikings in 2024.


The Raiders end up the odd man out in the big-name QB sweepstakes in this exercise, but no fear! Mason Rudolph is here! Likely looking for a chance to start somewhere after his eye-opening 4-game performance to close out 2023 in Pittsburgh, Rudolph would be the perfect bridge quarterback to bring in to compete with 2nd-year passer Aiden O’Connell, who played well at times for Vegas in 2023, but has enough holes in his game to warrant some more development behind a veteran starter. Rudolph’s ceiling feels untapped, despite underwhelming play earlier in his career that relegated him to 3rd-string duties in Pittsburgh. That 4-game window will intrigue enough teams to give him a market this offseason. The Raiders could do, and have endured, worse.


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