Categorizing NFL's 29 free agent quarterbacks

By Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 19, 2018 at 10:37 PM
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As up to 29 quarterbacks queue up for the beginning of free agency March 14, they need to be realistic about their abilities to properly target their next team.

Of the 29, The Sports Xchange rates only five who should expect to be viewed as a starter -- Sam Bradford, Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, Kirk Cousins and Case Keenum.

This list does not place AJ McCarron in the top group because his body of work is too scant with only three starts. Conversely, Bridgewater might not be viewed as a starter despite playing that role in 28 games before being felled by that horrific knee injury in 2016.

By the end of training camp, their roles might easily be swapped.

Meanwhile, joining McCarron as possible starters are the well-traveled Brock Osweiler and Josh McCown.

The other 21 free agent quarterbacks should realistically see themselves as backups in the future. Of course, if 2017 taught us anything it was not to underestimate a Case Keenum or Nick Foles if they are given a real opportunity.

Here are the NFL's 29 free agents:

EXPECTED STARTER

Sam Bradford

6-4, 236

Last team: Minnesota Vikings

Born: November 8, 1987 (Age: 30) in Oklahoma City, OK

College: Oklahoma

High School: Putnam City North (OK)

Draft: St. Louis Rams, 1st round (1st overall), 2010.

Career: 8 years (St. Louis 5, Philadelphia 1, Minnesota 2)

GS: 80 (34-45-1). Completed 1,805 of 1,760 for 18,049 yards, 101 TD, 57 INT, 85.1 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $18,000,000

Drew Brees

6-0, 209

Last team: New Orleans Saints

Born: January 15, 1979 (Age: 39) in Austin, TX

College: Purdue

High School: Westlake (TX)

Draft: San Diego Chargers, 2nd round (32nd overall), 2001.

Career: 17 years (San Diego 5, New Orleans 12)

GS: 248 (142-106). Completed 6,222 of 9,294 for 70,445 yards, 488 TD, 228 INT, 96.7 rating.

Status: Sept. 2016 signed extension worth average of $24.5 million per season that can be voided March 14, making him an unrestricted free agent as the team carries cap hit of $6 million and dead cap value to $18 million.

Teddy Bridgewater

6-2, 214

Last team: Minnesota Vikings

Born: November 10, 1992 (Age: 25) in Miami, FL

College: Louisville

High School: Miami Northwestern (FL)

Draft: Minnesota Vikings, 1st round (32nd overall), 2014.

Career: 3 years (Minnesota)

GS: 28 (17-11). Completed 551 of 851 for 6,150 yards, 28 TD, 22 INT, 86.3 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $2,179,387

Kirk Cousins

6-3, 214

Last Team: Washington Redskins

Born: August 19, 1988 (Age: 29) in Holland, MI

College: Michigan State

High School: Holland Christian (MI)

Draft: Washington, 4th round (102nd overall), 2012.

Career: 6 years (Washington).

GS: 57 (26-30-1). Completed 1,372 of 2,096 for 16,206 yards, 99 TDs, 55 INT, 93.7 rating.

Status: Free agent. In 2017 signed a franchise tag offer of $23,946,300, which was the cap hit. However, pending official closure of a pending trade with Kansas City, the Redskins agreed to sign Alex Smith to a 4-year, $94,000,000 contract, including $71,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $23,500,000. In 2018, Smith will earn a base salary of $14,500,000, a roster bonus of $2,000,000 and a workout bonus of $500,000, while carrying a cap hit of $17,000,000.

Case Keenum

6-2, 209

Last team: Minnesota Vikings

Born: February 17, 1988 (Age: 30) in Abilene, TX

College: Houston

High School: Wylie (TX)

NCAA record holder for passing yards, touchdowns and completions; was signed as an undrafted rookie by Houston, 2012.

Career: 6 years (Houston 2 plus, St. Louis/L.A. Rams 2 plus, Minnesota 1).

GS: 38 (20-18, including 11-3 in 2017). Completed 779 of 1,258 for 8,771, 46 TD, 27 INT, 86.0 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit $1,906,250

POSSIBLE STARTER

AJ McCarron

6-3, 220

Last team: Cincinnati Bengals

Born: September 13, 1990 (Age: 27) in Mobile, AL

College: Alabama

High School: St. Paul's Episcopal (Alabama)

Draft: Cincinnati Bengals, 5th round (164th overall), 2014

Career: 4 years (Cincinnati).

GS: 3 (1-2). Completed 86 of 133 for 920 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT, 93.6 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent (declared unrestricted by arbitrator). 2017 cap hit: $690,000

Josh McCown

6-4, 212

Last team: New York Jets

Born: July 4, 1979 (Age: 38) in Jacksonville, TX

College: SMU, Sam Houston State

High School: Jacksonville (TX)

Draft: Arizona Cardinals, 3rd round (81st overall), 2002.

Career: 15 years (Arizona 4, Detroit 1, Oakland 3, Carolina 2, Chicago 3, Tampa Bay 1, Cleveland 2, N.Y. Jets 2)

GS: 73 (23-50). Completed 1,521 of 2,518 for 17,168 yards, 97 TD, 78 INT, 80.8 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $6,500,000 (IR)

Brock Osweiler

6-7, 240

Last team: Denver Broncos

Born: November 22, 1990 (Age: 27) in Coeur d'Alene, ID

College: Arizona State

High School: Flathead (MT)

Draft: Denver Broncos, 2nd round (57th overall), 2012.

Career: 6 years (Denver 4, Houston 1, Denver 1 again).

GS: 25 (13-12-0). Completed 584 of 987 for 6,171 yards, 31 TD, 27 INT, 76.5 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $775,000

BACKUP

Derek Anderson

6-6, 229

Last team: Carolina Panthers

Born: June 15, 1983 (Age: 34) in Portland, OR

College: Oregon State

High School: Scappoose (OR)

Draft: Baltimore Ravens, 6th round (213th overall), 2005

Career: 12 years (Cleveland 4, Arizona 1, Carolina 7)

GS: 47 (20-27). Completed 867 of 1,604, 10,413 yards, 60 TD, 60 INT, 71.1 rating.

Status: 2018 Free Agent. 2017 cap hit: $1,143,750

Matt Barkley

6-3, 227

Last Team: Arizona Cardinals

Born: September 8, 1990 (Age: 27) in Newport Beach, CA

College: USC

High School: Mater Dei (CA)

Draft: Philadelphia Eagles, 4th round (98th overall), 2013,

Career: 3 years (Philadelphia 2, Chicago 1)

GS: 6 (1-5). Completed 159 of 266 for 1,911 yards, 8 TD, 18 INT, 63.7 rating.

Status: 2018 Free agent. Inactive with Arizona 2017, Cap hit: $319,000.

Tyler Bray

6-6, 232

Last team: Kansas City Chiefs

Born: December 27, 1991 (Age: 26)

College: Tennessee

High School: Kingsburg, CA

Signed with Kansas City as undrafted rookie, 2013.

Career: 2 years, 1 game, 1 pass, 1 incompletion, 0 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $1,252,000

Kellen Clemens

6-2, 224

Last team: Los Angeles Chargers

Born: June 6, 1983 (Age: 34) in Burns, OR

College: Oregon

High School: Burns (OR)

Draft: New York Jets, 2nd round (49th overall), 2006.

Career: 12 years (N.Y. Jets 5, St. Louis 3, San Diego/L.A. Chargers 4)

GS: 21 (8-13-0). Completed 350 of 638 for 4,053 yards, 16 TD, 21 INT, 68.9 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $1,000,000

Chase Daniel

6-0, 218

Last team: New Orleans Saints

Born: October 7, 1986 (Age: 31) in Irving, TX

College: Missouri

High School: Southlake Carroll (TX)

Signed by Washington Redskins as an undrafted rookie in 2009.

Career: 9 years (New Orleans 4, Kansas City 3, Philadelphia 1, New Orleans again in 2017).

GS: 2 (1-1). Completed 51 of 78 for 480 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 81.1 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: 900,000

Austin Davis

6-2, 221

Last team: Seattle Seahawks

Born: June 2, 1989 (Age: 28) in Ringgold, GA

College: Southern Mississippi

High School: West Lauderdale (MS)

Signed by St. Louis Rams as undrafted free agent in 2012.

Career: 4 years (St. Louis 2, Cleveland 1, Seattle 1).

GS: 10 (3-7-0). Completed 236 of 378 for 2,548 yards, 13 TDs, 12 INT, 80.4 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $700,000

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Last team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Born: November 24, 1982 (Age: 35) in Gilbert, AZ

College: Harvard

High School: Highland (AZ)

Draft: St. Louis, 7th round (250th overall), 2005.

Career: 13 years (St. Louis 2, Cincinnati 2, Buffalo 4, Tennessee 1, Houston 1, N.Y. Jets 2, Tampa Bay 1)

GS: 119 (48-70-1). Completed 2,411 of 4,039 for 26,991 yards, 173 TD, 137 INT, 79.9 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $1,259,000

Blaine Gabbert

6-5, 235

Last team: Arizona Cardinals

Born: October 15, 1989 (Age: 28) in Ballwin, MO

College: Missouri

High School: Parkway West (MO)

Draft: Jacksonville Jaguars, 1st round (10th overall), 2011.

Career: 7 years (Jacksonville 3, SF 3, Arizona 1).

GS: 45 (11-34-0). Completed 781 of 1,387 for 8,437 yards, 44 TD, 43 INT, 71.5 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: 900,0000.

Chad Henne

6-3, 228

Last team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Born: July 2, 1985 (Age: 32) in Wyomissing, PA

College: Michigan

High School: Wilson (PA)

Draft: Miami Dolphins, 2nd round (57th overall), 2008.

Career: 9 years (Miami 4, Jacksonville 5).

GS: 53 (18-35-0). Completed 1,159 of 1,956 for 12,931 yards, 58 TD, 63 INT., 75.5 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $3.5 million.

Josh Johnson

6-3, 198

Last team: Houston Texans.

Born: May 15, 1986 (Age: 31) in Oakland, CA

College: San Diego

High School: Oakland Technical (CA)

Draft: Tampa Bay, 5th round (160th overall), 2008.

Career: 5 years (Tampa Bay 3, Cincinnati 1, Cleveland 1).

GS: 5 (0-5). Completed 96 of 177 for 1,042, 5 TD, 10 INT, 57.7 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit $53,000

EJ Manuel

6-5, 237

Last team: Oakland Raiders

Born: March 19, 1990 (Age: 27) in Virginia Beach, VA

College: Florida State

High School: Bayside (VA)

Draft: Buffalo Bills, 1st round (16th overall), 2013.

Career: 5 years (Buffalo 4, Oakland 1).

GS: 18 (6-12). Completed 343 of 590 for 3,767 yards, 20 TD, 16 INT, 77.1 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $640,000

Matt Moore

6-3, 192

Last team: Miami Dolphins

Born: August 9, 1984 (Age: 33) in Van Nuys, CA

College: Oregon State

High School: William S. Hart (CA)

Signed in 2007 as an undrafted rookie by the Dallas Cowboys, where he had a 100.1 rating in preseason. But when Cowboys tried to put him through waivers to sign onto practice squad he was claimed by Carolina.

Career: 10 years (Carolina 3, Miami 7).

GS: 13 (7-6). Completed 586 of 983 for 6,938 yards, 45 TD, 36 int., 81.2 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $2,150,000

Mark Sanchez

6-2, 225

Last team: Chicago Bears

Born: November 11, 1986 (Age: 31) in Long Beach, CA

College: USC

High School: Mission Viejo (CA)

Draft: N.Y. Jets, 1st round (5th overall), 2009.

Career: 7 years (N.Y. Jets 4, Philadelphia 2, Dallas 1)

GS: 72 (37-35). Completed 1,295 of 2,285 for 15,219 yards, 86 TD, 86 INT, 73.9 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit $1,906,250/

Tom Savage

6-4, 228

Last team: Houston Texans

Born: April 26, 1990 (Age: 27) in Springfield, PA

College: Pittsburgh, Rutgers

High School: Cardinal O'Hara (PA)

Draft: Houston Texans, 4th round (135th overall), 2014.

Career: 3 years (Houston)

GS 9 (2-7). Completed 181 of 315 for 2,000 yards, 5 TD, 7 INT, 72.5 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $765,000

Geno Smith

6-3, 218

Last team: New York Giants

Born: October 10, 1990 (Age: 27) in Miramar, FL

College: West Virginia

High School: Miramar (FL)

Draft: New York Jets, 2nd round (39th overall), 2013

Career 5 years (N.Y. Jets 4, N.Y. Giants 1)

GS: 31 (12-19). Completed 522 of 902 for 6,174 yards, 29 TD, 36 INT, 72.9 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $1,087,500

Drew Stanton

6-3, 236

Last team: Arizona Cardinals

Born: May 7, 1984 (Age: 33) in Okemos, MI

College: Michigan State

High School: Harrison (MI)

Draft: Detroit Lions, 2nd round (43rd overall), 2007.

Career: 7 years (Detroit 3, Indianapolis DNP 2012, Arizona 4)

GS: 17 (11-6). Completed 345 of 659 for 4,055 yards, 20 TD, 24 INT, 66.3 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $4,050,000

Scott Tolzien

6-3, 205

Last team: Indianapolis Colts

Born: September 4, 1987 (Age: 30) Rolling Meadows, IL

College: Wisconsin

High School: William Fremd (IL)

In 2011 signed with San Diego Chargers as undrafted rookie; threw for 302 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT in preseason; released in final cut and claimed on waivers by San Francisco.

Career 5 years (San Francisco DNP in 2013, Green Bay 3, Indianapolis 2).

GS: 4 (0-3-1). Completed 88 of 146 for 1,065 yards, 2 TD, 9 INT, 61.6 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $2 million.

Joe Webb

6-4, 220

Last team: Buffalo Bills

Born: November 14, 1986 (Age: 31) in Birmingham, AL

College: Alabama-Birmingham

High School: Wenonah (AL)

Draft: Minnesota Vikings, 6th round (199th overall), 2010.

Career: 8 years (Minnesota 4, Carolina 3, Buffalo, 1)

GS: 2 (1-1). Completed 90 of 159 for 888 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 63.1 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $900,000

Brandon Weeden

6-4, 221

Last team: Tennessee Titans

Born: October 14, 1983 (Age: 34) in Oklahoma City, OK

College: Oklahoma State

High School: Edmond Santa Fe (OK)

Draft: Cleveland Browns, 1st round (22nd overall), 2012.

Career: 5 years (Cleveland 2, Dallas 1 plus, Houston part of 2015)

GS: 25 (6-19-0). Completed 559 of 965 for 6,462 yards, 31 TD, 30 INT, 76.0 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $470,294

T.J. Yates

6-2, 210

Last team: Houston Texans

Born: May 28, 1987 (Age: 30) in Marietta, GA

College: North Carolina

High School: Pope (GA)

Draft: Houston Texans, 5th round (152nd overall), 2011.

Career: 6 years (Houston 3 and 1 and 1, Atlanta, Miami, no games in 2016)

GS: 10 (4-6). Completed 179 of 324 for 2,057 yards, 10 TD, 11 INT, 70.7 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $410,000

EXPECTED TO RETIRE

Jay Cutler

6-3, 225

Last team: Miami Dolphins

Born: April 29, 1983 (Age: 34) in Santa Claus, IN

College: Vanderbilt

High School: Heritage Hills (IN)

Draft: Denver Broncos, 1st round (11th overall), 2006.

Career: 12 years (Denver 3, Chicago 8, Miami 1).

GS: 153 (74-79-0), completed 3,048 of 4,920 for 35,133 yards, 227 TDs, 160 INT, 85.3 rating.

Status: 2018 free agent. 2017 cap hit: $10 million

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