NFL Free Agent Projections: Quarterbacks

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January 8th, 2014 by Michael Ginnitti

USATSI_7632218_160074578_lowresUSA TodayIn our first segment of NFL Free Agent Projections we'll take a look at the most notable quarterbacks set to become unrestricted free agents this offseason. By quickly comparing 2013 stats and their 2013 compensation, we'll provide a figure for the best value "average salary" associated with each quarterback for 2014.

Player Pos Age Team Proj. Avg Salary for 2014
Matt Cassel QB 32 MIN $3,507,600
Michael Vick QB 34 PHI $3,475,000
Josh Freeman QB 26 MIN $2,465,001
Chad Henne QB 29 JAX $2,090,850
Josh McCown QB 35 CHI $1,008,590
Shaun Hill QB 34 DET $955,000
Dan Orlovsky QB 31 TB $955,000
Matt Flynn QB 29 GB $955,000
Tarvaris Jackson QB 31 SEA $900,000
Kellen Clemens QB 31 SL $855,000
Colt McCoy QB 27 SF $800,000
Jordan Palmer QB 30 CHI Unsigned
Charlie Whitehurst QB 32 SD Unsigned
Luke McCown QB 33 NO Unsigned
Rex Grossman QB 34 WAS Unsigned
Seneca Wallace QB 34 GB Unsigned
David Garrard QB 36 NYJ Unsigned
Jon Kitna QB 41 DAL Unsigned
Jimmy Clausen QB 26 CAR Unsigned
Rusty Smith QB 27 TEN Unsigned
Brady Quinn QB 29 SL Unsigned
Curtis Painter QB 29 NYG Unsigned
Derek Anderson QB 31 CAR Unsigned

Related: The Complete list of 2014 NFL Free Agent Quarterbacks


Quick Points

Of the list here, Chad Henne saw the most playing time in 2013 (nearly 1,000) snaps. It's entirely possible the Jaguars bring back Henne as knowledgable insurance and a veteran presence to collaberate with the soon-to-be drafted quarterback.

At age 32 Matt Cassel might be the more intriguing name on this list now. The 9 year veteran has more than 15,000 passing yards in the NFL to go with 93 touchdowns and 66 interceptions. Furthermore, the Vikings receivers responded well to Cassel when he was forced into the lineup due to Christian Ponder's injury/poor play.

Michael Vick feels like the elephant in the room among free agent quarterbacks. He's saying all the right things in Philadelphia, and seemingly doing everything possible to rehab his injuries and remain in game shape. But he's done little to show that he can play at a high level and also reduce/avoid the risk for injury in any given season. Still it's hard to believe a team won't throw a few million his way as insurance to their roster (Buffalo, Philadelphia, Jacksonville).

Josh McCown nearly won himself the starting role in 2013. Just a few weeks later, Jay Cutler is not only the Bears long-term option, but his $22.5 million cap figure LEADS THE NFL in 2014. McCown proved he's able to pick up an offense quickly, and produce under pressure; valuable assets to a veteran backup. We projected him about $1 million more than the veteran minimum, but a bidding war could certainly raise this figure.

Josh Freeman is the ghost of starting quarterback past. In the blink of an eye his 2013 went from "needs another solid season to gain his big extension", to "fighting for his startng role" to "unhealthy to the locker room" to released, to picked up by the Vikings, to the Vikings starting QB a week later, to benched in Minnesota - never to be heard from again. Just five months ago, his previous two year's statistics were strong enough to forecast a contract nearly $7.5M per year by our experts. Now a $2.4M contract seems awful generous heading into 2014.

Quarterbacks Not Yet Released
It should also be noted that alongside this list will be quarterbacks who are released by their respective teams early on this offseason - notably Mark Sanchez (NYJ), Matt Schaub (HOU), and even Sam Bradford (STL). These players will greatly affect the cost and likelihood for these free agents to be signed during the offseason.

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