The 2024 NFL free-agent quarterbacks list isn’t as exciting as some years, but it still has multiple starters poised to potentially find new homes. In a year that isn’t overwhelming for rookie quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft, some teams who are a quarterback away from contention might be targeting certain players on this list.
Ten signal callers are free agents this offseason, and they all started at least one game during the 2023-24 season.
From everyday starters in Kirk Cousins down to backups such as Tyler Huntley, multiple teams could see new faces in its 1-2 punch any time from the end of March to the beginning of training camp.
Let’s dive into our 2024 NFL Free Agency QB Rankings.
1. KIRK COUSINS
COUSINS WILL LIKELY LAND ON A WIN-NOW TEAM
Cousins finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback from 2020-22 and would have had the highest end-of-season finish of his career, No. 6, had he not torn his Achilles in Week 8.
He accumulated 154.7 points through those eight games (19.3 average), giving him an estimated 328.4 for the season’s entirety. That mark would set him between multiple playoff starters Jordan Love (330.1) and Brock Purdy (306.6). Those numbers are also good to best Jared Goff, Patrick Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa, Baker Mayfield, and C.J. Stroud – all of whom made the postseason. Sorry, Vikings fans, but it looks like you would’ve made the playoffs had Cousins been healthy.
That said, Cousins’ 3-year, $84 million deal has expired. However, his health has not. All signs point toward the upcoming 36-year-old returning to the league, assuming his rehabilitation is successful.
However, it looks as though Minnesota could be playing third-fiddle in the division as early as the 2024-25 season. Green Bay was a field goal make away from playing Detroit in the NFC Championship game. With the emergence of Love and the Packers’ defense, as well as the tantalizing Lions on both sides of the ball, if Cousins is set on a title, looking beyond the Vikings makes sense.
KIRK COUSINS’ IDEAL 2024 FANTASY LANDING SPOTS
Staying in the NFC, there are two teams with a clear win-now roster: New Orleans and Atlanta.
The Falcons weren’t quiet on their hunt for a new head coach, interviewing Bill Belichick, Jim Harbaugh, and others, and then eventually hiring Raheem Morris all before the Super Bowl kicked off. Their defense has improved and their offense is really only stifled by one position: quarterback.
Let’s be honest, Desmond Ridder had 33 more fantasy points in the entire 2023-24 season than a guy who tore his Achilles – and yet, Atlanta was still fighting for the DIVISION crown in Week 18.
Atlanta could add a receiver in the draft if it snags Cousins to help pair someone opposite Drake London. Both London and tight end Kyle Pitts have yet to break out since joining the team in recent seasons. But, Cousins loves both the tight end and top receiver positions on any team he’s on. Just ask Jordan Reed, T.J. Hockenson, Pierre Garcon, and Justin Jefferson.
While New Orleans doesn’t need a new coach, it has a win-now team.
The Saints’ defense has been one of the best in the league in recent years. And besides thinking “Drew Brees” whenever the Saints are mentioned, many think of the Marshon Lattimore-led secondary.
New Orleans also has receivers who are stepping into more significant roles. Chris Olave is not the only wideout in New Orleans. Rashid Shaheed, Taysom Hill, and arguably still Alvin Kamara create a potentially potent offense. Cousins is an upgrade from the Derek Carr experiment.
Even though both are arguably in the weakest division in the NFL, Cousins has still said he wants to remain a Viking.
“That desire hasn’t changed. That’s still the same. There’s a lot that’s out of my control on that. So, yeah, you can want a lot of things, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. I keep an open mind, but I’d certainly love for that to be the case,” Cousins told CBS News when asked where he’ll play next season.
Other potential team landing spots: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Denver.
RSJ ranks Cousins as the No. 1 quarterback free agent.
2. BAKER MAYFIELD
MAYFIELD SHOULD DRAW INTEREST, BUT SHOULD DRAW A CHECK FROM TAMPA
It sure looks like Baker Mayfield is the answer for Tampa Bay after his career-setting numbers during the 2023-24 season.
Mayfield broke the 4,000-yard plateau for the first time in his career, bested his highest touchdown total from his rookie season (27), and had the highest completion percentage (64.3%) in his first season with the Bucs. He also didn’t just help win a weak NFC South; he also led Tampa Bay to a Wild Card playoff win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Additionally, Kyle Trask, drafted in 2022, is the only other healthy, active quarterback on the Buccaneers’ roster. A Mayfield/Trask starting battle was reported throughout last offseason, but Mayfield didn’t just win the job; he won the job. Mayfield started every game last season, while Trask only appeared in two games, with one pass attempt, bringing his total appearances to three in two seasons.
In a prove-it year, Mayfield put up 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on a $4 million contract. It was deemed the best offseason signing before last season by CBSSports agents. He is also the only Buccaneers quarterback ever to throw for 300-plus yards and at least three touchdowns in a playoff game – which he did twice in 2024. Tampa Bay received a division title and one playoff victory for approximately $33 million less than the average starting QB in 2023-24.
Other potential team landing spots: New England, Pittsburgh, Denver, Atlanta
RSJ ranks Mayfield as the No. 2 quarterback free agent.
WHO ELSE NEEDS SOME LOVE?
Outside of Furthermore, the eight other quarterbacks looking for new contracts, and possibly new homes, include*:
*Listed in order of most valuable, according to RSJ.
WHY ARE THE STEELERS AND BRONCOS IN SEARCH OF QUARTERBACKS?
Both Pittsburgh and Denver are storied franchises that run better than most. They also both have Hall of Fame-worthy head coaches. But they also have quarterback situations that aren’t ideal.
Though dealing with injuries throughout the season, starter Kenny Pickett lost the job to third-string Mason Rudolph for the team’s playoff game in Buffalo. Mitch Trubisky, the other rostered signal caller, has a potential out in his contract this year and did not look good in place of Pickett when his number was called upon — highlighted by a loss to the dreadful Patriots at home.
Pros: Head coach, potential breakout receiving cast, standout defense.
Cons: Run game, potential QB roulette with Pickett.
It’s rumored Denver will opt-out of Russell Wilson’s contract that takes part of a big cap hit in June. The Broncos would then split the dead money hits over two years – $35.4 million and $49.6 million, respectively.
Wilson barely eclipsed 3,000 yards last season, boasting just better than a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio, underperforming for the second straight season.
Pros: Head coach, young running back, potential breakout receiving cast if healthy, solid defense.
Cons: Tight end room, young positional development.
The start of 2024 NFL Free Agency begins on March 13 at 4 p.m. ET.