Position Groups: QB | RB | WR | LB/DL
Now that the NFL Combine is behind us, we’re racing into the new NFL calendar year as teams get set to reconfigure their rosters to try and make a playoff run in the upcoming season. With free agency opening on March 9, there will be a frenzy surrounding the top players as usual. With your team attempting to fill the holes they need to in order to make that Super Bowl run you’ve been dreaming of, we here at CBS Local Sports are compiling lists, by position group, of the top five guys that are available on the market this spring.
If you missed the NFL for the two weeks or so that it was dormant, you’re in luck: The NFL is already back! Reports of deals are already pouring in and free agent season is set to begin formally on March 9 at 4 p.m. ET, which will surely signal the beginning of free agent players flying off the shelf.
Historically, pickings at the quarterback position are slim when it comes to finding the answer under center in free agency, but this year there are some intriguing options on the open market, especially for teams willing to pay a premium for mediocre talent (I kid, kind of).
Here are a few QBs that are worth a look for those quarterback-needy squads out there.
*Tony Romo, 36 Years Old
(Probable) Former Team: Dallas Cowboys
That’s a mighty large asterisk next to Romo’s name, because this is all assuming that recent reports are true and Romo will be released before the start of free agency on March 9.
Still, once Romo hits the open market, there will be a blitz from playoff-ready teams for the veteran quarterback’s services.
Right now the potential leaders in the clubhouse are Denver and Houston for Romo’s services, with Denver ostensibly in the driver’s seat should the floor Romo with an offer.
While Romo is the cream of the free agent QB crop, he obviously comes with some baggage.
Injuries have derailed Romo’s last two seasons and questions about his durability will persist all season long. He only played four games in 2015 and didn’t make a single regular season start in 2016 after being injured in the preseason and replaced by wunderkind Dak Prescott.
Romo could be the missing piece for whichever team signs him, or, he could fall to pieces and spend another season languishing on the sideline.
Mike Glennon, 27 Years Old
Former Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Talk about the potential contract that Mike Glennon might garner in free agency is making heads spin around the NFL, as it probably should.
Reports are that Glennon might be in line for a $15 million per season contract based on his limited body of work that consists of a total of five starts in the last three years. He went 1-4 in those starts, by the way.
But that’s how the market is shaping up for a potential franchise quarterback these days. Glennon has improved behind Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay according to many who have watched his progress, which makes him an intriguing option, especially given his age.
Colin Kaepernick, 29 Years Old
Former Team: San Francisco 49ers
2016 wasn’t a bounce-back year for the 49ers by any stretch, but Colin Kaepernick’s stock did see a slight resurgence even though it may have been heavily shrouded in off-field controversy at times.
After posting a 12-4 record the year following their Super Bowl loss to the Ravens, Kaepernick went 8-8 in 2014 and 2-6 in an injury-shortened 2015 season before posting a 1-10 record after taking over for Blaine Gabbert in an abysmal 2016 campaign that saw coach Chip Kelly get the boot.
But his 1-10 record doesn’t tell the whole story — especially considering the caliber of the 49ers’ team in 2016.
Kaepernick finished the year with his best TD-INT ratio of his career, throwing 16 TDs compared to just 4 INTs, which explains why he opted out of his contract. He might not land a starter’s contract, but should net somewhere between $8-10 million with the chance of competing for a job somewhere.
Matt Barkley, 26 Years Old
Former Team: Chicago Bears
Barkley’s TD-INT ratio (8 TDs to 14 INTs) didn’t do his play justice in 2016. At any given time during the Barkley era, if you popped on Bears Twitter, many Bears fans were encouraged by Barkley and even thought he deserved a crack at the starting job heading into 2017.
Ultimately the Bears seem content to let Barkley test the free agent market and he could be an intriguing option for another team looking to bring in some quarterbacks for a competition in the offseason.
Barkley, unlike a fair portion of the names underneath him here, at least has some potential in his young arm.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, 34 Years Old
Former Team: New York Jets
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s stock sank like a stone in year two with the New York Jets as the veteran QB dinked and dunked his way to 12 TDs, 17 INTs and a 3-8 record as a starter.
Still, Fitzpatrick is a proven commodity at the QB position, a good locker room guy by all accounts, and could be the veteran backup that competitive teams need as insurance for their No. 1 guy.
The odds of Fitzpatrick landing a starting gig are slim to none, but hey, crazier things have happened.