The 2024 NFL free agency class is absolutely loaded from top to bottom.
It’s always funny to look at the “offseason champions” or “paper champions” each year, and reflect on how much (or how little) free agency actually plays into great team-building. Most of the time, going after a bunch of big-money free agents is not the best way to do business, but you never know when those key veteran acquisitions are going to be the difference over the course of a season.
This is one particular year in which all bets may be off as far as free agency being a worthwhile endeavor for certain teams. There are so many notable names, it would be foolish not to dip your toes in the water.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 free agents at every position in the 2024 offseason, starting with the game’s most important position.
2024 NFL Free Agents: Quarterback
1. Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins is aging and coming off of a season-ending Achilles injury, but he’s probably still the most valuable free agent on the 2024 open market. Cousins has gone on record as saying he’s satisfied with the blessings he’s received financially, so I think he’ll truly be looking for the best fit to win a championship as opposed to looking to cash in. As is typically the case, expect a high-level starting QB like this to get the best of both worlds.
2. Baker Mayfield
The former number one overall pick had a nice bounce-back year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2023. The question now becomes whether Baker Mayfield is going to parlay that season into the best deal possible (even if it means leaving the Bucs) or if he’s going to do whatever it takes to remain in Tampa Bay. Considering Mayfield has never received a big-money contract, he should not settle for less than what Geno Smith got last year ($25M AAV).
3. Gardner Minshew
The Indianapolis Colts were a bit of a surprise team in 2023 given the circumstances, which included having to start Gardner Minshew in place of the injured Anthony Richardson for most of the year. Minshew had them in playoff contention to the bitter end, and I think it’s safe to say they didn’t always win in spite of him. Minshew should get an opportunity to start again somewhere in 2024.
4. Ryan Tannehill
The days of Ryan Tannehill being a quality QB1 are in the past, but someone looking for a bridge to a young QB could be interested. Although Tannehill’s tune two years ago was that he was not in the mood to mentor young guys, that might be his ticket to a job in 2024.
5. Jameis Winston
After getting off to a red-hot start in 2021, Jameis Winston hasn’t played much the last couple of years. He’s capable of being an effective short-term starter in the right situation, but will likely be perceived as more of a high-end backup.
6. Jake Browning
After Joe Burrow’s injury, I don’t think many people expected Jake Browning to keep the Bengals afloat for as long as he did. He proved he’s a high-quality backup for one of the QB collective teams. I’m sure the Bengals will try hard to bring him back.
7. Joshua Dobbs
From “Passtronaut” to “Asstronaut” in very little time. Joshua Dobbs was very good in 2023 given his set of circumstances, and I think teams should still view him as a relatively high-upside spot starter and quality backup going into 2024.
8. Drew Lock
The former second-round pick out of Missouri may have honed his skills a bit in Seattle, but what is the perception of Drew Lock around the league? Teams will be wary of how prone he is to turning the ball over, even though he’s an extremely likeable guy with the ability to provide a spark in a pinch, as we saw for the Seahawks against the Eagles last season.
9. Jacoby Brissett
If you’re looking for a relatively high-floor, low-ceiling option as a backup or short-term starter, Jacoby Brissett is your guy. He’s valuable to the quarterback room and probably would have been a better option in 2023 for the Commanders than Sam Howell, in all honesty.
10. Joe Flacco
I think you have to include Joe Flacco on this list and I’m sure some team is going to throw $5 million at him in 2024 after what he did for the Browns, throwing for over 320 yards per game and looking better than he has in almost 10 years. Flacco wasn’t even viewed as a quality backup at this time last year, but he’ll get a one-year deal somewhere.