Gregg Rosenthal

Offseason Low Down

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Free Agency Primer: QBs

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

With free agency starting Friday, Rotoworld has you covered with position previews all week. Today, the quarterbacks:

Other Previews

  • Silva: Defensive line
  • Silva: WRs and TEs
  • Wesseling: Defensive backfield
  • Wesseling: LBs and DLs

    Most likely to annoy Matt Leinart

    Kurt Warner is the most intriguing name set to hit the market, but there's virtually no chance he leaves the Arizona. It's unlikely that any other team would offer Warner $10 million-per-year, like the Cardinals reportedly are. Warner would also be setting himself up for failure in any other system, and he knows it. Warner should sniff the market, realize the Cardinals are being fair, and quickly re-sign. Leinart, who Ken Whisenhunt has never fully embraced, could wind up on the trade market.

    Prediction: Cardinals, $24 million over two guaranteed years

    Best Bet

    Byron Leftwich would be my top free agent target at quarterback. He will come a fraction of Warner's price, and provides a high ceiling. This is former top-ten pick in his prime with a big arm and solid stats in his 46 career starts: 54 touchdowns, 38 interceptions, 24 wins, and a 6.7 yards-per-attempt average.

    There are warts: his long delivery, lack of mobility, and injury history. But you don't make it to free agency without warts, and Warner also has plenty of shortcomings. Warner also has the perfect team around him who plays to his strengths. Leftwich could be successful if he was lucky enough to find a similar situation.

    I just don't see one available. Chicago, Kansas City, and the New York jets are the most logical destinations, but the buzz in New York is that they'll stay out of the free agent market. Competing to start for the Bears or Chiefs looks like Leftwich's best chance for relevance.

    Prediction: Bears, $4 million for 2009.

    Buyer Beware

    Where to start? Jeff Garcia and Kerry Collins have produced recently, but do you want them learning another system at age 39? Rex Grossman and Kyle Boller are former first-round picks with undrafted quarterback instincts.

    The Trade Candidates

    Sage Rosenfels is reportedly on his way to Minnesota for a mid-round pick. That takes one team out of the mix for free agent quarterbacks, but the best names are still on the trade market.

    Matt Cassel will probably cost a first-round pick and change to acquire from the Patriots. Otherwise, the Patriots look prepared to keep him as expensive one-year insurance policy. Derek Anderson could probably be acquired for a mid-to-late round pick, but he won't go anywhere until Cleveland pays his roster bonus on March 15. Matt Leinart and Vince Young could also possibly be available for the right price. If your team doesn't make any free agent moves in March, they could be gearing up for a run at a trade in late April.

    Free Agent Quarterback Rankings

    1. Kurt Warner, Cardinals: Very likely to return.

    2. Byron Leftwich, Steelers: Best bang for your buck.

    3. Kerry Collins, Titans: There is a little buzz that the Jets will show interest, but we can't imagine anyone out-bidding the Jets, much less handing him starting job.

    4. Jeff Garcia, Bucs: A one-year stopgap-type backup on a West Coast team, and often clashes with the organization. Not worth the trouble.

    5. Rex Grossman, Bears: Just good enough to get you beat.

    6. Chris Simms, Titans: I stubbornly still think he can be developed, with no evidence to back it up. Kansas City and Chicago seem like possibilities.

    7. Patrick Ramsey, Broncos: Can be a competent backup, with not much hope for anything else.

    8. Dan Orlovsky, Lions: Surprisingly looked like he belonged in many games if you look past his issue with end zone boundaries.

    9. Kyle Boller, Ravens: Occasional moments of competence aren't enough and he's coming off an injury.

    10. J.P. Losman, Bills: His miserable 2008 season saved teams from overpaying in free agency. Way more tools than natural quarterback skills.

    11. Joey Harrington, Saints: The fourth straight first-round pick taken between 2002-2004 on this list. You want a higher ceiling with your backup quarterback.

    12. J.T. O' Sullivan, 49ers: Only if Mike Martz gets a job.

    13. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bengals: It's safe to say he'll never start eleven games in his career again.

    14. Charlie Frye, Seahawks: The former Brown just never showed NFL skills consistently

    Candidates for release

    1. Michael Vick, Falcons: Atlanta will exhaust trade possibilities before a summer release

    2. Alex Smith, 49ers: San Francisco would like to re-work his deal

    3. Jon Kitna, Lions: A return to Cincy seems possible

    4. Brian Griese, Bucs: Gruden favorite can backup in a West coast offense

    5. Brad Johnson, Cowboys: Dallas needs a backup upgrade

    6. Trent Green, Rams: Rock solid career could be over

    7. Gus Frerotte, Vikings:Sage Rosenfels could be the rich man's Frerotte

    8. Damon Huard, Chiefs: Notice a pattern with these release candidates: All nearing 40

    Teams that could dip into free agent QB market

    1. Bears: They want someone to compete with Kyle Orton and may not be patient enough to wait on a rookie.

    2. Chiefs: The new staff probably doesn't see Tyler Thigpen as the future.

    3. Jets: They have a huge need, but they may convince themselves they are happy with Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff for now. We'll see.

    4. Lions: They should want another quarterback, but they seem comfortable with Daunte Culpepper, Drew Stanton, and a rookie to be named later.

    5. Rams: Marc Bulger is sticking around, but Steve Spagnuolo should want a backup plan.

    6. Redskins: Always a candidate to surprise, and they seem lukewarm on Jason Campbell. They could be a surprise suitor for Leftwich.

    7. Bucs: Who wants to compete with Luke McCown?

    8. Bills: They should be looking for a veteran backup to pair with Trent Edwards

    9. Bengals: Considering Carson Palmer's health, this is a key backup spot.

    10. 49ers: Mike Singletary said they already have their veteran in Shaun Hill. They are more likely to add through the draft.

  • Gregg Rosenthal has directed Rotoworld's football content since 2003. He co-hosts the NBC Fantasy Fix and covers the NFL for and Catch him on Twitter.
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