2023 Free Agency Preview: Quarterbacks


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2023 Free Agency Preview: Quarterbacks

The official start to the 2023 NFL season is quickly approaching, with the league year and free agency opening at 4 p.m. on March 15. Teams will begin signing free agents and any trades agreed to prior to the new league year will become official starting on that date.

There are a couple of other key dates to remember before the league year officially kicks off. Teams have to designate franchise players by March 7. The NFL also has a legal negotiating window from March 13-15, when teams can start contacting and negotiating with the agents of unrestricted free agents. We’ll hear of some deals breaking during that window, even though they can’t become official.

With that said, it’s time to start breaking down the 2023 free agency class, which includes Lamar Jackson, Daniel Jones, and Derek Carr at the QB position. Be sure to follow Fantasy Points throughout free agency for in-depth breakdowns of every major (and minor) move. We’ll be tracking every off-season transaction from a fantasy perspective through our “Off-season Tracker” articles and Graham Barfield’s “Fantasy Fallout” pieces.

We’ll also be constantly updating our Best Ball rankings if you’re looking to get an early start to draft season with our friends over at Underdog Fantasy (Promo code: FANTASYPTS). New signups to Underdog get both a deposit match of up to $100 and a Fantasy Points Standard subscription for just $5.

NOTE: Players are loosely ranked based on talent, age, plus previous and expected future fantasy relevance.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Note: An unrestricted free agent is a player with four or more accrued seasons and an expired contract who is free to negotiate and sign with any team.

Fantasy Starter

Lamar Jackson (Bal, 26) — The Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, which means he can negotiate with other teams. The Ravens have the right to match any offer sheet he signs or decline and receive two first-round picks in return.

Fantasy Points: Lamar is officially on the market but he’s not quite free to go anywhere he likes with the Ravens having the right to match any deal he finds from the other 31 teams. We’ll see if any team will hand him the big-money, guaranteed contract he’s desperately sought since Deshaun Watson signed his $230 million fully guaranteed contract with the Browns last summer. The Bengals (Joe Burrow), Chargers (Justin Herbert), and Eagles (Jalen Hurts) are among the teams anxiously waiting to see how this situation plays out with their franchise QBs seeking their first long-term contracts this off-season. Jackson has had his last two seasons sidetracked by injuries in December, which derailed Baltimore’s Super Bowl ambitions in each campaign. The Ravens lost their final four games in 2021 to fall out of postseason contention with Lamar missing for an ankle injury, and they went 2-4 (postseason included) with him missing for a PCL strain last season.

Lamar was the second-favorite for the MVP at +550 odds after opening the season with 749/10 passing and 243/2 rushing in his first three games. Jackson posted just seven passing TDs and one rushing TD in his final nine games, but the Ravens still finished sixth in PPG (24.1) with Lamar compared to 27th in PPG (14.1) without him in the lineup. Overall, Jackson completed 203/326 passes (62.3%) for 2242 yards (6.9 YPA), 17 TDs (5.2%), and seven INTs (2.1%). He added 112/764/3 rushing (6.8 YPC) to finish as the QB6 with 20.4 FPG in 12 contests. Lamar and Justin Fields are neck-and-neck as the league’s most dynamic running quarterbacks entering 2023. Jackson finished behind only Fields in rushing yards (764) among QBs despite missing the final five games, and he’s averaging 9.0 FPG as a runner since becoming Baltimore’s full-time starter in 2019. Lamar has seen his FPG drop each of the last four seasons (28.2>23.1>21.3>20.4), and he averaged fewer than 7.0 YPA last season for the first time with Baltimore’s WR corps becoming the worst in the league. Jackson still seems most likely to play for the Ravens next season but this saga is far from over.

Fringe NFL Starter/Top Backu

Carson Wentz (Was, 30) — Wentz’s time as a Week 1 starter has likely come to an end after the Commanders became the latest team to sever ties with the 2016 second-overall pick. He’ll be looking for his fourth team in as many years after Washington joined Indianapolis as a team that pulled the plug on him after one season — his first five seasons came with the Eagles. Wentz completed 172/276 passes (62.3%) for 1755 yards (6.4 YPA), 11 TDs (4.0%), and nine INTs (3.3%). He added 22/86/1 rushing (3.9 YPC) to finish as the QB21 with 15.3 FPG in eight contests. Wentz appeared destined to win the 2017 MVP before suffering an ACL injury that December — he led the league in TD rate (7.5) and QBR (78.5) — and his career has been on mostly a downward trajectory ever since. He’s fallen below 7.0 YPA in four straight seasons, and his INT rate has sat above 3.0% in two of his last three seasons. Wentz is unlikely to get a crack at a starting job in free agency after his last two failed experiments, but all it takes is one GM to talk himself into Wentz’s theoretical upside for that to change.

Teddy Bridgewater (Mia, 30) — The Dolphins brought in Teddy as an insurance plan for Tua Tagovailoa, but Bridgewater struggled to stay on the field when he had opportunities to play. Tua missed four games and a postseason contest due to concussions, but Bridgewater attempted just 79 passes because of finger and hand injuries. Miami’s seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson ended up finishing second in attempts with 146 (postseason included) because of Teddy’s availability issues. Bridgewater completed 49/79 passes (62.0%) for 683 yards (8.6 YPA), four TDs (5.1%), and four INTs (5.1%) over five appearances and two starts. He previously averaged 15.0 FPG in 14 starts for the Broncos in 2021 with a TD rate of 4.2% and an INT rate of 1.6%. The Dolphins will likely look for a more reliable backup than Bridgewater given Tua’s extensive durability concerns, which means Bridgewater would join his fifth team in as many years in 2023.

Other UFAs

Matt Ryan (Ind, 38)

Blaine Gabbert (TB, 33)

Mason Rudolph (Pit, 28)

Joe Flacco (Bal, 38)

Trevor Siemian (Chi, 31)

Trace McSorley (Ari, 27)

C.J. Beathard (Jax, 29)

Chase Daniel (LAC, 36)

Brandon Allen (Cin, 30)

Josh Johnson (SF, 37)

Nathan Peterman (Chi, 29)

Restricted Free Agents

Note: A restricted free agent is a player with three accrued seasons and an expired contract. RFAs are free to negotiate and sign with any team, but their original team can offer them one of various qualifying offers ("tenders") that come with the right of first refusal and/or draft-pick compensation. If the tender is withdrawn by a team, the RFA becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Tyler Huntley (Bal, 25)

Brett Rypien (Den, 27)

John Wolford(LAR, 27)

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 64.3% clip last season and he owned the last undefeated team out of 3000 entries in Scott Fish Bowl 12.