NFL: Free-Agent Quarterback Grades

Case Keenum, Denver Broncos

He may not have been Von Miller’s top choice at quarterback but Case Keenum on paper is a vast improvement to what the Broncos endured at quarterback in the 2017 season. The combination of Trevor Simian, Paxton Lynch, and Brock Osweiler combined for 3,668 yards to go along with 19 scores and 22 interceptions on 566 attempts. Keenum alone threw for 3,547 yards to go along with 22 scores to only 7 picks on 481 attempts. While 2017 was the first season the 5-year veteran showed his true promise he did lead the Minnesota Vikings to a game away from the Super Bowl. The 2-year deal he signed allows him to prove that he can sustain success over the long run while giving the Broncos flexibility in this year’s upcoming draft. A notch below the likes of Cousins, Keenum is more than serviceable.

Grade: B+

A.J. McCarron, Buffalo Bills36024384884_7f5dd4a6d0_b
The Buffalo Bills once again owe another victory to the Cincinnati Bengals. The sample size on McCarron is relatively small. Though in that small sample size McCarron has shown enough to be considered the Bills bridge quarterback for the 2018 season. McCarron, 27, has just made four career NFL starts in his four seasons in the league. He was the backup quarterback in Cincinnati last season. McCarron became the only quarterback to win back-to-back BCS National Championships while in college at Alabama. He is a low-risk, above-average reward type of signing.

Grade: B-

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million deal that is fully guaranteed, sources say. That alone makes him the off-seasons biggest winner. The Vikings in return are receiving a quarterback who has thrown for more than 4,000 yards with 25-touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. His nearly 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio included made him the top free agent. For the Vikings who were a win away from the Super Bowl with a combination of Keenum and Bradford, both to be considered a poor mans Cousins, puts a very good team over the top with the signing. As the Vikings look to make that leap into elite this signing may just land them there. The one red flag is the guaranteed money that very well can handcuff the team in the future and if Cousins is to falter it can quickly look like a poor investment in a hurry.

Grade: A-


Teddy Bridgewater, New York Jets
On the comeback trail, Bridgewater signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets. While also retaining last season’s starter, Josh McCown, and the highly anticipated arrival of a rookie quarterback what role Bridgewater can play remains to be seen. With the relative unknown of how far back to his former self, Bridgewater is a safe, low-risk option for the Jets. On a rebuilding team with McCown atop the depth chart, the former Louisville quarterback will have a strong QB room to learn from and potentially get some consistent play.

Grade: B+

Sam Bradford, Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals lost their franchise quarterback Carson Palmer to retirement this off-season and quickly signed Sam Bradford to a one-year $20 million dollar deal ($15 million guaranteed). The Cardinals are just another team that has handed Bradford a big payday for little production on the field. The often injured Bradford played in only two games a season ago. His best season in recent history came in 2017 when he had 20 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions in 15 games for the Minnesota Vikings. The Cardinals are trying to make the best of the remaining years of Larry Fitzgerald despite the rest of the team seemingly in a rebuild. Bradford will simply end up being a placeholder until whoever the team drafts is ready to take the helm, which with his injury history may be sooner rather than later.

Grade: C-

Josh McCown, New York Jets
A pleasant surprise for a 5-win New York Jets team a season ago that exceeded expectations, McCown played extremely well. The 38-year-old resigned to a one-year deal with the expectation that he will be the starter heading into training camp. A well-liked member of the team McCown’s leadership will be welcomed back as he will bring a steady hand into a Jets quarterback room that will feature a top draft pick at quarterback and Teddy Bridgewater who is looking to return to form. This was a smart deal for both sides as McCown extends his career and the Jets get a veteran presence to help lead them into the future of their franchise.

Grade: A

Drew Brees, New Orleans SaintsDrew Brees
The New Orleans Saints were able to retain Drew Brees and allow him to finish his career with the team. The two-year $25 million he received on his deal looks all that better for the 39-year-old when you consider Cousins got $29 million from the Vikings over that same stretch of time. This deal almost feels like a formality and is a welcomed reunion.

Grade: A

Mike Glennon, Arizona Cardinals
One of the worst deals of free-agency a year ago was the Mike Glennon deal with the Chicago Bears. The backup signed a two-year deal for $8 million in Arizona where he will presumably go into a backup role once more. An average performer when put in a QB2 position Glennon can thrive in this role and provide some stability at the position. In the chance that Bradford is to go down with injury, Glennon allows the Cardinals to throw in a veteran presence rather than a rookie earlier than expected.

Grade: B

2 Comments Add yours

  1. MartinBisse says:

    Hellow my name is MartinBisse. Wery good-hearted post! Thx 🙂

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