Taking a look at 2013's free agent quarterbacks, plus potential cap casualties
Joe Flacco is the cream of the crop of this free agent class. Coming off of another solid regular season capped off with a stellar postseason and Super Bowl MVP, Flacco made the right decision by turning down an extension last summer. Though he is set to be an unrestricted free agent, it's hard to see him signing with a team other than the Ravens, even if the process is long and strenuous.
There's not really any desirable starting-caliber talent in the rest of this group. Matt Moore is a very solid backup, boasting an 80.5 career quarterback rating, but his phone won't be ringing off the hook with GM's offering starting jobs.
Tarvaris Jackson will be an interesting player to monitor, as everywhere he goes he impresses coaching staffs in practice, but struggles to show the same ability on game day. If he ends up with a coach who can find a way to unleash his talent, he could end up getting another shot at starting somewhere. Chip Kelly's Eagles would be an interesting landing spot.
As a Raider fan, I know that Jason Campbell can be a great backup quarterback. With solid protection and a good running game, Campbell can run an offense very efficiently. It's unfair to judge him off of his 1.5 starts with the Bears last year, because he was standing behind a horrendous offensive line and essentially had one effective receiver to throw to. A contender would be lucky to have Campbell as insurance, but I could also see a team like the Jaguars picking him up to compete for the starting job over the summer.
Big names Vince Young and Brady Quinn will be on the market, but after Young was dumped by the Bills before the start of the regular season and Quinn went 1-7 as the starter in Kansas City, there's a chance no one will even want them.
After losing the No. 2 job to Kirk Cousins in Washington, Rex Grossman was forgotten about by most people. With a 13-3 record in his only full season, a team may bring him in as a backup.
Byron Leftwich was once solid, but looked bad in his two games last season... Matt Leinart got significant playing time in one game in 2012, but looked pretty terrible... Josh Johnson is an interesting player as an athletic quarterback... David Garrard hasn't played since 2010, but claims he is healthy and may get some looks.
By the time free agency begins, we could have a lot of new names available. A lot of ineffective players and backups are scheduled to make some big money in 2013, and could easily be released between now and March 12th.
Potential cap casualties include:
Alex Smith (SF), who is under contract for $8.5 million next season. A quality starter who fell victim to the emergence of Colin Kaepernick, Smith is expected to ask to be released or traded, and the 49ers are expected to cooperate.
The Seahawks took a chance on signing Aaron Rodgers' backup, Matt Flynn, last summer, but he lost a training camp position battle to sensational rookie Russell Wilson. Set to make $5.25 million in 2013 and $6.25 million in 2014, he's a bit expensive for a backup.
As we all know, Michael Vick (PHI) signed a huge contract in the summer of 2011. Set to make $15.5 million in 2013, the Eagles would like to renegotiate his deal. If they can't agree on a new price, they'll probably cut him loose.
Carson Palmer (OAK) is another player who will almost certainly have to take a pay cut from his $13 million 2013 salary in order to stay in Oakland. With Terrelle Pryor being the only other quarterback on the roster, the Raiders would definitely like to have Palmer under center in 2013, but not necessarily for that much money.
Other potential cap casualties include: Kevin Kolb (ARI) who will make $11 million, but is reportedly open to renegotiating his contract... Matt Cassel (KC) who is under contract for $7.5 million and is a near lock to get the boot.