With all the injuries and struggles going on around the quarterback position this season, there are quite a few quarterbacks that could be employed by the end of the season. We have seen some major injuries to quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Sam Bradford, which could lead to a job opening for them. Also, there have been some quarterbacks that have struggled to perform, which may lead more jobs to open up in the league.
Lucky for many of these NFL teams, there are a good amount of talented free agent quarterbacks that are currently available. Some of these quarterbacks in fact, are actually better players than some of the starting quarterbacks that currently have jobs. There are some players that are on this list that actually have been a starter in the past, and lost their position due to other things happening.
With so much going on and this 2017 season being so out of whack, we can see a lot changes happening at the quarterback position on different teams. And the good thing for these teams is that there are some pretty valuable quarterbacks on the market currently. Let’s see where which quarterbacks these teams have a chance at grabbing if need be.
15 Thaddeus Lewis - Seattle Seahawks
Most people probably have no idea who this guy is, but Thaddeus Lewis was once a starter for the Cleveland Browns, and has also played for a couple other teams including the Rams. Now, Lewis doesn’t seem like he has the potential to be a starter in the NFL, especially since he hasn’t taken a regular season snap since 2013, but he has a lot of the tools for a decent backup quarterback.
With teams seeing how many injuries are going on, some teams may feel compelled to sign a backup quarterback that could be there for insurance. Lewis has the ability to make some plays with his feet and legs. Perhaps a team with a mobile QB like Russell Wilson would take Lewis on their roster, as he could provide mobility should he ever be put into a game.
14 Sean Renfree - Arizona Cardinals
The former seventh round draft pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, never really got a fair chance in the NFL as he was drafted knowing that he would be a backup quarterback to Matt Ryan. There’s still a lot more to be seen from Sean Renfree, but he has shown some glimpses that he could make the cut on a team right now. He has the ability to make some plays down the field as he has good arm strength, as well as being able to throw the ball in tight windows. Unfortunately for Renfree, the one opportunity he got in the NFL, wasn’t the best performance he’s had. In two games, he’s went 3-7 throwing for 11 yards and one interception.
Although the statistics don’t look so great for Renfree, the film shows that this guy could be a backup quarterback on a team. With Palmer out with a broken arm, perhaps the Cards will look to add to their depleted roster.
13 Matt McGloin - Oakland Raiders
Maybe, just maybe if Matt McGloin didn’t get injured last season, he would still have a job as the backup quarterback to Derek Carr. We have seen McGloin make 13 appearances through four years, throwing for 11 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions and 1,868 yards. Unlike some of the other candidates, McGloin has some experience under center. In his rookie season in 2013, he ended up starting six games.
McGloin never really gave any other team a reason not to sign him. And if he didn’t get hurt at the end of last season, there’s a chance that he may have started over Connor Cook in the playoff game against the Texans. Derek Carr's already gotten hurt once this year, so perhaps the Raiders would look to McGloin, a familiar face, as an insurance policy should they suffer more injuries at QB.
12 Bruce Gradkowski - Dallas Cowboys
Gradkowski has so many years of experience that it’s a shame that he isn’t a backup quarterback on a team currently. Gradkowski has been in the league since 2006, and currently is looking for a new job. In the games that he has started, he has had a poor record of 6-14. That number, and some of his statistics could turn teams away, but you’re looking at a guy with more experience than most backup quarterbacks that are currently employed. Gradkowski may not be the most talented quarterback out there, but he’s been through a lot and he can definitely help mentor young quarterbacks like Dak Prescott. It may seem like a bad idea, but Prescott admitted that having a veteran, even like Mark Sanchez on the sidelines with him last year was a huge help.
11 Dan Orlovsky - Dallas Cowboys
There’s real no harm in grabbing a backup quarterback who is safe with the ball. And a good majority of the time, that is Dan Orlovsky. Orlovsky isn’t going to help take a team to the playoffs or anything spectacular, but if you needed someone to come in for a week or so to try and get passed a team, he wouldn’t be an awful option.
Orlovsky isn’t a huge threat, but he’s smart with the football. He spreads the ball underneath, trying to avoid turnovers at all costs. This may be what some teams need in case they lose their quarterback for a week or so. Orlovsky may be known for a poor choice, but this wouldn’t be an awful choice signing him as a backup plan.
10 Ryan Nassib - Jacksonville Jaguars
I guess it’s pretty promising considering Ryan Nassib has never thrown an interception in his NFL career. While we haven’t seen a whole lot of Nassib, we can look back at his college tape and see some of the great things he did which helped him lead to a NFL career. Nassib looks really good throwing into tight spaces, which in the NFL, can be very important. Laying the ball in the proper spot and letting your teammates do the rest is a great game plan to win for a backup quarterback.
Nassib does have some downfalls that go with him as he isn’t the most athletic, and his footwork can be inconsistent. But, some of these issues can be guided through when being signed to a NFL team. Nassib has the ability to help out, he just needs the right opportunity. His former Syracuse coach, Doug Marrone is currently coaching a team with inconcsistent QB play, so perhaps Nassib's former coach could take a flyer on him later on.
9 Aaron Murray - Philadelphia Eagles
So many teams decide to draft quarterbacks in the later rounds, and never give them a chance to make a career in the NFL. Aaron Murray played phenomenal at the University of Georgia, but unfortunately never had the opportunity to play a snap in the NFL. At Georgia, Murray had great accuracy and had the ability to get the ball down the field. Murray kind of became irrelevant as he was trapped behind Alex Smith for a few years, but Murray may honestly have the potential to even be a stop-gap starter in this league. He may need to take some time to learn an offense and get back into the swing of things, but this kids tape looks fantastic. Aaron Murray could see himself as a comeback story in the near future. With Murray having learned under Andy Reid, perhaps the Eagles can add him to their depth chart and see what Andy Reid disciple Doug Pederson could do with him.
8 Luke McCown - Chicago Bears
Part of the reason why we could see Luke McCown getting signed at some point this season, is the fact of how well is probably Josh has been playing for the New York Jets. Unlike Josh, Luke doesn’t have that same potential to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. With his age and his performance throughout his years, it doesn’t seem likely that Luke McCown would become a starter anywhere in the NFL. But experience is important, and McCown has a whole lot of that.
McCown has been in the league since 2004, so he has seen a whole lot that many players may have never seen. McCown can help guide young quarterbacks pick up on things that they may not have been able to pick up on their own. Perhaps a team like Chicago, who has already moved on from Mike Glennon, could add McCown to their depth chart.
7 Shaun Hill - Miami Dolphins
It’s pretty insane that Shaun Hill isn’t employed by a NFL team as a backup. Hill has a lot of things on some of these other quarterbacks that have already been listed. He has a lot more experience as he has started 35 games in his career. Unlike many of these other players who have just been a part of teams or played randomly throughout seasons, Hill does have experience playing throughout full games. His record is 17-18, which for a guy that has never had the opportunity to lead a team from the start to finish, is pretty impressive. Then he has also thrown 49 touchdowns and 30 interceptions, with 8,295 passing yards.
Hill’s numbers are of those that even some backup quarterbacks don’t currently have. Although he is older, he has been through a lot that could help the development of some of these other quarterbacks that are currently in the league. With the Dolphins seemingly snakebitten at QB, perhaps picking up Hill as an insurance policy would be a shrewd move for the remainder of the season.
6 Christian Ponder
So now let’s take a look at Christian Ponder. Ponder is basically a younger version of Shaun Hill. They both have very similar numbers in each column, except the age column. In Ponder’s one full season as a starting quarterback, he actually led the Minnesota Vikings to a 10-6 record. That season he threw 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, for 2,935 passing yards. No, those numbers aren’t staggering, but for someone who just got thrown into that role, he wasn’t all that bad.
He’s nowhere near a star in this league, and he still needs improvement, but he could definitely help upgrade the quarterback position for some of these teams that are in need of a backup quarterback. He'd only be able to succeed on a team with a solid running game and reliable defense and would only need someone to not turn the ball over. The Rams have that and obviously Ponder could take a seat behind Jared Goff.
5 Johnny Manziel - Houston Texans
The chances of this are a lot less likely than some other quarterbacks, but you never know. Johnny Manziel was once looked at as one of the top prospects of the 2014 NFL Draft. Manziel claims that he’s getting better and could still play football, and maybe a team would be willing to go grab it. It may not be the smartest decision as he’s been known for making very poor decisions outside of football, but he was a really good athlete back at Texas A&M.
His numbers never looked all that great, but neither has the Cleveland Browns team. Maybe there’s a team out there that desperately needs a quarterback and feels that Manziel has matured. Maybe, there’s a team that feels Johnny Football deserves another shot at being in the NFL.
The Texans are in a position where no one is taking Deshaun Watson's starting job so perhaps Johnny Football can return to his home state and learn about what it takes to be a successful young QB.
4 Matt Barkley - New York Giants
Like most previous starting quarterbacks, they usually get another chance at a backup position. For Matt Barkley, there may be a chance that a team brings him in just to bring in competition between him and the starting quarterback. Barkley was great for USC, but unfortunately, he hasn’t been all that great throughout his NFL career. During his career, he has thrown eight touchdowns and 18 interceptions for 1,911 passing yards. Barkley’s numbers are horrific, but his play at USC may still give him another chance in the NFL.
Some teams are really desperate, and they really need to try and grab any quarterback they can with experience to help bring competition to their team. Matt Barkley even with his struggles, could possibly upgrade the backup quarterback position for some teams. With the Giants having a veteran like Eli and seemingly looking for their next QB, perhaps Barkley could pick up a thing or two from Manning.
3 Robert Griffin III - San Francisco 49ers
If not for injuries, there would be no Kirk Cousins, and Robert Griffin III would still be the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins. RGIII's rookie season was electrifying, and for some time, some fans believed that he would be the better quarterback over Andrew Luck. RGIII’s skill sets were incredible, as he had one of the strongest arms for a rookie, and the quickest legs. He was an asset all over the field, as he could make throws from pretty much anywhere on the field, whether it be in the pocket or on the go. He also knew how to use his legs to extend plays, which helped make him an even more dangerous quarterback.
The problem is, RGIII is injury prone. Throughout his four years in the NFL, he has never played a full season. Each season he has played less and less games. But, there are still times that may want to take a risk and grab him. He wouldn’t be a bad idea to sign for teams struggling with starting quarterbacks.
With his former OC Kyle Shanahan now running the helm in San Fran, maybe he can see if he can recreate some of RGIII's rookie magic. Jimmy Garoppolo' is set to take the reins as the franchise QB, but he's not signed beyond this season and RGIII can act as an insurance policy.
2 Tony Romo - Green Bay Packers
We all know how much Tony Romo loves the game of football, and he might love it so much that he gets an opportunity to play back on the field and take it. Granted, Romo retired, and is an amazing color commentator, but there may be a chance that some teams would try and grab him and he would go with it. Some teams that may be interested would include the Green Bay Packers, who Romo grew up cheering for.
If the price is right for Tony, and the location is good enough for him, you may see Tony Romo back on the field. Unfortunately, with that would mean losing a great sportscaster, but who wouldn’t want to see Romo back on the field again?
In his last drive of his career against the Eagles, he looked fantastic. After a full year of recovery, maybe Tony has fully recovered and can play at a high level for a championship. The Packers don't have any hope if Rodgers is out for the year with their current crop of QBs, but Romo could be a saving grace. Then again, Romo might not want to play behind that o-line.
1 Colin Kaepernick - Indianapolis Colts
Last but not least, Colin Kaepernick. If you don’t believe Kapernick deserves a job based off of his skill set, you don’t watch football. Kaepernick may honestly be better than half of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL. If he didn’t decide to go on this peaceful protest, he probably would still be playing for the 49ers. Kaepernick’s actions led to him being jobless, but it would be crazy to see anyone on this list get signed before Kaepernick would get signed. There are so many places that he could go to that are similar that Romo could go to, as well as many others team.
Kaepernick lost his head coach and key players, and that really led to the decline in his career. At the peak of his career, this man was bringing the 49ers back to the Super Bowl, something that hadn’t been done in ages. If anyone deserves a job back in the NFL right now, it’s Colin Kaepernick. With Andrew Luck not expected to be back until December, if at all this season, the Colts definitely need to take a chance on a proven winner because Jacoby Brissett will not be able to carry them to a decent record come season's end. The Colts' only two wins were against the winless (at the time) 49ers and Browns. What do the Colts have to lose?