NFL free agency rankings: The best QBs available in 2024, from Kirk Cousins to Sam Darnold

There are only two starting quarterbacks from last season who are free agents, but as usual, there are plenty of bridge and backup options for teams to consider.

Of course, signing a free-agent QB isn’t the only way for a team to improve its situation under center, but it is the easiest and, perhaps, the “safest,” as it doesn’t require giving up assets in a trade or investing draft capital on an unproven rookie.

Sporting News breaks down the top-12 quarterbacks who are unsigned for 2024:

MORE: Ranking the 75 best overall NFL free agents for 2024

NFL free agent QB rankings 2024

1. Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings (age: 35)

Cousins is coming off a midseason torn Achilles, and before that, there was the thought Minnesota would move on from him and his top-market price tag despite strong play in recent seasons.

The Vikings could think about landing a franchise first-round QB in the draft, and plenty of other QB-needy teams will consider Cousins an immediate, established upgrade vs. going the rookie or bridge route. Don’t rule out the Vikings re-signing him should the QB options not please them.

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Baker Mayfield

(Getty Images)

2. Baker Mayfield, QB, Buccaneers (age: 28)

Mayfield should be looking at returning to Tampa Bay on a three- or four-year deal that gives him a big raise after a sweet prove-it season. There should be mutual interest, as he was key in helping the Bucs make the playoffs and getting a win, too.

3. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans (age: 36)

Tannehill had his best seasons in Tennessee, but he’s now transitioning into a bridge QB in a situation where he can play off good blocking and a strong running game to maximize his play-action abilities and athleticism. Watch for him possibly reuniting with Arthur Smith as a Steeler or Todd Downing as a Giant.

4. Gardner Minshew, Colts (age: 27)

Minshew has gone from his “mania” in Jacksonville to being a valuable backup twice for Shane Steichen in Philadelphia and then Indianapolis. He probably fits best staying behind Anthony Richardson, but he could also help a suddenly QB-needy team like the Falcons or Broncos.

5. Jameis Winston, Saints (age: 30)

After being passed by again for any shot to truly succeed Drew Bress in New Orleans, Winston will likely look elsewhere for a job in 2024. He could be considered by Denver in a Sean Payton reunion.

6. Jacoby Brissett, Commanders (age: 31)

Brissett has proved to be a quick study and a plus backup in multiple systems. The Cardinals and Chiefs come to mind based on his respective time in Cleveland and Kansas City with Drew Petzing and Eric Bienemy. He’s also a candidate to return to the Patriots under former Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt.

7. Tyrod Taylor, Giants (age: 34)

Taylor should move on from New York and be another valuable backup. The landing spots to consider first are the Saints behind Derek Carr and the Chargers reuniting with Greg Roman behind Justin Herbert.

8. Tyler Huntley, Ravens (age: 26)

Huntley would be a younger backup to put on the radar for Roman to help Herbert. He could also come into play as a Giants’ replacement for Taylor no matter what happens with Daniel Jones. The Browns also should be in the mix for him behind Deshaun Watson.

Joe Flacco

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9. Joe Flacco, Browns (age: 39)

Flacco more than flashed last season, proving he can do more than simply be an emergency fill-in. He still seems more likely to just go back to enjoying retirement, but teams looking for a veteran backup will give him a call.

10. Josh Dobbs, Vikings (age: 29)

Dobbs was a supersub for a short time in Arizona and Minnesota. Atlanta and New England might be his best options after he failed to stick as a starter at both of his regular-season stops last season. 

11. Carson Wentz, Rams (age: 31)

Wentz has some appeal to stick with L.A. as Matthew Stafford’s backup, but the other teams to watch in that vein are the Falcons and Vikings.

12. Sam Darnold, 49ers (age: 26)

Darnold should have more backup appeal after his stint in the 49ers’ offense. The Packers and Vikings should consider his veteran services the most.

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