2013 NFL free agents: Top quarterbacks available

USA TODAY Sports

The free agent market is thin, full of mostly lifetime backups and failed starters. Here are the best quarterbacks available.

The 2013 NFL free agent class won't be the best place for struggling teams to find their franchise quarterback as there looks to be little in the way of starter material available. The only guaranteed starter is Joe Flacco, and he could very well re-sign with Baltimore before ever hitting the market. Those teams looking to find a decent backup are in luck, as there are several guys out there who can come in for spot duty and not ruin all hope of ever winning a game.


Best Available


Joe Flacco: The Ravens quarterback is the only potential 2013 free agent that has had consistent success in the NFL recently, and he may not even ever make it to the market. The Ravens and Flacco tabled contract negotiation talks until after the season, and with Flacco leading to the team to a Super Bowl victory, Baltimore has little choice but to pay up and keep him. Flacco will most likely get the franchise tag during the Feb. 16 - March 4 window, giving the two sides more time to negotiate a long-term deal.

The 27-year-old has been solid, but broke out leading his team to a championship. He hasn't seemed to show much change since his rookie year aside from limiting turnovers, which of course can mean wonders with the defense Baltimore typically possesses. Even with his limitations, Flacco still is an upgrade for most teams, and would be highly sought after should he not re-sign.

Jason Campbell: For years, Campbell seemed to be all about potential. The Redskins pegged him as their starter in 2006, and spent the next three and a half seasons at the helm in Washington. He has the prototypical size and arm strength that the people who hire quarterbacks in the NFL love. He made incremental improvements each season, and the hope was he would soon become a top-flight quarterback. That never happened, and now that 'potential' is his reality. That reality being he is likely not much more than a game manager at the the suddenly ripe old age of 31. He started one game in 2012 for the Bears, and appeared in six. It's likely he will be signed as a backup again, and he is about as good a backup as there is in the league.

Matt Moore: The sixth-year man out of Oregon State has started at various times throughout his career with varying results. His most productive year came as recently as 2011, when he logged 12 starts for the Miami Dolphins. In that time he completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,497 yards, 16 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. His worst performance came in 2010, when he threw 10 interceptions in just 143 pass attempts. He is no better than a backup, but some team may see his 2011 numbers and try him out as a starter. Teams had far worse taking the snaps in 2012.

Tarvaris Jackson: Jackson went from starting one game in 2011 for the Minnesota Vikings, to starting 14 games for the Seattle Seahawks in 2011, to not seeing the field for Buffalo Bills this past season. After being fairly terrible for most of his five years with the Vikings, he was at least average with the Seahawks. He completed 60 percent of his passes and showed the ability to move the pocket, but also took far too many sacks. Maybe some team with a struggling offense will decide the read option is the way to go and give Jackson a shot to run it. Of course, he might not have much left in his legs as he nears the age of 30.

Brian Hoyer: Why is Hoyer on this list? Well, in a weak free agent class he is at least younger and has avoided being absolutely terrible in his limited playing time. He threw 53 passes for the Cardinals in 2012 after spending three years behind Tom Brady in New England. Hoyer completed 30 of those passes for Arizona, which is better than his two predecessors, Ryan Lindley and John Skelton, could say. Hoyer could continue serving as a backup and be okay for teams in short stretches.

Rex Grossman: Grossman wasn't good in 13 starts for Washington in 2011, but he did manage to complete 57 percent of his passes, which is more than can be said for most of the 2013 free agent quarterbacks. Grossman's "F&%* it, go deep" mentality on the field has led to plenty of interceptions throughout his career, but he still has some ability to actually connect on deep balls. At least as a backup he can teach the starter the finer parts of checking to the world's best football play: Four Verts. That's good for all.

Honorable mention: Derek Anderson, Byron Leftwich, Drew Stanton

A few more names could hit the free agent market between now and the start of the free agency period on March 12 as team look to get out from under expensive contracts and clear up cap space. That list could include names like Michael Vick, Carson Palmer, Matt Cassel, Alex Smith, Matt Flynn and Kevin Kolb. Any one of those names could be attractive to a team seeking a short-term solution under center or even a veteran presence to pair with a rookie.

The full list

Joe Flacco
Matt Moore
Tarvaris Jackson
Jason Campbell
David Garrard
Josh Johnson
Byron Leftwich
Brady Quinn
Vince Young
Matt Leinart
Rex Grossman
David Carr
Derek Anderson
Drew Stanton
Chase Daniel
Brian Hoyer
Charlie Batch
Bruce Gradkowski
Kellen Clemens
Tyler Thigpen
Josh McCown
Sage Rosenfels
Seneca Wallace
Donovan McNabb
A.J. Feeley
Troy Smith
Luke McCown
Chris Redman
John Beck
Jordan Palmer
J.P. Losman
Kevin O'Connell

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