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2015 NFL free agents: Mark Sanchez, Brian Hoyer top quarterbacks available

It's another weak free agent class at the quarterback position, which isn't surprising. Mark Sanchez and Brian Hoyer headline the list.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 free agency period is right around the corner, which means a whole bunch of players are about to be looking for new teams. Last year, the quarterback class left a lot to be desired, with Michael Vick headlining a list that included Josh Freeman and Chad Henne as notable players.

That's mostly a product of the fact that quarterbacks simply don't hit the open market very often, at least when they're good. Franchise quarterbacks are often the most important piece to a team's success, but there are always plenty of teams without one of those guys. Those teams basically have two options to try and fix the issue: draft a rookie or sign a free agent.

The free agent market for quarterbacks isn't sexy by any means, but it's also not necessarily a barren wasteland. There are guys who haven't necessarily found success, but have shown they are competent enough to throw a football the right way down the field. Teams like the New York Jets, Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans are among those that could be in the market for a quarterback.

Below, we'll take a look at the soon-to-be available quarterbacks:

1. Mark Sanchez (Philadelphia Eagles)

Mark Sanchez may be a running punchline among fans and even media, but nobody can deny that he out-performed expectations with the Philadelphia Eagles this past season. Sanchez took over for Nick Foles when he went down with an injury, and played well, at least initially. He came back down to Earth down the stretch, and ultimately may have been to blame for Philadelphia's ousting from the top of the NFC East.

Sanchez played nine games with the Eagles, and finished with his best-ever completion percentage, completing 64.1 percent of his passes for 2,418 yards. He threw 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and is probably the best option on the open market at this point. He's 28 years old and will likely get a chance to start this offseason, though whichever team signs him will likely be trying to draft a rookie to compete or learn.

Update: Sanchez signed a two-year, $9 million deal to return to the Eagles.

2. Brian Hoyer (Cleveland Browns)

Brian Hoyer is an interesting quarterback, given that he's done enough to win plenty of games and had the Cleveland Browns competing in the AFC North this past season, but his stats are lackluster overall. He's got a 10-6 record as a starter, and possibly the biggest argument in his favor is that he, you know, played for the Browns.

Cleveland has been the exact opposite of a stable organization over the past few years, and Hoyer has seen plenty of turnover at the offensive coordinator position. He's also had to deal with quarterback battles, despite playing well the season before last. His stats aren't excellent or anything, but Hoyer might have more immediate upside than Sanchez, though long term, again, a team will likely want to draft a rookie.

Update: Hoyer signed a two-year, $10.5 million deal with Houston.

3. Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans)

Jake Locker, a former first-round pick, has shown flashes of higher level play than either of the two quarterbacks above. He's capable of looking elite at times, even. Unfortunately, he's had more bad games than good ones, and multiple injuries have limited him to such an extent that it's hard to imagine any team taking anything more than a cheap flier on him. He's got a strong arm, moves around well and has a couple quality wins to his name. But he's inconsistent at best and injured at worst.

Update: Locker opted to retire rather than pursue free agency.

4. Ryan Mallett (Houston Texans)

Ryan Mallett is a well of untapped potential who could lead a team to the promised land someday ... at least that's what we've heard in the past. Originally labeled the guy who might take over for Tom Brady, it became clear that Brady wasn't going anywhere and Mallett joined the Texans. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending pectoral injury and didn't get much of a chance to show his stuff. It sounds like the Texans want him back, but will another quarterback-needy team swoop in?

Update: Mallett signed a two-year, $7 million deal to return to Houston.

5. Tarvaris Jackson (Seattle Seahawks)

Tarvaris Jackson is still a thing, did you know that? Jackson has been with the Seattle Seahawks for the past couple seasons, and presumably is still in good shape and prepared to throw the football if he needs to. He completed 10 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown in 2013. There's not a whole lot to show for his past few years, to be sure, but Jackson represents the best option on the market for a team looking to sign a guy for one or two seasons while it tries to develop a younger guy.

SB Nation presents: The five best quarterbacks in the NFL Draft

Other notable names

Matt Moore (Miami Dolphins)

Moore has been pretty solid in the past, looking good for the Dolphins back in 2011. When Ryan Tannehill took over, Moore just sort of faded into the background.

Colt McCoy (Washington)

Colt McCoy actually wasn't terrible for the Browns back when he played for them, and played fine in relief for Washington last season.

Christian Ponder (Minnesota Vikings)

Christian Ponder is officially a first-round bust, and he'll never be able to escape that. But maybe a change of scenery would be a good thing for him, as he's only ever played for the Vikings.

Shaun Hill (St. Louis Rams)

Shaun Hill is the definition of a solid backup quarterback, which is to say he's the definition of the kind of guy who can start for a really desperate team if need be. Provided he doesn't retire.

Update: Hill signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal with Minnesota.

Blaine Gabbert (San Francisco 49ers)

He didn't get much of an opportunity to do anything behind Colin Kaepernick, but he might have some upside.

Update: Gabbert signed a two-year, $2 million deal to stay in San Francisco.