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2020 NFL Free Agency: Quarterbacks

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL calendar is slowly moving toward the NFL Scouting Combine, which will then be followed by free agency. While Josh Houtz started his rankings of prospects today with his top five quarterbacks, I will spend the next couple of weeks working through the top available free agents - and will start in the same place Houtz did, taking a look at the top quarterback options available this offseason.

While I do not think the Miami Dolphins will be in the market for a free agent quarterback, instead sticking with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen, and a drafted rookie this year, there could be a possibility of someone becoming a target. Could it be a veteran looking to make one last run somewhere? Could it be a younger player looking to establishing himself as a starter? Could it be a familiar face?

Starting our quarterback review are three likely Hall of Famers, with Drew Brees and Tom Brady entering free agency after a void year in their contracts, while Eli Manning has an expiring contract. None of them really are options, given Brees is likely either returning to the New Orleans Saints or retiring and Manning has already retired. Brady is someone who could be an option, but it seems like a stretch to believe that (a) he will leave the New England Patriots, (b) he would want to join a rebuilding team in Miami, and (c) the Dolphins would want to make the move to acquire an (assumed) expensive quarterback who would push out Fitzpatrick and likely stunt the development of any rookie.

The next name feels like he might belong in the previous paragraph as well. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers could be in play, though it again feels like that would be a move that could slow the development of a rookie. Rivers seems to make more sense for a team who feels they are just missing a stabilizing presence under center. Look at the Indianapolis Colts for a likely landing spot for Rivers - that seems to make a lot of sense.

After those four, the age of the available free agents quickly drops, from the 39-43 range of them down to the late-20s, early-30s of the next several quarterbacks, headlined by former Dolphins and current Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill. I do not believe Tannehill reaches free agency, either landing a contract from the Titans or having the team use the franchise tag on him. After seven seasons with the Dolphins, Tannehill was traded to the Titans this past offseason, and, after starting the season as the backup for Marcus Mariota (also scheduled to be a free agent), took over the starting role on a team that, after a 2-4 start, finished the regular season 9-7 and found themselves in the AFC Championship game. Tannehill led the league in passer rating and yards per attempt in 2019 and won the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award. Tannehill proved he can be a starter in the NFL, and the Titans likely will not look to move on from him.

Mariota, the number two overall pick in 2015, and Jameis Winston, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback who was the first overall pick in 2015, are both scheduled to be free agents this offseason, with the Titans likely to move on from Mariota with the emergence of Tannehill, though the Buccaneers could look to keep Winston and add competition.

The biggest name that could be intriguing for Miami is Teddy Bridgewater, with whom they flirted last year before he decided to return to the New Orleans Saints for another year backing up Brees. If Brees retires, Bridgewater could stay in New Orleans, though they also have Taysom Hill who could become a full-time quarterback (though Hill will be a restricted free agent - but should be tendered and retained). If Bridgewater hits the open market, Miami could again look to sign the 28-year-old.

Another name to watch, though he should not get to free agency because the Dallas Cowboys will lock him up at some point, is Dak Prescott.

Other quarterbacks that are scheduled to become free agents in March include Chase Daniel (Chicago Bears), Chad Henne (Kansas City Chiefs), Case Keenum (Washington Redskins), and Colt McCoy (Washington Redskins).

Dolphins targets: Likely none, though Bridgewater would be intriguing.