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3 Free Agent Quarterbacks that Won't Break the Bank | Washington Commanders

Updated: Mar 2, 2023


By Adam Aniba


During the NFL Combine Ron Rivera reiterated that Sam Howell will be his QB1 heading into camp, but being named the starter for the season opener would be premature at this point. Last season's week 1 starter Carson Wentz, was just released and Taylor Heinicke is a free agent.


The Commanders could sign Heinicke to a 1-year $4M-$5M deal, but that seems unlikely with new OC Eric Bieniemy being heavily involved in the offensive process. The fan favorite could follow his former OC Scott Turner cross country to Vegas, where he now holds the title of passing game coordinator for the Raiders.


A seasoned signal caller, with a decent arm and no delusions of grandeur, make the most sense for the Commanders. Regardless if Howell or another young QB establish themself as the team's franchise QB, depth will be needed.


Washington will have to utilize their resources wisely. The franchise tag applied to defensive tackle Daron Payne, the needs at o-line, a need for a starting middle linebacker and finding a CB1, limit Washington's ability to pay more than $6M-$8M for a backup signal caller.


3 Available Veteran QB's

First on the list is Saints free agent signal caller Andy Dalton. The former '11 2nd rounder has thrown for 38,150 yards with 244 touchdowns and 144 interceptions in 166 career games.


In '22 Dalton recorded 736 snaps on offense, after being named the starter in Week 4. He'd start 14 games for the Saints, throwing for 2,871 yards with 18 and 9 interceptions.

Per OvertheCap.com, Dalton is expected to fetch approximately $3M annually in free agency. Although he's heading into his 13th season, Dalton still has the ability to throw deep strikes and avoid pressure. The former TCU QB still has enough in the tank to be a decent spot starter if need be.


Next is Jacoby Brissett, who started 11 games for the Cleveland Browns last season. Brissett has played for the 3 teams since 2020, making stops at the Colts, Dolphins and signed with the Browns while Deshaun Watson served his suspension.

During his career, Brissett has thrown for 10,350 yards with 48 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He also rushed for 896 yards scoring 15 touchdowns.


In '22 Brissett rushed for 243 rushing yards and 2 TDs (5.0 yards per rush). He threw for 2,608 yards for 12 TDs and 6 interceptions (best statistical output since '17.)


Heading into his 8th season, Brissett has proven to be a strong armed and mobile signal caller. He provides suitable attributes for a game managing backup, that can be a run/pass threat with Washington's current running backs and pass catchers.


It's likely Bieniemy will be deploying RPO concepts and focus on play action, which is a role Brissett can have success in.

The possible dark horse, is a signal caller who just became available. In a cap saving move, the Falcons released 8 year veteran Marcus Mariota on Tuesday, saving them $12M in cap space.


In 2022 the former '15 #2 overall pick from Oregon, threw for 2,210 yards with 15 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also rushed for 438 yards and 4 scores.


During his career, Mariota has thrown for 15,656 passing yards with 92 touchdowns and 54 interceptions. He also ran for 2,012 yards scoring 17 touchdowns.


Similar to Brissett, Mariota has to be accounted for as a runner and adds value when running RPO/Zone Read concepts.

More players will be released over the coming weeks, so other veteran quarterbacks could become available.


It remains to be seen if Howell can lead this team to the playoffs for the second time, since Rivara arrived in Washington. EIther way, having a competent backup QB s imperative for an offense boasting impressive speed/talent at key skill positions.


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