As is often the case, quarterbacks have driven the conversation of the 2023 NFL offseason. Weeks into free agency, two of the biggest remaining storylines ahead of the draft involve the respective futures of Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson. One of those former MVPs has a relatively clear path to his next destination; the other, not so much. But already this offseason we've seen more than a dozen other notable signal-callers swap teams for 2023.
How do each of the QB moves stack up against each other? Here's how we'd rank them in terms of overall value:
Note: We're not including Lamar Jackson because technically he remains a free agent without a 2023 contract. The Ravens used their non-exclusive franchise tag to control the QB's rights, but Jackson has not signed the tender and remains free to negotiate with other teams.
1. Aaron Rodgers to the Jets
- Full trade terms: TBD
- AAV: $50.3M
Yeah, yeah, we know it's not official. Rodgers is still under contract with the Packers. The difference between his situation and that of Lamar Jackson is we've already gotten repeated public confirmation from both the Packers and Jets that a deal will occur -- it's just a matter of when, and with what compensation. Obviously that's a pivotal component here, but unless New York is surrendering a Russell Wilson-level package, this is a clear short-term victory for Gang Green. Would the Jets be smarter to consider Jackson, who's 26 rather than 39? Perhaps. Is Green Bay right to turn the page to Jordan Love? Probably. But let's not forget how rare it is to possess one of the NFL's few proven difference-makers at QB. Even if he's not in MVP form, a motivated Rodgers represents a Tom Brady-like rental for a playoff-caliber roster.
2. Geno Smith to the Seahawks
- Full contract: 3 years, $75M
- AAV: $25M
From 2011-2012, the Seahawks spent significant money on free agents Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn, as well as a third-round pick on future star Russell Wilson. Just over a decade later, they're poised to once again throw multiple QB darts, thanks to Smith's ultra team-friendly setup. After a surprisingly explosive debut as Wilson's successor, the 32-year-old vet is now the NFL's 13th-highest paid starter -- fair value if he can come close to replicating his production. But Seattle can easily get out of the deal in 2024 should his turnover tendencies resurface. Regardless, the team won't be hamstrung if it wants to select a longer-term face of the franchise early in April's draft, making this an ideal bet on a proven placeholder.
3. Daniel Jones to the Giants
- Full contract: 4 years, $160M
- AAV: $40M
Jones' placement at No. 3 is more indicative of the QB market than anything: If you don't have an MVP type, you either overpay for what you've got, or you risk losing playoff hopes with a total reset. The nice thing about Jones, despite a sloppy first three years, is that he's still just 25, a proven threat with his legs and he took legitimate steps as a leader under Brian Daboll. If/when Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts cash in with extensions, he'll register as something like the 10th-highest paid NFL QB, which isn't a bad gamble considering New York is essentially only tied to Jones through 2024 (he can be cut to save $21.5M in 2025). In an ideal world, their added offensive weapons (WR Parris Campbell, TE Darren Waller) will help prove whether Jones has enough as a downfield passer to play out his entire deal.
4. Derek Carr to the Saints
- Full contract: 4 years, $150M
- AAV: $37.5M
Carr's deal is the toughest to assess among the starting QBs. Is the goal simply to seize on a poor NFC South and guarantee wild-card contention? If so, it's a fine bet from New Orleans; Carr was gutsy and occasionally efficient enough to keep the Raiders in the mix for the better part of a decade. Like the Giants' Jones deal, it's essentially a two-year commitment. But it's still a big one, tentatively making Carr the eighth-highest paid QB and, more importantly, delaying the full-on rebuild the Saints have refused for years. If the goal is legit Super Bowl contention, then it's more likely a misfire, seeing as Carr isn't joining an all-star lineup and coaching staff, a la Matthew Stafford with the Rams in 2021.
5. Marcus Mariota to the Eagles
- Full contract: 1 year, $5M
In an ideal world, he won't take a single snap under center as Jalen Hurts' new backup. But the fit is so logical. Though iffy as a downfield passer, Mariota remains a rushing threat going on 30, giving Nick Sirianni's offense an emergency dual threat (and maybe even an added red-zone toy). He's also got loads of experience -- 76 starts, including two in the playoffs.
6. Jarrett Stidham to the Broncos
- Full contract: 2 years, $10M
Denver is already paying big bucks to Russell Wilson, who's entering a make-or-break year under new coach Sean Payton, so the Broncos rightly prioritized low-risk, high-reward insurance. Stidham, 26, has appeared in just 13 NFL games with the Patriots and Raiders, but as Payton suggested, his brief run as Carr's replacement in Las Vegas suggests the pocket poise is there.
7. Andy Dalton to the Panthers
- Full contract: 2 years, $10M
A stone-cold lock to draft their QB of the future at No. 1, the Panthers are getting a tried-and-true placeholder here. Dalton is predictable and conservative but was sharper than usual as a Saints starter in 2022. His experience and optimistic flair make for a nice fit under new head coach Frank Reich, and he's capable of a spot start or three in the event the forthcoming rookie goes down.
8. Jimmy Garoppolo to the Raiders
- Full contract: 3 years, $72.75M
- AAV: $24.25M
The price tag for Garoppolo -- 14th highest among QBs -- isn't outrageous, provided Las Vegas is getting him at his best. The ex-49ers stalwart was on a career pace before his latest injury in 2022. And the Josh McDaniels connection should help. It's not wild to envision him matching or even exceeding Derek Carr's production. The issue is, he played point guard alongside a near-flawless O-line and run game in San Francisco, and he's survived a full season just once in nine years. He'd be an awesome No. 2, especially if Las Vegas drafts a QB high, but the Raiders are paying him to be the guy right now. The saving grace, perhaps, is that the team can easily get out of the deal after 2023, but it just speaks to the unclear direction of the franchise.
9. Gardner Minshew to the Colts
- Full contract: 1 year, $3.5M
His uneven run replacing an injured Jalen Hurts reduced his price -- at least 11 different backups will make more in 2023. But he's young (26), experienced (24 starts) and brings a ton of moxie to the QB room. His familiarity with new head coach Shane Steichen also makes him an ideal bridge to whichever rookie QB the Colts inevitably take early in the draft.
10. Case Keenum to the Texans
- Full contract: 2 years, $6.25M
It's a backup match made in heaven: A Texas native now on his third stint with the team, Keenum is an underrated off-script mentor whose experience in all kinds of systems -- he's started for six different clubs -- should be instrumental to whichever top prospect Houston selects early in April's draft.
11. Sam Darnold to the 49ers
- Full contract: 1 year, $4.5M
There's a case to be made San Francisco's one veteran QB addition should've been more savvy, considering both Trey Lance and Brock Purdy -- the front-runners for the 2023 job -- are so green. But Darnold was improved down the stretch for Carolina in 2022, he's athletic like his new fellow QBs, and anyone entering the Kyle Shanahan system gets a boost.
12. Jacoby Brissett to the Commanders
- Full contract: 1 year, $8M
Brissett is a likable presence capable of starting in a pinch, but his place in Washington is peculiar: If he beats out Sam Howell, he'll be a bargain QB1, but an indictment on the long-term state of the Commanders' QB job. If he sits, he'll be the NFL's highest-paid backup, save for the Jets' Zach Wilson. If Washington were a contender in need of premium insurance, he'd make sense. Instead, he projects as just another in a long line of notable but middling starting options.
13. Taylor Heinicke to the Falcons
- Full contract: 2 years, $14M
Heinicke's spunk will be welcome in Atlanta, where Arthur Smith is still searching for his own long-term answer, but he's not entirely dissimilar to Brissett in that he's straddling the line between quasi-starter and high-end No. 2 money. The commitment isn't big from the cap-loaded Falcons, who can cut him easily after 2023, but his presence would be more enticing if the unproven Desmond Ridder weren't the "face of the franchise" in front of him.
14. Baker Mayfield to the Buccaneers
- Full contract: 1 year, $4M
If the former Browns, Panthers and Rams starter beats out Kyle Trask and justifies Bruce Arians' one-time praise, he'll be a heck of a bargain. Maybe his fiery energy will be a boost after Tom Brady's dispirited retirement tour. But Mayfield's track record outside of his first snaps under Sean McVay is mercurial at best.
15. Mike White to the Dolphins
- Full contract: 2 years, $8M
Has anyone benefitted more from simply not being Zach Wilson than White? Surely under Mike McDaniel, his toughness and NFL-caliber size and arm will make for decent stuff behind Tua Tagovailoa. But the guy went 1-3 while completing 58 percent of his throws and totaling six turnovers during his much-discussed run off the bench. Miami isn't breaking the bank here, but that's also kind of the point: Tagovailoa's availability and medical history are such drastic concerns that it's a shame the Dolphins didn't consider more premium insurance at such a vital position.