As usual, the free-agent pickings are slim for NFL teams seeking top-flight quarterbacks. Peyton Manning is heading to the Broncos, but the 2012 free-agent class still features some attractive “1A” options – i.e. players who could press shaky starters for their first-string jobs or serve as competent backups. FOXSports.com senior NFL writer Alex Marvez ranks the top three "1A” quarterbacks available with the signing period set to begin March 13.
For teams seeking a mobile quarterback, Johnson is an intriguing option. Johnson, though, also has the fewest number of starts (five, including just one in the past two seasons) among the top free-agent quarterbacks. Johnson could get a long look by Denver if the Broncos want a backup whose skill set would potentially mesh well with that of starter Tim Tebow. Another possibility is San Francisco, as Jim Harbaugh was one of his college head coaches at the University of San Diego.
The most newsworthy thing Young did in 2011 was proclaim Philadelphia the “Dream Team” during the preseason. The nickname was used to mock the disappointing Eagles throughout the year and provided another example of Young using bad off-field judgment. The Eagles have moved on from Young by signing Trent Edwards to compete with Mike Kafka for the backup job behind Michael Vick. However, Young’s 2011 experience in a West Coast offense and 31-19 career record as a starter will get him work elsewhere.
McNabb’s storied career hit rock bottom following his in-season release from the Vikings and inability to land another job elsewhere. Even the quarterback-strapped Bears wouldn’t touch McNabb – a Chicago native – when Jay Cutler was lost to a thumb injury. Teams may take a second look at McNabb this offseason to see whether some time away from football has done him some good. The 35-year-old McNabb also could retire and begin an announcing career.