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2024 free agency preview | Quarterback

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.

The start of the new league year is drawing closer by the day, and the Washington Commanders have plenty of resources to turn Dan Quinn and Adam Peters' vision for the roster into a reality.

The official salary cap number for each team isn't public knowledge. There are several websites that offer projections, and many of them have different calculations. What everyone can agree on is that the Commanders have some of the most available cap space this offseason. And with the salary cap moving up to $255.4 million, that creates even more room for them to add new players.

So, in anticipation of free agency opening on March 13 at 4 p.m., is going to look at some of the top players set to become available at each position. Next up are the quarterbacks.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game s, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Kirk Cousins

Most analysts are expecting the Commanders to draft a quarterback, and that might end up being the path they take in April. They interviewed multiple players from the position at the combine, and it's going to be tempting for them to take one of the best prospects at No. 2 overall. However, trading back or going in a different direction is always an option, and if they decide to do either of those things, signing a veteran isn't unreasonable.

Kirk Cousins' history with Washington is well known by now. He was drafted by the team along with Robert Griffin III in 2012, became the starter and left for the Vikings after being franchise tagged multiple times. Prior to his season-ending injury, Cousins has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league, posting seven 4,000-yard seasons in the previous eight years.

Cousins has never been the flashiest player, but the results do show how successful he's been since his departure from Washington. Playoff record notwithstanding, he's 50-37-1 in six seasons with the Vikings; he hasn't dipped below 65% during his tenure since 2018; and he's been to three Pro Bowls with the Vikings, the most recent of which came in 2022.

Even if he was the starter in 2024, he likely isn't a long-term option for any team. If someone wants to bring some stability to the position for the next few years, Cousins could certainly accomplish that.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) scrambles against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Ryan Tannehill

Things fell apart for Ryan Tannehill in his last season with the Titans. He started in the finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but a mixture of injuries and performance led to him being benched in favor of rookie Will Levis.

Let's look at the entire resume he's built over the last 11 years. He played a key role in the Titans making the playoffs in 2019-21 and had one of his best seasons leading them to the AFC Championship. On top of going 7-3 after he replaced Marcus Mariota, he led the league in yards per attempt, yards per completion and passer rating.

Today's quarterbacks are expected to have some mobility, and while that has never been a key part of his skill set, Tannehill can escape the pocket and hurt defenses with his legs. During his five seasons with the Titans, he carried the ball 192 times and recorded 893 yards with 21 touchdowns.

Tannehill's days as a starter are likely behind him, but he could still be a serviceable backup. His veteran knowledge could be helpful to a young quarterback trying to make his way in the NFL.

Washington Commanders quarterback Jacoby Brissett warms up before an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Jacoby Brissett

If the Commanders are looking for a veteran to bring experience to their quarterback room, re-signing Brissett might be one of their best options.

Brissett's limited action in two games showed he can still compete at a high level. He nearly brought the Commanders back from double-digit deficits against the Rams and the Jets, completing 18-of-23 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. His 78.3 completion rate was also a career high.

Brissett's biggest asset is his ability to be a good teammate and mentor to young quarterbacks. Sam Howell mentioned often how important Brissett was to his development, and even though he wasn't part of the gameplan, he always provided advice to Howell through the times he succeeded and the rougher stretches of the season.

Regardless of what system Washington uses in 2024, those traits will always be valuable to a team.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. The Vikings won 19-13. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)

Joshua Dobbs

Joshua Dobbs' stock has risen dramatically over the past year. He received his first start in 2022 for the Titans and nearly helped them win the AFC South over the Jaguars. Last season, he started off with the Cleveland Browns before joining the Cardinals and being traded to the Vikings, and there was a brief time where he was one of the hottest stories in the NFL.

Dobbs went 4-9 as a starter with the Cardinals and Vikings, but there were several high points where he truly shined. In his first game with the Vikings, he replaced Jaren Hall and completed 20-of-30 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

There were also moments when Dobbs showed that he is still best suited as a backup. In Week 12, he completed 22-of-32 passes against the Chicago Bears but only managed to get 185 yards out of it on top of throwing four interceptions in a 12-10 loss. There was also his 63-yard performance against the Raiders where he did just enough to pull out a 3-0 win.

Dobbs is known for being a smart player who has some athleticism to him. Although he didn't get his first start until recently in his career, he's been around the NFL since 2017 and could be a mentor to a young quarterback.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) fumbles the ball in front of Los Angeles Rams defensive end Desjuan Johnson during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. The Rams recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold might end up returning to the 49ers this offseason, which wouldn't be a surprise based on how Kyle Shanahan has praised him. If he does go elsewhere, though, perhaps Washington would be a good place for him.

Darnold has had an interesting career since he was drafted No. 3 overall by the Jets in 2018. He played three seasons in New York before moving on to the Carolina Panthers with Matt Rhule as his head coach. He was the starter more often than now for the next two seasons, but the team didn't have much success in that span, as he only won six games in 23 starts. He was eventually released following the 2022 season.

Darnold landed with the 49ers last season, where he operated as the backup for most of the season. His only start came in the season finale, when the 49ers had wrapped up their playoff spot, and while the Rams ultimately won the game, 21-20, he completed 16 of his 26 passes for 189 yards with a touchdown.

Perhaps Peter will think it makes sense to bring Darnold in for a reunion.

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