There is not a lot of talent in the free-agent quarterback market. This isn't out of the ordinary. Teams don't let talented quarterbacks get away.
Still, there are some competent signal-callers set to hit the open market who could fill the role as a stopgap starter or solid backup, and there are plenty of teams on the lookout for that.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport sets the stage:
The backup/pseudo starting QB market is interesting. Michael Vick, Josh McCown, Matt Schaub, (likely) Mark Sanchez, Matt Cassel, etc.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2014
Closing in on the start of free agency on March 11, let's get up to speed on the rumors around some of the bigger names set to hit the market.
Michael Vick will be finding a new home
Michael Vick's time in Philadelphia appears to be over. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports shared this:
Mike Vick will not be back with the Eagles in any capacity in 2014. They are moving in a different direction with the backup role— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 5, 2014
Not that rumors can ever be fully believed, but all signs are pointing to Vick playing somewhere other than Philly. This tweet from Eye on Football does a solid job of summing up the situation:
Michael Vick seems to be drawing interest from everyone (except the Eagles). Here's your latest edition of NFL rumors http://t.co/UELGk63ObD— Eye on Football (@EyeOnNFL) March 7, 2014
@MikeVick would intently make the vikings a playoff team!— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) March 6, 2014
The Jets appear to be the most widely speculated home for Vick. As a rookie, Geno Smith suffered an up-and-down season with far too many downs. Vick would be an option to try and spark a dimming offense while the Jets continue to try and develop Smith.
On top of that, Marty Mornhinweg is the offensive coordinator for the Jets, and those two had great success working together in Philadelphia.
Can Josh McCown duplicate the success he found in Chicago?
Josh McCown was outstanding in Chicago last season while filling in for Jay Cutler, but his time in the Windy City appears over. Rapoport reported that it "seems unlikely" McCown will be back to Chicago.
Where will McCown sign?
McCown was in a great offensive system last season, but his numbers can't be ignored.
In eight games, he posted a quarterback rating of 109 with 13 touchdowns and just one interception. He also completed 66.5 percent of his passes.
In his report, Rapoport said "realistic options" for the 34-year-old were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets.
Honestly, I'm surprised there isn't more buzz around McCown. While there is concern he won't be able to perform away from Marc Trestman's system, his quarterback rating dwarfs Jay Cutler's 89.2 last season, and the Bears felt that was good enough to give Cutler a contract with $54 million in guarantees.
The Houston Texans should take a long look at Matt Schaub. They have offensive weapons, and new head coach Bill O'Brien appears to have gift for getting the most out of quarterbacks.
This would allow the Texans to bring along a quarterback slowly if they choose to draft one. Also, without the pressing need at quarterback, they would have more flexibility with the No. 1 pick.