Ranking the best available free agent quarterbacks for the Patriots in 2024

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The start of free agency is just days away, and the Patriots are rumored to be interested in signing a veteran quarterback to either provide the bridge they need for the 2024 season or mentor the rookie they plan to select in the upcoming draft.

A few big names are set to hit the free agent market on Wednesday, and it's possible Jerod Mayo could sign a proven player to reset the Patriots' offense right away. The only issue with that is the hefty contract they'll likely seek.

Although New England has the cash to afford it, there are far too many roster holes needing to be dealt with to divulge that much money into just one player, especially one that isn't considered to be the future of the franchise.

Nonetheless, the team will have plenty to consider when the legal tampering period opens on Monday, allowing them to speak to players heading to free agency two days before the window officially opens.

Because of the long list of quarterbacks expected to be available, it feels appropriate to rank them from the best to worst option for the Patriots.

Ranking the best available free agent quarterbacks for the Patriots in 2024

1. Kirk Cousins

The more days pass, the less likely it appears that Kirk Cousins will return to the Vikings after leaving the 2023 season early due to a torn Achilles. He will now test free agency for just the second time in his career and is expected to be pursued by several teams.

The Patriots might be one of them, but reports have suggested Cousins is not on their radar. That could change, depending on their plans for the draft, and Cousins could serve as a decent bridge veteran if that's the route they want to take. But he would also be a gamble at 35 and coming off a serious injury.

On top of that, his production has been sporadic in Minnesota, which doesn't instill much confidence in Mayo, who wants a significant upgrade at the position.

2. Jacoby Brissett

Although he's far from being considered a top-name quarterback, Jacoby Brissett has become a more intriguing option over the last few weeks, with the idea that the Patriots plan to take a quarterback in the first round of this year's draft.

His connection to new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt could be the catalyst that brings him back to Foxboro, as he was the Browns' play-caller when Brissett spent a season with the team in 2022. Because of that link, chatter over the last few weeks has implied he will be near the top of the list of likeliest returns, which doesn't seem like a bad idea.

He would return in a bridge role and be an excellent mentor for whoever they choose in the draft.

3. Joe Flacco

It's a bit unreal to still be talking about Joe Flacco in 2024, but after he stepped up and put the Browns on his back last season, going 4-1 in those games, it's hard to ignore his potential fit for the Patriots.

He's ranked this high mainly due to his unmatchable experience compared to the others, and that could ultimately benefit the entire offense, not just a rookie quarterback.

4. Gardner Minshew

As the youngest option on the list, Gardner Minshew could provide the Patriots with a respectable stint to help stabilize a developing offense.

His performance throughout his career thus far isn't anything to get too excited about, but that's not necessarily what they're looking for. If the plan is to have a viable player to keep them afloat until the rookie is ready, Minshew could be the guy.

5. Ryan Tannehill & 6. Jameis Winston

To be frank, neither Ryan Tannehill nor Jamies Winston should be seriously considered.

The former Titans quarterback has appeared to be on a downward spiral over the last three years, hence his benching for rookie players. At 35, he's also one of the older options, and because his play looks more like a liability than helpful, it'd be more than likely a waste of time to bring him to New England.

Winston is in a similar situation, but not due to age. Since leaving the Bucs in 2020, he has only been the starter for seven games and played in a total of 21 during that time. His performances have been forgettable, and he wouldn't necessarily be the upgrade the Patriots are looking for.

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