Quarterbacks Non-NFL Leagues Should Be Keeping an Eye On

The way the football world has worked over the years is fairly simple. Two kinds of players typically end up in alternative football leagues. Either veteran players who have been in the NFL before and exhausted all options, turning to the alternative leagues or young players who are looking to get back into the NFL by proving themselves. 

There’s always another wave of players turning to these leagues each year. With final cuts less than a month away I wanted to take a look at some quarterbacks that could be left in the cold of free agency, without even a practice squad spot. Even though the NFL instituted a new rule for the quarterback three spot, not everyone can make a roster. 

Quarterbacks To Watch For USFL/XFL/CFL

Chris Oladokun, or Shane Buechele Kansas City Chiefs

Currently the Kansas City Chiefs have four quarterbacks on their roster. I expect them to only carry three when it comes to week 1 of the regular season. This also considers their practice squad. I expect many teams will use the new QB3 Rule, to their advantage. We have seen many teams turn to only rostering two quarterbacks with the thought that their third could simply reside on the practice squad as he develops.

With this new rule, you don’t have to use that valuable practice squad spot, or a roster spot for the QB3, meaning I expect us to see EVERY team carry at least three quarterbacks. In Kansas City last season the quarterbacks were Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne, and Shane Buechele. In theory that would give Buechele the upper hand, given his experience in the offense, having originally signed with the Chiefs in 2021.

Buechele was an undrafted free agent, signed after five seasons of college split between Texas and SMU. His career was impressive, but his time as a starter was split by two seasons primarily on the bench. He still managed a 63% completion rate for 11,660 yards 87 touchdowns, to 32 interceptions, adding 478 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns. While he isn’t the 6’2 225 pound player that Mahomes is, his height has been pointed to as one reason he fell out of the draft. At 6’0 210 pounds, he is about 3 inches under what most teams want at quarterback.

Buechele has had now three seasons to build a rapport with Andy Reid, and the rest of this coaching staff. Although there was turnover this offseason that could make it a much more level playing field for Oladokun. Buechele is clearly someone the Chiefs believe in as their developmental quarterback. The question is with the new rule in place, does Kansas City’s staff believe he is the best option for the QB3 role? He also will be the more expensive of the two options. The Chiefs could opt to keep all four quarterbacks with Oladokun stashed on the practice squad.

Chris Oladokun is likely the QB4 currently. Last season even without the new rule the Chiefs kept four quarterbacks with Oladokun their practice squad option. Buechele made the roster as the QB3. Since then Oladokun was given a full season to familiarize himself with the offense and build upon a promising college resume.

The two year college starter played for three different schools, and kept finding himself benched for other players. Finally he finished his career on a high note with a senior season for South Dakota in which he completed 238 of 382 passes for 3,164 yards, 25 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Oladokun managed solid but not spectacular numbers at the combine with a 4.71 40-yard dash, and a 32.5 inch vertical at 6’1 1/4 213 pounds. Looking at the highlights below Oladokun certainly looks faster than his 4.71 40 suggests. His athleticism could prove to be enticing enough to keep him as a QB4 once again.


Chris Streveler, Free Agent

Speaking of workout warriors, and mobile quarterbacks, none turn heads with their athleticism quite like Chris Streveler. Standing at 6’3 1/2 209 pounds at the South Dakota Pro-Day he ran a 4.51 40 yard dash, with a 1.65 10-yard split, he also had a 38.5 inch vertical, and a 7.3 3-cone drill. The concern with him was hand size given that his measured just 8.5 inches.

While attending Minnesota, and South Dakota Streveler proved he was a viable professional football player, but left questions about his viability at quarterback. During his time at Minnesota he appeared in 8 games but had more touches as a runner than he did as a passer with just 11 passing attempts, 40 carries, and 1 reception. Minnesota viewed him as more of a gadget player, or offensive weapon than a quarterback. Due to this he transferred to South Dakota.

During his time at South Dakota no one questioned if he belonged as their quarterback. Playing in 23 games he managed to collect 480 completions on 754 attempts, or a 64% completion rate. He averaged 8.1 yards per attempt, for a total of 6,081 yards 54 touchdowns to 17 interceptions. He did his fair share of damage on the ground too with 329 carries for 1,543 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Throughout his career coaches have reiterated that Streveler is a quarterback, not a slash player, or a wide receiver moonlighting at quarterback. However it seems his abilities as a quarterback haven’t yet been enough to keep him on an NFL roster as such so far. So for Streveler who prefers to play quarterback there exists not one but two leagues that he can play in, and develop each off season as a quarterback before hopefully revisiting his NFL interest. Before, signing with the CFL was your only option, and it either meant making yourself unavailable for CFL training camp pursuing an NFL roster, or vice versa.

Now Streveler can play in the XFL, or USFL without jeopardizing his NFL interest, and perhaps prove himself at his position of choice. Every year we can count on one hand how many CFL players get called up to the NFL, but in two seasons for the XFL and USFL they have had over 130 NFL Contracts signed by their players in just two seasons. It’s safe to say Streveler’s odds are much higher in making a jump to one of these leagues than returning to the CFL.

Where it gets especially interesting for Streveler, is the fact that with his release as of a couple weeks ago he is now currently available to sign with the CFL team and finish out the season. Assuming he signs a one year deal simply to complete the 2023 season this still leaves him available for a 2024 contract with a USFL or XFL. this maximize his earning potential and also gives him an ability to get as much film as possible. There is one last variable here and that could be his ability and willingness to switch positions to stay in NFL. Should he opt to make the move to a titan or H-Back role he could see his NFL chances increase and keep him on a roster full-time. Regardless of what happens he will be an interesting name to follow this season.


Danny Etling, Free Agent

Danny Etling is another player who has always been intriguing. During his time with the Patriots he actually worked out at wide receiver although I’ve heard no mention of that since. Rather than regurgitate information I suggest you check out this article by @patrif167 or @ByPatRifino on Twitter.

Jarrett Guarantano, Free Agent

Once a target for the XFL in 2023, he was signed by Denver prior to the initial draft. This left him off the table for the XFL, in hopes of cementing a role with the Broncos long term. However, ironically after the XFL season, Ben DiNucci the starting quarterback for the Seattle Sea Dragons was signed by the Broncos. The message was sent that there would be a battle for the backup roles in Denver.

The battle didn’t last long before Guarantano the man signed months ago was cut in favor of DiNucci. Luckily for the newcomer DiNucci, he was signed under the new coaching regime. Guarantano didn’t have that lucky draw. With that said, I would expect he winds square on the XFL, CFL, and USFL radar going forward.

The young quarterback has all the physical traits you could want in a pocket quarterback at the professional level. He’s 6’4 230 pounds, and held above a 61% completion rate in college on over 850 passing attempts. He was a three year starter at Tennessee before moving on to Washington State in 2021 where he was a backup. The odd trajectory of his career says a lot about how he is currently viewed.

From being a backup as a freshman appearing in 9 games, and attempting just 139 passes to his sophomore season when he took over as the starter after beginning the year behind Quinton Dormady. He would play in 13 games the next season before a rather ugly year for Tennessee in 2019. Starting the year 0-2 he was benched in favor of backup Brian Maurer, who was injured in his second start. The Vols turned back to Guarantano who finished the season as the starter.

In 2020 Covid limited the school to 7 games, and Guarantano still the starter turned in one of his most uninspiring years yet. Throwing 166 passes, he managed just 6 tds to 4 ints and 1,112 yards on the season. This led him to transfer for his final year of eligibility. In 2021 now at Washington State, he was named the back up behind Jayden De Laura. Despite completing 67.3% of his passes in his 2 appearances he managed just 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions, not helping his case for an NFL roster spot.

After graduating college he went undrafted in 2022. This led him to sign with the Arizona Cardinals. He spent the entire offseason with Arizona including all three preseason games. Playing in all three games he managed 17 of 34 for 232 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 8 carries for 27 yards. While this performance wasn’t enough to make the roster it showed that he was in fact a solid passer who just needed some time to finish his development, that time could and should come in an alternative football league where he can potentially start. Looking at what just happened in Denver the fact that he lost his roster spot to an XFL Alum cannot be lost on Jarrett. Obviously teams value this playing time, it’s time Guarantano goes and gets it.

Malik Cunningham, New England Patriots

Let me start this one by saying I highly doubt Cunningham ends up released. Although no one ever knows what Bill Belichick is thinking until it actually happens, so there is the likelihood that possibly Cunningham winds up released in favor of Trace McSorley. Currently the patriots have asked Cunningham to work out as a wide receiver and a quarterback. This maximize his value to the team, and makes him extremely valuable in their QB three spot assuming he can be a viable contributor at wide receiver as well.

Suddenly it’s like that roster exemption for your quarterback three just gave you an extra roster spot on top of it. Creating some way of making your quarterback three viable at this point might be the hip new way of cheating the roster dynamics in the NFL. As per usual Bill Belichick is ahead of the curve, that’s why we see two quarterbacks at the back end of the depth chart that have viability in other positions.

However there is a chance that Cunningham believes he’s better off as strictly a quarterback and could work to an alternate a football leave to prove just that. However given his reaction in the past to his selection by the USFL seeing him playing one of these leagues right away, on the surface seems unlikely. His situation seems remarkably similar to D’Eriq King last season who was signed by the Patriots but let go without an opportunity to really prove himself.

So far in one preseason game he completed 3 of 4 passes for 19 yards, running 5 times for 34 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots must have seen enough because Cunningham attempted just 2 more passes all preseason both fell incomplete. He ran once more for 5 yards.

Trace McSorley, New England Patriots

I may be in the minority here, but I for one believe the patriots will not carry four quarterbacks in the 2023 season. instead they will opt to utilize that quarterback three exemption rule to carry three players without the roster constraints that they have been placed under in previous years.

I believe Bill Belichick and Company are trying to get ahead of the curve by bringing in two players that could potentially add value at other positions if absolutely needed in game this is essentially giving you an emergency wide receiver or defensive back possibly return man in the event that you lose a dramatic amount of players in either one of these positions. A guy like Malik Cunningham was already worked out at wide receiver is one thing, but McSorley has not gotten any reps at any other positions yet.

Heading into the NFL combine McSorley was asked to perform defense of back drills among others. At that point he opted to decline said drills and force teams to evaluate him is strictly a quarterback. In my mind this limited his value to NFL teams, while also limiting the teams that would look at him due to his style of play as a quarterback. Alas he won of drafted by the Baltimore ravens in the sixth round just a few seasons ago. He ultimately ended up leaving Baltimore and winding up with Arizona a team that has another smaller mobile quarterback where McSorley fit right in.

As an athlete it’s no surprise that there were teams that wanted McSorley to change positions. Running a 4.57 40 yard dash he was the top of the list of quarterbacks on the day, he also added an 11.5 inch Broadjump, and a 33.5 inch vertical jump. At 6’0 210 pounds teams saw him as a perfect fit for many roles. After four seasons of bouncing around as a third string quarterback, and/or on practice squads is McSorley open to playing other positions to continue his NFL career or is he stuck on being a quarterback and willing to take a gamble on himself by playing for an alternative league?

In week one of the preseason McSorley was 1 of 4 for 4 yards, with 2 carry for 2 yards. Visibly outplayed by Cunningham who was given more snaps.

Anthony Brown, Baltimore Ravens

Anthony Brown has been with the ravens for a couple years now building a relationship with the coaching staff, as well as the other quarterbacks in the room whether it be Lamar Jackson or Tyler Huntley. He has stuck around due to his mobility and style of play being fairly similar to Lamar Jackson and Huntley ahead of him. Given that the ravens run a very quarterback run the heavy scheme, only certain players can really run the scheme with the effectiveness of these three players can.

However during their week one game against the Philadelphia eagles Anthony Brown‘s performance was anything but inspiring for fans that wanted to see brown make the roster once again. On the day he completed just 3 of 8 passes for 7 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He ran 4 times for 15 yards. The players ahead of him both threw touchdown passes, without turning the ball over.

There is no question that Tyler Huntley who recently made the pro bowl due to his work starting in Jackson’s place, is the QB2. But QB3 is very much in play between Brown, and journeyman Josh Johnson. Johnson would be the most veteran QB on the roster if he were retained. Brown does have an advantage of being with Baltimore since early May of 2022, but Johnson has the experience of playing on 14 NFL teams, and seeing his name selected in three different alternative football leagues.

It wouldn’t surprise me if more and more NFL teams started to lean on the XFL and USFL to develop undrafted rookie quarterbacks. Of course each and every year NFL teams will be camp arms but those same camp arms and then turn into Fivel XFL and USFL players who could develop and return to the NFL the following season. This could be a way for the NFL to develop players without having to invest the time and or roster spot on them during the regular season with this new quarterback three rule. A guy like Brown would benefit from the playing time an alternative league could offer much like Johnson once did.

Josh Johnson, Baltimore Ravens

As just mentioned Josh Johnson yes the quintessential journeyman quarterback at the NFL level. Having seen students on 14 different NFL teams, as well as three different alternative leagues there is literally no quarterback first place for more teams and Josh Johnson at this point in his career. With that in mind it’s safe to say Johnson‘s ability to pick up playbooks the big reason why we see him still in the league to this day.

Any perceived advantage to Anthony Brown might think he has due to his year in Baltimore’s system is mitigated by the reality of Johnson’s career path. Ironically despite the fact that he’s played for 14 different teams with nearly 20 different stints in these cities, he has never overlapped with his new coordinator Todd Monken or his mentor Dirk Koetter.

This doesn’t mean the Anthony Brown is automatically going to win this job, in fact seems as if the ravens are more inclined to give Josh Johnson opportunity to be out brown for this roster spot. While Brown and tempted just ate passes completed three, Johnson, attempted 12 passes completing eight on the day. He managed to collect 45 yards and 1 touchdown. He did not turn the ball over.

The thing about this competition that strikes me as one that Johnson might be the Victor of, is the fact that the ravens are a ready-made playoff team. They have a strong run game they have a defense that can create turnovers and stop the run, and most importantly they have a quarterback it is proving to be injury prone. Heading into the 2023 season knowing full well they had to play three different quarterbacks in 2022, in my mind it would stand to reason that you keep the veteran that has some playoff experience albeit limited experience at that.

This is more wishful thinking than anything, as Josh Johnson is something of a spring football legend having been claimed by the UFL, AAF, and XFL 2020. It would be interesting to see him back in one of these leagues. Why not reunite with Dave Boller the man who wanted him with the San Diego Fleet in 2019, or Joey Clinkscales who drafted him with the Wildcats in 2020. His former Wildcats assistant head coach is now with Seattle, or Martin Bayless former Special Teams Coordinator with LA and Sacramento, currently with the USFL’s Stars. Let’s not forget Anthony Becht was on that Fleet coaching staff, and Bill Khayat who was with Sacramento is with the Maulers. Long story short Johnson has ties to many spring football teams.

Tanner Morgan, Pittsburgh Steelers

Tanner Morgan is in the unenviable position of being signed to a team with three quarterbacks ahead of him that are near locks to make the roster. Kenny Pickett is the incumbent starter, with Mitch Trubisky a former 1st round pick the clear QB2. The quarterback three role lies with Mason Rudolph a former second round pick by the Steelers.

Morgan has a soft landing spot waiting for him if he ends up released, he was selected 8th overall by the Michigan Panthers in the USFL’s 2023 rookie draft. Morgan was not selected in the XFL draft class, but would likely find interest there and in the CFL should he end up available.

Morgan played his college ball at Minnesota, redshirting as a freshman he returned in his second year as a backup until taking over the starting role with 6 games remaining in the season. From that point on Morgan was the guy in Minnesota. He went on to start 48 games for the school over the next five seasons.

Compiling a 31-14 record, he completed 62% of his 1,027 passing attempts for 9,236 yards, 63 tds to 32 ints. Adding 8 rushing touchdowns. Morgan however managed just one season with more than 10 touchdown passes as a starting quarterback and that was his 2019 season when he threw 30 of his 63 touchdowns. Take away this 30 td-7 interception season and suddenly his 33 touchdowns to 25 interceptions doesn’t look so promising. His completion rate also drops just over 1% to 60.2%.

This was a red flag to teams as he came out of college, and he may need a year in the alternative leagues to prove he’s better than his college stats say. So far his preseason performance didn’t help his case. In his first preseason action he managed to go 6 of 12 for 32 yards 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception, running five times for -3 yards.

Kellen Mond, Cleveland Browns

Kellen Mond might be the highest profile name on this list so far. Drafted in the third round in 2021, by the Minnesota Vikings at one point it looked as if he was the heir parent to Kirk Cousins should the Vikings ever move on. At one point it looked like Mond was the odd man out, in fact it was even reported the team had waived him following the week 2 preseason game. However this was not the case, as they never processed the paperwork. In my mind this makes their feelings on their quarterback room very clear.

DTR a rookie has been placed in the QB2 role after the trade of Dobbs. To his credit he has played nearly perfect games. Between the Hall of Fame Game, and Week 1 of the preseason “DTR” completed 17 of 21 passes for 184 yards 2 touchdowns, and 0 ints, adding 9 carries for 47 yards. This essentially put Josh Dobbs on the trade block, and Arizona to their credit bit hard knowing the timetable for Kyler Murray isn’t looking promising yet. With that, Mond went from almost released, to the QB3 going forward. Basically this tells me, Mond was in line to be released if they could not find a suitable trade partner for Dobbs.

Mond has played well, completing 32 of 55 passes for 297 yards 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, and added 6 carries for 26 yards. Mond’s fall from grace has been a swift one. He lasted just one season in Minnesota, and has been with Cleveland since under his former Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski. Whether or not this helps him stick will remain to be seen, but with Josh Dobbs traded, it leaves DTR as the QB2, and Mond in the driver’s seat for the QB3 role, unless they see someone on the waiver wire they like more.

Contrary to what most believe, Mond has developed over his rookie year, he is a much more accurate passer, and makes better decisions. He is by no means a finished product, and still could use years worth of work if he was ever to be regarded as a starter, but as a QB3 and emergency option, you could do worse. Mond survives cuts right now, but things change fast in the NFL. Mond would benefit from the playing time he would see in the XFL, or USFL in 2024 or beyond should he ever play there. Keep in mind with the timing of these leagues he could in theory pass on a futures deal, play in an alt league, then return right back to Cleveland for their 2024 season. Something I expect more and more of as the pay increases in these other leagues.

Chase Garbers, Las Vegas Raiders

Chase Garbers is a name alternative football fans should definitely be keeping an eye on. The Raiders currently hold two veteran quarterbacks with knowledge of the system, and a draft pick ahead of him in Jimmy G, Brian Hoyer, and 4th round pick Aidan O’Connell. Realistically Garbers’ only hope would be Las Vegas opting to keep four quarterbacks, something that isn’t very likely.

Garbers has already been released once this offseason when depth concerns at other positions arose, this shows exactly where he stands on the depth chart even though he has been with the Raiders since last season. Having been signed as an undrafted free agent, nothing is guaranteed. Garbers is however a capable spring league starter given what he accomplished in college.

Garbers was placed in an interesting situation after committing to Cal. Redshirting as a freshman he was used in a two quarterback system as a redshirt freshman before taking over as the starter in 2019 his redshirt sophomore season. From 2017-2021 Garbers played in 36 games starting 33 of them. He compiled a 19-14 record, completing 62.4% of his 959 attempts. He would go on to amass 6,580 yards passing with 50 touchdowns to 24 interceptions. He also displayed mobility rushing 331 times for 1,174 yards and 11 touchdowns.

At the NFL Combine standing 6’2 225 pounds he ran a 4.83 40-yard dash, with a 1.56 10-yard split, and a 32 inch vertical. He had 9 1/4 inch hands. One concern about him is the fact that he never topped 16 touchdown passes, but threw for 8 or more interceptions twice. He certainly could answer a lot of questions by starting in the USFL, XFL, or CFL. Something tells me the CFL would be the best fit for Garbers even though it could be the longer road to a starting job.

Ian Book, Philadelphia Eagles

Ian Book was a 4th round pick out of Notre Dame in 2021 by the New Orleans Saints under Sean Payton. Much like Kellen Mond, Book lasted just one season with the Saints before he was released. However Book offers much higher athletic upside. At 6’0 211 pounds he ran a 4.65 40-yard dash, with a 7.00 three cone drill, and a 32.5 inch vertical. Realistically he could slide over to running back and likely be a solid prospect, but we are here to discuss his future as a quarterback.

While Book has been with the Eagles now since 2022, he had to sit back and watch as the Eagles signed Marcus Mariota in the off-season to be the quarterback to, and then followed that by drafting Tanner McKee in the 6th round. While being drafted in the sixth round cement nothing for McKee, it does raise questions about how the Eagles view Book.

It didn’t help his case when in week one McKee was allowed to attempt 20 passes, completing 10 for 148 yards, with 1 carry for 7 yards. Book however, attempted 4 passes, completing just 1 for 11 yards rushing 5 times for 24 yards. Book needs to show he can be as valuable as a passer as he is a runner. The NFL isn’t going to adopt the short yardage specialist like the CFL has anytime soon. Until they do, or Book adds running back to his title he has questions to answer about his abilities as a passer. What better way to answer those questions than go to an alternative league and start games to get film for like level talent.

Nate Sudfeld, Detroit Lions

Nate Sudfeld is a veteran quarterback having entered the NFL in 2016. Drafted in the 6th round by the Washington Commanders, he stuck in Washington for just one season. Doug Pederson liked what he saw in the former rival player and signed him away from Washington’s practice squad to join the Eagles. What was billed as intelligence gathering at the time turned into a four year stint with the Eagles from 2017-2020.

After leaving Philadelphia he would move on and sign with the San Francisco 49ers spending some time under noted Quarterback developer Kyle Shanahan. Having begun his career working under two great offensive minds Sudfeld is regarded as a very intelligent quarterback which is why he has stuck in the NFL so far. After a little over one season with the 49ers he signed with the Lions in 2022.

Heading into his eighth NFL season, Sudfeld is on that Aj McCaaron level of the alternative football quarterbacks. Currently he is locked in a battle with Adrian Martinez a rookie and USFL draft pick for the quarterback three spot. The thing is no matter who wins, chances are when/if Hendon Hooker returns to the line up Martinez and Sudfeld will likely be shown the door, or move down to the practice squad. Sudfeld is a guy who has been on the bottom end of NFL rosters for 7 seasons already. He has made over $11 million during his NFL career. If he ends up released maybe he decides it’s time to play.

So far Sudfeld managed: 26 of 51 for 291 yards 1 touchdown 3 interceptions and 2 carries for 0 yards.

Update: Sudfeld has suffered a knee injury that could clear up the depth chart for the Lions more than originally expected, and create a scenario where all five quarterbacks are carried in some form or fashion at least to begin the year.

Adrian Martinez, Detroit Lions

Drafted by the USFL’s New Jersey Generals in their 2023 rookie draft, Martinez opted to pursue his NFL options. While Detroit has given him a chance to compete, the legitimacy of the opportunity can be debated but at a minimum it’s a chance to make an impression on an NFL roster with an ace up his sleeve if he gets released.

Martinez had an impressive college career starting as a true freshman at Nebraska under Scott Frost. Completing over 64% of his passes as a true freshman, he collected 2,617 passing yards 17 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He also displayed plus athleticism as a runner. Producing 629 yards and 8 touchdowns. During the 2020 season Martinez peaked at a 71.8% completion rate, and in 2021 he set career highs for yards 2,836, average per attempt 9.4, QBR 148.9, rushing touchdowns with 13.

He graduated from Kansas after the 2022 season with a 63.4% completion rate, 9,391 passing yards 49 tds, 30 ints, 599 carries for 2,847 yards and 44 touchdowns. His mobility is intriguing to many teams, while his ability to protect the ball make him valuable as a backup option in the NFL. However in the USFL, there would be a legitimate chance he takes over as the starter for the Generals. Would one season as a starter in the USFL, XFL, or CFL solidify a roster spot somewhere in the NFL?

So far in this preseason: 9 of 18 for 76 yards, 10 carries 24 yards and 1 touchdown.

Tyson Bagent, Chicago Bears

Bagent brings all the size and physical attributes of a future franchise quarterback. 6’3 1/8 213 pounds, ran a 4.79 40-yard dash with a 1.58 10-yard split, a 6.95 3 cone drill, 36 inch vertical and 10 foot broad jump. If you’re looking for a winner, with starting experience how about a man who started as a true freshman, in 53 games he collected a 43-10 record during his five year career with Shepherd.

Bagent won the Harlon Hill Trophy, essentially the Heisman for DII Football. In 2021 and 2022 he was named; First Team DII All-American, PSAC Offensive Player of the Year, First Team All-PSAC East. In 2019 he was named Second Team All-PSAC East, and in 2018 he was named First Team All-MEC, he also currently holds the record for most career touchdown passes with 159.

Attempting over 2,000 passes, Bagent completed 1,400 or 68.6%. He collected 17,034 yards, 159 touchdowns and 48 interceptions. Carrying a QBR of 159.8. He added 12 rushing touchdowns but isn’t exactly what most would consider a running quarterback. He can escape the pocket when needed, but he’s no Lamar Jackson or Jalen Hurts either.

His performance at the senior bowl turned heads, and helped him land a contract with Chicago, but stopped short of helping him get drafted. During the game he went 17 of 22 for 138 yards on the day. So far in one preseason game this season: Bagent 4 of 5 for 37 yards, 1 carry for -2 yards. IF Bagent is let go, he may have other NFL suitors, but it might be in his best interests to avoid signing the futures deal and going straight to the XFL or USFL.

Jake Luton, Free Agent

Luton is 27 years old at this point, originally being selected in the 6th round by the Jaguars in 2020. Since then he has spent time with Seattle, Miami, New Orleans and Carolina. So far during his three seasons he has started 3 games all came with Jacksonville as a rookie.

During that 3 game stretch Luton attempted 110 passes completing 60 of them for 624 yards, 2 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Adding a 13 yard touchdown run. Not exactly the prettiest run and since then he has had nothing but preseason reps to rehab that image. In 2021 Luton managed 24-31 for 190 yards 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The following year in 2022, he was 22 of 38 for 186 yards 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. He has not appeared in a game yet in 2023.

Going to a league the XFL, or USFL would allow Luton who likely is the 4th option for Carolina to play over a longer stretch of games after multiple years of perfecting his craft. Sitting behind Bryce Young, Andy Dalton, and Matt Corral the chances of making the roster are slim, but Luton can look at a recent Panthers quarterback for inspiration on making the leap to an alternative league.

Pj Walker was the quarterback of the Houston Roughnecks in 2020. After five games in which he completed nearly 65% of his passes for 1,338 yards, 15 tds to 4 ints, he was signed by the Carolina Panthers. Since signing with the Panthers he appeared in games three straight seasons, and has now signed with Chicago. Since his XFL stint Walker has inked three NFL Contracts worth a total of nearly $7,000,000. Not bad for a former XFL quarterback, and a career arc that could be similar for Luton should he make the leap.

Update: Jake Luton has been released by the Panthers. This could be the move that ultimately leads to his first stint in an alternative league.

Dresser Winn, Los Angeles Rams

Dresser Winn is one of the rare quarterbacks that attended 6 years of college and still found NFL interest. Signing with the Rams as an undrafted free agent following the 2023 draft, Winn is certainly the odd man out in this room as of right now, although he could in theory pass Rypien on the depth chart, two things are for certain. Matthew Stafford and Stetson Bennett will be on the week one roster.

Dresser Winn is an interesting case study of a player who was essentially a one year starter at the college level. Prior to his 2022 season Winn had appeared in just 22 games with 14 starts. He had produced 2,872 yards, completing 59.8% of his passes with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. In his final season he played double digit games for the first time as the QB1. He would have his best season yet: 232 completions on 379 attempts, for 2,928 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Over doubling his career numbers in one season.

This final season was enough for NFL teams to take notice, although it was a foregone conclusion he would not be selected in the draft, the thought was he would be signed as a UDFA and that thought proved to be correct. He also added 9 rushing touchdowns, 1 kickoff for 57 yards, and 26 punts for 1,044 yards. He managed 5 punts over 50 yards, 8 inside the 20, 9 fair catches, and 3 touchbacks. Granted he isn’t trying to make the roster as a punter, This could be one more way he provides value to the team. Carrying a quarterback that could step in on punts if ever needed in an emergency certainly is the type of dual position versatility that the QB3 role should promote teams to find. Now just imagine if he could serve as the punter full-time, while being the QB3, and holding that roster spot exemption. Yet another way to gain a roster spot.

Winn is a guy who has all the tools to be an NFL quarterback but doesn’t have the experience. Much like John Wolford, Winn just needs one season to prove himself. He would be a solid fit on several teams. Perhaps the Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, New Jersey Generals, Orlando Guardians, Vegas Vipers or Arlington Renegades will see his value if released.

David Blough/Jeff Driskel, Arizona Cardinals

David Blough and Jeff Driskel are on somewhat equal footing in Arizona as they fight for the final roster spot handed to a quarterback. Ahead of these two players are: Kyler Murray, Colt McCoy, and 5th round pick Clayton Tune. Murray and McCoy aren’t going anywhere, and Tune has that draft pick invested in him to solidify his position on the team.

Blough is arguably lowest on the quarterback totem pole here as he isn’t the athlete Driskel is, and can’t fill other roles like he can. Despite that fact, Blough has more starting experience than Driskel. Having started five games as an undrafted rookie with the Lions in 2019, he didn’t see his next start until last season with Arizona.

In 2022 as the QB3, Blough was forced into the lineup as the starter for two games. After seven starts, Blough is currently 0-7. He appeared in 2 other games for Detroit as well, collectively he has 242 NFL passing attempts, 138 completions, 1,435 yards, 6 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, 14 carries for 60 yards. His starts with Arizona however flashed the ability to be a solid stand in when called upon. He completed over 65% of his passes for 402 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions while averaging just under 7 yards per attempt.

So far this season in two preseason games, Blough saw 18 passes completing 11 for 117 yards and 1 touchdown. Clayton Tune played the majority of game 1 showing where he stands on the depth chart. He attempted 23 passes, completed 13 of them for 135 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, he added 4 carries for 9 yards. On the other hand Jeff Driskel didn’t even attempt a pass.

Ironically Jeff Driskel might be the only quarterback on this roster that could make the team without ever attempting a pass this preseason. Driskel is a plus athlete who has played special teams, and other offensive positions including tight end. At 6’4 235 pounds the former 6th round pick with the 49ers, having once run a 4.56 40-yard dash is every bit the athlete of any tight end the Cardinals currently have on their roster.

This value at more than one position could give him an inside track to being kept on the roster due to the new rules. Maximizing the value of your third quarterback isn’t a new idea, but there’s added motivation now with the roster exemption. Could we start seeing more slash type players employed as a quarterback three? Does it long term lead to teams being more creative with these players and their roles?

Driskel also brings with him starting experience with four different teams. In 2018 he had played in 9 games starting 5. The following season with Detroit he started 3 games. He moved on to Denver for 2020 during a Covid marred season, Driskel got in three games and started 1. In 2021 he joined the Texans seeing his first time at tight end. Moved back to quarterback in 2022, Driskel ends up playing four games, with one start.

Since being drafted in 2016, Driskel has a stat line of: 20 games played, 10 starts, completed 205 of 355 passes or 2,166 yards, 14 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, with 66 carries for 358 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also has 2 receptions for 10 yards. I know I mentioned the CFL’s use of a designated short yardage specialist and the lack of that role in the NFL typically but this is one player I think would be best suited for this role. That’s IF he makes the active roster over Tune.

Update: Making the case harder for both quarterbacks is the fact that Arizona added Josh Dobbs via trade, who already should have a jump on learning the offense thanks to his time working with Arizona’s new OC in Cleveland.

Brandon Allen, San Francisco 49ers

Brandon Allen is another former 6th round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars, after a college career that saw him pass for 7,463 yards 64 touchdowns, and 26 interceptions at Arkansas. Allen is another plus level athlete who can escape the pocket when needed. He isn’t a guy who a defense needs to game plan for as a runner, but he’s mobile enough to pick up a first down here and there when needed.

Allen has played in 15 NFL games with 9 starts. He threw 263 passes completing 149 of them for 1,611 yards 10 touchdowns to 6 interceptions with 65 rushing yards. During preseason games he has thrown another 308 passes for over 2,000 yards 7 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. At 30 years old Allen is a fourth string quarterback on a team he has very little chance of making.

While he is very lucky to find interest in another city once he is let go, the chances of seeing an opportunity to be a full-time starter in the NFL at this point are slim to none. Why not take a chance a playing in an alternative football league, starting 10-12 games, and see if you can’t at least solidify a roster spot somewhere long term. Allen is an experienced quarterback, now learning from Kyle Shanahan after two seasons under Sean McVay earlier in his career. He simply strikes me as an Aj McCaaron type, who would likely enjoy an opportunity to see significant snaps for the first time since 2015. Allen has made around $4.5 million during his career so far. What does he have to lose by playing in an alternative league?

Bryce Perkins, Free Agent

Bryce Perkins is a player that in my mind should not still be avaiable at this point in the 2023 season. He is just 26 years old, and spent the last three seasons under Sean McVay. With the Shanahan offense spreading through the league like wildfire, a guy with very innate knowledge, including starting experience under one of the most highly regarded NFL offensive minds.

Coming out of high school Perkins redshirt as a freshmen before breaking his neck missing the entire 2016 season as well. Finally after transferring to Arizona Western College for the 2017 season he saw the field for the first time. He had a solid season proving he was healthy and ended up at Virginia the following season.

As a two-year starter for Virginia, Perkins would go on to prove he was a capable quarterback with the mobility to run nearly as much as he passes. He had 439 carries for 1,692 yards and 20 touchdowns, and caught a 9 yard pass in college. After an impressive two year run with Virginia he was not invited to the NFL combine.

It didn’t help that Perkins came out during the 2020 season when covid prevented most in person work-outs, and even his pro-day. Despite this he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Los Angeles Rams and developed over the next three seasons. His first two seasons he was coached by Kevin O’Connell current Minnesota Vikings Head Coach, and Shane Waldron current Seattle Seahawks Offensive Coordinator. His knowledge should carry over to offenses in San Francisco, Miami, and Green Bay.

Petty has the necessary mobility to succeed in any one of the non NFL football leagues. Whether it be the CFL, USFL, or XFL. I personally would like to see the Vegas Vipers, New Jersey Generals, DC Defenders (assuming Ta’amu sticks), Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and the Houston Gamblers take a look at Petty. All of these teams could use a quarterback for right now and the future. Why not take a chance on a player with a lot of upside who is still fairly young?

Tim DeMorat, Free Agent

Tim DeMorat is a rookie free agent. After falling un-drafted in the 2023 draft cycle, he was signed by the Washington Commanders. Since being released he has not received another NFL contract, and even if he did this late in the game it would likely come due to injury, and would most likely be a one year deal to finish out the 2023 season.

Tim Demorat

Unfortunately his stat line doesn’t display how mobile the 6’4 220 pound gunslinger truly is. There were several times in college that he had 50 or more rushing yards on the day. If not for sack yards lost being calculated as rushing yards, this picture would be a lot more clear. His 4.86 40-yard dash isn’t the most exciting number, but he has a nose for the endzone, and if nothing else, could serve as an immediate short yardage option in the CFL, while learning the game the rest of this season, competing for a starting job next year.

He should be on the radar for the XFL and USFL as well. The longer he remains available through the 2023 season, the more likely it is we see him land in one of these leagues. The only question left would be where he would fit.

Michael O’Connor, Free Agent

Michael O’Connor was with the CFL when we last saw him play in one of these leagues. A Canadian native, he was born in Orleans, Ontario. Only 27 years old, he has three years experience in the CFL with Toronto, Calgary, and BC. He became a free agent after the 2022 season, and so far has not been brought in by another franchise since.

A 3rd round CFL draft pick in 2019, he has been active for 32 games but has just one start in his career. He has thrown 52 passes in the CFL, completing 30 for 330 yards 1 touchdown, and 1 interception, 6 carries for 7 yards and 1 touchdown. The oddest part about his career turn, is that prior to a groin injury last season he had been named the starter for the BC Lions after both Adams and Rourke were banged up.

O’Connor’s college career was an interesting one, he began with Penn State redshirting as a freshman with the school behind future 2nd round pick Christian Hackenberg. He ultimately chose to transfer to University of British Columbia. As the immediate starter for the Thunderbirds, he would end up playing in 44 games attempting over 1,600 passes. He held a career completion rate of 64%, throwing 87 touchdowns to 37 interceptions. He is mobile enough to run when needed, and had at least one rushing touchdown each season of his collegiate career. He finished his career with 99 carries for 669 yards, 6.8 yards per carry and 5 touchdowns.

While I’m not saying he should start anywhere, he has ventured to the United States to continue his football career once when he attended Penn State, and several staffs in the XFL, and USFL have ties to the Canadian game. At very least he should be a short yardage quarterback in the CFL as well.

Isaac Harker, Free Agent

Harker is the definition of a small school quarterback, having attended Indiana State, and Colorado School of Mines. A two year starter the 6’0 195 pound quarterback managed a 61% completion rate on over 900 passing attempts in college. He managed 7,117 yards passing, 61 touchdowns, and 26 interceptions. He added 5 rushing touchdowns on the ground.

He would find himself un-drafted and looking for a new home following the 2018 season and that’s when the CFL came calling. Saskatchewan was the first team that gave him a look. He spent the 2019 season with the Roughriders, and ended up sticking until after the 2021 season. It wasn’t until 2022 that he would hit free agency for the first time. He originally signed with the BC Lions before the 2022 season. He was released before training camp began, and hasn’t received a call since despite injuries around the league.

At 27 years old he isn’t the youngest player in the world, but he also has three years experience in the CFL, and had a full season off of football in 2020. Having received CFL interest before put him on the map. Now it’s up to Harker to keep himself there. With teams expected to launch in Indianapolis and Colorado he could even return to his roots if he chose to play indoor football in 2024 and beyond. I expect to see his name on a roster at some point soon. Since being released he was serving as a QB coach for Jenkins Elite a training program in California.

Sean McGuire, Free Agent

Sean McGuire is a Western Illinois Leatherneck alum, having been a four year starter for the program, McGuire managed to collect nearly 1, 300 passing attempts during his college career for the school. He completed 770 passes or 60%, for 72 touchdowns, and 38 interceptions.

After a successful college career he was signed by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers where he acted as their short yardage quarterback. A man who scored 9 rushing touchdowns in college, this seemed like a solid role for the young quarterback. At 6’3 225 pounds he certainly had the size for the job. During his rookie season in 2019 he attempted just 3 passes completing 2 for 17 yards, rushing 3 times for 9 yards.

In 2021 he led the CFL in rushing touchdowns with 8 on 73 carries. He also got involved as a passer, although it didn’t look pretty. Attempting 33 passes he completed 13 for 204 yards 1 touchdown, and 4 interceptions. During his short CFL career, he played in three Grey Cups, and won two. Before the 2022 season, Winnipeg signed Dakota Prukop a veteran quarterback who had served as a short yardage QB at every previous stop of his career.

Despite the threat of an impending lockout, Prukop opted to attend the Blue Bombers rookie mini-camp and ultimately ended up winning the job, leaving McGuire a free agent. McGuire obviously could return to the CFL as a short yardage option and veteran back-up for any team in search of one. He could also follow Prukop’s lead and play in the USFL. Perhaps the Generals revisit that Blue Bomber talent well? Another 27 year old he could still have a long career ahead of him.

Jacob Eason, Free Agent

Jacob Eason is a name NFL Fans should recognize. Drafted in the 4th round in 2020, he spent time with the Colts, Seahawks, 49ers, and Panthers. His college career was an interesting one to say the least. He originally attended Georgia where he enrolled early in 2016. In just his second game with the school he got his first start. He would go 11 of 20 for 204 yards and 1 touchdown. This was enough for him to continue to start for the school.

As a true freshman he attempted 370 passes for 204 completions (55.2%), with 2,430 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. It looked like Eason was the guy for Georgia going forward. However Jake Fromm had other ideas, and he would end up laying claim to the starting job. This led Eason to transfer to Washington. After sitting out a season due to transfer rules, at Washington he became a full-time starter in 2019 he plays in 13 games, throwing 405 passes completing 64.2% for 3,132 yards 23 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He would declare for the 2020 draft.

Drafted in the 4th round by the Colts, he served as the back-up to Phillip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett in 2020 before watching both men leave. In 2021 it was Carson Wentz, and Eason, and Sam Ehlinger a rookie. Eason would win the QB2 job, but play poorly in his debut in week 2 after an injury to Wentz. He was 2 of 5 and 1 interception on the day. He would end up released in October, and claimed by Seattle, thus beginning the journeyman portion of his career. He finished the season with the Seahawks, who let him go before the 2022 season.

After this he spent some time with Carolina due to injuries, primarily on their practice squad before being elevated during a game. He was released in November, after which he landed with the 49ers to close out the 2022 season. This time he wasn’t let go until January. About three weeks later the Panthers came calling once again looking for a quarterback to compete in training camp. Signing a futures deal, Eason ended up waived shortly after the draft class where the Panthers selected their future face of the franchise, and QB1. He has been a free agent since May 18th, his resume includes just two NFL appearances in which he threw 10 passes, completed 5, for 84 yards and 2 interceptions. He has yet to score a touchdown. Going to an alternative football league in 2024 would only increase his stock and get him back on NFL radars.

Josh Rosen, Free Agent

Josh Rosen has had one of the strangest career arcs of a player I have ever seen in my nearly 25 years of watching NFL football. Drafted in 2018, Rosen was selected tenth overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Regarded by most NFL Draft Experts as the most NFL Ready prospect, he was expected to stick in Arizona for the long haul, and pull the franchise back from mediocrity. Drafted with the thought that he would not open the season as the starter behind Sam Bradford, and Mike Glennon, he went out and changed minds right away beating out Glennon for the QB2 job.

This led to him seeing action early in the NFL season when Bradford, was benched for poor play and Rosen nearly led his team to a comeback win. His first season looked very much like a rookie who was rushed into action too soon. He completed just over 55% of his passes for 2,278 yards 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Heading into the 2019 season Arizona drafted Kyler Murray, and Miami saw value in trading for Josh Rosen.

Giving up a second round pick in 2019 that became Andy Isabella, and a 5th round pick that ironically became a part of the conditions for a trade with Miami for Kenyan Drake in exchange for Rosen. Rosen went on to throw just one touchdown and 5 interceptions. Completing 53% of his 109 attempts this spelled the end for him in Miami.

This also began the journeyman part of his career. From 2020 to 2022 Rosen was signed, and released by the Buccaneers, 49ers, Falcons, Browns, and Vikings. He has not signed a contract in 2023, and we are already witnessing final cuts coming down. Could Rosen finally entertain offers from these alternative options? Rosen to Michigan as the replacement for Ej Perry could make some sense, how about as the passing option for the Generals?

Levi Lewis, Free Agent

Levi Lewis

Levi Lewis is one of the few quarterbacks that stands 5 foot 10 and 183 pounds, that I believe actually has a place in outdoor professional football going forward. As a three year starter for Louisiana-Lafayette, he attempted nearly 1,200 passes. He held a career completion percentage of 61.2%, on his way to 9,203 yards, 74 touchdowns to 18 interceptions That’s a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio. 

Of course at his height he needed mobility to find success, and he definitely check that box as well. Rushing for over 1000 yards and 14 touchdowns during his college career. after spending five seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette including the last three as they’re starting quarterback Lewis declared for the 2022 NFL draft. 

He would watch the entire draft go by without his name being called, but was called very shortly after the draft by the Seattle Seahawks who almost immediately signed him to a contract.  Lewis was given a chance to make an impression, but ultimately he was let go less than a month after being signed.

That didn’t mean he was without options. A few months later the Saskatchewan Roughriders came calling looking for a developmental prospect. They signed Lewis on August 29th, and have stuck through most of the search an bouncing on and off the practice roster. Working under long time QB coach and Roughriders OC Kelly Jeffrey. Lewis was finally let go in May of 2023. Where he ends up after that is anyone’s guess. He was let go mid USFL season so there’s a good chance teams didn’t look his way due to timing. Perhaps we see him on an XFL or USFL roster.

If the AFL comes back and ends up the league they’re saying it will be, this could be where we see Lewis play next. He could return to Louisiana where they’re supposed to get a team in 2024. Lewis not only played college ball there, he was born and raised in Baton Rouge. Playing on that connection would be a smart move by a start up league. I know he would be on my short list for quarterbacks if I was an AFL or IFL team. He’s still young enough to be classified a lot of rookie by the IFL. 

2022 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Levi Lewis, QB, University of Louisiana | Philly Insider Podcast

James Blackman, Miami Dolphins

Blackman has been signed and released multiple times in 2023 by the Miami Dolphins. The 6’5 189 pound signal caller is an interesting prospect, and one that could need a season in an alternative football league to develop into a true NFL level prospect. One thing is for certain, teams are going to want him to add weight, hopefully without losing his mobility. 

Not the fastest quarterback in the world at 189 pounds he ran a 4.75 40-yard dash with a 1.63 10-yard split. The Florida native began his college career with FSU before transferring to Arkansas State to finish his career. He was the quarterback tasked with pinch hitting for DeAndre Francois when he suffered a season ending injury. In the process he managed to become the first True Freshman to start for FSU since 1985. 

He would lead the team to a 7-5 record and an Independence Bowl berth where he was named the Offensive MVP. After four seasons, and 32 games including 27 starts he transferred to Arkansas State for the 2021 season. When he left FSU per a kait8.com article he was 10th in Touchdown Passes, and top 15 in many other categories. Given his redshirt year in 2018 when he only played in 3 games, he was allowed to play two more seasons. 

At Arkansas State Blackman didn’t win much but he went on to start 16 of 17 games he appeared in. He threw 530 passes completing 332 passes or 62.6% of his passes for 3,815 yards 22 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, adding 3 rushing touchdowns. The concerns about him coming out of college per John Vogel of NFLDraftBlitz.com: inconsistent accuracy, inability to add weight, and the most important ones for me; Bad pocket positioning and Does not maneuver the pocket well. This is a large factor in why he was sacked 124 times in 49 games. 

He goes on to say that Blackman should end up in a minor league, most likely the USFL. I’d keep an eye on that last statement. John likely had a reason for saying that. I personally could see him getting the call from a CFL team, but that’s simply a gut feeling, not at all based on any inside information. 

Felix Harper, Free Agent

Felix Harper came out of Alcorn State University the school best known for gracing us with Steve McNair in an era when many quarterbacks with his size and running ability were being forced to change positions. As a two year starter with the school Harper lit up the scoreboard. Alcorn likely looked back with remorse wishing it had started him from day one.

In 23 games Harper threw 646 passes completing 394 passes for 5,432 yards 53 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions adding 396 rushing yards and 12 more touchdowns. Averaging just under three touchdowns a game for his time as a starter. Since college Harper has received NFL, and CFL interest but ultimately ended up winning a championship with the IFL’s Bay Area Panthers.

Having graduated after the 2021 season he entered the 2022 NFL draft before falling undrafted. He signed with Cleveland but ended up released in just 8 days. In September Montreal came calling offering Harper a practice roster spot, and he quickly signed on the dotted line. Joining a crowded quarterback room. At various points Montreal had Quinten Dormady, Felix Harper, Ben Holmes, Trevor Harris, and more. Harper made it a little over a month with the team before being released in Mid-October.

After waiting out several scenarios he signed with the Bay Area Panthers for the 2023 season. He was the back-up behind Dalton Sneed. However teams have already taken notice of what he was able to do in limited playing time. Sources on at least one team have already confirmed their interest in Harper as their starter should he return to the IFL for 2024.

In 2023 when asked to play he threw 44 passes completed 28 for 325 yards, 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He also ran 13 times for 53 yards and 1 touchdown. Ultimately he won an IFL Championship to finish the season. He was not selected in the subsequent XFL draft, but I’m anticipating we see him get more interest from the CFL, or USFL. He could be a target of the AFL, or NAL.

Brandon Peters, Free Agent

Your 2024 starting quarterback for the Chicago Rush of the AFL is…just kidding but an Illinois return for the former Fighting Illini  quarterback would make for quite the storyline. With the AFL, CFL, USFL, XFL, and ELF all providing options for players we are sure to see Peters play again if he still has the desire.

Peters is ripe for the picking by an alternative league given that he was released in August of 2022 and has not signed another NFL contract since then. At just 25 years old with a solid college resume it’s honestly surprising to see him still on the market after a stint with the Chargers in 2022.

During his collegiate career he played games in five seasons for Michigan and Illinois. He graduated having attempted 634 passes, completing 340 for 4,163 yards, 32 touchdowns to 15 interceptions, adding 4 rushing touchdowns and 318 rushing yards. He is another guy who seemingly could serve as a short yardage quarterback for the CFL standing 6’4 230 pounds running a 4.72 40-yard dash, he has a quick first step with a 1.56 10-yard split and he obviously has a fairly strong lower body as well putting up a 36 inch vertical and 10 foot 4 inch broad jump.

His game would be perfect for that role, or playing Arena Ball as well however I expect we see him garnering USFL attention this offseason.

Sean Mannion, Free Agent

Mannion is an interesting case of a player who was at one point ascending the depth chart for teams before he wound up out of the league entirely just a couple seasons later. The former third round pick of the once St. Louis Rams, he stuck with the team through a relocation ultimately spending his entire rookie contract with the team.

In 2019 he became a free agent, and Minnesota in search of a veteran backup quarterback signed Mannion to run the Shanahan offense that he had spent the last four years learning under Sean McVay. This time he was working with Kevin Stefanski and Gary Kubiak. After the 2020 season Kubiak left and Mannion was left to find a new home heading into year 7 of his career.

This is when things began to get rocky. He would sign with the Seattle Seahawks but he lasted just 2 months before being a victim of final cuts. Left to ponder his practice squad options he chose to return to Minnesota on their practice squad. Just 19 days later this gamble paid off and he was elevated to the roster, and ultimately started the Week 17 game for the Vikings.

After the season it looked like Mannion was poised to return to Minnesota once again. That was until he was released during final cuts and not brought back on the practice squad. This time he returned to Seattle. Lasting the entire year on the practice squad, until his contract expired in January. Since then Mannion hasn’t been rostered but he’s 31 years old with just 3 starts and 14 appearances in the NFL since 2015. Maybe Mannion becomes the next MBT, or Aj McCaaron turning to an alternative league to get a chance to start after years toiling on NFL rosters.

Roland Rivers, Free Agent

Roland Rivers has now played in several leagues. He has had a rookie tryout in the NFL with the Steelers, in the USFL with the Maulers, and in the National Arena League with the Albany Empire. Rivers is a 6’3 230 pound mobile quarterback with a strong arm, and all the physical talent you could ask for in a quarterback.

After a 2021 season that didn’t see him latch on with a team, the USFL came about in 2022 and Roland Rivers got the chance he needed, but under tough circumstances. Rivers was signed by the Maulers in week 6 after the Maulers had already collected a 1-5 record. Rivers would end up forced into action immediately after being signed.

This led to a less than stellar performance by the young quarterback. On the season he had attempted 64 passes completing just 32 of the passes for 366 yards 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also ran 8 times for 64 yards and 1 touchdown while playing in 4 games with 1 start. During his time with Albany he was again thrown into a very tough to manage situation.

Having never played arena football before, he was signed by Albany in an effort to rebuild a quarterback room torn apart by Antonio Brown. Gone was Sam Castranova the man who had led Albany to a championship the season before. During his time with Albany, he attempted 78 passes in three games. Completing 41 of those passes for 423 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He also was sacked 7 times in 2023, but added 20 carries for 98 yards and 4 touchdowns. This was far from the performance he hoped for, and it remains to be seen if this helps him get back outdoors. At a minimum he should peak the interest of the IFL, NAL, and AFL teams in 2024.

Highly Unlikely, But Fun Options

Davis Webb, QB Coach Denver Broncos

Davis Webb opted to retire from playing football, and take up coaching. Hired as the quarterback coach for the Broncos under Sean Payton. Once selected in the third round, Webb spent time with every New York team; the Giants, Jets, and Bills. Having just opted to retire, he is still very much in playing shape, and has stayed close to the game as a coach. This could be a creative way to not only bring in a quarterback, but at the same time, gain a player who can coach up those around him. Webb’s status with the Broncos could affect his availability, but I’m unsure if a coaches contract would prevent him from playing with the XFL or USFL in the offseason before returning to his coaching post.

Kyle Shurmur, Offensive Quality Control Buffalo Bills

Kyle Shurmur is the son of Pat, a longtime college and NFL coach. So Naturally the younger Shurmur entertained coaching offers fairly early on. Signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2019 NFL draft, he spent time with KC, Denver *under his father, Cincy, and Washington. By 2022 he had already made the leap into coaching. Beginning as a volunteer assistant for Vanderbilt, he spent the 2020 season assisting them, but in 2022 he jumped into the NFL coaching ranks. Hired by the Bills, he spent the 2022 season as a defensive quality control coach, before moving to offense for 2023. Much like the Davis Webb situation, Shurmur would need to jump some hoops to make this work. However, he could always revisit coaching long term.

Jake Rudock, Free Agent (Sort of)

Jake Rudock retired following the 2020 season and started to pursue a medical degree during the covid 19 pandemic. A three year starter in college at Iowa, and Michigan, he managed 7,836 yards, 54 touchdowns, and 27 interceptions. He displayed some mobility as well rushing for 560 yards and 12 touchdowns. He would enter the NFL as a a 6th round draft pick by the Detroit Lions where he spent three seasons before moving on to the Miami Dolphins. In August of 2021, he opted to retire from Football to pursue his medical degree. I wonder if the NFL’s year-round demands might be why Rudock opted to retire, and perhaps a league like the XFL or USFL could bring him back with the allure of a 10-12 game season.

Unlikely but Possible

Garrett Gilbert

Gilbert has been an NFL alternative quarterback before playing with the Orlando Apollos in the 2019 iteration of the Alliance of American Football or AAF. He led his team to the best record in the league after 8 weeks and took home the MVP award on the back of a stellar performance.

He would lead the league in many categories: passing yards, completions, passer rating, tied for total touchdowns and interception percentage. He was second in passing touchdowns, second lowest in interceptions, and had the second highest touchdown percentage.

His full stat line:

8 games: 157 of 259 for 2,152 yards, 13 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 24 carries, 79 yards, 1 touchdown, and a 5 yard reception for a touchdown.

After this performance he was signed by the Browns in 2019 where he stuck for the remainder of the year and into the 2020 season. These were his sixth and seventh seasons in the NFL. Since then he has spent time with Dallas, New England twice, Washington, and Las Vegas. He has also played in St. Louis, Detroit, Oakland, and Carolina.

At 32 years old the Buffalo, New York native has not been on an NFL roster yet in 2023. This could mark the end of his unique football journey, but let’s be honest how cool would it be to see Gilbert run it back in Orlando this time with the XFL’s Guardians or perhaps even the AFL’s Orlando Predators where Gilbert could possibly play several more seasons.

Update: CFL negotiation lists were released and several names listed here were added. Edmonton added Dresser Winn, Calgary added James Blackman, Winnipeg added Ian Book, Ottawa added Tim Demorat and Tanner Morgan.

Other notable names: Jordan Ta’amu added by Saskatchewan while Montreal targeted Ej Perry and Lindsey Scott Jr. honestly I would like to see some of these guys double dip signing to be a backup in the CFL to finish out the season only to return to their respective American league after the seadon

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