Free Agency Preview: Quarterbacks

While the Bears have two young quarterbacks with starting experience, Jeff Blake is an unrestricted free agent and contemplating retirement. Adding a veteran in free agency is a possibility. We go around the league to get the analysis from the beat writers covering some of the top quarterbacks slated for free agency.

  • San Diego Chargers QB Drew Brees probably will get what he has long sought: a long-term deal to keep him in San Diego. Brees didn't have as good a season as the previous year when he was selected to the Pro Bowl and was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year. But he was pretty solid (24 touchdown passes, 15 interceptions). Brees had a labrum tear fixed in his throwing shoulder after he dislocated the shoulder in the season finale. He is expected to be ready for training camp.

  • Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner is an unrestricted free agent and coming off a season-ending MCL injury that did not require surgery. The team appears prepared to try to sign him back, but if it does, it has to find a strong backup because of Warner's recent history of injuries. When healthy, Warner appeared to still have some good football left in him.

  • Cincinnati Bengals QB Jon Kitna will likely be allowed to test the unrestricted free agent market. There's a sense that the Bengals have to sacrifice too much of their downfield passing game when Kitna is in the game. Kitna might be back, but he won't get a huge raise from his $1 million base. Baltimore is believed to be interested in him.

  • Arizona Cardinals QB Josh McCown becomes an unrestricted free agent and does not appear to be in the Cardinals' plans. He may also feel that he has been jacked around by the franchise and prefer to try somewhere else.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers QB Charlie Batch is expected re-sign to be the No. 2 quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers will likely release quarterback Tommy Maddox, who dropped to third on the depth chart.

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Chris Simms showed tremendous promise and upside in going 5-1 in the NFC South and leading the team to a division title. Simms is a restricted free agent and the Bucs would like to sign him to a long-term deal. But injured starter Brian Griese, who went 5-1 before going down, is owed a $2.6 million roster bonus in March and his salary cap figure increases to more than $7 million.

  • Baltimore Ravens QB Anthony Wright is not expected to return as the backup. He became the starter after Boller went down with a toe injury in the season opener, but he didn't come close to matching his form in 2003 when he took the Ravens to the playoffs.

  • Miami Dolphins QB Sage Rosenfels received the most playing time of his five-year NFL career in 2005 with mixed results. He bombed in a November start against Cleveland but rebounded in a relief role in December by guiding Miami to victories over Buffalo and the New York Jets. Rosenfels is likely to depart via free agency.

  • Detroit Lions QB Jeff Garcia suffered a broken left leg in the final exhibition game, was rushed back prematurely and floundered in five starts. He won just one game, threw three touchdown passes and was intercepted six times - including the ball that was returned for a touchdown in the 19-13 overtime loss to the Bears that many consider the turning point of the season. It appears highly unlikely Garcia - approaching his 35th birthday and coming off his second consecutive disappointing season - will be back.

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