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Free agent quarterbacks are a bad investment, historically

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

By now it’s a virtual certainty that the Jacksonville Jaguars will be signing pending free agent quarterback Nick Foles when the 2019 NFL free agency opens on Mar. 13th, based on multiple reports around the NFL. The big question is going to be how much are the Jaguars, who seemed really to be the only team in the market for Foles, was willing to pay to get the signal caller.

If you listen to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, it sounds like it’s going to be more than $20 million per season on average.

Hopefully for the Jaguars that’s just a bit of banter by Foles’ agent in hopes to squeeze out a little bit more money from the Jaguars prior to the deal being finalized, else it would seem like the Jaguars outbid themselves considering the likes of Peter King reported they’re basically the only team interested.

Taking the swing at Foles is understandable for a team with arguably the NFL’s best defense who was a breath away from the Super Bowl two years ago, but it’s also worrisome taking the swing if you consider the history of how NFL free agent quarterbacks have fared.

Success list is slim

The list of successful quarterbacks signed in free agency since the 2000 NFL season are Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. That’s it.

I went back to the 2000 NFL offseason and took a look at each quarterback who was signed to a multi-year deal, meaning I didn’t count obvious one-year starter deals, and their overall record with the team that signed them and the results are... not great!

Free Agent Starting Quarterbacks Since 2000

As I mentioned before, unless a good quarterback who has a big injury concern like Drew Brees or a future hall famer hits the market, it ends up being a losing proposition. The main reason for that is teams do not let good quarterbacks hit the open market. Generally someone will trade for them or they’ll simply just keep them.

It’s very rare that an actual good quarterback hits the open market and generally when they do it’s because they’re right in that range of good enough to be a full time starter but not good enough to commit to full time, like Kirk Cousins. Even the Brett Favre signing for the Vikings had them barely over .500 and he was just 1-1 in the playoffs.

There is no denying that Nick Foles is the best of the free agent crop of quarterbacks, even the ones who could be available via a trade, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work out or that he will replicate his success in Philadelphia.

It will be interesting to see what else the Jaguars will do on the offensive side of the football now that it seems Foles is in the fold, because just simply inserting Nick Foles isn’t going to fix their issues.