For fans, teammates, coaches, and the organization, the worst-case scenario is the starting quarterback exits due to injury, and the backup quarterback comes in. The best-case scenario is your team is ahead by so much you don’t want to take the chance of your first string getting hurt, so the team puts in the backup.
Either way, you still want to be able to trust the ball in your backup quarterback’s hands.
As of now, the Cincinnati Bengals have Jake Browning, out of Washington, who we signed to the practice squad in 2021, and Trevor Siemian, drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 draft by the Broncos, who was signed by Cincinnati this offseason.
Both quarterbacks have shown some upside in the first two games, but Browning seems to have an edge over Siemian.
But is there a better option out there?
The top free agent quarterbacks right now are Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, and Matt Ryan. All three are at least 30 years old, but each has experience as a starter and knows how to take on the role if it’s necessary.
Wentz was the second-overall pick by the Eagles in the 2016 draft and received accolades seemingly week by week. For a good chunk of the 2017 season, he had many analysts picking him as the league's MVP, but he suffered a knee injury towards the end of the season, which seemed to snowball his career.
Foles was a third-round pick by the Eagles in the 2012 draft and had a roller coaster beginning to his career with the Eagles trying to compete for the starting job. He was traded to the Rams in 2015 and eventually signed a two-year extension with them.
Once again, Foles had a rocky time and signed with the Chiefs in 2016. He became a free agent at the end of that season and resigned with the Eagles. This was the turning point in his career.
Foles took over the starting role when Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14, then led the Eagles to Super Bowl LII and defeated the Patriots 41-33, winning Super Bowl MVP. He declined the Eagles' option in 2019 to become a free agent.
Foles then signed with the Jaguars in March. He suffered a shoulder injury that season, then signed with the Bears the next year, and then the Colts in 2022, ultimately becoming a free agent at the of the season.
Ryan was drafted by the Falcons third overall in the 2008 draft. He spent 13 seasons with the Falcons and was NFL MVP, NFL Offensive Player of the Year, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and a four-time Pro Bowl pick, along with several other awards.
Following the 2021 season, the Falcons traded Ryan to the Colts. Then following the end of the 2022 season, he was released by the Colts.
Other Notable Free Agent QBs
- Chase Daniel
- Joe Flacco
- Cam Newton
All these quarterbacks have an NFL career worth of experience. Would it be worthwhile for the Bengals to put stripes on one of these three for a worst-case scenario, especially if Browning or Siemian just aren’t proving themselves as a solid QB2 behind Joe Burrow?
Let us know in the poll below and in the comments section!