OPINION: D.A.: Top-5 questions entering QB free agency

Lamar Jackson
Photo credit Rob Carr / Staff / Getty Images

While the NFL's free agency period clearly affects all players, the quarterbacks (as per usual) will define the market and month. So, with this in mind, here are the five biggest questions for the franchise signal-callers changing zip codes.

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No. 5: Will Daniel Jones break the bank? So there's no doubt the Giants will re-sign their guy. After his breakout 2022 season, Brian Daboll has proven to be the perfect orchestrator for Jones' strengths on the field, and their front office won't allow him to walk away. But how much cash Jones commands is a big story. If he garners $38-40 million per season, the market for all good, not great, unproven quarterbacks will have a new benchmark.

No. 4: Is Jimmy Garoppolo the solution? Despite reaching a pair of NFC title games and one Super Bowl, the 49ers have cut ties with him. Some team is going to believe he's good enough for them, though. And the question isn't whether he finds another starting job -- it's whether that team is a winner. For Garoppolo to have success, everything else must be elite around him. Teams like the Saints or Panthers don't have that support for him, meaning his arrival may not make much of a difference.

No. 3: Will Derek Carr find happiness? Throughout his career, he's been a man without certainty. The Raiders coaching situation was constantly in flux, the rosters changed annually, and the franchise was rudderless. But he didn't always help his own cause, as he threw far too many untimely interceptions or drive-killing incompletions. Through it all, Carr's attempted to convey his own passion for the cause. He's often discussed how important it was, personally, to be a Raider and emotionally lead the team. It never materialized into much winning, and so the next destination will define his career. Was he held back by silver-and-black dysfunction, or just part of the mediocrity?

Derek Carr
Photo credit Steph Chambers / Staff / Getty Images

No. 2: Will Aaron Rodgers retire? He's crawled out of that darkness like a groundhog, explaining for nearly two hours his experience in trying to make a decision. Well, just imagine how long he'll be talking about the actual decision when he makes it. Rodgers' mental space has become fatiguing in every way, and it's even pushed his most loyal fans to the edge of exhaustion. So there's little question why the Packers front office would like to cut ties. The question now is whether Rodgers can stand the thought of joining a marginalized team with far less national appeal (Jets? Panthers?) to play a final season or two.

No. 1: Is Lamar Jackson still a Raven? While Rodgers is surely headed to the Hall of Fame, he's at the tail end of his terrific career. As for Jackson, he's squarely in his prime, meaning his movement registers far higher. There used to be little doubt Baltimore would eventually get a deal done. Now, if anything, it sure feels like a one-year standoff, over a franchise tag. Jackson represents himself, and is adamant on receiving guaranteed money Deshaun Watson got from the Browns. The issue is, no NFL owner wants to replicate that contract. Jackson will be forced to acquiesce to less, or dare the Ravens with the tag.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Rob Carr / Staff / Getty Images