Not much was made of the Vikings’ decision to trade for Joshua Dobbs ahead of the 2023 NFL trade deadline. At the time, it merely looked like a good, buy-low move for a team that had just lost Kirk Cousins to a torn Achilles.
Through two games, the move has turned out to be so much more.
The Vikings are 2-0 since Cousins’ injury thanks in large part to Dobbs. He entered Minnesota’s Week 9 clash with the Falcons just one quarter in after Jaren Hall suffered a concussion and led the Vikings to a come-from-behind, 31-28 victory. He had been with the team just five days.
A week later, Dobbs helped the Vikings earn another win, this time over a vaunted Saints defense that Dobbs made look helpless at times. He led the team both in passing and rushing yards and improved Minnesota’s record to 6-4.
Dobbs’ performance has the NFL world buzzing with good reason. The 28-year-old appears to be a diamond in the rough who is finally getting a chance to prove himself in a starting role.
And while he might not be a high-end starter, Dobbs is proving he has some of the winning magic that great, low-end starters and high-end backups like Ryan Fitzpatrick have possessed during their careers.
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Dobbs should be positioned to cash in on his success with a valuable contract during the 2024 NFL offseason. But how much is he making until then?
Here’s what to know about Dobbs’ contract for 2023 and how much it’s costing the Vikings to employ him as their starter.
Joshua Dobbs contract details
Dobbs is playing the 2023 NFL season on the one-year, $2 million deal he signed with the Browns during the offseason. He earned that contract after his steady performance in two starts with the Titans to close the 2022 season.
The $2 million Dobbs is making is split between three teams, as he has been traded twice since signing that contract with the Browns. Cleveland first traded him to Arizona, which dealt him to Minnesota before the deadline.
Below is a breakdown of what each team will have paid Dobbs for the 2023 season.
That contract makes Dobbs a relative bargain, as his average annual value (AAV) ranks 51st among all NFL quarterbacks.
MORE: Full details of Josh Dobbs trade between Vikings and Cardinals
Joshua Dobbs stats
Dobbs has appeared in 10 games with nine starts thus far during the 2023 NFL season. He has fared well in his role with both the Cardinals and Vikings despite having a less-than-stellar supporting cast in Arizona.
Dobbs’ record of 2-7 as a starter may not be great, but he has been a productive passer who has posted respectable numbers while proving to be elusive on the ground. Below is a look at his stats from the 2023 NFL season, as well as where he ranks in each category league-wide.
Note: Rushing stat rankings are among quarterbacks.
|Yards per attempt
|Yards per carry
Some may look at Dobbs’ numbers and question what is so impressive. The record isn’t great, and his passing stats are far from prolific.
But Dobbs has found this level of success despite playing for three teams in a calendar year and becoming the starter for two separate teams with fewer than two weeks notice. He has comported himself well considering those circumstances, and that’s especially true in Minnesota, where he sports a passer rating of 101.4 over two games.
Dobbs’ performance should help him make some money as he prepares to become a free agent once again during the 2024 NFL offseason.
MORE: Breaking down Joshua Dobbs stats in first start for Vikings
NFL free agent QBs in 2024
Dobbs is going to be among the most intriguing quarterback free agents available during the 2024 offseason. There are a handful of big-name veterans and career backups set to hit the market.
Below is the full list of free agent quarterbacks for 2024, per Spotrac.com.
- Kirk Cousins
- Ryan Tannehill
- Jacoby Brissett
- Tyrod Taylor
- Marcus Mariota
- Sam Darnold
- Jameis Winston
- Drew Lock
- Baker Mayfield
- Gardner Minshew
- Teddy Bridgewater
- Tyler Huntley
- Joshua Dobbs
- Easton Stick
- Nate Sudfeld
- Blaine Gabbert
- Josh Johnson
- Kyle Allen
- Brandon Allen
- Mason Rudolph
- Logan Woodside
- Feleipe Franks
- Jake Browning
- Garrett Gilbert
This is a better-than-average group of free agent quarterbacks, but Dobbs can offer something many of them can’t: upside.
Dobbs is just 28 and has less than a season of starting experience in the NFL. That will make him appealing to NFL teams that are looking for a player to compete for a starting job and possibly lock one down for a few years.
If Dobbs continues to provide the Vikings a steady hand, they could consider signing him to a short-term deal as a stopgap starter. They faced a similar situation with Case Keenum during the 2018 offseason but ultimately opted to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal. They might be more willing to keep Dobbs if they aren’t guaranteed to land a true franchise quarterback to replace him.
Speaking of Cousins, he is the biggest quarterback free agent on the market. The only question surrounding him is whether his torn Achilles will be healed in time for Week 1 of the 2024 NFL season. Given the uncertainty surrounding him, it would probably behoove the team that signs him to have a quality insurance plan in place.
MORE: How Joshua Dobbs led Vikings on game-winning drive vs. Falcons
Joshua Dobbs contract projection 2024
- Years: Two
- Total value: $14.5 million
- AAV: $7.25 million
- Guarantees: $7 million
It’s tough to project Dobbs’ contract in full given that the 2024 NFL Draft class is loaded with quality quarterbacks — and the fact that there are plenty of veteran backups available in free agency.
Nonetheless, it seems likely Dobbs will get a respectable deal. It’s just a matter of whether he will get high-end backup money or low-end starter money. At this point, the former seems likely.
A fair deal for Dobbs would be similar to the one given to Falcons quarterback Taylor Heinicke during the 2023 NFL offseason. Heinicke was awarded a two-year deal worth $14 million to serve as Atlanta’s backup quarterback and insurance behind Desmond Ridder.
Like Dobbs, Heinicke was an afterthought in the NFL for most of his career before he broke out in a 2021 playoff game with the Commanders. From that point on, he served as a backup and a starter in Washington and kept the team competitive enough that he became an established backup.
Dobbs may be a bit better than Heinicke, and that’s part of the reason Spotrac.com assesses his market value at $7.3 million in AAV compared to Heinicke’s mark of $7 million.
Of course, Dobbs might not want to take the biggest contract offered to him. If another team offers him less money but a chance for more playing time, he could opt to pursue that opportunity. He also might be willing to take a slight discount to remain in Minnesota.
Regardless, Dobbs is going to have a chance to significantly increase his $7,424,923 in career earnings. And if all goes well, he might be able to double that total in 2024 alone.