Where Will They Be?
Just under a month after the 2019 NFL Draft, each team seems to have their QB situation locked down for the upcoming season. In this article, we will be rating how likely each team is to move on from their starting quarterback in the next few years. This article will be ranking solely the starting quarterbacks, so the quarterbacks that just recently got drafted and are expected to start the year on the bench, including Drew Lock or Daniel Jones, are excluded.
Tier 1: Ice Cold
Kyler Murray (ARI)
Expectedly, any player taken with the first overall pick is given an enormous amount of leeway. Hell, Jamarcus Russel made it three seasons with the Oakland Raiders before they realized he hadn’t read a playbook since his days at LSU. The reigning Heisman winner seems to break the mold of quarterbacking, as he has the arm of a pocket passer and the mobility of a running back. With the full confidence of Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury and GM Steve Keim, Murray appears to be the guy for a long time.
Patrick Mahomes (KC)
A man who needs no introduction after his MVP season, it’s still astounding to think that he’s only going into his second season as a starter. With it appearing the Tyreek Hill is facing a lengthy suspension at the bare minimum, it will be interesting to see how Mahomes functions without his top tier deep threat. However, as long as Mahomes remains the signal caller and Andy Reid remains the play caller in KC, the offense can be expected to remain elite scoring machine in 2019 as the team attempts to get their first Super Bowl since 1970.
Baker Mayfield (CLE)
Despite being one of the most enigmatic figures in American sports, the one thing that both his fans and detractors can agree on is that this kid is damn good. With the additions of Odell Beckham Jr and Kareem Hunt, this roster looks like it has the potential to set NFL records. The only worry is how the Freddie Kitchens transitions from interim offensive coordinator to head coach, but if the end of last season is any indication, Browns football is back.
Andrew Luck (IND)
Many people had doubts that Andrew Luck would be able to return from the shoulder injury that cost him the whole 2017 season, let alone put up a career year. Luck proved them wrong. After intense investment in the offensive line in the 2018 offseason, Luck was able to stay upright and pick up right where he left off. While the Colts had a somewhat quiet offseason despite having over $100 million in cap space, there is no doubt that Luck and the Colts are the team to beat in the AFC South.
Deshaun Watson (HOU)
The man known as the “dragon slayer” of college football, Watson has certainly shown that he can transition his game into the pro levels. Despite having a porous offensive line that allowed the most sacks in 2018, Deshaun Watson still shined with 4,165 yards and a 26:9 TD to interception ratio while leading the team to a playoff berth. Watson will become a staple of the franchise in no time and should have all the Texans QB records by the age of 30.
Sam Darnold (NYJ)
Despite a lacking overall team performance in 2018, Darnold was not a major reason for Jets gaining the 3rd overall pick in 2019 the UCLA product showed flashes of brilliance, resilience, and leadership that prove that he has all the tools to be a franchise guy. With the free agent additions of Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder, and Kelechi Osemele, it appears that 2019 has the potential to be a breakout year for Darnold.
Josh Allen (BUF)
The highlight play of the 2018 season was undoubtedly Josh Allen hurdling over 6’5” 250 lb. Anthony Barr in the process of making the Vikings bend the knee to house Buffalo. While Josh Allen had a rollercoaster of a rookie season, he appeared to be much more intelligent in his decision making skills once he returned from his elbow injury. As the face of the Bills franchise, Allen will look to improve on his rookie season with a revamped offensive line and receiver core.
Russell Wilson (SEA)
As the newly minted highest paid quarterback in the NFL, Wilson certainly has the backing of the Seahawks front office. While Wilson might not be asked to pass as much as other quarterbacks, he has proven his efficiency in those limited opportunities. Wilson will be looking to lead a young Seahawks offense into relevance after the retirement of his preferred option Doug Baldwin, but Wilson will prove to be a difference maker on the wildcard of the NFCW.
Tier 2: Pretty Cool
Cam Newton (CAR)
The former first overall pick out of Auburn has been lighting up the league and running all over defenses since his rookie season. Similar to Kyler Murray, Newton has the arm to make any throw and the legs to make any defense regret not containing him. Unlike Murray, Newton is 6’5” and 250 lbs. of pure muscle. While Newton is certainly a top 10 quarterback in the league, his current shoulder injury added to the violent rushing style he utilizes might lower his lifespan in the league.
Matt Ryan (ATL)
Many people were calling for Matt Ryan’s head during 2018, in which the team missed out on the playoffs and ended with a 7-9 record. However, much of that was caused by a defense that was eviscerated by injuries. In all actuality, Ryan was only 20 yards and 3 touchdowns shy of matching his 2016 MVP season. Ryan still has it, but given that he turned 34 in May the team may start its search for an heir apparent sooner rather than later.
Jared Goff (LAR)
While Jared Goff may have been embarrassed in Super Bowl 53, the blame doesn’t rely exclusively on him and he wouldn’t be the first quarterback to be shut down by a Belichick defense. He still put up MVP caliber numbers on an electric offense while leading his team to the Super Bowl. The only struggle with Goff becomes an issue of how much does he specifically contribute? With McVay as the mastermind of the offense and elite skill position players surrounding him, the team may feel that grabbing a transcendent prospect would elevate them to becoming annual Super Bowl favorite.
Dak Prescott (DAL)
While Jerry Jones has made his desire to extend the Cowboys signal caller, the biggest question facing the franchise will be the price. In a QB market that increasingly one ups the previously highest paid passer, the Cowboys might be pressed to beat out the $35 million per year that Russell Wilson is making. While Dak showed enormous improvement in 2018 with the addition of Amari Cooper, he will either have to prove to the front office that he deserves to be considered with that caliber of player or he will have to embrace a lower paycheck.
Lamar Jackson (BAL)
Seen as a successor to the Michael Vick style of quarterback play, Lamar Jackson lived up to the hype in his rookie season. Despite starting less than half the season, the former Heisman winner threw for 1201 yards and 6 touchdowns while rushing for 695 yards and another 5 touchdowns. While his dominance as a rusher is proven, he needs to improve immensely as a passer to hope to last in the league.
Mitchell Trubisky (CHI)
Trubisky has shown that he can certainly lead the Bears to wins, as shown by his exceptional game against Tampa last season. However, his inconsistency will continue to hinder Chicago from their true potential until he learns to stabilize his play. In debatably the harshest division in football, Trubisky simply cannot have poor games. Hopefully another year under the Nagy system will allow Trubisky to flourish, but if not then his seat will start to warm up.
Matthew Stafford (DET)
Stafford has proven throughout his career that he is one of the top tier gunslingers in the league that is capable of excelling with any supporting cast. However, it appears that Matt Patricia is shifting the offensive identity of the Lions into a heavier running option, with Kerryon Johnson and C.J. Anderson set to feast in 2019. Stafford struggled mightily in 2018 under this new system, but a healthy Marvin Jones and a more experienced Kenny Golladay should bring the old Matthew Stafford out.
Nick Foles (JAX)
Philadelphia legend and perpetual enigma Nick Foles should be enough to elevate a Jacksonville Jaguars team that was a play away from a Super Bowl Berth in 2017. Foles has shown that he can be the man to get the job done, as he proved against the Patriots of all teams. The only issues surrounding Foles are his streaky nature as a player and the potential of Jacksonville using a high draft pick to grab an elite prospect. All things considered, pencil in Big Dick Nick as the starter for at least the next two years.
Tier 3: Lukewarm
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF)
Jimmy G has shown flashes of greatness throughout his career, but those moments of greatness have come in a heavily limited sample size. For reference, Jimmy G has started fewer games in his career than any of the 2018 first round quarterbacks, minus Lamar Jackson. While most of those other players are barely old enough to drink, Jimmy G is 27. The 49ers broke the bank to sign someone who has yet to break 3,000 passing yards. If Garoppolo can become the player the franchise envisioned, he would absolutely be a top 10 talent, but the jury is still out and we need to see a full season before we can reach any conclusion.
Carson Wentz (PHI)
Once thought of as the future face of the NFL and an MVP lock, it’s been a couple rough seasons for Wentz. Despite the Eagles making the playoffs each of the last two seasons, Wentz has not started a playoff game in his career. He is undoubtedly a top tier talent, but the fact that he has only played a full season once is a cause for worry. The next few years are going to be vital for him to prove his longevity, as if he can’t finish out a season no team will give him the big contract his talent deserves.
Andy Dalton (CIN)
Andy Dalton is a curious figure in the football world. He fills a void left by Alex Smith as someone who is skilled enough to win games, but not skilled enough to win championships. While the Bengals passing on Dwayne Haskins for Jonah Williams shows that they aim to give Dalton the best chances for success. If Dalton cannot make the best of this opportunity, then his days in Cincinnati are certainly numbered. If he were to leave the Bengals many teams would embrace him as a high end backup, if not a mid-level starter.
Kirk Cousins (MIN)
While Kirk Cousins is certainly guaranteed to play out the rest of his contract in Minnesota due to the entirety of his 3 year/ 87 million dollar deal being guaranteed, the future after that is much more uncertain. Cousins specifically created this situation with his contract in order to allow him to cash in off of one more free agency before he ages out of the NFL. Cousins will be 31 in August, and is a good enough mercenary at QB to lead a good team to the playoffs.
Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Potentially the most surprising addition to this list, Rodgers certainly has shown that he has the potential to be the best quarterback in the league. In different circumstances, Rodgers may even be in the conversation as the GOAT. These last few years have been rough on him, however. He only played in 7 games in 2017 and was chronically plagued with injuries in 2018, but did not miss a start. As Rodgers heads into his age 35 season, one has to wonder whether Green Bay questions his durability and drafts his successor early, a la Brett Favre.
Josh Rosen (MIA)
As the unfortunate victim in the front office incompetency in Arizona, Rosen was dealt to Miami for a 2nd round pick in 2019 and a 5th round pick in 2020. His situation in Arizona was a dead zone for success, with a porous offensive line, horrific play-calling, and abysmal injury luck. Rosen certainly was not without blame, but was not the largest factor in the Cardinals getting the 1st overall pick. In Miami, Rosen sees a strong chance to supplant Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter to open the season. Unfortunately, Miami appears to be a strong contender for a top 5 pick in 2020, and the front office has made it no secret that Rosen is not guaranteed to be the long term starter.
Tier 4: The Retirement League
This tier deserves a slight disclaimer. All of these quarterbacks are spectacularly talented and in contention for induction to the HOF. It simply felt odd to say that their spots on the team are in danger, so they were given a different tier, as their time with the team will almost certainly be up when they say it is up.
Tom Brady (NE)
What else can be said about Tom Brady? We’ve seen him put up ungodly stats, win every accolade possible, and defy the laws of time. The only question at this point is when will Brady end his reign of terror on the NFL? When, or if, he decides to retire, Tom Brady will join the ranks of Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky as an unquestioned GOAT of sports.
Drew Brees (NO)
If Drew Brees would have come into the league 10 years earlier or 10 years later, there is little doubt that he would be in prime contention to be known as the GOAT. Unfortunately, he has had to go up against two of the best to ever do it in Brady and Peyton Manning for his entire career. He has also had to deal with a porous defense at times, but as New Orleans appears to be a Super Bowl contender, Brees might decide to hang them up if he gets another ring.
Philip Rivers (LAC)
Phillip Rivers may not have a ring, but he certainly has shown that he is one of the top quarterbacks of this era. He may not be the strongest, the fastest, or the most accurate, but Rivers is certainly the toughest motherfucker on the field at any given time. Many fans do not remember this, but Rivers played the 2007 AFCCG against the Patriots with a torn ACL, displaying that he might just be the craziest and gutsiest player in the league. The Chargers appear to be in contention to make the Super Bowl, and nothing would make Rivers riding into the sunset better than to do it with his first ring.
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
While this offseason has been plagued by the soap opera “Days of Our Steelers”, it is undeniable that Big Ben has been a pivotal QB for this era. He has shown time and time again that he is one of the top quarterbacks in the AFC, and might have made deeper playoff pushes if it weren’t for Tom Brady. While it doesn’t appear that Pittsburgh is necessarily in contention to go all the way this year, Big Ben needs no more accolades for a HOF career. One more ring would just be icing on the cake.
Eli Manning (NYG)
Eli Manning is a complete enigma at the quarterback position. Despite having never put up a statistically magnificent season, he was the key influence in upsetting the greatest dynasty in sports on two separate occasions. Breaking up the Patriots perfect season might be one of the most impressive feats any modern player has accomplished, and Eli and the Giants were able to pull it out. While Eli may never be able to get out from the shadow of Peyton, he certainly has an outside shot to make the HOF down the line.
Tier 5: Blistering Hot
Marcus Mariota (TEN)
It is actually painful to put Marcus Mariota in this position. He is a genuinely likeable guy, is tough as can be, and has proven to have the clutch gene. Hell, even after what he did to my Chiefs in the playoffs it still saddens me to put him here. Unfortunately, Mariota has never been able to piece together a full season. Coming off of a 11/8 TD:INT ratio with 2,528 yards passing in 14 games, Mariota has to prove that he can make the next step as well as stay healthy in 2019, otherwise the Titans would be wise to draft his replacement.
Jameis Winston (TB)
Much like with his fellow 2014 draftee Mariota, consistency is a key issue for Famous Jameis. He has proven to have the Brett Favre gunslinger trait engrained in his spirit, but this is resulted in an excessive amount of turnovers. New Bucs head coach Bruce Arians relies heavily on a ball control style in which time of possession is key to victory, which won’t bode well with turnovers every other drive. If Winston wants to remain a Buccaneer in 2020, he must prove that he can maintain possession and be secure with the ball, as well as not making idiotic decisions off the field that affect the team.
Derek Carr (OAK)
While Jon Grudens madhouse of a 2019 draft didn’t result in a competitor to Carr for the starting position, he will absolutely have to prove himself this year. In 2018 Carr had virtually no receivers or run game, and a relatively weak offensive line. These problems have mostly been fixed in free agency and the draft, leaving Carr with very little excuses remaining to not put up. Carr will have to immensely improve in the next season for the team to not draft his replacement in 2020.
Joe Flacco (DEN)
After the first round of the 2019 NFL draft, in which the Denver Broncos passed on a quarterback at pick 10 and pick 20, many people believed that the Broncos were actually fully committed to Joe Flacco for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately for Flacco, the Broncos selection of Drew Lock with the 41st pick sealed in his fate as a stopgap mentor to the future of the franchise. If Flacco plays lights out like he did in the Ravens Super Bowl run, he might create a QB controversy in Denver. Unless that happens, he will be looking for a new job within the next 3 years.
Case Keenum (WAS)
After the selection of Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, it became very clear what the game plan for Keenum was. He will be expected to mentor the rookie QB, and start while the rookie adjusts to the speed of the game. However, Keenum is arguably the weakest starting quarterback in the league at the moment, and it isn’t even a guarantee that he enters the season as the starter. Fortunately for Keenum, he has proven enough to be seen as a top tier backup quarterback and will be in heavy demand in free agency.