Folks, it’s a hot summer day and the dog days of summer are catching up with me. We’re just about a week away from one of the best days on the American calendar, the Fourth of July, and I’m starting to get that itch for football. I’m tired of June news (news that wouldn’t be news during the season but since there’s nothing else going on, it’s news). I’m tired of hearing about the coronavirus. I am sick of seeing Big J’s actively rooting against football season happening.
I wanted to make a piece of content that would unite us and not divide us so I decided that today I wanted to make a top 40 quarterback list that surely EVERYONE is bound to agree on because it’ll be perfect. I figured that if noted idiot Chris Simms could make a list and put Cam Newton (who got replaced by a career backup in Teddy Bridgewater) at number ten for this year then I can make a list that’s 1000x better.
I will break my list down in tiers and have rankings within those tiers. The following tiers will be used to rank quarterbacks: Elite, 2nd Tier Elite, Solid Franchise Quarterback, Young QBs I Like, Game Managers, Too Soon to Tell, Journeymen/Backups, and Get a New QB.
It’s simple, really. Let’s get to the list. Keep in mind that this is based off of CURRENT rankings and not historical rankings.
The best of the best! These five quarterbacks have the ability to carry their teams to the playoffs each and every season.
- Patrick Mahomes- Duh.
- Russell Wilson- He consistently carries mediocre teams to the playoffs with little weapons and stupid coaching that appears to openly reject analytics. He also accounted for the most of his team’s yards last season per our interview with Jameis1of1.
- DeShaun Watson- Bill O’Brien as a General Manager has tried to sabotage this man’s career and I simply won’t stand for it. Watson deserves better and I hope he goes to a team that will try and not turn him into the next Andrew Luck.
- Matt Ryan- Don’t let the fact that Matt Ryan and co. blew Super Bowl 51 distract you from the fact that he’s a top 5 quarterback in the NFL. If you take away his best season (his MVP season) and his worst season (his rookie season), he averages 26.7 touchdowns per season, 4280.2 yards per season, and 12.9 interceptions per season. Who wouldn’t sign up for that?
- Aaron Rodgers- Aaron Rodgers had a “down” season last year with 4002 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. For his standards, his numbers were definitely down. I don’t think the system that Matt LaFleur is running in Green Bay is a system built to Rodgers’s strengths which is absolutely stupid to me. You could legitimately get 3-5 more solid seasons out of Rodgers but Matt LaFleur is a dummy and wants his guys to fit his system instead of building his system around his guys. I think this will be Aaron’s last season in Green Bay with Jordan Love waiting in the wings.
2nd Tier Elite
I shouldn’t have to talk myself into putting a guy into a category so there are only three quarterbacks in this tier.
6. Matthew Stafford- Again, many people will say that this is too high but Matthew Stafford is literally the only reason why the Lions have been remotely relevant over the past decade. If you take out his best season in which he played 16 games (2011) and worst season in which he played 16 games (2018) he averages (in the other six seasons where he played all 16 games) 26 touchdowns per game, 4484 yards, and 13.5 interceptions per year. That’s absolutely incredible and if he was on a team that wasn’t run as poorly as the Lions he’d have won an MVP by now.
7. Lamar Jackson- Listen, I wasn’t a believer in Lamar Jackson. I openly admit that I didn’t think he could play quarterback in the NFL. His numbers last year were insane, particularly his unsustainable 9% touchdown percentage last season (the league average is half of that at 4.5%). Everything regresses to the mean and he’s due for some regression next season. It will be interesting to see where he ends up in a few years because he simply won’t sustain his production from last year.
8. Tom Brady- It’s no secret that Brady had a down year last year but you could attribute a lot of that to the lack of weapons that he had in New England last season. I think he will be rejuvenated with Bruce Arians this year and the Bucs will switch their offense up to something similar to what the good New England teams used to do. He has excellent weapons in Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, OJ Howard, Cameron Brate, and a familiar face in former WWE star Rob Gronkowski. I don’t know how much arm talent Brady still has but as long as he’s efficient then they’re going to be scary.
Solid Franchise Quarterback
When you have a solid franchise quarterback it means that your team can consistently win with these guys and they have the ability to carry their team if they have to.
9. Kirk Cousins- I will definitely catch some heat for this but when it comes down to it, I’ll easily put Kirk Cousins here. In his five seasons as a full time starting quarterback he’s never thrown for less than 25 touchdown passes, more than 13 interceptions, and he’s thrown for less than 4000 yards just once which was last season where Mike Zimmer virtually neutered him. The Vikings will be at their best if they just let Kirk be Kirk. Yes, he’s going to make some dumb throws sometimes but he also has one of the prettiest deep balls in football and there’s not a throw that he can’t make.
10. Carson Wentz- Obviously Wentz has some big durability issues and that’s what is keeping him from being higher on this list. Eagles fans tend to not ever appreciate their quarterbacks. They had a great quarterback in Donovan McNabb for years and never respected him. They have a great player in Carson Wentz now and they prefer Foles because he caught lightning in a bottle once. There’s undoubtedly some Eagles fans who want Jalen Hurts to start right away. The bottom line is that when Wentz is healthy he’s easily a 4000 yard/25 touchdown/~10 interception quarterback which means he’s a franchise quarterback in my book.
11. Drew Brees- It’s no secret that Drew Brees has lost some arm strength over the past few seasons. The good news for him is that he plays in an offense where he just has to throw slants to Michael Thomas all day and there’s nobody better at doing that than him. I mean Teddy Bridgewater looked semi-decent last season in this Saints offense so it’s clear that Sean Payton’s system is one of the most quarterback friendly systems in the NFL.
12. Jameis Winston- Speaking of Saints quarterbacks, we have our first shocker of the day. It’s no secret that I’m a big Jameis Winston stan. I honestly think that he’s a more talented quarterback than Brees is at this point but Brees is just so good in that system that it’s the known vs. the unknown. It’s floor vs. ceiling. Mark my words, Winston will take over for Brees after he retires this season and put up top 10 quarterback numbers in New Orleans for the next decade.
The bottom line is that if he throws for 15 interceptions last season instead of 30 then he’s still the Bucs starting quarterback and he had one of the best seasons ever. With a new pair of eyes and a year of learning under Sean Payton, the sky’s the limit for Winston’s future.
Check out our interview with Jameis1of1 here.
13. Kyler Murray- Like Kyler Murray, the sample size for determining this ranking is small but I saw enough last season to warrant putting him this high on this list. He’s the perfect scheme fit for what Kliff Kingsbury is trying to do. He has a cannon for an arm. He also should be much better in this coming season considering I watched him run himself into sacks last season a bunch of times due to lack of awareness. That will get better in time. Murray will get better in time. He should be in the top ten a year from now.
14. Philip Rivers- Rivers always puts up good numbers but it seems like he always throws the most untimely interceptions. It’s been clockwork for the past fifteen NFL seasons or so. Close your eyes, you’re watching Red Zone in the late afternoon window and- BAM- Phil Rivers throws a crippling interception that blows a game. That’s his achilles heel. That’s his downfall.
When you look at his numbers after taking out his best season as a starter (2010) and his worst season as a starter (2007) he throws for an average of 4271.75 yards, 28.75 touchdowns, and 14.08 interceptions per season. That’s pretty darn good. It’s hard to see him not have good numbers with Frank Reich’s quarterback friendly system this year.
15. Dak Prescott- Cowboys fans aren’t going to like this but I’ve got a tough truth for you all to hear: Aside from last season, Dak Prescott is incredibly average. His first three seasons are nearly identical and his three season average for those first three seasons is 3625.33 yards, 22.33 touchdowns, and 8.33 interceptions. That SCREAMS game manager. The biggest question about Dak is whether his 4902 yard, 30 touchdown, and 11 interception season last season is an outlier or not. I think we all know the answer to that because if it wasn’t an outlier then he’d already be paid. We will know for sure after this next season.
16. Ben Roethlisberger- Forgive me, but I’m not extremely bullish on a 38 year old quarterback coming back after suffering a severe elbow injury on his throwing arm. That being said, if he can recapture any of the form that he had in 2018 where he threw for 5129 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions then he will be in the top half of quarterbacks in 2020. I just don’t see it happening at this point and I think the Steelers need to start getting ready to move on.
17. Jared Goff- I know I said I wouldn’t talk myself into putting anyone into a tier that I didn’t believe that they should be in but here I am doing it with Jared Goff. There’s no way around it: He was rubbish last season. He held the Rams back dramatically last year. His yards per attempt dropped a full yard from 2018 down to 7.4 YPA. He threw the ball 65 more times last season and had less passing yards than in 2018. His touchdown percentage was just 3.5%.
Remember how I said with Lamar Jackson that everything regresses to the mean? I think that in the case of Jared Goff, things will go back up closer to the mean next season. His touchdown percentage should go up. His YPA should go up. He should have a better season. Goff has never really passed the eye test to me due to the fact that I don’t think he processes the game well but he does have the ability to make all of the throws and he’s got a hell of a coach.
Young Quarterbacks That I Like
I am putting these quarterbacks above the game managers because I feel as if they have the potential to play better than the game managers do this season.
18. Josh Allen- Though he was voted America’s Best Quarterback by Bills Mafia on the 366 Sports Facebook page, I’m not as high on Josh Allen as Bills fans are. Contrary to popular belief, I do like Josh Allen. There’s a certain magic about him when he plays. He can certainly throw the ball a mile and a half. That being said, there are also some moments where he completely forgets how to throw a football accurately. He needs to clean that up but I’m not sure if that’s something you can clean up. I’m rooting for Allen, though, because he is fun to watch. This coming season will be huge for him.
19. Daniel Jones- I didn’t like the Jones pick for the Giants at all but last season in a really terrible system with really horrible coaches he looked good and made me eat my words. Jones has more than enough arm strength and he is athletic enough to make plays outside of the pocket. He needs to work on his ball security heading into year two but he did enough in his first year to warrant a spot on this list.
20. Baker Mayfield- This was a tough one. I wasn’t sure whether to put Baker Mayfield in this list or the “too soon to tell” list but I decided to put him here. He was absolutely dreadful last season and there’s no denying it. That being said, he looked incredible during his rookie season so it’s a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde situation at this point. When it comes down to it, I’m betting on Mayfield to have a better year three with an improved offensive line and a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. If I’m wrong, I’ll likely just turn into the next Cowherd and bash Baker forever.
These are quarterbacks who don’t carry their teams but won’t get in the way of their team’s success most of the time.
21. Ryan Tannehill- Ryan Tannehill is another tough quarterback to evaluate based on last season but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he completely played above his skill level last season. His YPA was 9.6 which was a 2.6 YPA increase from his average in Miami. His touchdown percentage was 7.7% which will almost certainly go down around 3 percentage points next season. He also had a running back that averaged 5.1 YPC last year which made his life incredibly easy.
What Tannehill does for the Titans may work for the Titans but I don’t think it would work in many other places. He just has to manage the game there. I really don’t think that Ryan Tannehill has the ability to carry a team to the playoffs, let alone a Super Bowl, but he can easily be a passenger on that journey.
22. Jimmy Garoppolo- I’d like to apologize to Kaleb of 366 Sports who is in love with Jimmy Garoppolo but Jimmy G is a game manager. He’s a difficult quarterback to evaluate since he’s never played a full season up until last year but he just didn’t have it. His statline of 3978/27/13 looked misleading to me and I see a guy who the Niners won in spite of last season and not because of. Similar to Ryan Tannehill, the Niners can win games with him but he will never carry the team.
23. Derek Carr- Has anyone ever shopped at Aldi? It’s a discount grocery store that sells brands just like this:
Does it look like the real thing? Yes. Is it branded like the real thing? Definitely. But when it comes down to it, it’s just copyright infringement that tastes like fraud. That’s what it’s like watching Derek Carr play quarterback. He isn’t it. The Raiders will never win because of him and they’ll always just win in spite of him if they do ever start winning again.
Too Soon to Tell
This category is pretty self explanatory. We simply don’t know if these quarterbacks are going to be good yet.
24. Joe Burrow- I love Joe Burrow but I’m putting all rookies/first year starters on this list.
25. Sam Darnold- I’m really hoping that Sam Darnold is going to have a career year in 2020 because I loved him coming out of college but my gut tells me that Adam Gase is going to absolutely destroy Sam Darnold. It’s a really sad site to see. I’m pulling for Sam.
26. Justin Herbert- Herbert was my QB2 in the 2020 Draft and I think he’s got a bright future.
27. Tua Tagovailoa- Tua would have been my QB2 in the 2020 Draft if he wasn’t fragile. I hope he can stay healthy.
28. Drew Lock- I was not a Lock fan at all when he came out of college in 2019 but he looked good in limited action last season. The Broncos are a playoff team on paper this year. If Lock is a good quarterback then he will easily lead them there.
29. Gardner Minshew- There was definitely a lot to like about Minshew’s rookie season. The Jags have one of the worst rosters in the NFL this year so I think it’s going to be difficult for him, unfortunately.
30. Dwayne Haskins- I loved Haskins coming out of college so I was incredibly disappointed to see him completely suck last season. We will see how he fares with a new system in Washington this year.
31. Jarrett Stidham- We’re about to test the theory of Bill Belichick being able to win with a wet paper bag at quarterback.
32. Tyrod Taylor- No quarterback is more disrespected than Tyrod Taylor throughout the course of his career. Is he the greatest thing since sliced bread? No. But in an ideal circumstance he can absolutely be a game manager. He’s not going to
33. Marcus Mariota- Will Marcus Mariota end up Ryan Tannehilling Raiders quarterback Derek Carr? My gut tells me at some point he will get the opportunity to. My brain tells me that he will certainly squander the opportunity because he’s not a good quarterback. His stats are miserable and he doesn’t pop when you watch him on tape either. He screams career backup.
34. Ryan Fitzpatrick- Ryan Fitzpatrick is the definition of a Journeyman. He’s played for eight teams and he’s only stayed in the same city longer than two years on one occasion and that was when he spent four years in Buffalo.
35. Andy Dalton- Andy Dalton was never as bad as people made him out to be and he will be a quality backup for years to come.
36. Nick Foles- Heroes get remembered but legends never die. You can’t write the story of the NFL without including Nick Foles in that story. He will always be a legend in Philadelphia but when he’s not playing in the unfriendly confines of the City of Brotherly Love then he is a backup quarterback at best. Let’s just call him what he is: A legend who caught lightning in a bottle once.
37. Teddy Bridgewater- Ahh, Teddy Bridgewater. He’s the quarterback who everyone romanticizes based on what he could have been and not what he is. As Matt always says, he’s the JFK of QB’s. Could Teddy Bridgewater have been great? Based on his stats his first two years where he averaged 3075 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 10.5 interceptions, no. But fans and team executives will remember that he was a first round pick and say “he could have been great if he didn’t blow out his knee” and romanticize him.
At the end of the day, Bridgewater is a backup quarterback who has a feel good story. I’m happy for him that he got paid but his tenure in Carolina is going to be a disaster.
38. Case Keenum-Remember 2017 Case Keenum? That was fun.
38. Brian Hoyer-Career backup.
39. Matt Moore-Career backup.
Get a New Quarterback
40. Mitchell Trubisky- Trubisky gets his own category because he’s that bad. The fact that a team took this obvious trash bag with the second overall pick is the most comical draft choices that has ever happened in football history.