There were plenty of familiar faces, and even some explosive rookies who made their name known during the 2017-18 NFL regular season. Where do some of these athletes stand? We will be ranking the starting QBs as accurately as possible.
This list is based upon who started the majority of the games for each franchise/which QB contributed more to the season. For example, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers will not be ranked, as he only played seven games with the team, and had little to contribute.
32. DeShone Kizer- Cleveland Browns (0-15 as a starter)
The Cleveland Browns have been searching for their QB of the future for quite some time now. Names like Johnny Manziel, Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan all come to mind for quarterbacks that Cleveland has attempted to make their franchise guy. Kizer unfortunately seems to fall under the same category, as the Browns are already seeking to draft a quarterback with an early pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
It seems unfair to call Kizer a bust, as he only really got one year to show what he could do, but he didn’t impress, throwing for double the amount of INTs than TDs (11 TDs to 22 INTs) and only 2,894 yards. With the Browns offseason plans, Kizer is likely to play backup to whoever is the next Cleveland experiment. The former Notre Dame man unfortunately is the “Mr. Irrelevant” of this segment.
31. Trevor Siemian- Denver Broncos (5-5 as a starter)
The Denver Broncos have had obvious struggles coming into the post-Peyton Manning era, and this year, they couldn’t shake off those cobwebs. None of the three quarterbacks showed much promise (Paxton Lynch and Brock Oisweiler included), as the Broncos were unable to put a solid stretch together. Siemian starting a majority of the season and passed for a dismal 12 TDs and 14 INTs, with 2,285 passing yards to go along with it. The Broncos are a team looking at free agency and the draft for an answer at the quarterback position to get them over the hump.
30. Jay Cutler- Miami Dolphins (6-8 as a starter)
Jay Cutler was actually planning to retire after the 2016-17 NFL season in order to take a job with CBS. The Dolphins ultimately put a fork in that plan and signed the former Chicago Bear to a one-year, $12 million deal, as they were in a sticky situation after Ryan Tannehill went down with a torn ACL. The Dolphins were once a playoff threat with Tannehill, and Jay Cutler didn’t deliver as well as fans had hoped. Passing for 19 TDs and 14 INTs and 2,666 yards with two missed games (due to concussion), Cutler wasn’t a great showing in 2017. Whatever Cutler decides to do, he may not receive a ton of offers going into 2018.
29. Mitchell Trubisky- Chicago Bears (4-8 as a starter)
The former Tar Heel was a trade-up pick by the Bears in the 2017 NFL Draft, and had some high expectations for the future. It seems safe to say things didn’t go as planned for year one, as Trubisky passed for 7 TDs to 7 INTs and a soft 2,193 yards for the year. Although the Bears offense is a run-first style, Trubisky was less than impressive in 2017. With the return of Cameron Meredith and the offseason around the corner, Trubisky could have more weapons to pass to, as the sophomore season will be a major year in the Trubisky project.
28. Brett Hundley- Green Bay Packers (3-6 as a starter)
It’s never easy to come in as a backup and fill the shoes of the starter. That situation is even more difficult when your starting QB is Aaron Rodgers. Brett Hundley was what most people expected him to be in relief of the injured Aaron Rodgers, which was less than satisfactory.
During the 2017 season, Hundley passed for 9 TDs and 12 INTs for 1,836 yards. The Packers were stuck in a poor situation, as their whole offense revolved around the Rodgers, and were forced to suddenly trust Hundley. I wouldn’t say his job is at stake, as he is a proven solid backup QB, and with Rodgers coming back in 2018, I’d say that Hundley does not have to fear the unemployment line.
27. Blaine Gabbert- Arizona Cardinals (2-3 as a starter)
After the Carson Palmer injury, the Cardinals found themselves shuffling between backups Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert. I chose to put Gabbert on this list because he seemed to contribute more of the two QBs. Gabbert contributed 6 TDs and 6 INTs and 1,086 yards to the Cardinals eventual 8-8 season.
The job security of Gabbert for next year is extremely questionable, and with the retirements of Carson Palmer and head coach Bruce Arians, Arizona has a great amount of decisions to make this offseason.
26. Jacoby Brissett- Indianapolis Colts (4-11 as a starter)
The former New England Patriots QB Jacoby Brissett was traded right before the season opener, as Andrew Luck’s health status was questionable. Brissett did an average job as the filler for the Colts, as he passed for 13 TDs to 7 INTs and 3,098 yards in 2017. He never exploded or broke out in the regular season, but he brought the Colts to four wins on the year, which was more than expected without Luck. There is optimism surrounding the man out of NC State, he may very well find future openings at quarterback.
25. Jameis Winston- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-10 as a starter)
This was a crucial and heavily anticipated season for third year QB Jameis Winston, many with the expectations of a breakout year. Well, it’s safe to say those expectations were not met, as Winston led the team to just three wins and threw for a rather disappointing 19 TDs, 11 INTs and 3,059 yards. Although the stats weren’t all that poor, he was unable to deliver a serviceable amount of wins. Although all of the blame doesn’t fall at the feet of the 23-year old, he has to work on his intangibles and develop further if he wants to be considered a top QB in this league.
24. Josh McCown- New York Jets (5-8 as a starter)
The Jets QB situation was scary to look at walking into the season, with lots of question marks coming into play. By the halfway point through the season, the New York Jets were actually playing some competitive football. New York was a sneaky team, and McCown put up a serviceable statline before breaking his hand in week 13, as he finished his year with 2,962 yards, 18 TDs, and only 9 INTs to go with it.
Why is he so low you ask? There were plenty of great QBs this year, and he was just serviceable at most. His future is questionable in the NFL, as the journeyman is now 38-years old. If McCown had finished this year, it could have been a career year for the veteran.
23. Deshaun Watson- Houston Texans (3-3 as a starter)
Watson was absolutely balling on the field in his rookie season for the Houston Texans. He was looking like a premier QB, passing for 1,699 yards, 19 TDs and 8 INTs in his six starts. Unfortunately, the promising season for the rookie ended too soon, as he tore his ACL in practice and left Tom Savage and TJ Yates to finish up the season in disappointing fashion. The former Clemson man is bringing a ton of hype into 2018, as he is seeking redemption and an AFC South title.
22. Jimmy Garoppolo- San Francisco 49ers (5-0 as a starter)
If Jimmy Garoppolo had started the full season, he would be much higher on this list. He impressed just about everyone by bringing the 49ers to five straight wins to head into the offseason. I fully expect the 26-year old to get a franchise QB deal from the 49ers, as Garoppolo ultimately finished with 1,560 yards, 7 TDs and 5 INTs. The INT stat is scary at first glance, but I believe that there is plenty of optimism for Tom Brady’s former student.
21. Eli Manning- New York Giants (3-12 as a starter)
Manning was the victim to WR injuries across the board, as well as failure from his head coach. He started all but one game, and led them to just three victories during the regular season, leaving the Giants with the second-worst record in the NFL. Sure, injuries to Brandon Marshall and superstar Odell Beckham Jr. played a huge role in Eli’s struggle, but he still did not play all that well.
For now, the job of Eli Manning seems somewhat secure. The Giants are going to be looking for a QB to take the 36-year old’s job with retirement looming for the two-time Super Bowl MVP.
20. Derek Carr- Oakland Raiders (6-9 as a starter)
Coming off of an MVP Caliber season, Derek Carr had some high expectations for the 2017-18 season. Ultimately, they were not met, as the Raiders QB battled back injuries throughout the season. Carr passed for 22 TDs to 13 INTs with 3,496 yards. The inconsistency of Amari Cooper and the lack of strength in the run game may have been key to Carr’s disappointing regular season.
With new head coach Jon Gruden, Carr could be looking at a future full of success and playoff berths in their new city of Las Vegas. Raiders fans should have little to fear for their team, as I believe they will become top tier AFC West competition.
19. Joe Flacco- Baltimore Ravens (9-7 as a starter)
The Baltimore Ravens season was extremely inconsistent, as they never really seemed to get on a hot streak. Flacco was a key part of why this Ravens season was underwhelming at times. In 2017, Flacco passed for just 18 TDs, 13 INTs and 3,141 yards. The offense just never seemed to click, and Flacco just could not take control of the game. Regardless of what we think, Flacco is under a gigantic cap hit until 2022, so his job appears somewhat safe at the moment.
18. Andy Dalton- Cincinnati Bengals (7-9 as a starter)
The 30-year old Bengals QB wasn’t terrible this year, but emerged as middle of the road with his play. His team still couldn’t hit .500, ending the season with a 7-9 record. A fair amount of this blame could go to the defensive play, but Dalton really needs to kick it into the next gear if he wants to make a push for the competitive AFC North title.
He has proven that he can win the division title if he plays efficiently, but the results showed he wasn’t capable of success in 2017. Dalton passed for 25 TDs to 12 INTs with 3,320 yards to go along with it. These are serviceable numbers, but aren’t enough to be above the midpoint of this list.
17. Dak Prescott- Dallas Cowboys (9-7 as a starter)
The suspension of Ezekiel Elliott played a huge role in the Cowboys sophomore year of the “Dak and Zeke” experiment. The debut year showed tons of promise, as Dallas ended that season with a 13-3 record. In 2017, it showed bleakness, with Elliott suspended for a fair amount of the season, which caused Prescott to struggle.
By the end, Prescott had passed for 22 TDs to 13 INTs with 3,324 yards. The numbers place him in the middle of the pack, but it never seemed like he really stepped up and led this Cowboys team. The 2018 campaign should be an interesting one, as we will see if Prescott can shake this “sophomore slump”.
16. Kirk Cousins- Washington Redskins (7-9 as a starter)
At the midpoint of this list, we have a quarterback who has always seemed to be at the midpoint among his peers. Kirk Cousins isn’t a “bad” QB in any way, but he’s never been that superstar QB that every team is seeking. He was extremely serviceable for the Redskins this year, passing for 27 TDs to 13 INTs and 4,093 yards, and will likely be looking for greener pastures ahead with Alex Smith being traded to the capital.
Teams like Denver, the New York Jets, Arizona and others would be thrilled to have a talent at QB as solid as Cousins, but will he be able to bring a team to the playoffs consistently?
15. Marcus Mariota- Tennessee Titans (9-6 as a starter)
The Titans QB has proven that he is able to get his team to a postseason spot when playing at his best. The former Oregon Duck was able to be the duel threat QB option that the Titans would hope that he would become. Mariota passed for 13 TDs to 15 INTs with 3,232 yards to go, with it while rushing for an additional 312 yards and 5 TDs. If Mariota can work on getting the TD:INT ratio to lean the other way, he will be an elite QB that fans hoped he would become.
14. Matthew Stafford- Detroit Lions (9-7 as a starter)
The Detroit Lions were another fringe playoff team, and a few late season losses really hurt them. As an individual, Matt Stafford really had a productive year. The 29-year old passed for 29 TDs to only 10 INTs with 4,496 yards to go with it. Ultimately, it was the defense that was letting the offense down. Being sacked a total of 47 times, there is only so much a quarterback can do to lead his team to victory.
Stafford is a franchise QB, and if you get him some support, he could potentially take a team to a deep playoff run. With the Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia set to take over as the head coach, Stafford may be entitled to some heavy offseason upgrades that could set Detroit up for another run for the NFC North title.
13. Phillip Rivers- Los Angeles Chargers (9-7 as a starter)
The veteran Phillip Rivers was battling his critics and rumors of regression this season, and looked to prove that he still should be considered a top talent in the NFL. By the end, Rivers passed for 28 TDs to just 10 INTs with 4,505 yards through the air. The Chargers offense seemed to just click for most of the year, and were just barely eliminated from a Wild Card spot in the 2017 NFL Playoffs. I don’t believe Rivers will be replaced, as he has proven to be the best possible option for Los Angeles. With a few offseason moves, this Chargers team could be on the rise.
12. Cam Newton- Carolina Panthers (11-5 as a starter)
After a rather disappointing 2016, Cam Newton responded in persuasive manner, passing for 22 TDs to 16 INTs with 3,302 yards, while adding on 139 rushing yards and 6 TDs. With a banged up team, Carolina still got to the playoffs and were a worthy challenger for the NFC South crown.
Newton was able to provide another franchise QB caliber season, though it was not enough to get past the Wild Card round. With the offseason coming up, this Panthers team should invest in even more weapons for Cam to use.
11. Tyrod Taylor- Buffalo Bills (8-6 as a starter)
With Taylor’s career year, the Buffalo Bills were able to make the playoffs for the first time in the new millennium. There were questions as to if he is “the guy”, and even with Tyrod leading the Bills to a postseason position, the question still stands. Taylor passed for 14 TDs to a league-low 4 INTs with 2,799 yards to go along with it. Their playoff berth was short lived after being ejected by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
I do believe the Bills will be looking in a different direction in the QB department, whether it be in the draft or free agency. I’m sure Taylor will be a prime QB target in trade markets or free agency if the front office elects to move on from him. Either way, Taylor is a premier QB when healthy.
10. Case Keenum- Minnesota Vikings (11-3 as a starter)
Keenum came in as the backup to Sam Bradford and was not expected to be the full time leader for this team, but carried the franchise to the #2 seed in the NFC. Tossing for 3,547 yards with 22 TDs to only 7 INTs on the year, Keenum proved to become borderline elite. The journeyman proved his worth this season, giving the Vikings a quarterback they could ultimately rely on. Stuck in a contract year during 2017, Keenum’s future is uncertain on whether he will be the starter for the Vikings in 2018.
9. Ben Roethlisberger- Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3 as a starter)
Entering the 2017 season, there was speculation as to Big Ben returning to football at the age of 35. The two-time Super Bowl winner did in fact return, and led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a twelve wins and the 2nd seed in the AFC. Although, he has seemed to have battled regression this season, passing for 28 TDs to 14 INTs and 4,251 yards. Although his numbers are great in comparison to others, the career of Roethlisberger is in the twilight stages.
It’s difficult to tell what Roethlisberger’s future is with the team, as retirement looms. The six-time Pro Bowler is one of the most respected QBs in the league and will go down as a Hall of Fame player down the road.
8. Blake Bortles- Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6 as a starter)
Bortles finally had the breakout year that everyone had been waiting for since he came into the league. The Jacksonville QB passed for 21 TDs and 13 INTs, leading the Jaguars to a trip to the AFC title game against the New England Patriots. Although they didn’t win, that game showed promise of stability. The Jaguars front office has openly stated they are committed to Blake Bortles, so his job will be secure heading into 2018, where the grass is only getting greener.
7. Matt Ryan- Atlanta Falcons (10-6 as a starter)
After a great season in 2016, former MVP Matt Ryan was not as great as what most had hoped, throwing for 20 TDs to 12 INTs and 4,095 yards. Leading the Falcons to the playoffs was not something that was in question entering the 2017 season, but only becoming the sixth seed? This was a very questionable campaign for Ryan, but he was an above-average player. Atlanta was the hottest teams in the NFC in 2016, and while the sparks were simmering down, they were still apparent in 2017.
6. Jared Goff- Los Angeles Rams (11-4 as a starter)
Sophomore Jared Goff made a gigantic improvement in 2017, leading the Rams to a #3 seed in the NFC in only their second year in Los Angeles. The former #1 pick is a strong candidate for the Most Improved Player, as many wrote the 23-year old off as a bust after his rookie season.
The former Golden Bear played alongside an MVP candidate in Todd Gurley, which made this offense electric. The job of Goff is more than secure, but the expectations are skyrocketing for the quarterback in 2018.
5. Alex Smith- Kansas City Chiefs (9-6 as a starter)
The Kansas City Chiefs started their season very convincingly, beating the New England Patriots at home in convincing fashion. From there, the team continued to go 6-3 to enter the bye week, and were then flattened in three straight losses. The 33-year old played a career season, passing for 26 TDs to 5 INTs for 4,042 yards. The newest member of the Washington Redskins will hope to carry over this momentum to head into his age 34 season. With a four-year extension, his job is safe, as he will hope to remain competitive in the NFC East.
4. Drew Brees- New Orleans Saints (11-5 as a starter)
Drew Brees has consistently been a top five QB, regardless of postseason play or elimination. This year, he finally got the NFC South crown to go along with his top tier regular season play. The future Hall of Famer passed for 23 TDs to just 8 INTs and 4,334 yards. He showed very little sign of regression, and has high hopes for an extension with New Orleans. All in all, Brees seems content with the situation that was provided for him.
3. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks (9-7 as a starter)
Although missing playoff contention, 29-year old Russell Wilson had a career year statistically. The former Super Bowl champion passed for 34 TDs to 11 INTs with 3,983 yards through the air. With a weak offensive line allowing 43 sacks, Wilson wasn’t given dealt a fair hand. His future with Seattle isn’t in jeopardy, and with a big offseason, this Seahawks team is looking ready for another Super Bowl push in 2018.
2. Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles (11-2 as a starter)
Carson Wentz took the league by storm in the 2017 regular season, making a strong case for the NFL MVP award. He was able to secure the Eagles the #1 seed in the NFC before unfortunately tearing his ACL in week 15. His contributions includes 33 TDs to just 7 INTs, which is a staggering TD:INT ratio. Wentz is shaping to be one of the best players in the NFL, but with a torn ACL, it was difficult to hand him the NFL MVP. I’m sure Wentz will be anxiously awaiting a return after a Super Bowl win against the New England Patriots.
1. Tom Brady- New England Patriots (13-3 as a starter)
2017 MVP Award winner Tom Brady is once again proving to us that age is just a number, as he continues to succeed at the age of 40. Although suffering a Super Bowl loss, this past season shows that Brady can still get the job done as well as anybody in the league. Brady finished the 2017 regular season with 32 TDs, 8 INTs and 4,577 passing yards.
Brady continues to show no signs of regression, whole just about everyone around the league is asking the same question: “How much longer can Tom Brady go?”