It is time to play America’s favorite game, the NFL QB Carousel. Every year, teams across the league are in dire need of better quarterback play. This year it feels worse than ever. Let’s take a deeper dive into the quarterback landscape and see what teams will find their answer at the position and what teams will be out in the cold.
TOP OF THE LINE: (The quarterbacks who are guaranteed to return)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs: The best quarterback on planet earth will remain a Kansas City Chief.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills: Allen just signed a long-term extension to remain in Buffalo long-term.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray should be the next-in-line for a contract extension. Murray will be the Cardinals’ quarterback for the better part of a decade.
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals: Burrow has looked every bit the #1 overall pick the Cincinnati Bengals invested.
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers: Herbert is off to a record-setting beginning to his young career. Justin Herbert will be one of the quarterbacks in line for a massive contract extension.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott could be the Comeback Player of the Year. Prescott has had his struggles as of late, but after he signed the massive extension in the off-season Dak is staying in ‘Big D.’
Mac Jones, New England Patriots: The Patriots waited patiently for Mac Jones to fall into their laps, and they may have gotten the best of the bunch.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson had an injury-riddled 2021 where he regressed as a passer. That said, Jackson isn’t going anywhere in 2022 and will remain the Ravens quarterback.
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams: Matthew Stafford may not be the quarterback he once was. The Rams didn’t deal two 1st round picks to acquire him not to let Stafford play out the remainder of his career in Los Angeles.
Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts: The Colts traded their 2022 1st round pick to acquire Carson Wentz. Wentz has his limitations, but he helped lead them to the playoffs. Wentz is the Colts’ starter for the foreseeable future.
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars: The #1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft had his struggles this season. With the chaos that was going on in Jacksonville, some of this is excusable. Regardless, the plan is to build around Trevor Lawrence, not replace him.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans: It wasn’t always pretty, but Tannehill navigated the Titans to the top seed in the AFC despite injuries to Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and Julio Jones.
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders: Over the years, there have been rumors that the Raiders would look to move on from Derek Carr. You don’t hear much about that any longer. If anything, you hear are that the Raiders would like to extend Derek Carr. I don’t see a scenario where Derek Carr is not under center for Las Vegas in 2022.
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears: 2021 was a rough rookie season for Justin Fields. A new coaching staff and renewed optimism should go a long way in his development in 2022 and beyond.
Trey Lance/Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers: We expect Trey Lance to take over the reins in 2022. Don’t count Jimmy Garoppolo out quite yet. One of these two will be starting for the 2022 49ers and we’ll know by Spring.
Zach Wilson, New York Jets: Say what you want about Wilsons’ poor rookie campaign–Wilson has the tools and will be back under center for the Jets in 2022.
QUESTION MARKS: (The quarterbacks we are unsure of)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: The story of the early off-season will be whether Aaron Rodgers returns to the only team he’s ever known or does he head elsewhere?
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson was rumored to be on the move the last off-season. Following a year of turmoil and injury, will Wilson revisit a trade?
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The only question is whether Tom Brady decides to hang them up or play another season for the Buccaneers?
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins: The Miami Dolphins were connected to Deshaun Watson throughout the season. Following short of the playoffs, will the Dolphins revisit bringing in another quarterback?
Deshaun Watson, TBD: Speaking of Watson, the lingering legal issues remain. Will we see Deshaun Watson in a new uniform in 2022?
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns: Things are getting interesting in Cleveland. We have heard rumors that the Browns were not high on the idea of signing Mayfield to a large contract extension. That was before the injury that hampered Mayfield and the Browns fell on their face in the 2nd half of the season. What the Browns do at the quarterback position will be an off-season storyline to monitor.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Hurts successfully led the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs. Oddly enough, there remains speculation around the franchise that they don’t believe in Hurts as the long-term starter.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins has made it clear that he does not plan to sign a contract restructure. Cousins is under contract for $45 million in 2022. How the Vikings navigate their quarterback situation will be fascinating.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: $40 million! That is the dead cap hit for Matt Ryan in 2022. Matty Ice could restructure to grease the wheels on a potential trade, but I don’t see that happening here.
Jared Goff, Detroit Lions: Jared Goff will be returning to Detroit next season–let’s make that much clear. The Lions have to pay him $31 million next season. (Yes, you read that correctly) The Lions may look for a cost-effective alternative option.
Davis Mills, Houston Texans: Davis Mills has been impressive down the stretch. What was once a longshot, Mills now has the look of the Texans’ starter in 2022.
DOUBTFUL TO RETURN (Hard to imagine these teams not looking for an upgrade)
Jameis Winston/Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints: I can’t see the Saints turning back to this duo again. Sean Payton will want something closer to the Drew Brees-led Saints than the 2021 version.
Sam Darnold/Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: The Carolina Panthers quarterback situation has been a disaster for some time. The Panthers’ front office is getting impatient.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: Big Ben won’t be back in the Steel City. Whether or not he returns at all remains a question.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants: Rumors out of New York will have you believe that Daniel Jones is coming back as the starter again. I don’t see how this is possible.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington Franchise Team: The bloom is off the rose for Taylor Heinicke. The Washington front office has never been the most patient and will look another direction in the off-season.
Teddy Bridgewater, Denver Broncos: Teddy Bridgewater appears likely to be out in Denver. I doubt whether he resurfaces somewhere else as a starter.
For the first time in a long time, the Quarterback landscape is on treacherous ground. You could see half of the league looking for an answer behind center, and the options out there are few and far between.