Where are all the good quarterbacks?

Caleb Slinkard
2 min readJan 2, 2023

More quarterbacks have started a game this NFL season than ever before (not counting strike years): 64, with the Cardinals’ David Blough and the Raiders’ Jarrett Stidham taking over under center for Week 17.

Injuries, of course, have played a role, but there are more questions at the position now than perhaps ever before. A look at all 32 teams demonstrates a shocking lack of reliable franchise quarterbacks, with several likely to be playing for new teams next season. Here’s how I would rank them, with the categories ordered from best to worst:

The Best of the Best

  • Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
  • Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Franchise QBs

  • Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
  • Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
  • Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Justin Herbert, L.A. Chargers
  • Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
  • Matthew Stafford, L.A. Rams
  • Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Potential Franchise QBs

  • Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
  • Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
  • Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Bus Drivers

  • Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
  • Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
  • Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
  • Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
  • Mac Jones, New England Patriots
  • Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

Too Soon to Tell

  • Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
  • Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
  • Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers

Seek Help Elsewhere

  • Matt Ryan/Sam Ehlinger/Nick Foles, Indianapolis Colts
  • Davis Mills, Houston Texans
  • Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders
  • Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
  • Andy Dalton, New Orleans Saints
  • Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
  • Zach Wilson, New York Jets

A few notes: Lamar Jackson, Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray would be in higher categories if they could stay healthy. Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady are franchise QBs, but not the same way Joe Burrow and Josh Allen are, because they likely only have a few seasons left. Daniel Jones was probably the hardest the categorize. Is he a franchise guy who could lead the Giants on deep postseason runs? Or is this as good as he’s going to get?

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Caleb Slinkard

I’m a journalist who has worked for community newspapers in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Georgia. I enjoy sci-fi books, chess and Fulham FC.