The 2021 season was an interesting one for NFL fans because it showed the simplicity of the age-old idea that a capable starting QB can lead a team to previously unreachable heights.
Having reached the postseason two of the past three seasons and even playing in Super Bowl LIII, the Los Angeles Rams knew that they may have maxed out how far they coul go with Jared Goff.
All it took was a simple switchup, replacing Goff with longtime Detroit Lions signal-caller Matthew Stafford, to unlock a team capable of going all the way. Given the defensive dominance the Rams have displayed throughout the years, that one final move was all it took to push them over the top.
Other NFL teams would be foolish not to look at that simple quarterback swap and see that, perhaps, the thing holding them back is the option they are deploying under center.
So with that in mind, these passers should do whatever they can to avoid the same fate as Goff, where the team you just left are now the champions of the league.
Here are 5 NFL QBs that could be replaced after the 2022 season:
#1 - Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa has not been a bad starting QB for the Miami Dolphins the past two seasons by any stretch. The Dolphins have won 13 of the 21 games Tua was under center for, and they barely missed the postseason in 2021 with a 9-8 record.
That said, Tagovailoa could be playing in the shadow of the NFL's QB GOAT, Tom Brady, all season following rumors of the seven-time Super Bowl champion either forcing a trade to Miami or becoming a partial owner of the team.
Every mistake will be magnified for Tagovailoa in 2022, especially with an improved supporting cast (Tyreek Hill, anyone?) around him.
#2 - Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
Carolina's mantra, "keep pounding," may end up referring to the headaches Panther fans will continually feel watching Sam Darnold make mistake after mistake during the upcoming 2022 season.
Truthfully, Darnold shouldn't make it to Week 1 as the starter. There are countless options in the free agent market and in the 2022 NFL Draft talent pool to invest in instead.
But should Darnold keep all other options at bay, his days under center in the Queen City will be numbered if substantial improvement doesn't occur rather quickly.
Panthers fans will have their patience tested if Darnold goes back to doing what he did in 2021 that got him benched.
#3 - Drew Lock, Seattle Seahawks
Drew Lock may have been perfectly set up to be the NFL's next Jared Goff. That's not a good thing.
Lock was part of the blockbuster deal that landed Russell Wilson in Denver, and now the Mizzou product projects to be running the show in Seattle amid a teardown of the franchise.
Both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have been mentioned as potential trade targets throughout the league, and it wouldn't be shocking for Metcalf to force the franchise's hand to find him a new home where he could get a similarly massive contract that other WRs have been receiving this offseason.
None of this offseason scuttlebutt is making it easy to picture a breakthrough campaign for Lock in what is looking like a rebuilding season.
#4 - Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints
Jameis Winston was truly better than anyone could have anticipated the season following Drew Brees' Saints retirement. After backing up Brees in his intitial campaign in the "Big Easy," Winston stepped in and led the team to a 5-2 start before tearing his ACL and having his 2021 NFL season ended prematurely.
Winston returns to New Orleans on a two-year, $28 million contract and has the chance to solidify his standing as the Saints starter under center. That is, if he can fend off the team's newest veteran signee at the position.
Andy Dalton, fresh off a failed run as QB1 with the Bears, will offer a challenge for Winston. Taysom Hill, who was moved by the coaching staff to TE, also looms as a replacement if Winston isn't up to snuff.
Health will be a major factor for the Bessemer, Alabama-born former Heisman trophy winner. If he isn't looking sturdy enough for the job, the Saints will have no choice but to look elsewhere in 2023 and beyond.
#5 - Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Following Eli Manning is a tough ask for any New York Giants QB hopeful, but Daniel Jones hasn't done the worst job. His 2019 season inspired hope for fans of Big Blue that were unimpressed with his selection at No. 6 in the 2019 NFL Draft.
That said, his regression the past two seasons--which we will partly blame injuries for--has been the exact opposite of what the G-Men need at this stage of their rebuild.
Jones hasn't been leading the team to wins, but he isn't solely to blame. The NFL, however, is a results-driven league, and Jones is running out of time (in the biggest pressure cooker media market, no less) to show the "Big Apple" that he has what it takes to bring a parade route down to City Hall in lower Manhattan.