The NFL quarterback tiers: From Patrick Mahomes to Daniel Jones 

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Galea

The NFL quarterback is the most important position in all of sports. The amount of responsibility they have on and off the field is incomparable to any other professional athlete. Quarterbacks are expected to master the playbook, think in real-time, lead their team and, most importantly, not get hurt.

The value of the quarterback in the NFL has never been higher. This offseason saw Russell Wilson make his way to Denver, and Deshaun Watson got traded to Cleveland for an enormous package. Veteran quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz found new homes, while Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garopplo are still waiting to see what their futures hold. Perhaps, the biggest quarterback move of the offseason was Tom Brady retiring and then suddenly unretiring. The Tampa Bay Buccanners went from being a team transitioning to a team right back in Super Bowl contention. That is the power of the quarterback.

Playoff wins since the start of 2020:Baker Mayfield 1Russell Wilson 0Dak Prescott 0Justin Herbert 0Kyler Murray 0Matt Ryan 0Derek Carr 0

A talented quarterback who finds himself in the right situation is gold at the end of the rainbow for NFL teams. As part of the Detroit Lions, Matthew Stafford was a guy with all the skills in the world, but with a reputation for not being able to win in the playoffs. On a Los Angeles Rams team that catered its offense toward his skill set and with a loaded roster, he became a Super Bowl winner and bonafide franchise quarterback.

Most Game-Winning Drives since 2010Matthew Stafford 41Drew Brees 35Matt Ryan 35Big Ben 34Russell Wilson 32

The Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers are two NFL teams who feel so comfortable with their star quarterbacks that trading away receivers Tyreek Hill and Devante Adams seemed like a necessary step in the winning process. That is the power a quarterback can bring to a franchise. With stability in the position, a team can maneuver their roster around them and be in perennial contention.

Here are the 2022 NFL quarterback tiers:

Tier 1: The absolute, no doubt franchise quarterbacks

Houston Texans v Buffalo Bills
Houston Texans v Buffalo Bills

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

When you look at these quarterbacks, one of the things that immediately pops to mind is how invaluable they are to their franchises. For most quarterbacks, that goes without saying, but these four, in particuliar, are so vital to their teams that it transcends wins and losses. They have almost singlehandedly turned their teams around, and with them under center, they will always have a chance to win. Look at last year's AFC playoffs, where Mahomes, Allen and Burrow needed only seconds to put their teams in the best position possible. Herbert, on the other hand, has been able to turn the Chargers into a winning franchise, despite his team making questionable decision after questionable decision. These four quarterbacks will be battling for AFC supremacy for years to come.


Tier 2: The franchise quarterback . . . we think

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens
Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

All four of these players are franchise quarterbacks with questions around them. Prescott is undoubtedly the leader of the Dallas Cowboys, but if he doesn't lead them out of the NFC East this season, the whispers surrounding his ability to win will get louder. On the field, there are no doubts about Watson's, Jackson's and Murray's abilities. Off the field, it's a different story. Watson still faces 22 pending civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct and a possible suspension. For Jackson and Murray, there's an uneasiness surrounding their futures with their teams. Jackson becomes a UFA after this season and Murray in 2024. Until both commit to their current teams, and their teams commit to them, questions will remain.

Also Checkout:Patrick Mahomes Father


Tier 3: Ready to win another Super Bowl

Green Bay Packers v New England Patriots
Green Bay Packers v New England Patriots

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

This tier is full of proven Super Bowl winners who are looking to take their teams back to the big game. Wilson moved to Denver after ten years in Seattle, and brings stability to a franchise that hasn't had a quarterback since Peyton Manning retired. Stafford proved his nay-sayers wrong last year, and with the NFC wide open, a Rams repeat is not out of the question. Brady and Rodgers looked to have played their last NFL games with their respective teams last season, but both have returned with a renewed focus on adding another championship ring to their finger.

Tier 4: Young and full of hope for the future

Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars
Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Zach Wilson, New York Jets

Mac Jones, New England Patriots

Justin Fields, Chicago Bears

Davis Mills, Houston Texans

Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers

This will be a huge year for the 2021 NFL draft quarterback class. Each of these young men will be expected to make a leap in their play. Lawrence and Wilson will be playing with beefed up offenses after a busy offseason. Jones was the most successful of the rookies, leading his team to the playoffs, but a setback this season could spell some trouble in New England. Justin Fields is playing with perhaps the worst offense in the NFL, so if he's going to improve, it will be because of a change in scheme and his natural ability. Mills wasn't supposed to be here, but quietly put together a very efficient NFL rookie season. Whether he turns out to be the Texans quarterback for the foreseeable future remains to be seen. Trey Lance may still have to battle Jimmy Garoppolo for the starting job.

Tier 5: Here now, but on the lookout for an upgrade

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Putting Derek Carr in this tier is probably unfair, and with the addition of Davante Adams, the pressure will be on Carr to win. After this season, Carr could move to one of the top tiers or slide all the way to the bottom. Ryan Tannehill is definitely hearing footsteps. After leading his team to the number one seed in the AFC, Tannehill crashed out of the playoffs, and the Titans drafted Malik Willis as a possible replacement. Matt Ryan was brought to Indianapolis to steady the ship, but he's going to be 37 when the season starts, so his best days might be behind him. At this point in his career, Kirk Cousins is probably underrated. He's the most consistent-inconsistent player in the NFL.

Tier 6: Let's keep telling ourselves, "He's our guy"

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Mitchell Trubisky/Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers

Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints

The Dolphins and Eagles are in similar positions. This is a make it or break it year for their young quarterbacks. With the addition of new offensive-minded head coach Mike McDaniel, star players Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead, Tagovailoa is out of excuses. If the Dolphins don't see him make huge strides, he may not last the season. Hurts was a better fantasy quarterback than a real one, and the team added A.J. Brown to help his cause. Trubisky is trying to hold off the first-rounder for the starting job, but Kenny Pickett is far from a NFL blue chipper. We know Jameis Winston can throw deep, but the Saints aren't settled on him as their permanent replacement for Drew Brees.

Tier 7: Warming up for the 2023 NFL Draft

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions

Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers

Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons

Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders

Drew Lock, Seattle Seahawks

Welcome to the deadzone of the NFL. The clock is ticking on the starting careers of these quarterbacks, and for Darnold and Lock, if the Baker Mayfield rumors are true, it could be before training camp opens. Mariota was, somewhat, impressive in limited play for the Titans last season, but the team drafted Desmond Ridder, who was the most ready to start quarterback in the draft. Seeing Carson Wentz fall from a potential NFL franchise quarterback to the bottom tier is depressing, and this will be his last opportunity to lead his own team. The Giants didn't pick up the fifth year option on Daniel Jones' contract, a bad sign for his future with the team.

Also Checkout:Patrick Mahomes Mother

Edited by Windy Goodloe


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