Last offseason, it looked like every team believed they had their franchise quarterback. This year, with three first-round quarterbacks selected in the draft, it looks even more likely all 32 teams are happy with where they stand at the position. But where does each team currently stand at the most important position in sports?
Young franchise quarterbacks
Things can change, but teams with these young franchise quarterbacks should be set for at least the next several years, and they likely won’t be in the market for a new franchise quarterback anytime soon.
Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes
There have been one-year wonders throughout the history of sports, but Patrick Mahomes probably won’t be one of them. The MVP gunslinger from Texas Tech is supremely talented, and the Chiefs have one of the best offensive coaches in the history of football in Andy Reid. Kansas City is a long way from needing someone to take over for Mahomes, and they might have the most enviable quarterback situation in the league.
Rams: Jared Goff
The “social media” opinion of Jared Goff is totally unfair, as he’s much more than just a product of playing in Sean McVay’s offense. Not only is talk of moving on from Goff stupid, it’s probably not something the Rams have even thought about entertaining. The former No. 1 overall pick is entering his fourth NFL season, but he won’t turn 25 until October.
Bills: Josh Allen
Another victim of negative “social media” opinion, Josh Allen has many critics that probably haven’t watched him play a snap. The Bills added a bunch of pieces on offense this offseason, and Allen could ascend into a superstar if everything meshes in 2019. Either way, Buffalo won’t be in the quarterback market any time soon.
49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo is a bit of a forgotten bonafide franchise quarterback because he’s coming off a torn ACL suffered in Week 3 last season, but the Niners are obviously locked into him as their guy after signing him to a five-year, $137-million contract last year—and they’re probably thrilled about having him as their leader.
Texans: Deshaun Watson
While he didn’t completely light it up like he did during his rookie season cut short by a torn ACL, Deshaun Watson just led the Texans to the AFC South title in 2018 in a full 16-game season. It’s a great sign that Watson was able to stay healthy all year, and Houston is set with the former national champion under-center.
Eagles: Carson Wentz
The Eagles are hoping Carson Wentz can stay healthy and play a full season, which he hasn’t been able to do the last two years. But there’s no question the franchise believes Wentz is a top-tier franchise quarterback, as displayed by them letting Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles walk out the door. Philadelphia is adding a lot of talent around Wentz to ensure he succeeds.
Cowboys: Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott is 32-16 as a starting quarterback and has led the Cowboys to two NFC East titles in three seasons. Prescott and the Cowboys are currently negotiating a long-term contract, and Dallas almost certainly doesn’t have any thoughts about moving on from the former fourth-round pick.
Browns: Baker Mayfield
Browns GM John Dorsey took Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall—which was a relatively huge surprise—for a reason, and the former Heisman Trophy winner is about as locked in as anyone as his team’s franchise quarterback. Like the Eagles went all-in by adding more pieces around their quarterback, the Browns did the same by adding Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt.
Jets: Sam Darnold
New Jets head coach Adam Gase is an esteemed quarterback-friendly head coach that should get the most out of Sam Darnold. There isn’t really any concern about Gase wanting to get his “own guy” at the game’s most important position, as he showed loyalty to Ryan Tannehill in Miami when he could’ve moved in another direction.
Bears: Mitchell Trubisky
The Bears traded up from No. 3 overall to No. 2 overall in 2017 just to ensure no other team leapfrogged them for Mitchell Trubisky—GM Ryan Pace and company are extremely high on their young quarterback. And head coach Matt Nagy’s words regarding Trubisky in his first season with Chicago were overwhelmingly positive. The team seems to absolutely love their quarterback situation.
Ravens: Lamar Jackson
The Ravens might not believe Lamar Jackson should throw the ball 40 times per game like some of the elite quarterbacks in the league, but they are smartly crafting their offense to take advantage of Jackson’s dynamic skill set. Also keep in mind that Baltimore has been aggressive with their depth behind Jackson, re-signing RGIII and drafting Penn State’s Trace McSorley, which is important if you’re going to allow your quarterback to run 200 times in a season.
Giants: Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones is another quarterback that gets unfairly criticized by people that might not have watched one second of Duke football in their lives. The Giants appear to be taking a smart approach, with Eli Manning set to be the team’s starter—but if Jones is ready, he’ll likely play and can potentially begin silencing the doubters.
Cardinals: Kyler Murray
The Cardinals just fired their head coach and traded a first-round rookie quarterback after one season, so the chances of that happening again are unlikely. Kyler Murray’s skill set intrigued more than just Arizona, and he’s another Heisman winning quarterback from Oklahoma taken No. 1 in the draft that should be leading an NFL franchise for a while.
Redskins: Dwayne Haskins
The situation with Alex Smith is very unfortunate, as he’s a franchise quarterback that probably won’t play in 2019 and might not ever play again. Not only has Haskins become the franchise quarterback in Washington, he should have also bought head coach Jay Gruden more time as he now develops a rookie signal-caller.
Titans: Marcus Mariota
Personally, I think Marcus Mariota is one of the NFL’s top franchise players to build around. And I think the Titans feel the same, but I’m not certain they do. The most important thing for Mariota is staying healthy, which he hasn’t been able to do. Other teams (like the Patriots as a potential heir to Tom Brady) would probably jump at the opportunity to sign Mariota if he becomes available next offseason.
Heirs potentially needed
A handful of teams have likely future Hall of Fame quarterbacks that are 35 years old or older, and those franchises must keep an eye toward the future to ensure sustained success for the next couple of decades.
Patriots: Tom Brady
While the Chiefs might have the most enviable quarterback situation in the league, the Patriots probably wouldn’t switch spots with them. Tom Brady gives his team the best chance to win the Super Bowl every year, and New England will figure out their quarterback situation after him, whether it’s fourth-round rookie Jarrett Stidham or someone else—and a new quarterback might not need to take over for another 3-5 years with the way Brady is going.
Saints: Drew Brees
The Saints have their heir apparent in Teddy Bridgewater (or potentially Swiss Army knife Taysom Hill), but Drew Brees is also still going strong at 40 years old. New Orleans has the NFL’s best quarterback succession plan in place.
Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger had gone back and forth about how long he wants to play, but he seems squarely on the site of wanting to play at least a few more years. 2018 third-round pick Mason Rudolph and 2017 third-round pick Joshua Dobbs could both be in the mix to take over when Roethlisberger retires.
Packers: Aaron Rodgers
With Tom Brady showing it’s possible with the right commitment and support, Aaron Rodgers has made it clear he’d also like to play into his 40s. But one big thing Rodgers has going against him is the number of serious injuries he’s sustained throughout his career. Striking gold three times in a row won’t be easy, but the Packers will look to make it a seamless transition (in terms of level of play) when Rodgers is done, like they did by going from Brett Favre to Rodgers.
Chargers: Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers has nine kids, so he might not be someone that’ll want to play into his 40s like the other four guys in this category. Ideally, the Chargers will be able to get a quarterback that slips in the 2020 or 2021 draft.
Veteran franchise quarterbacks
These guys are likely entering the second half of their NFL careers, but their teams don’t need to fret about finding a potential replacement quite yet.
Colts: Andrew Luck
While Andrew Luck won’t turn 30 until September, he’s more in the veteran franchise quarterback category than he is the crop of quarterbacks entering the league the past few years. One of the best draft prospects of all-time has matched the massive expectations placed on his shoulders after taking over for Peyton Manning in Indy.
Seahawks: Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson was in the same draft as Andrew Luck, and he’s also now one of those veteran quarterbacks rather than a “young” franchise cornerstone. However, Wilson is playing as well as ever, and his record-breaking contract eliminates all the noise about him wanting to play in New York. The Seahawks should have Wilson the rest of his career, which could be another 10+ years.
Falcons: Matt Ryan
Two of Matt Ryan’s best seasons have come in the last three seasons, and he looks to me like a guy that’s getting better with age—he seems to get a little more athletic every season, and his deep ball remains top notch. The Falcons are set with Matty Ice.
Jaguars: Nick Foles
Even if things don’t immediately work out in Jacksonville for Nick Foles, the team is committed to him for three seasons (cutting him would be a massive cap hit), so there’ll be time for a successful offense to be crafted. Foles has shown he can play about as well as any quarterback in the league, and the Jags should be comfortable with the 30 year old moving forward.
Panthers: Cam Newton
These next two guys could easily be in the next category, but I’m going off what I think the teams actually think, not what I personally believe. Cam Newton did just win league MVP in 2015, and he’ll be just 30 years old at the start of the 2019 season. Also, this is more about the franchise quarterback situations of teams over the particular players, and the Panthers selected West Virginia’s Will Grier in the third round, so that’s another quarterback they’ve added to the roster that they are clearly high on.
Vikings: Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins would probably be in the next category if his contract wasn’t fully guaranteed, as the Vikings are a very talented team that Mike Zimmer wants to win with now. But Cousins wants to remain in Minnesota for the long haul, which means the Vikings shouldn’t be left hanging without a quarterback for a while.
Team success is key
A few teams have starting quarterbacks that have played at a very high level, but team success will be key in determining whether the franchise might move in another direction in 2020 and beyond. For example, if these teams end up with a top-five pick, it’d probably be wise to pull the trigger on a new franchise quarterback if there’s one available.
Raiders: Derek Carr
The Raiders’ words and actions made it clear this offseason that Derek Carr is their quarterback, but I don’t see Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock sticking with him another season if 2019 doesn’t go well for the team. Plenty of pieces were added around Carr this offseason, and the Raiders are likely expecting him to get back to his MVP-candidate form from 2016.
Lions: Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford has a big cap hit the next couple of years, but that probably won’t prevent the Lions from moving on (likely via a trade) if the team has a poor season and they think it’s time to go in another direction. This isn’t something I think should happen, but I think it definitely could happen.
Broncos: Joe Flacco
The Broncos were borderline in the first category, but Drew Lock isn’t a complete lock to take over for Denver at some point as just a second-round pick—so if the Broncos have a top pick in next year’s draft, they’d be a good bet to select a quarterback. Joe Flacco might not allow Lock or a future rookie to take over any time soon if he plays well, though.
These are the three teams I believe are most likely to be looking to select a player like Jake Fromm, Tua Tagovailoa, or Justin Herbert atop next year’s draft.
Buccaneers: Jameis Winston
New Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is a quarterback whisperer that thinks he can get the most out of former No. 1 pick Jameis Winston, but Winston’s turnovers might be too difficult to get out of him at this point. If Winston doesn’t play well in 2019, Tampa Bay might need to look in elsewhere at the game’s most important position.
Bengals: Andy Dalton
The Bengals have a new regime in place, so 2019 will likely be a test season for veteran quarterback Andy Dalton. There are probably players out there that offer higher upside than Dalton. It’s worth noting that fourth-round pick Ryan Finley from NC State is also in the mix in Cincinnati.
Dolphins: Josh Rosen
The Dolphins sent a second-round to the Cardinals for 2018 tenth overall pick Josh Rosen, but this is clearly going to be a prove-it season for Rosen. The roster in Miami is one of the weakest in the league on paper, and they are among the most likely teams to be at the top of the 2020 draft.