I’m sorry. Trust me, I know. The internet is flooded with quarterback ranking after quarterback ranking. But the flood of offseason nonsense coming from the NFL Top 100 list, so-called experts regarding contract situations, and Michael Bennett gave me no choice. Besides, it’s June and there is literally nothing new to talk about.

The 2015 season caused an interesting shakeup in the quarterback hierarchy of the NFL. We saw guys like Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and Carson Palmer make the leap into the upper echelon of the position. Peyton Manning fell off of a cliff. Tyrod Taylor and Kirk Cousins came out of nowhere to provide potential solutions for two quarterback desperate franchises. Even Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck had their share of struggles to varying degrees last year. So, with a years’ worth of new evidence and a few months away to gain perspective, it’s time to re-evaluate where each of the league's quarterbacks stands heading into next season.

Class of His Own

1. Aaron Rodgers

We tend to be a victim of recency bias in sports and we know it, but something that goes without much mention in anti-recency bias that also occurs. In this case, we are experiencing a quarterback who is playing at a higher level than anyone else has ever played the position. Rodgers combines elite physical talents with the same mental mastery that made Brady and Manning so good. He can extend plays better than any other quarterback in the league and make throws that no one else can. He is the poster child of efficiency, holding the all-time record for career passer rating. The 2015 season was mostly an aberration due to a lack of difference makers in his supporting cast.

Game Changers

2. Andrew Luck

3. Tom Brady

4. Ben Roethlisberger

5. Russell Wilson

6. Cam Newton

7. Drew Brees

8. Carson Palmer

The success of most quarterbacks is a result of a good coach building a system around their strengths and surrounding them with playmakers. These quarterbacks transcend that standard and can produce at a high level on most any team. Andrew Luck had his worst season as a pro last year due to a shoulder injury taking away some of his arm strength and causing him to revert to bad habits in a vertical offense with no running game, an abysmal offensive line, and receivers who couldn’t beat press coverage. The fact remains that he is a generational talent and should pick up where he left off in 2014. He has the chance to be in the same conversation with Rodgers a year from now. At some point, Tom Brady and Drew Brees have to fall off. Brady had his best season since 2007 last year and hasn’t shown any signs that such a drop off is near. His pinpoint accuracy and mental sharpness still remain the class of the NFL after all of these years and his arm strength and mobility are as good as ever.

Russell Wilson and Cam Newton silenced doubters last season with the type of seasons that believers always knew they had in them. After a Marshawn Lynch injury forced him to carry the offense in the second half of the season, Wilson carried the Seahawks offense right into the playoffs in a more pass-oriented attack. We all know about the kind of season Newton had last year. The crazy thing is that he still has room to grow in terms of accuracy and throwing with anticipation.

Difference Makers

9. Philip Rivers

10. Derek Carr

11. Tony Romo

12. Marcus Mariota

13. Jameis Winston

14. Matt Ryan

15. Blake Bortles

This group represents quarterbacks going in opposite directions; three aging quarterbacks who have been questioned for their lack of playoff production and four ascending stars from the last two draft classes. Rivers has quietly revived his career with three Pro-Bowl caliber seasons in three years. He led the league in passing through the first half of the season before the team lost Kenan Allen to injury. Romo is a huge question mark heading into the 2016 season after missing almost all of last year due to injury. He can still play at a high level if he is healthy, but that is one big if.

The young quarterbacks in this group have given hope to the perennial laughingstocks of the league over the last ten years. Bortles and Carr were the tales of two seasons last year. Both elevated their respective teams into the playoff conversation in the first half of the year before struggling to move their offenses consistently down the stretch. They both have all the upside in the world with the kind of raw skill set that teams would die for. Bortles has to cut down on his turnovers if the Jaguars want to become the kind of sneaky playoff team that the Vikings were last season. Winston and Mariota were able to overcome lackluster rosters to post strong rookie campaigns. Their teams have to continue to amass talent around them in order for them to take the next step.

Franchise Quarterbacks

16. Eli Manning

17. Joe Flacco

18. Alex Smith

19. Matthew Stafford

20. Andy Dalton

These set of teams can rest assured that they have the answer at the quarterback position and can build around their respective skill-sets with a chance to build a championship team. All of these quarterbacks are flawed and their own right and can go through their share of hot and cold streaks. After leading the league in interceptions two years ago, Manning has turned into a conservative, yet consistent B-level quarterback. The presence of a phoneme in Odell Beckham has breathed new life into his career. Flacco was sneaky awful before he got injured midway through the season. He has to play better if the Ravens want to jump back into playoff conversation after a Murphy’s Law type of season in 2015.

Smith showed that he is more willing to take chances with the presence of Jeremy Maclin on the outside. His most valuable assets come in his ability to make plays with his legs and not turn the ball over often. Dalton is the streakiest quarterback in the league. Last year, he took a massive step forward while being surrounded by an excellent group of receivers, a strong offensive line, and great coaching staff. He has to show that he can produce without Hue Jackson and that he can win when it matters.

Question Marks

21. Sam Bradford

22. Kirk Cousins

23. Jared Goff*

24. Teddy Bridgewater

25. Jay Cutler

26. Ryan Tannehill

27. Tyrod Taylor

28. Brock Osweiler

Jared Goff is listed here as a sort of TBD. He can’t be accurately assessed until we’ve actually seen him play in the league.

These players haven’t shown enough to assure their teams that they have a long-term solution at the most important position in sports. While the jury is out on Sam Bradford, he showed lots of positive signs in the back half of last season. He isn’t the quarterback of the future in Philadelphia, but he could be somewhere else. The fact that Washington didn’t give Kirk Cousins a long-term deal speaks volumes about him. Despite his lack of raw talent, like Bradford he excelled down the stretch last year when Desean Jackson and Jordan Reed returned to the lineup. He has to show that he can produce next year now that coaches have a full offseason to watch his game tape and scheme around it.

Teddy Bridgewater may be the most conservative quarterback in the NFL. Last year, their offense ran through the dynamic Adrian Peterson. The team added a potential number one receiver in Laquan Treadwell this offseason. He has to take more chances down the field as Peterson enters the later stages of his career. Jay Cutler and Ryan Tannehill will illustrate the Adam Gasse effect this season. Cutler limited the killer turnovers that he has become famous for last season and had one of his better seasons in Chicago. After being rewarded a long-term extension, Tannehill was downright awful last season. We’ll see how the coaching change affects both of them. Tyrod Taylor remains one of the biggest enigmas in the NFL.


29. Ryan Fitzpatrick

30. Mark Sanchez

31. Blaine Gabbert/Colin Kaepernick

32. Robert Griffin III/Josh McCown

If your team has trotted out one of these guys to start Week One, expect them to be in the quarterback market next offseason. Although Ryan Fitzpatrick had a career year last year in Chann Gailey’s offense, his career body of work and lack of arm talent provide little assurance that he will come anywhere near that level of performance next year. Mark Sanchez’s reputation is far worse than his actual ability. He’s no worse than Brock Osweiler or late period Peyton Manning were last season. In the case of the Browns and 49ers, if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one. The good news for those teams is they will most likely have a chance to take a swing at a new signal caller at the top of next years draft.