The 2022 NFL offseason has been chock-full of big-name quarterback movement. Entire conferences have shifted in power thanks to the headlining trades — and, in the case of Aaron Rodgers, non-trades — of the last few months. But which divisions are most stacked with star power under center? We decided to rank all eight according to collective QB talent, and the pecking order might surprise you, especially considering where the greatest signal-caller of all time finds himself:
8. NFC South
Yes, really. Brady himself is easily a top-three QB, even going on 45. Obviously we trust him under center more than just about anyone. But his divisional counterparts leave a lot to be desired. Winston is an intriguing flyer for the Saints (again), but he’s started a full season just once in the last five years, he’s coming off an ACL tear, and he’s on a team in transition. Mariota may have legs, but he’s got neither the durability nor the supporting cast to inspire trust in Atlanta. Darnold, meanwhile, is only a turnover-prone placeholder for whomever Carolina adds next.
7. NFC East
Prescott still has plenty to prove as a playoff QB, but he’s a rock-solid pocket passer capable of top-10 production. Wentz is a ridiculed name these days, still struggling with forced throws and delayed decisions, but he’s still serviceable, and the latest change of scenery might actually reignite his flame. Hurts has been a limited passer to this point, but his mobility and resolve give him a high floor. Jones, meanwhile, might actually be able to lean on his dual-threat abilities under Brian Daboll.
6. AFC South
You’d easily take Brady over any of these guys. But as a whole, look a little closer, and you’ve potentially got three top-15 starters in Ryan, who’s aging but should benefit from a sturdier setup in Indianapolis; Tannehill, who’s probably peaked but is due to rebound with an improved smash-mouth Titans team; and Lawrence, who can’t be much worse on a stocked-up Jaguars team under Doug Pederson. Mills also flashed in a tough spot in 2021, but can we count on him as a franchise arm?
5. AFC East
Allen carries a lot of the weight here, bringing Brady-level MVP stuff to the Bills. But the other names offer enough upside to warrant the higher slot than the NFC South. Jones, while streaky as a rookie, has the makeup of a top-15 precision passer. Tagovailoa gets lots of flak for his conservative approach, but he’s made small strides and is primed for a bigger one with a flashier supporting cast. Wilson is the wild card, offering raw athleticism, but with lots to prove as a decision-maker.
4. NFC West
If Stafford were still in Detroit, he’d probably be stuck in the middle tier of starters; but here we are, fresh off his Super Bowl win, and his big arm has finally found a perfect home. Murray’s apparent contract demands don’t line up with his second-half slumps, but he’s still a top-10ish game-changer when healthy and motivated. Lance is a total unknown as the successor to trade chip Jimmy Garoppolo, but at least he has a high floor as a runner. Lock, meanwhile, is probably just warming the seat in Seattle.
3. NFC North
A-Rod may still be searching for another glorious finish in the playoffs, and Davante Adams‘ departure will hurt, but he’s still got one of the smoothest arms and smartest minds in the game. Cousins is even less inspiring when it comes to playoff runs, but he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for both his efficiency and big-play arm. Fields must get better picking his spots, but as long as the Bears help him out, he’s got all the tools to be a difference-maker. Goff is the definition of a situation-dependent starter, but you could do worse.
2. AFC North
Joe Cool has already established himself as one of the best gunslingers in the game, while doing all the little things right inside the pocket. Let’s just hope he can stay upright. Jackson is still trying to get over the hump as a consistent passer and playoff QB, but just try defending his athleticism when he’s healthy. Watson carries a monumental asterisk, still facing 22 civil lawsuits — and a likely suspension — for alleged sexual misconduct, but his pocket presence and mobility are a clear upgrade on Baker Mayfield. Trubisky, meanwhile, is a low-risk, decent-reward flyer in Pittsburgh, where he can lean on a solid run game and defense.
1. AFC West
The gold standard. The AFC North would come closer if not for Watson’s off-field questions. Here, however, we have a truly pristine crop of starters. Mahomes isn’t invincible like he once appeared, but his off-script playmaking keeps the Chiefs in every single game. Herbert is an elite, prototypical pocket passer who’s only getting better. Wilson is coming off a quieter, injury-marred year, but he remains one of the most poised veterans at the position, and he’s clearly motivated by the change of scenery. Carr is the weak link of the bunch, often turning in top-12 numbers without many big wins to show for it, but that’s not to say he isn’t a rock-solid starter, which he absolutely is.