NFL’s most secure QB situations: Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson headline top 10 rankings

The 2020 offseason is poised to see a rather monumental shift in the quarterback landscape throughout the NFL. Of course, Tom Brady is the headliner of this group as he’s set to become a free agent for the first time in his 20-year NFL career, but there are a number of other signal callers on the move. The Chargers announced that they’ll be moving on from Philip Rivers, Drew Brees is still mulling retirement, Eli Manning already call it a career, and we have a slew of quarterbacks like Jameis Winston, Ryan Tannehill, Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota set to hit free agency.  

For teams like the Patriots, Saints and Chargers, they could be looking down the barrel of possibly addressing a position they haven’t needed to worry about in quite some time. For years, they’ve been in the group that we’re going to talk about below. While plenty of attention will be paid to the quarterback have-nots, we’re taking a look at the top-10 clubs that are pretty set at the quarterback position going into 2020 and beyond. 

The Philip Rivers era with the Chargers has reached its end, so what’s next for the QB and the franchise? Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends break everything down; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.

Some notable omissions to this list that have franchise quarterbacks in the fold include the Steelers, Rams, Falcons, Bills and Vikings. For Pittsburgh, they fall out of this list simply due to the questions surrounding Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow and longterm future in the league. As for the rest of that group, their quarterbacks’ ceilings are a bit lower than the ones we’ll mention here.  

10. Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield

I know “stable” and the “Cleveland Browns” don’t exactly mesh, but Mayfield still has enough potential for me to keep him inside this top 10 list. That said, he unquestionably took a step back in 2019. 

After a rookie campaign in 2018 where Mayfield led the Browns to six wins over 13 starts, to go along with a 63.8 completion percentage, 3,725 yards passing, 27 touchdowns and 14 picks, his sophomore season was a little more lackluster. His completion percentage (59.4%) and touchdowns (22) decreased in Year 2, while his interceptions increased by seven. Not great. 

While Mayfield certainly deserves some slice of the blame pie for the Browns’ disappointing 6-10 season, there was also a lack of leadership at the top of the masthead. Now that head coach Freddie Kitchens is out and Kevin Stefanski, who worked wonders with Kirk Cousins this past year, is in, there’s hope that Mayfield can get back on track. After all, it wasn’t too long ago when Mayfield was looked at as one of the next great, young franchise quarterbacks in the league. As of now, Mayfield, who is very affordable over these next two years of his rookie deal, should be looked at part of the solution for Cleveland going forward. 

9. Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray just finished up an Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign in 2019 for the Arizona Cardinals and it feels like he’s still just scratching the surface of his potential. The former No. 1 overall pick plays a style of quarterback that seems to be the way of the future. He complete nearly 65% of his passes for 3,722 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2019, and also rushed for an additional 544 yards and four scores. He flashed tremendous touch on his passes, great velocity and uses his legs as a weapon to move the sticks in similar fashion to reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. 

The Cards should absolutely feel confident in Murray going forward as their franchise cornerstone, but 2020 will be an interesting year for him. As we saw with Lamar Jackson and Mayfield, the sophomore season can go one of two ways for a quarterback. Arizona needs to build a strong offensive line around Murray, but the quarterback also needs to be better at sensing pressure. According to Pro Football Focus, Murray was responsible for a league-high 23 sacks last season. As long as he improves in that area and shows a bit more consistency, there’s no reason why Murray cannot ascend into one of the league’s best signal callers in relatively short order.  

8. San Francisco 49ers – Jimmy Garoppolo 

Had his deep bomb to Emmanuel Sanders in Super Bowl LIV been a bit more accurate, there’s a possibility that Jimmy Garoppolo is a bit higher on this list. San Francisco hardly leaned on Garoppolo to lead them to Super Bowl LIV, but he’s still a quarterback worth investing in, in my mind. Despite being 28-years-old, he’s still pretty green as a starter in the NFL. As head coach Kyle Shanahan pointed out, Garoppolo doesn’t even have the same amount of regular season starts (26) than Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (29). Needless to say, there’s still room to grow for Garoppolo, who will be two years removed from an ACL tear in 2020. With Shanhan alongside him leading the offense, I expect San Francisco’s offense to only improve with Garoppolo. While they could technically get out from under his contract this offseason, it appears like the 49ers are remaining attached to Garoppolo, who is signed through 2022.   

7. Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott 

Dak Prescott should arguably not even be on this list as his future with the Dallas Cowboys isn’t all that secure at the moment. Really, placing him at No. 8 is just a show of good faith that Dallas won’t actually allow him to go to free agency and instead ink him to a mega contract or hit him with the franchise tag. Assuming they make the logical move and attach themselves to Prescott for the long haul, the Cowboys have themselves a quarterback that they can contend for a Super Bowl with. Not only that, but Prescott showed in 2019 that he can be a borderline MVP candidate. He completed 65% of his throws last season for 4,902 yards, 30 touchdowns and eleven interceptions. Had the Cowboys not been a .500 team and if Lamar Jackson didn’t have a Herculean season, Prescott would have been in the thick of the conversation. He’ll only be 27 years old by the start of the 2020 season and should only get better with Mike McCarthy as his new head coach. That said, they need to get this deal done quickly. 

6. Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz 

There’s a case to be made that Carson Wentz is one of the more infuriating quarterbacks in the NFL. He has MVP-level talent, but injuries have played such a massive part in his NFL story to this point. Of course, we all know the Nick Foles Cinderella story, but last year was even more concerning if you’re an Eagles follower because they didn’t have a backup to truly fall back on. His head injury against the Seahawks on Wild Card Weekend was more of a freak injury than his other ailments, but the point remains that durability is a problem for Wentz and is what ultimately keeps him low on this list. 

Outside of that, he’s just as talented as any other quarterback in the NFL. In the 16 regular season games he played this season, he had a career-high 4,039 yards passing and only threw seven interceptions to go along with his 27 passing scores. As long as he can stay healthy and the Eagles go out and address their defensive issues, Wentz should put up elite numbers. He’s also signed through the 2024 season, so Philly has their franchise guy locked up longterm.   

NFL: Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers

The Packers and Aaron Rodgers still have a great marriage going. 
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

5. Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers 

For years, Aaron Rodgers has been looked at as arguably the most talented quarterback the NFL has to offer. As the 36-year-old gets up there in age, he’s had to give up that mantle to the likes of Patrick Mahomes and others, but he’s still more than capable helping the Packers contend and Green Bay should feel more than comfortable with their quarterback situation. Rodgers is signed for four more seasons and still played at a high level in 2019. He helped lead Green Bay to a 13-3 record as he completed 62% of his throws for just over 4,000 yards, 26 touchdowns and just four interceptions. The Packers may need to add a bit more around Rodgers to contend in his twilight years, but they are nowhere near where the Patriots or Saints are with their veteran quarterbacks. 

4. Houston Texans – Deshaun Watson 

Patrick Mahomes’ looming historic contract extension is taking over headlines following Super Bowl LIV, but don’t sleep on Deshaun Watson, who is also eligible for one too. The Texans will likely make Watson a very rich man this offseason and further secure one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. Even with an inferior roster and questionable head coaching around him, Watson was able to not only take the Texans to the playoffs, but will them to an overtime win over the Buffalo Bills on Wild Card Weekend. They also nearly knocked off the Chiefs in the divisional round after going up 24-0 early in the first half. Houston needs to do a better job at building around Watson, but he’s the type of quarterback that has a very similar ceiling to Mahomes.  

3. Balimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson 

The only reason the reigning NFL MVP isn’t higher on this list is simply due to lack of playoff success, which will likely change in the coming years. From what we’ve seen in the postseason so far, Jackson hasn’t been as brilliant as we’ve seen him be in the regular season. That said, the Ravens should be thrilled at the progress he made in his sophomore season. Of course, a lot was made about his record-breaking season as runner, but Jackson’s leap as a passer is the more promising development. He completed over 66% of his passes for 3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He has two more seasons on his rookie deal before picking up his fifth year option, so the Ravens are getting a dynamic 23-year-old quarterback at a bargain. 

2. Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson 

The Seahawks made Russell Wilson the highest paid player in the NFL last offseason, so they have no intention of looking elsewhere at the quarterback spot. He’s been tremendously consistent over his eight-year career in Seattle and is seemingly only getting better with age. His 66.1 completion percentage was the second highest of his career and threw for a career-low five interceptions. Seattle has been to two Super Bowl and won one with Wilson under center and they should continue to be a strong threat in the NFC for as long as he’s with the club. They should, however, look to be a little bit more aggressive with their play-calling heading into 2020 and give Wilson more freedom let his arm win them games. If they do that, they’ll likely be better for it. 

1. Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes

I mean, after being the first player in NFL history to win NFL MVP, a Super Bowl and be named Super Bowl MVP within his first three years in the league, of course we’re going to have Patrick Mahomes in the No. 1 spot. 

The Chiefs are about to hand their franchise cornerstone what promises to be a record-breaking contract that could reach $40 million per season. With that in mind, Kansas City has the most stable quarterback situation throughout the entire NFL as Mahomes is arguably the most complete signal caller this league has ever seen. Not only does he have a rocket arm, but he has the mobility that makes him an absolute nightmare for an opposing defense and an absolute delight for Andy Reid and his offense. He just completed an epic playoff run where he threw for 901 yards, 10 touchdowns and just two picks en-route to his first Super Bowl title. 

Health will obviously be key factor, but Kansas City is in position to rip off a couple of Lombardi runs over this Mahomes era and be the envy of every other franchise. 

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