When the question was asked at the conclusion of the 2018 regular season, Jared Goff may have been universally viewed as a top-10 quarterback. He was 24-years-old, eighth in the NFL in QB rating, tied with Drew Brees and Philip Rivers in touchdown passes, and he was fourth in yards per attempt; third if we don’t count Ryan Fitzpatrick and his eight games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The list of QBs 25 and younger who could claim to have an argument for the top-10 was not very long.
Patrick Mahomes won MVP at age 23 that year. Deshaun Watson was also 23 and had an MVP case with the Houston Texans. Jameis Winston and Baker Mayfield wouldn’t get much support for “top 10” but at 24 and 23 respectively with pretty decent numbers across the board, it was clear that Goff had plenty of competition as the years ahead would fall away and more truths of these players would be revealed.
In the cases of Mahomes and Watson, 2019 gave them more ammunition to claim themselves as top-10 quarterbacks. For Mahomes, I think he’s proven that over the last two years he’s the most valuable player in the NFL and should he stay healthy, it would be odd at this point if he didn’t have a Hall of Fame career. Watson has more to prove than Mahomes (15 touchdowns, 11 interceptions in the last 10 games is slightly concerning) but he is seemingly carrying the Texans to the postseason each year and top-10 should be unquestionable.
Winston is now a backup. Mayfield has to undo a lot to put 21 interceptions behind him and show that he’s more than simply a gunslinger who can make highlights for either team to keep himself from being the next Winston.
And Jared Goff is making $31 million per year over the next two years.
Looking around the NFL today towards the end of May, where does Goff rank now? It is an important question because we so often tend to see the players like Mahomes, Watson, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and few others playing regularly in January and sometimes February. When Goff was toying with the top-10, the Rams too were playing in February.
The NFC West
In his own division, I think Goff at least has to come second to Wilson for the time being. With a couple of MVP-consideration type seasons, a championship, a runner-up finish, and plenty of accolades, Wilson is the most reliable bet for 2020 in the NFC West. After that, I think Goff has as good of a case as any.
I probably like Jimmy Garoppolo the least out of these four even though Garoppolo, like Goff, was the starting quarterback in a Super Bowl. I would put Goff over Garoppolo.
Kyler Murray is a tougher one because there’s so little known about Murray. I think his first year was very encouraging for the Arizona Cardinals though and I certainly prefer Murray to Mayfield, another former first overall pick. If forced to choose, my NFC West would look like this;
But I think Garoppolo is also better than quite a few starters. It’s not a division that lacks QB talent.
The QBs in the NFC who I can’t imagine ranking Goff over right now are Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Matt Ryan, and Brady. Yes, remember, Brady is in the NFC now. Adding Wilson to that, I have at least these six QBs ahead of Goff in the NFC.
Additionally, I would nominate Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz for nomination as being better QBs next season. It’s pretty close for me with those three, I’d say.
And we’re not quite sure what Daniel Jones or Dwayne Haskins will do, but I’d not rank them over Goff. I’d also not rank Teddy Bridgewater or Mitch Tribusky/Nick Foles over Goff. I guess that makes Goff roughly 7th-10th in the NFC.
Plus the AFC
I would not put Goff over Watson or Mahomes, we know that. Then honestly there’s a lot of options I’m just not sure what to think about. The AFC QBs are weird and they’ve been lagging behind the NFC QBs for a long, long time. Were it not for Brady and Peyton Manning, the AFC could have been a useless conference for the last 20 years.
Lamar Jackson is really exciting but simply not someone I have a high belief in 2-3 years down the line unless he significantly improves his passing. I don’t mean the short ones, I mean making all the throws and not running the football. At all. A lot of people doubted the same with RGIII and Wilson; RGIII ran too much and took too many hits and we saw what happened. Wilson ran less and less and always worked to avoid hits. He’s really taken very few hits in spite of a “dual threat” reputation. Jackson struggled against good defenses and that’s why the Baltimore Ravens didn’t get that close to winning the Super Bowl.
Would I take Lamar over Goff? It’s difficult to say. You’d have to change a lot.
Ben Roethlisberger and Rivers are vets who I’m not super confident in but there’s easily that possibility to see either have fantastic 2020 seasons. Rivers seems to be in a better situation with the Indianapolis Colts, Ben has the year off and a very nice supporting cast.
Did Ryan Tannehill really figure something out or was it a flash in the pan that we have seen before from QBs? Is Joe Burrow going to be good right away or at all? How are Sam Darnold and Josh Allen going to respond to more experience and potentially having better offenses around them? What is Gardner Minshew and why can’t I quit him?
I think I’d take Goff over Drew Lock, Derek Carr, Tyrod Taylor/Justin Herbert, Ryan Fitzpatrick/Tua Tagovailoa, whatever the Patriots are doing. I’d lean to take him over Tannehill, Darnold, Allen, and Minshew too, but there’s roads I can see where that wasn’t the smart decision.
Overall, maybe there are 4-6 QBs in the AFC who may rank over Goff. Where does that put him?
I’d guess right around the middle of the bunch, but that’s only my opinion. There are going to be opinions that put Goff 10th and others that have him 30th. The development of some young QBs — and the washing out of others — could have Goff settling in around the 18-22 mark, I suspect.
Where would you rank Jared Goff among all 2020 QBs?
This poll is closed