It was well over a year ago that I wrote the article, “Matt Stafford isn’t far from being a top-3 QB in the NFC” here at Turf Show Times. The day was January 31, 2021. The LA Rams had only traded for Stafford one day earlier. As of now, Stafford’s case as a top-three quarterback in the conference couldn’t be any more clear.
Here’s how I saw the pendulum swinging last January:
In 2018, 11 of the top 17 quarterbacks ranked by passer rating played in the NFC. The top six QBs in the AFC, by passer rating, were Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers, Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger. With Rivers, Brady, and Ben, it seemed obvious that the AFC would be falling even farther behind the NFC’s counterparts, then out of nowhere, it was Luck who retired before any of them.
But even despite Rivers also calling it a career and Brady leaving behind the comforts of the AFC East for the NFC South, it seems as though football’s most important position has swung back in favor of the AFC. And that pendulum could come down hard in the coming seasons.
This was the NFC quarterback picture at the time.
I had predicted that in the AFC, the Patriots and Colts would be similarly aggressive in acquiring a starting quarterback and both ended up using a first round pick to make a move at the position. That’s how Jalen Hurts took over for Carson Wentz.
Drew Brees did retire. Tom Brady did not retire. But then in 2022 he did retire. But then he didn’t retire. Matt Ryan has been traded. The Panthers replaced Teddy Bridgewater with Sam Darnold. Russell Wilson has been traded, which we knew was a possibility. The 49ers made a big move at quarterback, but has seen no returns on Trey Lance. Kyler Murray is holding out for more money.
If you remain a believer in Justin Fields, Daniel Jones, Kyler Murray, Trey Lance, or Jalen Hurts, then maybe the NFC does have a bright future at quarterback. At the moment, other than Aaron Rodgers and Brady, I don’t see any quarterback standing in the way between Stafford and a top-three position in the NFC.
But that’s only my opinion. I did a video podcast with JB Scott on Monday evening and JB has some other names to throw in as competition for Stafford in that spot. We also talk about where the LA Rams’ defense currently stands in the NFC after adding Bobby Wagner and discuss if now that side of the ball is ahead of the offense.
Watch below or listen to the audio version.
Where do the reigning Super Bowl champions stand in the conference after free agency and what do the Los Angeles Rams have to do to be the first team to repeat since the 2004 Patriots? Is Stafford a top-3 QB in the NFC and do the Rams have a top-5 defense overall? Let us know in the comments.