Each offseason in the NFL brings a great deal of change, and 2023 is shaping up to be no different.
Tom Brady is seemingly ready to hang up his cleats and head into retirement after three years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aaron Rodgers is likely headed towards a divorce with the Green Bay Packers. Will the San Francisco 49ers choose Brock Purdy, Trey Lance, or option C as their starting QB next year?
And then there is the next generation of signal callers that are quickly rising among the ranks. Jalen Hurts was very impressive during Super Bowl LVII, though the Philadelphia Eagles defense couldn’t slow down Patrick Mahomes. The Chicago Bears own the first overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft, but they seem content with the flashes Justin Fields has shown so far.
With the young guns rising to the top and some big names potentially moving out of the conference, who are the best quarterbacks left in the NFC? After the QB carousel is done turning, here’s how I see the rankings playing out:
1 - Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Hurts is set to become the next $50M QB in the NFL this offseason, as he’s expected to earn a sizeable contract extension from the team. Will the Eagles be able to maintain the top receiving corps and supporting cast around Hurts once he’s no longer on his rookie deal, and can he take the next step in his development to offset the tradeoff in talent? Time will tell.
2 - Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks offense came and went with the effectiveness of the running game, and that’s something they will need to address heading into the 2023 offseason. Geno Smith transformed his career after Seattle moved on from Russell Wilson, and flashed athleticism, a big-time arm, and unique playmaking ability.
Is Smith more of a one-year wonder than a building block for the future?
3 - Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Goff finished last season on a tear, and despite a 1-6 start the veteran QB had his team on the brink of the playoffs - and Detroit would have made the tournament if Goff’s old team would have taken down the Seahawks in Week 18. With Ben Johnson returning as offensive coordinator and star receiver Jamison Williams back and healthy for year two, the sky is the limit for the Lions.
4 - Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford was having a rough 2022 season before it was cut short due to multiple injuries - lingering concerns surrounding his throwing elbow, reported concussions, and a spinal cord contusion. The main question mark moving forward in Stafford’s career is whether he can navigate pressure.
Can the Rams develop a quick passing game to mitigate pressure? It’s not something Sean McVay or Stafford have been successful with during their time in LA.
It seems the duo are headed for a bounce back in 2023, but there are significant concerns surrounding this offense.
5 - Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Turnovers and a deteriorating receiving corps are the main question marks surrounding Prescott and the Cowboys. Dallas also decided to move on from offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
Time will tell if Moore was truly the problem, or if Prescott has a ceiling he can’t seem to get past.
6 - Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Cousins had a great year statistically, but who wouldn’t with Justin Jefferson? The Vikings need to find younger receiving talent with Adam Thielen growing older, and trading for TJ Hockenson certainly helps in that department. The arrow seems pointed down on the Minnesota offense heading into next year.
7 - Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints
This one is purely a projection, but Derek Carr would be an intriguing addition to the Saints. With Chris Olave, Alvin Kamara, and Rashid Shaheed, Carr could find success in New Orleans from the jump. He will have a number of suitors this offseason and will be able to pick his destination.
8 - Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Jones’ running ability gives him a high floor in terms of production, and with more receiving threats perhaps the much-maligned quarterback can take another step forward in his career. Brian Daboll deserves credit for helping Jones minimize the mistakes that previously plagued him.
9 - Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Fields is probably the best rushing quarterback in the NFL, and he’s liable to take a run the distance from anywhere on the field.
With that said, he needs to develop as a passer. Quality receivers will help him take the next steps, but the Bears didn’t see great return on investment from their mid-season trade for Chase Claypool a year ago. They have money to spend in free agency, but the receiver class is overall lackluster.
10 - Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
The Packers have seen flashes from Love, but it’s a big leap of faith to move on from a franchise great to a relative unknown. The young signal caller has all the talent in the world, which is why Green Bay felt comfortable drafting him in the first round while Rodgers was on solid footing with the team. Still, he’s a bigger question mark than anything at this point.
11 - Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
The success of Brock Purdy in 2022 was a great story, and it was unfortunate the see the 49ers’ playoff run end with an injury to the rookie. But the truth is that story never had a happy ending, Purdy is fun to watch but he wasn’t going to win in a toe-to-to battle with Mahomes or Hurts.
The 49ers will still have a top overall roster next year and they don’t need much help at QB to win games, but it’s unlikely that Purdy or Lance become difference makers on this team.
12 - Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Murray will likely miss the start of the regular season due to his late season ACL tear. When he returns he could be without star receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
The Cardinals roster overall leaves a lot to be desired. Are they headed towards a full rebuild?
13 - Will Levis, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers likely won’t go the veteran route again after trades for Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield missed the mark. Levis gives Frank Reich all the tools he could want in a quarterback, maybe even giving off Carson Wentz vibes. This pairing makes a lot of sense for Carolina.
14 - Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
Ridder seems to be the plan for Atlanta, and in year three with Arthur Smith it should be time for the Falcons to compete.
15 - Sam Howell, Washington Commanders
If Ron Rivera truly plans to start Howell in 2023, his days in Washington are numbered - and it’s a miracle he’s survived in the NFL this long with only three winnings seasons in 12 years has a head coach.
16 - Kyle Trask(?), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Maybe this is a good destination for Jimmy Garoppolo, Carson Wentz, or Baker Mayfield - or perhaps the Bucs are playing their odds and hoping for the first overall pick in 2024 to land Caleb Williams of USC?