Rumors the Kansas City Chiefs would use the franchise tag on offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. were swirling at the 2023 NFL Combine in Indianapolis last week. Ari Meirov explains why the Chiefs didn’t use the tag and why they are comfortable letting Brown hit free agency.
Kansas City Chiefs
NFL Offseason Fixer-Uppers: Three Ways Chiefs Can Improve in 2023
In an ongoing offseason series, experts from The 33rd Team offer three things each team can do to improve in 2023.
AFC: BAL | BUF | CIN | CLE | HOU | IND | JAX | LAC | LV | MIA | NE | NYJ | PIT | TEN
NFC: ATL | CAR | DAL | DET | GB | LAR | MIN | NYG | PHI | SEA | SF | TB
Here are three ways to improve the Kansas City Chiefs for the 2023 NFL season.
Three Ways to Improve Chiefs
1. Bolster Defensive Line
Chris Jones is coming off one of the best years of his career, solidifying him as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. He’s right up there with Aaron Donald. Getting Jones surrounded by as many guys as possible is essential because every team will gameplan around him. We’ve seen what the NFL has become — it’s a passing league, and getting after the passer is the most important thing for modern defenses.
George Karlaftis has had a good rookie year. He’s going to continue to improve. Veteran Frank Clark has a considerable cap number, and the Chiefs will have to decide whether to figure out something with the contract to keep him or if he leaves, you have to replace him.
Defensive tackle Khalen Saunders had a good year, but he’s a free agent. Continuing to bolster that group and make it a true defensive strength would be a huge step forward for the Chiefs.
2. Solidify Offensive Tackle
The interior three are all signed up, and Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith are entering their third year on the rookie deal. So that is solidified, but Orlando Brown Jr. is a free agent yet again, and so is Andrew Wylie.
The Chiefs have decisions to make, and since this is not the cheapest roster, there’s only so much money to go around. They must choose their spots and determine how they want to pay guys. But those two tackle spots are huge priorities.
Obviously, one of those is my former position. So I know how important it is to the offensive line. Based on everything we’ve seen from the Chiefs, they seem to be working towards that long-term deal with Brown, so they’ll know what his cap hits look like over the next few years.
Wylie had a great year. He has had a good couple of good years and has been among the more underrated starting NFL offensive linemen. So figuring out what Wylie’s contract looks like will be important.
Does he go somewhere else? Can Wylie sign a big deal to become a starter? Can Kansas City afford him?
If they can’t, what does that look like? Lucas Niang is still on the roster, and he was playing good ball two years ago before he got hurt. Does he replace Wylie? Prince Tega Wanogho has been on the roster for a couple of years. Does he slide in, or do they try to find a veteran to fill that role?
3. Keep Adding Offensive Weapons
Last year was the first time the Chiefs didn’t have that true explosive element to the offense. They still had fast guys that sold the ability to stretch the field, but things were slightly different in the post-Tyreek Hill era. Filling that wide receiver room with as many dynamic guys is essential.
We saw the Chiefs acquire Kadarius Toney for that reason. Now, with Mecole Hardman leaving and Juju Smith-Schuster set to enter free agency, they’ve got a couple of guys in that room who have played a lot of snaps leaving. So whether you re-sign those guys or you draft some more, they need to bolster that group.
Skyy Moore was a second-rounder this past year and played a little less than Chiefs fans wanted. So seeing him emerge in a true starting role would be nice.
They can bolster that room through the draft and free agency, getting as much talent, as much speed, and as much athleticism as they can, and then trust Patrick Mahomes to make it all work.
Betting 2023 NFL Draft: What Team Will Take Anthony Richardson?
You can now bet on which team will draft Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson (scouting report) on DraftKings Sportsbook, just like you can with Bijan Robinson (scouting report). Richardson’s odds in the first overall pick market saw wild line movement a little more than a week ago, as he went from a 30-1 longshot to a 7.5-1 contender in a matter of hours.
After dominating the combine over the weekend, Richardson is now 3-1 to be the first overall pick on DraftKings. As things stand today, Richardson is expected to go early in the first round.
When we analyzed Robinson’s market, we went through every team directly, as Robinson has a wide range of landing spots. In Richardson’s market, we will break down his potential landing spots in groups.
Which Team Will Draft Richardson?
Pick 2 & 12 Texans (+1000)
Pick 4 Colts (+400)
Pick 5 & 20 Seahawks (+550)
Pick 6 & 18 Lions (+750)
Pick 7 Raiders (+700)
Pick 8 Falcons (+600)
Pick 9 Panthers (+300)
This market has seven teams with 10/1 odds or less. They all have a draft pick within the top nine selections. Five of them have an immediate need at quarterback. Two are in a position to start a quality veteran this year while potentially allowing a rookie to sit for a full season.
A lot can happen between now and the draft, but this betting market indicates one of these seven teams will likely select Richardson. Let’s dive into the favorites.
The Houston Texans will almost certainly draft a new quarterback, and they have the easiest path to moving up to the first pick. Despite their position, the Texans have the longest odds of selecting Richardson from this group. Betting markets believe Houston is more likely to take Bryce Young (scouting report) than Richardson.
The Indianapolis Colts are the second favorite in this market. The Colts’ new coach, former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, had great success with dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts. I’ve often said Hurts is among the most unique quarterback prospects I’ve ever evaluated. When he was at Alabama, I didn’t think he had any chance of developing into an impactful passer in the NFL. Then, he transferred to Oklahoma and looked like an entirely different player. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Richardson has similar potential but only started one year in college and never had that Hurts in Oklahoma-type season as a passer. Richardson could still be available if the Colts sit tight with the fourth pick. Indianapolis is also close enough to the top of the draft to trade up to the top spot if it wants to get ahead of Houston.
The Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions are in similar positions. They both won nine games last year, had top-10 offenses, have two first-round picks, are both sneaky intriguing contenders in a weak NFC, and have veteran quarterbacks that are good but could be better. Both teams are in a position to develop a player like Richardson behind a quality veteran quarterback.
The Las Vegas Raiders appear interested in acquiring a veteran quarterback through trade or free agency. That doesn’t preclude them from taking a quarterback in the first round, especially if they can’t trade for Aaron Rodgers. But ultimately, that’s why Vegas is the fifth favorite in this market, with longer odds than two favorites that pick after them.
>> READ: Rodgers’ Decision Will Come Soon Enough
If Richardson is still available at pick eight, I’d be surprised if he got past the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have a solid offensive line and an excellent young core of blue-chip pass-catchers. Arthur Smith’s run-centric, play-action-driven offense would be an intriguing fit for Richardson’s skill set.
The Carolina Panthers are the top favorite in this market. Carolina hasn’t had a real solution at quarterback since Cam Newton missed most of the 2019 season. If any of the four quarterbacks expected to go in the first round are available, there is a good chance they don’t get past the Panthers.
The Falcons and Panthers selecting back-to-back could result in a trade-up by either team to secure a quarterback.
Pick 11 Titans (+1300)
Pick 16 Commanders (+1600)
Both the Tennessee Titans and Washington Commanders could use a new future at quarterback. If Richardson falls, the Titans can start Ryan Tannehill this season while being patient with Richardson’s development. The Titans are in an interesting position to trade up for a quarterback with the 11th pick, too.
Washington appears to be entering the season with Sam Howell as its quarterback. The Commanders should be in the new quarterback market. However, they will have to leapfrog many teams with a quarterback need to get one of the top four guys.
Longshots With Potential
Pick 13 Jets (+3000)
Pick 19 Buccaneers (+2000)
Pick 22 Ravens (+2500)
Pick 23 Vikings (+2500)
The New York Jets have a win-now roster, so they are a likely destination for Rodgers and Derek Carr. If the Jets miss out on both, they can trade up for a quarterback they like. If New York misses out on Rodgers and Carr, I will check this market to see if they are still 30-1.
>> READ: Is Carr Answer for QB Needy Teams?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a similar position to the Commanders in this year’s draft. The Buccaneers may enter the season with an unproven player still on their rookie deal in Kyle Trask.
If the Baltimore Ravens or Minnesota Vikings were 75-1 in this market, I’d consider putting a bet on them. If the Ravens traded Lamar Jackson, it would make sense for them to get a dynamic quarterback prospect in this year’s draft. If one team were going to move on from speed-reliant quarterbacks after their rookie deals purposely, it would probably be Baltimore.
If the Vikings finally blow up their roster and start over, they, too, would become an interesting longshot to acquire Richardson. That said, there is no value on either of these teams at 25-1 odds.
Pick 1 Chicago Bears (+2500)
Pick 14 Patriots (+3500)
Pick 15 Packers (+7500)
Pick 17 Steelers (+10000)
Pick 25 Giants (+4500)
Pick 29 Saints (+4000)
The Chicago Bears have the draft capital to start over at quarterback, but should they? The jury is still out on Justin Fields, even though he’s a dynamic athlete that just ran for 1,143 yards. He also turned the Bears into a dangerous offense by himself last season. It would be odd for the Bears to swap their current dynamic quarterback with accuracy concerns for an unproven rookie with the same problems.
>> READ: Bears Leaning Toward Trading No. 1 Overall
The New England Patriots made the playoffs in Mac Jones‘ first season. There is a high chance the Patriots give Jones one more full year after his up-and-down sophomore campaign. Whether it’s Rodgers or Jordan Love under center on opening day, the Green Bay Packers don’t appear to be in the quarterback market.
I expect the Pittsburgh Steelers to be patient with Kenny Pickett to the point he likely gets his entire rookie deal to prove himself. I’d be shocked if Pickett wasn’t the uncontested starter for the Steelers heading into opening day.
It appears the New York Giants will either extend Daniel Jones or use the franchise tag on him. They aren’t entirely out of the quarterback market, but they are close to being out. The New Orleans Saints need a new future at quarterback, but they would have to trade away a ton to move up from the 29th pick into new quarterback territory.
The Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers all have injury uncertainty at quarterback. They would also need more draft capital to enter new quarterback territory.
Teams Completely Out of Quarterback Market
Pick 3 Cardinals (+10000)
Pick 10 & 31 Eagles (+10000)
Pick 21 Chargers (+20000)
Pick 24 Jaguars (+20000)
Pick 26 Cowboys (+10000)
Pick 27 Bills (+20000)
Pick 28 Bengals (+20000)
Pick 30 Chiefs (+20000)
These teams are all long shots in this market because they are all set at quarterback. The Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs are each complete cross-offs in this market. The Eagles belong in that group as well with Hurts.
The Arizona Cardinals have the draft capital to select a new quarterback, but they signed Kyler Murray to a long-term deal last offseason. Even if the Cleveland Browns or Denver Broncos wanted to change directions at the position, neither team has a first-round pick to use in a trade.
Notable Line Movement
This market opened on Friday, March 3. Here are the most notable early line changes in this market:
- The Colts opened at +750, tied for the fifth favorite with the Falcons. Indianapolis is currently +400
- The Falcons opened at +750, tied for the fifth favorite with the Colts. Atlanta is currently +600
- The Raiders opened at +600 and are presently at +700
- The Lions opened at +600 and are currently at +750
- The Titans opened at +1000 and are presently at +1300
- The Commanders opened at +1200 and are currently +1600
- The Buccaneers opened at +1200 and are now +2000
- The Patriots opened at +2200 and are now +3500
- The Giants opened at +3000 and are now +4500
- The Bengals, Bills, Browns, Chargers, Chiefs and Jaguars all opened at +10000 and are now all +20000
If I were an oddsmaker, I would have set the Colts and Falcons as the top two favorites in this market. The Raiders are signaling they’d prefer a veteran quarterback. The Lions could benefit from selecting a top-tier defensive talent, and Jared Goff is only 28.
As things stand now, Richardson will likely be gone by the time the Titans, Commanders and Buccaneers pick. The Giants and Patriots are unlikely to select a first-round quarterback. If the Bengals, Bills, Browns, Chargers, Chiefs or Jaguars were +50000 in this market, I still wouldn’t frame those as good bets.
There is a logic-based reason behind each of these line movements.
I won’t make any bets in this market right now because a seven-team cluster of favorites could all realistically acquire Richardson. We could add the Titans to that mix and make it an eight-team bunch.
Considering that eight teams within the first 11 picks could realistically draft a quarterback with their first selection, I don’t have any real interest in forcing a bet on a favorite in this market. The underdogs I like don’t have long enough odds for me to pull the trigger.
But I am going to check this market when these events transpire:
- Rodgers gets traded, retires, or stays in Green Bay
- Jimmy Garoppolo signs
- Lamar Jackson signs or gets traded
And if these events transpire:
- Kirk Cousins gets traded
- Jones gets traded
- Someone trades with the Bears for the first-overall pick
I want the “who needs a quarterback” market to narrow before making any bets in this market. I’ll use an example to illustrate why that matters. If, say, Rodgers gets traded to the Raiders, Carr signs with Carolina and Jackson gets traded to the Falcons, that string of events would radically change this market.
Three of the favorites would essentially be eliminated from contention, while the Jets and Ravens would become far more likely to expend significant resources to trade up for a quarterback. That’s another reason I’m waiting to make any bets in this market.
If I make any bets in this market, I will drop those in our discord in the future.
WATCH: Top 5 Best Ball Targets
2023 NFL Combine Concludes, But Buzz, Rumors Are Still Going Strong
INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL Scouting Combine is one of the great weeks on the league’s calendar as executives, coaches, scouts, agents and media come together for what has become an annual league-wide convention.
With another combine in the books, here’s a look at some of the buzz from Indianapolis:
Jones-Barkley Decision Going Down to Wire
New York Giants officials and quarterback Daniel Jones’ representation at Athletes First met several times face-to-face in Indianapolis.
Progress was made on a long-term deal, but more work is needed. As the saying goes: Deadlines spur action.
The Giants have been trying to explain to Jones if he’s tagged, their ability to upgrade the roster decreases. For example, All-Pro running back Saquon Barkley would become a free agent and might leave. That’s because the entire $32 million value of the tag would hit the cap immediately. An extension allows the Giants to spread out the contract numbers, making this season’s salary cap more manageable to facilitate better roster building.
Jones’ asking price — reportedly $45 million per season — has been blown out of proportion a bit on social media, but there’s more work to do to bridge the gap. Neither side wants this to end in a tag, but the clock is ticking.
Meanwhile, the Giants and Barkley have been far apart in negotiations since talks started during the team’s bye week in early November. The Jones situation means Barkley and his agents at Roc Nation have taken a back seat, knowing there’s a potential pathway to unrestricted free agency.
Teams have been hesitant to pay big money for running backs in recent years, but Barkley’s camp believes he’s in a special category because his character is A+, and he’s highly marketable.
Jalen Carter Situation Unfolded in Real Time
Georgia defensive tackle and potential No. 1 pick Jalen Carter (scouting report) was scheduled to speak to reporters on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EST when news broke an arrest warrant had been issued for him in Georgia. The charges — for reckless driving and racing (both misdemeanors) — were in connection to a crash that killed a teammate and a staff member on Jan. 15.
After some scrambling behind the podium curtain, a league spokesperson announced Carter wouldn’t speak and was still in medical testing.
The announcement of the charges surfaced hours after a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution claiming Carter was present the night of the accident and misled police with an inconsistent recounting of the events.
Carter returned to Georgia, was booked at 11:33 p.m. EST Wednesday, and released at 11:49 p.m. after posting a $4,000 bond. He returned to Indianapolis on Thursday to finish his interviews and measurements, and posted a statement on social media, saying he expects to be “fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing.”
Teams didn’t know the charges were coming.
>>READ: Carter Made Critical Mistake with Far-Reaching Effects
The incident was tragic, and there’s no reason to speculate as the legal situation unfolds.
From a draft standpoint, Carter’s only benefit is that it’s unfolding now and not days before the draft. Recent draft incidents such as the ones involving La’el Collins in 2015 and Laremy Tunsil in 2016 happened right before the draft, and many teams removed them from their draft boards.
Carter will have the chance to speak to teams, and they will have a chance to do all the necessary investigating to learn more about the situation and if it’s worth taking on. Was it just a horrible mistake made by a 21-year-old who will learn from what happened? Or is there past history that will lead teams to take him off their board? Teams have the next 50-plus days to figure it out.
Lamar Jackson-Ravens Situation Remains Mystery
Everyone in Indianapolis had an opinion on what would end up happening with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, The 33rd Team’s No. 1 free agent in its Top 150, but it didn’t seem like anyone truly knew.
At his press conference early in the week, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said he and Jackson agreed not to negotiate publicly two years ago, and they’ve stayed true to that. The first sign of where things stand may come on Tuesday when Baltimore will likely use the exclusive or non-exclusive tag on Jackson. DeCosta said they don’t know which way they will go, indicating there’s a back-and-forth going on in Baltimore’s building.
The Ravens can put the non-exclusive tag on Jackson at $32.4 million, but that would allow Jackson to seek offers and bring an offer sheet back to the Ravens. They would have the right to match or receive two first-round picks from the team signing Jackson. An exclusive tag projects to be roughly $45 million, and it would take Jackson off the market. The downside, however, is it could weaken Baltimore’s negotiating stance because they’d be working off a larger number. If the Ravens had to tag Jackson again in 2024, it would cost $54 million.
Rams Shopping Ramsey, Possibly Others
The Los Angeles Rams remain open to trading All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who has a $25 million salary cap number. The hope is to have a deal in place before the new league year begins on March 15.
Los Angeles is also open to moving on from other veterans, including 2022 free-agent signing Allen Robinson, though that would be more difficult considering he has $15 million in guaranteed money next season. Robinson had just 33 catches and three touchdowns in 10 games.
Bears Open for Business on No. 1 Pick
There is no question that Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles will have more power and influence this offseason than any of his peers.
The Bears will have the most cap space with nearly $100 million and possess the No. 1 overall pick. While Chicago has not fully committed to Justin Fields as its starting quarterback for next season, many league executives said they would be surprised if the Bears decided to trade the former Ohio State quarterback.
The league-wide expectation is the Bears will trade the No. 1 overall pick, but the big question is how far down they will be willing to go.
Tua Tagovailoa’s Future Up in Air
May 1 is the deadline for the Miami Dolphins to exercise the fifth-year option on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s contract. The option would guarantee a nearly $23.2 million salary for the 2024 season.
“We’re probably best served to utilize the time,” Miami coach Mike McDaniel said at his combine news conference. “That’s kind of the way we’re approaching it, but that doesn’t mean that we’re spending any long period of time not discussing it. This is something that (general manager) Chris (Grier) and I have been working through.”
Tagovailoa missed time with injuries at Alabama and has missed 14 games during his first three seasons with Miami, including worrisome concussions this past season.
Some have wondered if the Dolphins will sniff around on the veteran market, and that probably shouldn’t be ruled out. Tagovailoa also recently made an agent switch and is now with Athletes First.
Cardinals Expected to Move On from Hopkins
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has no guaranteed money left on his contract, and it seems like he and the Arizona Cardinals would a fresh start. This was the expectation going into the combine, and it was all but confirmed by the event’s close.
Hopkins has five seasons of 96 or more receptions but has missed 15 games in the past two seasons due to injuries and a six-game PED suspension in 2022. He recently hired an agent after not retaining one for the past several years.
Bengals Shut Down Higgins Trade Speculation
Duke Tobin, the Cincinnati Bengals director of player personnel, gave an epic response when asked about the possibility of trading wide receiver Tee Higgins:
“I’m not in the business of making other teams better. I’m in the business of making the Cincinnati Bengals better. If they want a receiver, go find your own. In my opinion, Tee Higgins is a good piece for the Cincinnati Bengals, so the trade stuff is a little ridiculous right now.”
Higgins is entering the fourth, and final, year of his rookie contract, and some speculated Cincinnati might consider moving him because of the looming extensions for franchise quarterback Joe Burrow (this year) and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (next year). The free-agent wide receiver market is weak this offseason, so there is potential to get a massive haul for Higgins.
However, as one person clarified, the Bengals have always played hardball. It wouldn’t be surprising if they let Higgins play out his rookie deal and then placed the franchise tag on him next year, similar to what they did with safety Jessie Bates. Higgins has the same agent as Bates, so if no extension gets done, this situation could mirror that one.
What Impact Will NFLPA Report Cards Have?
The first-ever “NFLPA report card,” a survey of roughly 1,300 players, was suddenly dropped to the public on Wednesday afternoon. Its results were interesting, creating a lot of discussion in Indianapolis.
Players were asked for opinions on their teams only and received a survey covering eight topics: Treatment of player families, food service/nutrition, weight room, strength coaches, training room, training staff, locker room and team travel. The three top-ranked teams were the Minnesota Vikings, Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders. The bottom three were the Los Angeles Chargers, Cardinals and Washington Commanders.
Most agents I spoke to didn’t think it would make a major difference because the money will eventually talk to the player. Could it decide a tiebreaker? That’s definitely possible. It’s fair to wonder if some of these teams will make drastic changes because some of the responses in the report were wild to read. The players deserve better.
Buzz Building Around Several Free Agents
The 33rd Team will do a deep dive on free agency later this week, but here are some names who should do well on the open market after some conversations with agents and personnel executives:
- Eagles guard Isaac Seumalo
- 49ers tackle Mike McGlinchey
- Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean
- Broncos defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones
- Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave
- Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers
- Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen
- Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke
- Falcons tackle Kaleb McGary
- Jaguars tackle Jawaan Taylor
- Steelers defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi
- Chiefs tackle Andrew Wylie
Trade Market Could Get Wild
We’ve heard plenty of trade rumors about Hopkins, Texans receiver Brandin Cooks and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. However, there could be several more surprising names popping up in trades.
The combine facilitates face-to-face meetings between team decision-makers, and there was speculation by its conclusion we might see some “out-of-left-field” deals this offseason.
People aren’t sold on Sam Howell being the starting quarterback in Washington, or Kyle Trask taking over in Tampa Bay. Expect veteran competition added in both places, and several options are available in free agency this year.
Expect quarterbacks Mike White and Baker Mayfield to have solid markets for backup roles.
Kentucky’s Will Levis (scouting report) appears to be this draft class’s most polarizing quarterback prospect. If you talked with two people, you’d get the opposite one person would say one thing about him, and the other would say the complete opposite.
On Saturday, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (scouting report) officially measured in at 5-foot-10 1/8, 204 pounds. If he were 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, he would be the consensus top pick. There will be a team that takes on the risk and potentially trades up to get him, but that team will be taking on a total outlier. Young got hurt last year on a basic tackle, which only raises the concern about how he’ll hold up in the NFL. No one denies his talent and playmaking ability.
Most people expect left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to get franchise tagged if no long-term deal is reached with the Kansas City Chiefs. A few people mentioned keeping a close eye on that situation. Keep in mind Kansas City could have two All-Pros — center Creed Humphrey and guard Joe Thuney — up for new deals next year on the offensive line.
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Way-Too-Early NFL Quarterback Rankings for 2023
Former NFL quarterback Matt Cassel provides his way-too-early 2023 QB rankings. All stats are from the 2022 regular season.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
QB Record: 14-3 | QBR: 77.6 | Passing TDs: 41 | Passing Yards: 5,250
Comment: MVP, check. Super Bowl MVP, check. One of the gutsiest Super Bowl performances ever, check. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes remains on top of the mountain until someone can knock him off next season.
>> READ: Mahomes Is Already an All-Time Great
2. Jalen Hurts, Eagles
QB Record: 14-1 | QBR: 66.4 | Passing TDs: 22 | Passing Yards: 3,701
Comment: Jalen Hurts made a big jump up my rankings with his consistent, dynamic playoff performances culminating with a historic Super Bowl showing for the Philadelphia Eagles. Hurts heads into next season with one of the best chances to become No. 1 on this list.
>> READ: How Hurts Improved from 2021 to 2022
3. Joe Burrow, Bengals
QB Record: 12-4 | QBR: 58.7 | Passing TDs: 35 | Passing Yards: 4,475
Comment: During the past two seasons, Joe Burrow has been as cool and consistent as any quarterback in the league, including the two guys above him on this list. Burrow led the Cincinnati Bengals to the AFC Championship Game one season after making the Super Bowl. There’s an argument right now these three guys are 1A, 1B, and 1C rather than one through three.
4. Josh Allen, Bills
QB Record: 13-3 | QBR: 71.4 | Passing TDs: 35 | Passing Yards: 4,283
Comment: Josh Allen peaked at No. 1 on our list mid-season, but the turnovers late in the year dropped him down a bit. That said, don’t count this guy and the Buffalo Bills out. He is huge, athletic, and has a cannon. Now, more than ever, he might have the biggest chip on his shoulder of any quarterback on this list.
5. Justin Herbert, Chargers
QB Record: 10-7 | QBR: 58.3 | Passing TDs: 25 | Passing Yards: 4,739
Comment: You might have forgotten by now how Justin Herbert‘s Los Angeles Chargers blew a 27-point lead against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the playoffs, but I’m certain Herbert hasn’t. I’m looking forward to seeing if a new offensive coordinator — Kellen Moore — can help Herbert crack into the elite tier of NFL quarterbacks.
6. Lamar Jackson, Ravens
QB Record: 8-4 | QBR: 59.1 | Passing TDs: 17 | Passing Yards: 2,242
Comment: If you forgot about the Chargers’ loss in the playoffs, then you also could have forgotten how dynamic a healthy Lamar Jackson can be in the Baltimore Ravens’ lineup. I expect Jackson to be healthy next season after not playing much in the back half of 2022. I’m looking forward to seeing what type of weapons he’ll have at his disposal — and where he’ll be using them.
>> READ: Jackson Among Top Franchise Tag Candidates
7. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars
QB Record: 9-8 | QBR: 54.5 | Passing TDs: 25 | Passing Yards: 4,113
Comment: Only three quarterbacks last year threw for at least 25 touchdowns and ran for at least five more: Allen, Burrow … and this guy. Trevor Lawrence‘s amazing comeback win against the Chargers showed me he’s on pace to be yet another young, talented, superstar quarterback. The future of the position is bright when this guy is only ranked seventh on my list.
8. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
QB Record: 8-9 | QBR: 39.3 | Passing TDs: 26 | Passing Yards: 3,695
Comment: It’s like Groundhog Day right now. When will Aaron Rodgers reveal himself from his cave, and what will the news be when he comes out? But seriously folks, without knowing if he’ll end up with the Green Bay Packers or another team, it’s tough to quantify his ranking. We do know the New York Jets have reached out already. If he winds up in the right spot, expect to see one of the greatest ever challenge the guys above him on this list for the top spot.
>> READ: Packers Reportedly “Disgusted” with Rodgers
9. Dak Prescott, Cowboys
QB Record: 8-4 | QBR: 57.9 | Passing TDs: 23 | Passing Yards: 2,860
Comment: What a roller-coaster season for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Prescott played well when he returned from his Week 1 injury, but obviously, they fell short of the NFC Championship again. I’m intrigued to see what happens when Mike McCarthy replaces Moore as the primary play-caller. It could mean big things for Prescott and the entire offense in Dallas.
10. Geno Smith, Seahawks
QB Record: 9-8 | QBR: 60.8 | Passing TDs: 30 | Passing Yards: 4,282
Comment: Geno Smith and the Seattle Seahawks had a strong first half of the season followed by a bit of a dip in the second half of the season. But overall, Smith proved he absolutely can be a starting NFL quarterback. Perhaps having that pressure off heading into this year’s camp will allow even more growth for one of the feel-good quarterback stories of the year.
11. Kirk Cousins, Vikings
QB Record: 13-4 | QBR: 49.9 | Passing TDs: 29 | Passing Yards: 4,547
Comment: It’s that time of year again when Minnesota Vikings fans ask if Kirk Cousins is their quarterback or if it’s time to move on. I argue the Vikings would not have had nearly as much success as they did last season without the veteran slinging it all over the field. Clearly, he knows how to get his wide receivers the ball, including one of the best in the game — Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson.
12. Jared Goff, Lions
QB Record: 9-8 | QBR: 61.1 | Passing TDs: 29 | Passing Yards: 4,438
Comment: Give me a rival team hoping to see the Detroit Lions sneak into the playoffs last year, and I’ll give you a firm handshake. All Jared Goff did in the second half of the season was lead one of the most dynamic teams in the league just short of the playoffs. They clearly found their groove and with the sixth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Goff and the Lions may be one of the scariest opponents on any team’s schedule in 2023.
13. Justin Fields, Bears
QB Record: 3-12 | QBR: 54 | Passing TDs: 17 | Passing Yards: 2,242
Comment: Will Justin Fields be the Chicago Bears‘ franchise quarterback? Or will he be looking for that title in another uniform? Either way, no quarterback was more dynamic with his feet in 2022. Fields finished with 1,143 yards rushing and eight rushing touchdowns in 2023.
>> READ: Should Bears Replace Fields?
14. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins
QB Record: 8-5 | QBR: 68.8 | Passing TDs: 25 | Passing Yards: 3,548
Comment: We saw flashes of the greatness Tua Tagovailoa has inside him early in the season. His injuries, especially the concussions, are concerning. I’m hoping to see a healthy Tagovailoa show us his full potential next year for the Miami Dolphins.
15. Derek Carr, Free Agent
QB Record: 6-9 | QBR: 55.6 | Passing TDs: 24 | Passing Yards: 3,522
Comment: If Rodgers is the most prized potential addition for teams in need of a new quarterback, then Derek Carr is probably the second. Arguably one of the most durable signal-callers on our list, Carr is a veteran who can still sling it. He may end up being the most important signing all offseason.
>> READ: Carr Visits New York Jets
16. Daniel Jones, Giants
QB Record: 9-6-1 | QBR: 60.8 | Passing TDs: 15 | Passing Yards: 3,205
Comment: Daniel Jones proved he can play. Now the New York Giants may have to prove they can pay. Jones is one of the more underrated arms in the league. He is accurate, and he has arm strength that doesn’t get talked about enough. He’s also become a hybrid pocket-running passer like we’re seeing more and more in the league right now. The future is bright for Jones.
>> READ: Jones Wants $45 Million Contract
17. Brock Purdy, 49ers
QB Record: 5-0 | QBR: 65.6 | Passing TDs: 13 | Passing Yards: 1,374
Comment: I absolutely hated seeing him get hurt in the playoffs. But as much of a disappointment as the end of the season was for Brock Purdy, he went from third string to third in the Rookie of the Year voting, helping the San Francisco 49ers remain a legit Super Bowl contender. There are no more questions he needs to answer. He can play in the NFL. Now, we’ll see if he can get healthy and add more chapters to that Cinderella story.
18. Kyler Murray, Cardinals
QB Record: 3-8 | QBR: 51.7 | Passing TDs: 14 | Passing Yards: 2,368
Comment: The 2022 season was a nightmare for the dynamic talent, who threw just 14 touchdown passes vs. seven interceptions. Kyler Murray also suffered a torn ACL in Week 14, forcing his season to end early. But the Arizona Cardinals wouldn’t have given him that long-contract extension last offseason if they felt like he couldn’t return from adversity. We’ll see soon enough if that decision pays off.
19. Matthew Stafford, Rams
QB Record: 3-6 | QBR: 50.3 | Passing TDs: 10 | Passing Yards: 2,087
Comment: This was a down year for both Matthew Stafford and his squad. However, coach Sean McVay decided to come back and right the ship in 2023. There’s no doubt Stafford has the skillset and the pedigree to captain it. Stafford has been doubted in the past and has always shut down the haters. He’s a Super Bowl champion, and you can’t bet against that.
20. Ryan Tannehill, Titans
QB Record: 6-6 | QBR: 49.1 | Passing TDs: 13 | Passing Yards: 2,536
Comment: Losing A.J. Brown hurt. I can only imagine having to watch my former best receiver help his new team to a Super Bowl as Brown did for the Eagles. That said, Ryan Tannehill has gotten himself off the ground throughout his college and NFL careers, and I wouldn’t doubt he has something to prove heading into next season.
21. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
QB Record: 7-3 | QBR: 54.3 | Passing TDs: 16 | Passing Yards: 2,437
Comment: Jimmy Garoppolo is still technically on the 49ers, but they’ve already said he won’t be back next season. Last season was certainly an interesting one for Garoppolo. He was the backup, then the starter before eventually landing on IR. Then, he watched his backup become a star. Garoppolo may miss that dynamic 49ers offense, but he could use a fresh start somewhere else.
>> READ: 49ers Say They’re Moving on From Jimmy G
22. Andy Dalton, Saints
QB Record: 6-8 | QBR: 50.7 | Passing TDs: 18 | Passing Yards: 2,871
Comment: To a degree, Andy Dalton righted the ship in New Orleans during a funky year for the Saints. He’s a veteran who has been on both sides of the mountain and is battle-tested. His story isn’t fully written yet, especially if he ends up on a different team this offseason.
23. Russell Wilson, Broncos
QB Record: 4-11 | QBR: 37.0 | Passing TDs: 16 | Passing Yards: 3,524
Comment: No need to sugarcoat it. It was an awful, nightmare, horrible season for Russell Wilson. I’m sure he’d be the first one to admit that. But now, with Sean Peyton at the helm, there are reasons for optimism in Denver for the first time since about Week 4 of last year. Wilson is low on this list because he has a lot to prove next season.
>> READ: Payton’s Offense Can Revitalize Wilson’s Career
24. Deshaun Watson, Browns
QB Record: 3-3 | QBR: 38.3 | Passing TDs: 7 | Passing Yards: 1,102
Comment: Speaking strictly about on-field play, Deshaun Watson still has a lot to prove to the city of Cleveland on whether or not that guaranteed contract was worth the money and the years. He played in six games and threw seven touchdowns and five interceptions. That means Watson will need to boom next season to avoid a historic bust tag.
25. Mac Jones, Patriots
QB Record: 6-8 | QBR: 36.2 | Passing TDs: 14 | Passing Yards: 2,997
Comment: There were a lot of ups and downs for Mac Jones this past season. I’m still unsure of what type of quarterback he can be. But we will certainly find out with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien returning to the New England Patriots this season.
26. Jacoby Brissett, Browns
QB Record: 4-7 | QBR: 60 | Passing TDs: 12 | Passing Yards: 2,608
Comment: Jacoby Brissett was thrust into a tough situation in Cleveland and showed a little fear early with some big turnovers. But in his final five starts, he threw just one pick. Brissett proved he can play quarterback elsewhere in the NFL next season.
27. Kenny Pickett, Steelers
QB Record: 7-5 | QBR: 51.5 | Passing TDs: 7 | Passing Yards: 2,404
Comment: Kenny Pickett needs to limit mistakes, stay on the field and show some consistency. Throwing game-winning touchdowns with less than a minute left in consecutive games might be a glimpse into Pickett’s moxie. He’s going to need it to carry the weight of one of the league’s most historic franchises on his back.
28. Baker Mayfield, Rams
QB Record: 2-8 | QBR: 24.5 | Passing TDs: 10 | Passing Yards: 2,163
Comment: Do you know how hard it is to join a team, learn a new playbook a few hours later, and then lead a team to a comeback win against the Raiders on Thursday Night Football? I’ll tell you … it’s hard. Baker Mayfield did that. He also proved what he needed to prove in 2022 – that he can be an NFL QB. Given the Rams’ cap situation, it’ll just likely happen with a different team in 2023.
29. Davis Mills, Texans
QB Record: 3-10-1 | QBR: 33.1 | Passing TDs: 17 | Passing Yards: 3,118
Comment: It’s hard to quantify what Davis Mills can accomplish as a quarterback. Can he be a starter? I need to see more reps before I make that claim. Mills might not get that chance with the Houston Texans this season because they’re likely to use the second-overall pick on a new quarterback.
>> READ: The 33rd Team’s Latest Mock Draft
30. Sam Darnold, Panthers
QB Record: 4-2 | QBR: 48.3 | Passing TDs: 7 | Passing Yards: 1,143
Comment: The jury is still out on this one-time top prospect. However, 2023 may be the year we reach a verdict on whether Sam Darnold is a starter. Will it be in Carolina? That remains to be seen. The Panthers seem poised to select a quarterback in the first round, but Darnold could stick around as a bridge option.
>> READ: 2023 Draft QBs with Best Arm Strength
31. Mike White, Jets
QB Record: 1-3 | QBR: 37 | Passing TDs: 3 | Passing Yards: 1,192
Comment: At one point in the season, Jets fans were rocking “White Knight” T-shirts. Players seem to love playing with Mike White, but he needs to show some more consistent results to move up these rankings.
32. Desmond Ridder, Falcons
QB Record: 2-2 | QBR: 49.8 | Passing TDs: 2 | Passing Yards: 708
Comment: The jury is still out, but Desmond Ridder gets the nod as my 32nd-best quarterback over guys like Trey Lance and Jordan Love because, of the three, he at least started the final three games of the season. All three walk into 2023 with huge question marks surrounding their games and futures.
Matt Cassel is a former NFL quarterback who played with seven teams in his NFL career, most notably the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, and Dallas Cowboys. Follow him on Twitter at @M_Cassel16.
Top 5 Show-Stopping Quarterback Performances From 2022 NFL Season
Now that Super Bowl LVII is over, I’ve taken the time to go back and look at some really good individual-game quarterback performances from the 2022 NFL season. My top five are all set, but before we get to those, there were other performances that merited strong consideration.
Jacoby Brissett, Cleveland Browns
Cooper Rush, Dallas Cowboys
These two aren’t really for single-game performances but for a stretch of games by quarterbacks who subbed for their team’s starter under difficult circumstances.
Jacoby Brissett started the first 11 games of the season in place of Deshaun Watson, who was suspended. Even though the Cleveland Browns went 4-7 in that time, Brissett did some good things. He put his team in a position to have a chance to win each week. He completed 64 percent of his passes and threw twice as many touchdowns as interceptions (12-6).
In fact, the Browns scored 23 points per game with Brissett under center, compared to 16 points per game with Watson.
Dak Prescott went down in Week 1, and Cooper Rush came in for five weeks and played solid football for the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, they went 4-1, and the only loss was to the Philadelphia Eagles, 26-17.
Rush really handled a difficult situation well and kept the Cowboys very competitive in Prescott’s absence.
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Wild-Card Round vs. L.A. Chargers
The first year in Jacksonville for Trevor Lawrence was a train wreck, thanks to Urban Meyer with all that nonsense. Doug Pederson came in this year as the coach. The results initially weren’t good as the team struggled to a 2-6 start, but the Jacksonville Jaguars played their best football in the second half of the season, going 7-2 to win the AFC South.
Lawrence really turned the corner at the midpoint of the season. But I was so impressed with what I saw in that wild-card game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The first half was a disaster; four interceptions, and the Jaguars trailed, 27-0, at one point. In the second half, a different Lawrence came out. It was just terrific — three touchdowns in the 31-30 win to advance to the divisional round.
I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen from Lawrence in Year 2. I think great things are in store for Pederson, Lawrence and the Jaguars in 2023.
Chad Henne, Kansas City Chiefs
Divisional Round vs. Jacksonville
I’ve got to tip my hat to Chad Henne. How many quarterbacks win a Super Bowl, have a Bud Light and then announce they’re going to retire? I’ve always had great respect for Henne and his body of work. He was always able to come in at a moment’s notice, despite not getting practice reps, and play at a high level.
Look what he did in the playoffs. He came off the bench vs. Jacksonville (in a 27-20 divisional-round victory). The Kansas City Chiefs put together a 98-yard drive. They finished it with a touchdown pass in the red zone. Coach Andy Reid called a pass on the very first play of that drive at their 2-yard line. That speaks volumes about the confidence he had in Henne. It’s always good to have a veteran quarterback who can step in at a moment’s notice and keep things running smoothly. That’s Henne.
Mike White, New York Jets
Week 12 vs. Chicago
The New York Jets were winning games despite the struggles of Zach Wilson at quarterback. Specifically, they were winning a lot of close games. When Mike White entered in Week 12 against the Chicago Bears, he elevated the Jets’ offense and made it look completely different.
Even in the first half, you could see they were clicking offensively in the passing game in the rain. Despite the rain and some messy conditions, he went 22-of-29 for 315 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He got hurt a few weeks later, but White did some really good things for the Jets.
Best of the Best
5. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 7 vs. Atlanta
When you think about how the Cincinnati Bengals season started the first two games, I didn’t think Joe Burrow would make it to Week 7. The first two games were bad for Burrow and bad for the Bengals. He was sacked 13 times. They lost Week 1 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they lost Week 2 to the Los Angeles Rams, but they got the protections straightened out.
Burrow wound up having an All-Pro season, but in Week 7 vs. the Atlanta Falcons, he put on a show. He completed 81 percent of his passes for 481 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Burrow is the real deal. The past two seasons, the Bengals made it to the AFC Championship Game, and Burrow is a big reason why.
4. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Week 17 vs. Indianapolis
One of the most improved players in the NFL this season was the New York Giants‘ Daniel Jones. We saw steady progress from him under coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka.
Week 17 was a monumental game for Jones vs. the Indianapolis Colts. He did it all. He made a lot of big plays in the passing game, and he made plays with his feet. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for two touchdowns to lead the Giants to the playoffs.
He played well two weeks later against the Minnesota Vikings in a 31-24 wild-card victory, passing for 301 yards and two touchdowns and running for 78 yards.
3. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Week 2 at Baltimore
The Miami Dolphins got off to a good start, but in Week 2, on the road against the Baltimore Ravens, they were trailing 21-0 at the half. Tua Tagovailoa‘s first-half numbers were ugly. He had two interceptions.
The Dolphins came out of the locker room in the second half and there was a different Tagovailoa. He completed 80 percent of his passes and had 319 passing yards, along with five second-half touchdown passes and no turnovers.
Tagovailoa just has to stay healthy in 2023.
2. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
Week 13 vs. Miami
The moment I saw Brock Purdy in that Week 13 game against Miami after Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt, I thought, there’s a guy that comes in at a moment’s notice, a rookie, and looked poised, played good football, took care of the football, and it didn’t seem like the moment was too big for him.
He went a perfect 7-0 before getting injured in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Look at his numbers: he completed 67 percent of his passes, threw for 16 touchdowns and had just four interceptions. Purdy got it done every week for the San Francisco 49ers. It was an impressive season for Mr. Irrelevant.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
(tie) Week 1 at Arizona, Week 7 at San Francisco
If you’re the league MVP and the Super Bowl MVP, it’s hard to pick just one week with a guy like Patrick Mahomes. He did it all for the Kansas City Chiefs. I’m going to pick two games from the regular season.
How about Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals? Mahomes put on what I would refer to as a freak show. I mean, a real freak show. He went out and threw for 360 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in a 44-21 victory. I loved everything about Mahomes in this game.
How about Week 7, going up against the best defense in football, the San Francisco 49ers? He completed 74 percent of his passes and had 423 passing yards against DeMeco Ryans’ defense in a 44-23 victory. Nobody else did that this season. The 49ers had the No. 1 defense in football, the No. 1 scoring defense in football, and Nick Bosa led the league in sacks with 18.5. And yet Mahomes went out and threw for 423 yards and three touchdowns. It was an amazing season once again from the game’s best.
Rich Gannon played 18 seasons in the NFL and won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2002 when he led the Oakland Raiders to Super Bowl XXXVII. Follow him on Twitter at @RichGannon12.