Astoundingly, there’s a lot of reason for optimism in quarterback rooms where there was none. The Cleveland Browns, for example, have begun turning their organization with a competent starter in Tyrod Taylor and the future face of the franchise in Baker Mayfield. The New York Jets have good reason to be excited about Sam Darnold, who may be ready to start Week 1. Heck, the Philadelphia Eagles have two quarterbacks who could win a Super Bowl.
There are a handful of teams verging on this list. Those teams have a lot of reason for optimism without a lot of tangible evidence. The Baltimore Ravens can feel good about the return of Joe Flacco and the future of Lamar Jackson. But Flacco is absolutely average (and maybe worse), and Jackson could be a developmental undertaking. The Kansas City Chiefs seem to have something special in Patrick Mahomes, but what if he doesn’t live up to the hype? The Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets just drafted their quarterback of the future with a capable veteran starter on the roster. All those unresolved but compelling groups remained off this list — which is why I ranked just nine teams.
Here’s a look at the worst quarterback situations in the NFL while weighing which quarterback(s) are ready to start right now while seeing what the team has to look forward to in the future.
9. New York Giants
QBs: Eli Manning, Kyle Lauletta, Davis Webb, Alex Tanney
Even though Lauletta is a fun prospect — particularly when considering how his lacrosse and military background might have matched with Bill Belichick — Lauletta is far from a polished product. There’s a reason he was a fourth-round pick this year. In the meantime, the Giants have Manning, who is coming off the worst season of his career. Could he bounce back? Absolutely. But at what point will he succumb to time?
The Giants had an opportunity to draft their quarterback of the future. They could have taken Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen at No. 2 overall. Instead, they took running back Saquon Barkley, an incredible talent, but not a player who plays the most important position in the NFL. The Giants’ starting position is slightly tenuous. Their backup position is slightly tenuous. And their (near) future at the position is a major question mark.
8. Washington Redskins
QBs: Alex Smith, Colt McCoy, Kevin Hogan
It’s important to remember that Smith’s 2017 season was an anomaly in his 12-year career. Even in recent seasons when he salvaged his career as a game-manager, he was putting up statistical duds. Look no further than 2016 when he completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 3,502 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Not bad at all. Still, not good.
Smith is fine. He has qualities you want in a quarterback, namely ball-security. However, the 34-year-old is not the type of player you’d want to wed your franchise to, which is basically what the Redskins did.
7. Chicago Bears
QBs: Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniels, Tyler Bray
Trubisky is starting to develop buzz after a rookie season that was underwhelming. In 12 games, he completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 2,192 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Bears armed Trubisky with receiver Allen Robinson and tight Trey Burton. So he should be better in his second season. Should. If Trubisky can’t hang in the NFL, then what? Daniels is nothing impressive. Bray is Josh Allen gone wrong — and that was clear years ago. Bray has a great arm, but little else.
Trubisky showed too little in his rookie season for overwhelming optimism. But hey, he’s young. Let’s give him some time.