Having an elite quarterback can do wonders for a franchise.
When the 2022-23 NFL season gets underway in September, the world’s best signal-callers will be taking the field, but ranking the best can get pretty strenuous with everything you need to factor (statistics, accolades, leadership and more).
Tom Brady returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a brief retirement definitely alters the order here, but not by too much.
As the new NFL campaign begins, let’s take a look at the league’s top 10 quarterbacks:
Who is the best quarterback in the NFL this season?
1. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As aforementioned, Brady returning to claim his throne bumps down one player from the top 10. There’s no doubting his star power, whether it’s leading the league in passing yards at the age of 44 (5,316, which was also a career-high) or being the oldest signal-caller to win a Super Bowl at 43. If No. 12 is taking the field, he’s the No. 1 quarterback in the league, no matter who he’s throwing to (though Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones form a stacked wide receiver room).
Oh, and he’s also the highest-rated quarterback in Madden 23 (again), for what that’s worth.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
If it wasn’t for Brady, then Rodgers would be the best. The back-to-back MVP winner is coming off a year where he posted a 37-4 touchdown-interception ratio – it simply doesn’t get much better than that. Turning 39 in December, it will be interesting to see how he copes without Davante Adams in the fold. One of the new rookies in Christian Watson and/or Romeo Doubs could be in for a quick breakout year if they can earn Rodgers’ trust.
3. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
The soon-to-be 27-year-old Mahomes is hoping to take the No. 1 spot at some point in the future, but the longevity of Brady and Rodgers will make that difficult. Regardless, the Chiefs have qualified for the playoffs for the last seven straight seasons, with Mahomes being the key ingredient for the latter four. His agility and savviness adds an extra layer to his passing arsenal that isn’t seen in most quarterbacks, but this year might be a little more challenging with Tyreek Hill being traded to the Miami Dolphins.
But like Rodgers’ situation, someone in Kansas City is primed for a breakout year. Mecole Hardman’s statistical trajectory makes him an intriguing choice, while Skyy Moore is a rookie to watch. And, of course, Travis Kelce is still around to wreak havoc in the middle of the field.
4. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
The 26-year-old Allen has burst onto the scene as arguably a top-five quarterback in the league after his outings the last two seasons, even though his accolade cabinet isn’t as stacked as his competition. His dual-threat nature has taken the Bills’ offense to another level, though they need to leap the Chiefs’ postseason hurdle to seize that next step. Let’s see if Allen is able to top Mahomes this time around, with Gabriel Davis’ breakout postseason offering hope for an improved wideout attack.
5. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
What a story Burrow has been. He led his team to a Super Bowl one year after suffering an ACL and MCL tear – oh, and this will be just his third season in the league. Last year, Burrow finished in the top 10 in passing yards (No. 6), touchdowns (No. 8), passing yards per game (No. 3), completion percentage (No. 1) and yards per throw average (No. 1).
With Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd establishing an exceptionally talented young wide receiver core, there’s reason to believe Burrow can achieve even more in 2022-23.
6. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
After a relatively quiet year with the Seattle Seahawks (which proved to be his last with the franchise), Wilson is beginning a new chapter with the Denver Broncos. He fell out of the top quarterback conversation as the Seahawks transitioned from being a powerhouse to a rebuilding team, but now is the time for Wilson to remind everyone who he is: a Super Bowl champion and a nine-time Pro Bowler, among several other accolades.
Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton are waiting to take the next step, while 2020 second-round pick K.J. Hamler is hoping to bounce back after an ACL tear last season. Tim Patrick, however, recently suffered that same fate during training camp in what could’ve been a breakout year.
7. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
The defending Super Bowl champion makes a deserved entry into the top 10. Stafford has been an underrated quarterback his entire career, which can happen when playing for an underperforming franchise like the Detroit Lions. In his first season since being traded, Stafford helped lead the Los Angeles Rams to a Super Bowl victory against Burrow’s Bengals while tying a career-high 41 passing touchdowns in a season.
He still has wide receiver triple-crown winner and Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp at his disposal, along with newly signed Allen Robinson II.
8. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
If there’s one quarterback that’s a safe bet to take the league by storm next, it’s someone not too far from Stafford. The 24-year-old Herbert is coming off a 5,014-yard passing season as a sophomore in the league – only Brady logged more yards. The Chargers will be competing in a loaded AFC West that has already seen two quarterbacks get named to this list earlier, but his developing rapport with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams bodes well for this season.
It should also help the team that Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson were among the marquee defensive acquisitions – the side of the ball that has oftentimes plagued the Chargers.
9. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Jackson has sort of plateaued since being the youngest player to win the MVP award in 2019 (23 years old). He missed five games last season, with the final four due to an ankle injury, but looks good to go for 2022-23. The Ravens will need him to be at his MVP level again if they want to keep pace with Burrow’s Bengals in the division, but his wide receiver room is a major question mark. Rashod Bateman is the one to watch, with tight end Mark Andrews coming off a breakout 101-catch, 1,361-yard season.
10. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
This slot is a toss-up to a number of different quarterbacks, who all have a reasonable case at cracking the top 10. Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, Kyler Murray and Kirk Cousins were the other names up for consideration here, but Prescott ultimately got the nod. Like the other names mentioned, the Cowboys’ field general is one of the most polarizing players in the sport. The 29-year-old was 98 yards shy of a 5,000-yard campaign in 2019 but suffered a gruesome ankle injury the following year. He returned much stronger, throwing for 4,449 yards and 37 touchdowns on a 68.8% completion percentage, with the latter two being career-highs (he missed one game, too).
Having Michael Gallup in the mix to go with CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz (who had a breakout 2021-22 campaign) and 2022 third-rounder Jalen Tolbert should furnish the Mississippi State product with plenty of ammunition.