Two of the teams mired in the longest running "what the heck are you doing at QB" slumps made headlines again this week. The Broncos benched Russell Wilson and the Commanders benched Sam Howell, continuing five-or-ten year runs of QB ineptitude for each franchise. Both moves will provide plenty of speculation as to what's next for each team and quarterback, and are among the many QB moves this week. But first, I start with Thursday Night Football:

1. Stat of the week: Flacco > Jets

Joe Flacco made his season debut in Week 13 and only has five starts this season but the former Jet already leads the Browns in touchdown passes this year (13) and has more than the Jets entire team combined (11). That gem courtesy of the CBS Sports Social team. 

Robert Saleh says he has no regrets about not reaching out to Flacco after the Aaron Rodgers injury but hindsight is 20/20 so you can't help but wonder how things could have played out differently for the Jets this season if they had. 

Instead, they've started four different QBs for the second time in team history (1989). They still haven't had a 4,000-yard passer since Joe Namath in 1967 and they could be the first team to finish a season with fewer than 12 touchdown passes since the 2015 Rams (11).

2. Russell Wilson trade takes a crazy turn

Zach Pereles summed up the Russell Wilson news Wednesday really well here and two additional things that stand out to me are how quickly things change in the NFL and how wild the QB landscape is this year. 

First off, what a difference a month makes. We now know much more was going on behind the scenes in Denver, but think about what we knew on the surface about a month ago as it pertains to the Russell Wilson trade.

  • The Broncos were on a five-game win streak and Russell Wilson was playing well.
  • The Seahawks were in the midst of a four-game losing streak (their longest under Pete Carroll), Geno Smith was nursing a groin injury.

And just like that the Broncos have lost two of three, will likely miss the playoffs and benched Wilson. The Seahawks have won back-to-back games in dramatic fashion like we haven't seen in 24 years with Smith and Lock (acquired in Wilson deal) to keep their season alive. 

Now the Wilson trade is being considered among the worst in NFL history. Wow. 

My second point, if you look at the highest paid QBs this year, about half of them (nine of top 19) are out for the season or benched. So many teams invested so much at QB and have little to show for it right now. 

Highest-Paid QBs This Season by Avg Annual Value

1. Joe Burrow


Out for year

2. Justin Herbert


Out for year

3. Lamar Jackson


MVP favorite

4. Jalen Hurts


Division leader

5. Russell Wilson



6. Kyler Murray


Missed nine games

7. Deshaun Watson


Out for year

8. Patrick Mahomes


Career-high six losses

9. Josh Allen


MVP contender

10. Daniel Jones


Out for year

10. Matthew Stafford


MVP contender

10. Dak Prescott


MVP contender

13. Aaron Rodgers


Out for year

13. Derek Carr


7-8 record

15. Kirk Cousins


Out for year

16. Jared Goff


Won division

17. Ryan Tannehill



18. Geno Smith


7-6 record

19. Jimmy Garoppolo



3. Jacoby Brissett and Jarrett Stidham join the QB carousel

That's just one crazy part of the QB carousel this year, which will continue to spin with at least four (and maybe seven or more) making QB changes this week. 

  • Jacoby Brissett is starting for Sam Howell
  • Jarrett Stidham is starting for Russell Wilson
  • Tyrod Taylor is starting for Tommy DeVito
  • Jaren Hall is starting for Nick Mullens
  • C.J. Stroud has cleared concussion protocol
  • Will Levis could be back from an ankle injury
  • Trevor Lawrence could miss time with a shoulder injury

The two biggest changes this week come on teams all too familiar with the QB carousel. Brissett is the Commanders 13th different starting QB since 2018 (after Kirk Cousins left), the most of any team. Stidham is the Broncos 13th different starting QB since 2016 (after Peyton Manning retired following the Super Bowl 50 win), the third-most of any team. 

Brissett and Stidham will make 61 different starting QBs this season, the seventh-most in a season all-time. 20 different teams have used multiple starting QBs and they've combined to make 52 different QB changes. 

Bottom line. With all the inexperience and injuries, it's been one of the most unique QB landscapes ever.

TeamStarting QB Sequence This Season


Deshaun Watson > Dorian Thompson-Robinson > P.J. Walker > Deshaun Watson > P.J. Walker > Deshaun Watson  > Dorian Thompson-Robinson > Joe Flacco 


 Jimmy Garoppolo > Aidan O'Connell > Jimmy Garoppolo > Brian Hoyer > Jimmy Garoppolo > Aidan O'Connell


Anthony Richardson > Gardner Minshew > Anthony Richardson > Gardner Minshew


Daniel Jones > Tyrod Taylor > Daniel Jones > Tommy DeVito > Tyrod Taylor


Kirk Cousins > Jaren Hall > Josh Dobbs > Nick Mullens > Jaren Hall


Aaron Rodgers > Zach Wilson > Tim Boyle > Zach Wilson > Trevor Siemian


Desmond Ridder > Taylor Heinicke > Desmond Ridder > Taylor Heinicke


Ryan Tannehill > Will Levis > Ryan Tannehill > Will Levis


Matthew Stafford > Brett Rypien > Matthew Stafford  


Bryce Young > Andy Dalton > Bryce Young


Josh Dobbs > Clayton Tune > Kyler Murray


Kenny Pickett > Mitch Trubisky > Mason Rudolph


Geno Smith > Drew Lock > Geno Smith


C.J. Stroud > Case Keenum > C.J. Stroud


Justin Fields > Tyson Bagent > Justin Fields


Justin Herbert > Easton Stick


Joe Burrow > Jake Browning


Mac Jones > Bailey Zappe


Sam Howell > Jacoby Brissett


Russell Wilson > Jarrett Stidham


Jordan Love 


Lamar Jackson


Tua Tagovailoa


Josh Allen


Jared Goff


Jalen Hurts


Dak Prescott


Brock Purdy


Derek Carr


Baker Mayfield


Trevor Lawrence


Patrick Mahomes

4. Injuries catching up to Trevor Lawrence

What a difference a year (and health) makes. At this time last year Trevor Lawrence was playing MVP-caliber football as the Jaguars recovered from a 2-6 start to make the playoffs.

Now Jacksonville is in a three-way tie atop the AFC South (they have the tiebreaker) and in danger of missing the playoffs after a 6-2 start. Lawrence injuries and bad defense have been the prime reasons for the collapse. Lawrence leads the NFL in turnovers in the last three weeks and is bottom five in completion rate (57%) and passer rating (71.5) in that span, which began with him playing through a high-ankle sprain. His off-target rate has doubled from 10% to 20% in the last three weeks, where he also suffered a a concussion and AC joint sprain in his shoulder. Here's just one off-target pass that resulted in a turnover.

Lawrence also played through a knee injury earlier this year. That's a knee, ankle, shoulder and concussion if you're keeping track at home. It's a list that makes him look like Ben Roethlisberger. Lawrence has never missed a game due to injury in his high school, college or NFL career. The way he's playing though, he may want to consider ending that ironman streak. 

Trevor Lawrence This SeasonFirst 12 GamesLast 3 Games

Comp pct



Total TD - turnovers



Passer rating



Off-target rate



5. Lamar Jackson favorite for a historic MVP award

Lamar Jackson is on the cusp of history after taking over as MVP favorite following Monday's statement win in San Francisco. If he wins the award he will be the youngest QB at the time of his second NFL MVP. He turns 27 on the final day of the regular season.  

He'd be the 10th QB to win multiple times along with Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas, Patrick Mahomes, Joe Montana, Steve Young and Kurt Warner. 

Tua Tagovailoa and Josh Allen still have time to strengthen their cases, but right now it's Jackon's award to lose. He may not have gaudy touchdown numbers, but he ranks fourth in yards per attempt (7.7) this year and leads all QBs in rush yards (786). 

He leads the NFL in yards per attempt when pressured (8.4) this season as he consistently makes something out of nothing. He's also doing it without a superstar supporting cast. The Ravens have lost J.K. Dobbins, Keaton Mitchell and Mark Andrews for the season. He is Baltimore's leading rusher (786 yards) and Zay Flowers leads the team in receiving (752 yards). 

He's on pace to be the third QB to win MVP since 1970 without a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver on his team (1987 John Elway/1996 Brett Favre). That last 22 MVP QBs have had one!

6. QB openings and projected top available QBs in 2024

One domino effect from the Russell Wilson benching is added intrigue for the offseason QB carousel. 

Here's a list of the teams likely looking for a new QB in 2024. It'd be costly for the Giants and Saints to move on from Daniel Jones and Derek Carr, but the Broncos proved anything is possible. 

Potential 2024 QB Openings

  • Patriots
  • Broncos
  • Raiders
  • Steelers
  • Cardinals
  • Falcons
  • Bears
  • Vikings
  • Commanders
  • Giants
  • Saints

For an idea of how crazy it could get this offseason, check out Chris Trapasso's mock draft. He has Justin Fields getting traded to the Raiders, Kyler Murray to the Vikings, and QBs going one-two-three in the draft. Russell Wilson will likely be available and Cody Benjamin sees the Falcons as his top landing spot. I didn't put Baker Mayfield on the list as Jonathan Jones reported the Buccaneers have interest in locking him up long term. 

Potential Available QBs in 2024

  • Justin Fields (trade)
  • Kyler Murray (trade)
  • Russell Wilson (if released)
  • Kirk Cousins (free agent)
  • Caleb Williams (draft)
  • Drake Maye (draft)
  • Jayden Daniels (draft)
  • Michael Penix Jr. (draft)
  • J.J. McCarthy (draft)

7. Re-visiting Derek Carr and Baker Mayfield deals

As teams approach the 2024 offseason they can look to one example from this past offseason before making investments in their next QB.

The Buccaneers host the Saints in Week 17 with a chance to clinch the NFC South and prove they made the much better offseason decision at QB. Tampa Bay signed Baker Mayfield to a one-year deal worth four million dollars this offseason. The Saints signed Derek Carr to a four-year deal worth $150 million. Now New Orleans would be on the hook for $53 million ($36 million post June-1 designation) if they release Carr after the season. 

For teams that don't have a top-five pick in 2024, they may want to consider a short-term deal with the likes of a Jacoby Brissett or Gardner Minshew rather than break the break for a 35-year old Russell Wilson or Kirk Cousins off an Achilles injury.

8. Mayfield's Million

It's been quite a month for Baker Mayfield:

  • He's led the Buccaneers on a four-game win streak after a 4-7 start
  • He became the first visiting QB with a perfect passer rating at Lambeau Field
  • He is the first Buccaneers QB ever with a 75% completion rate, 600+ pass yards, six touchdown passes and no interceptions in a two-game span

Not bad for a former No. 1 overall pick castoff who signed a one-year deal worth four million dollars with Tampa Bay this offseason. 

Good news for Mayfield though, he will earn $1 million if the Buccaneers clinch the NFC South, and they only need to win one of their final two games to do that. He can also earn $300K each for finishing top 10 in the NFL or top five in the NFC in these five categories: passer rating, touchdown passes, passing yards, completion percentage or yards per attempt. 

9. Jared Goff is Mr. Rebuild

Speaking of former No. 1 overall picks on the comeback trail, Jared Goff ladies and gentlemen! The Lions clinched their first division title since 1993 on Sunday, giving Goff two impressive turnarounds he can put on his resume. The good folks at SportRadar hooked me up with this note. Goff is the second QB in NFL history to snap multiple division title droughts of 10+ seasons, along with Kurt Warner (Rams, Cardinals) 

The Rams were 4-12 in Goff's first season after being drafted No. 1 overall. They improved to 11-5 in his second season, but failed to win a playoff game despite snapping a 12-season division title drought. They still turned the page on an ugly decade that included Marc Bulger, Sam Bradford, Austin Davis, Nick Foles and Case Keenum at quarterback. Year No. 3 culminated with a Super Bowl trip.

The Lions were 3-13 in Goff's first season after being traded to Detroit. They improved to 9-8 in his second season, but failed to make the playoffs. The Lions are now 11-4 this year, won their first division title in three decades, and who knows, if history repeats itself they could make the Super Bowl. 

Goff's career arc is about as unique as they come. A former No. 1 overall pick QB who made the Super Bowl in Year No. 3, was traded two years later and is a part of two big turnarounds, all before turning 30. 

10. Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs connection is fading 

The Bills are making a strong push for the postseason and a division title after the shake up at offensive coordinator. James Cook has emerged and the Bills finally have a ground game outside of Josh Allen. There is some trouble in paradise though as the Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs connection has been off lately, which could prove costly down the stretch if it continues. 

Allen is averaging 5.8 yards per attempt targeting Diggs since Week 6, the lowest among 31 QB-receivers duos with 60+ attempts in that span. They were averaging over 10 yards per attempt prior to that. Diggs has gone nine straight games without 100 receiving yards, his longest drought since 2017-18. 

Given Diggs'  blow up that highlighted last year's playoff exit, another eruption seems inevitable if this lack of production keeps up.