Quarterbacks are always the talk of the NFL. And some teams are more privileged than others when it comes to possessing star talent under center. Finding, developing and retaining a franchise signal-caller is tough business. Just ask half the NFL, which has cycled through an average of almost one new starter per year over the last decade.
We all know, going into 2022, which teams top the charts when it comes to QB power. Think Kansas City, or Green Bay, or Tampa Bay, where there are no questions about the MVP potential of veterans like Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. But what about the teams desperate for some continuity at the position, let alone annual accolades?
In an effort to identify the teams hungriest for long-term stability under center, we've ranked all 32 clubs according to how much QB turnover they've endured since the 2011 season, or the last 10 seasons. The teams with the most starting QBs during that span rank highest, signifying the revolving door they've had at the position. Note: we counted a QB in the total if he started at least four (4) games in a single season, or roughly a quarter of the current regular-season schedule.
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Keep in mind that while some teams rank higher, they may currently have their own antidote at QB (i.e. the Bills, who round out the top half of the ranking but have their indefinite QB1 in Josh Allen), whereas others may rank lower in terms of QB turnover but have no current clear path to continuity (i.e. the Seahawks, who no longer have Russell Wilson). The primary takeaway here: it's hard to possess a great QB for a long time, no matter who you are and how successful you've been! Ten years is a long time for any team or QB, so if you're a fan of a team with an undeniable star, cherish it while it lasts.
Without further ado, the full ranking, including each QB's combined starting experience from 2011-2021:
Note: Current starters are included and italicized.
1. Texans (10 QBs)
Starters: Deshaun Watson (53 games), Matt Schaub (34), Brock Osweiler (14), Ryan Fitzpatrick (12), Davis Mills (11), T.J. Yates (10), Case Keenum (10), Brian Hoyer (9), Tom Savage (9), Ryan Mallett (6)
2. Browns (10 QBs)
Starters: Baker Mayfield (59), Brandon Weeden (20), Brian Hoyer (16), DeShone Kizer (15), Colt McCoy (13), Josh McCown (11), Johnny Manziel (8), Cody Kessler (8), Jason Campbell (8), Robert Griffin III (5)
3. Bears (10 QBs)
Starters: Jay Cutler (71), Mitchell Trubisky (50), Justin Fields (10), Josh McCown (7), Nick Foles (7), Andy Dalton (6), Matt Barkley (6), Brian Hoyer (5), Mike Glennon (4), Caleb Hanie (4)
4. Commanders (9 QBs)
Starters: Kirk Cousins (57), Robert Griffin III (35), Alex Smith (16), Taylor Heinicke (15), Rex Grossman (13), Dwayne Haskins (13), Case Keenum (8), Colt McCoy (7), Kyle Allen (4)
5. Broncos (9 QBs)
Starters: Peyton Manning (57), Trevor Siemian (24), Drew Lock (21), Case Keenum (16), Teddy Bridgewater (14), Tim Tebow (11), Brock Osweiler (11), Joe Flacco (8), Kyle Orton (5)
6. Jaguars (8 QBs)
Starters: Blake Bortles (73), Blaine Gabbert (27), Chad Henne (22), Gardner Minshew (20), Trevor Lawrence (17), Mike Glennon (5), Nick Foles (4), Cody Kessler (4)
7. Jets (8 QBs)
Starters: Sam Darnold (38), Mark Sanchez (31), Geno Smith (30), Ryan Fitzpatrick (27), Josh McCown (16), Zach Wilson (13), Bryce Petty (7), Joe Flacco (5)
8. Dolphins (8 QBs)
Starters: Ryan Tannehill (40), Tua Tagovailoa (21), Ryan Fitzpatrick (20), Matt Moore (17), Jay Cutler (14), Jacoby Brissett (5), Brock Osweiler (5), Chad Henne (4)
9. Cardinals (8 QBs)
Starters: Carson Palmer (60), Kyler Murray (46), Kevin Kolb (14), Josh Rosen (13), John Skelton (13), Drew Stanton (13), Ryan Lindley (6), Blaine Gabbert (4)
10. Rams (8 QBs)
Starters: Jared Goff (69), Sam Bradford (33), Matthew Stafford (17), Case Keenum (14), Kellen Clemens (12), Nick Foles (11), Austin Davis (8), Shaun Hill (8)
11. Colts (7 QBs)
Starters: Andrew Luck (86), Jacoby Brissett (30), Carson Wentz (17), Philip Rivers (16), Matt Hasselbeck (8), Curtis Painter (8), Dan Orlovsky (5)
12. 49ers (7 QBs)
Starters: Colin Kaepernick (58), Jimmy Garoppolo (45), Alex Smith (25), Nick Mullens (16), Blaine Gabbert (13), C.J. Beathard (12), Brian Hoyer (6)
13. Titans (7 QBs)
Starters: Marcus Mariota (61), Ryan Tannehill (43), Jake Locker (23), Matt Hasselbeck (21), Zach Mettenberger (10), Ryan Fitzpatrick (9), Charlie Whitehurst (5)
14. Vikings (7 QBs)
Starters: Kirk Cousins (63), Christian Ponder (36), Teddy Bridgewater (28), Sam Bradford (17), Case Keenum (14), Matt Cassel (9), Donovan McNabb (6)
15. Eagles (6 QBs)
Starters: Carson Wentz (68), Nick Foles (32), Michael Vick (29), Jalen Hurts (19), Sam Bradford (14), Mark Sanchez (10)
16. Bills (6 QBs)
Starters: Josh Allen (60), Tyrod Taylor (42), Ryan Fitzpatrick (32), Kyle Orton (12), EJ Manuel (7), Thad Lewis (5)
The best of the rest
17. Buccaneers (6)
18. Raiders (5)
19. Saints (5)
20. Chiefs (5)
21. Panthers (4)
22. Bengals (4)
23. Cowboys (4)
24. Giants (3)
25. Lions (3)
26. Ravens (3)
27. Steelers (3)
28. Patriots (3)
29. Packers (3)
30. Chargers (2)
31. Seahawks (2)
32. Falcons (1)
In the bottom half, most of the teams are buoyed by longtime franchise QBs, like Eli Manning (Giants) and Tom Brady (Patriots). The Falcons never had anyone except Matt Ryan start more than four games in a season from 2011-2021. The Chargers quickly passed the baton from Philip Rivers to Justin Herbert. Ditto for Tony Romo and Dak Prescott with the Cowboys, and Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson with the Ravens. The Packers only got brief action from Brett Hundley and Matt Flynn while Aaron Rodgers was injured. And only Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges were significant fill-ins for Ben Roethlisberger with the Steelers.
The bigger question with these teams, particularly those whose longtime starters have since retired or moved on, is how long they can remain at the back of the pack in terms of QB turnover. Ten years from now, who will still be standing?