If you have not started with 2023 NFL Best Quarterback Room Part One: NFC North, please do so for a brief explanation of how this series originally came into existence and why it reads as it does. After that, check out Part Two: NFC West, Part Three: NFC East, Part Four: NFC South, Part V: AFC South , Part VI: AFC West, and Part VII: AFC East. As always, I hope you enjoy…
Cleveland Browns/ Deshaun Watson:
$55M per year for the next four years for Watson. Cleveland is screwed. They have eight draft picks but nothing before pick 42 in the second round. They will have to scrape together some backups or draft one in the later rounds to complete their roster.
UPDATE (April 6th): The Browns have signed Josh Dobbs, who has made 68 passing attempts in three years with two different teams, and Kellen Mond who has one year under his belt and three total passing attempts. If Watson gets hurt or suspended again, the Browns won’t win any games after that.
UPDATE II (May 1st): The Browns continue to be the same predictable Browns. They drafted QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson from UCLA early in the 5th round.
All their backup QBs are officially no better than a QB3, and they will probably figure out who that will be during or after preseason.
UPDATE III (August 21st): After three preseaon games, Kellen Mond looks like the QB2, but only because he has actual NFL experience. Dorian Thompson-Robinson (DTR) has been impressive, going 30-46 (65% completion) for 348 yards with two TD’s and 0 INTs. Jushua Dobbs has gone 8-16 for 77 yeards and 1 INT, and should be looking for another job.
Pittsburgh Steelers/Kenny Pickett:
Pickett is set to make $3.2M, $3.8M, and $4.5M over the next three years, and was underwhelming in his rookie campaign, throwing more INTs than TDs. The Steelers also have Mitch Trubisky for one more year at $10.6M. They could look to move Trubisky to another team, but with that salary, I don’t think they will have any luck, which means they will try to extend his contract to keep him as a permanent backup. You never know though; maybe the Raiders will come knocking. Either way, I don’t see the Steelers drafting another QB this year.
UPDATE (May 1st): The Steelers did not draft a QB this year with one of their seven picks, but they did rush out to sign undrafted rookie QB from Minnesota, Tanner Morgan. Growing up in MN and watching the Gophers, I can tell you that Tanner is a good guy with a great story, but he lacks the physical attributes to play in the NFL. Look for the Steelers to sign someone else.
UPDATE II (May 19th): Well, the Steelers found a friendly face, albeit maybe still distorted from having his helmet ripped off and then smashed into his own head.
Yes, you could probably guess that I was talking about Mason Rudolph. They signed him to a one-year deal, and my guess is that it will come down to him or Mitch on who stays with the team as the backup after both of their contracts run out next year.
UPDATE III (Aug 21st): Oddly, Rudolph looks like the QB2 behind Pickett, going 12-19 for 184 yards and a TD in two preseason games. Meanwhile, Trubiski has been 11-17 for 88 yardswith one TD and one INT. Sadly, Morgan has seen limited time going 5-8 for 36 yards and 1 INT. Sorry, Tanner.
Baltimore Ravens/Lamar Jackson:
Bottom line is that Lamar wants more money than he is worth. As mentioned before, the Ravens will Tag and Trade him to the Panthers and receive their #9 pick, where they may move up even further to snag a QB. Likely, they will actually trade BACK because they only have five (six after the trade, unless they can get more) and build elsewhere (WR, CB), while also snagging…JIMMY GAROPPOLO. Jimmy G is 31 and still has some good years left in him. This will give the Ravens a chance to get a QB later in the draft (Stetson Bennett from Georgia to go with their new Offensive Coordinator from Georgia) and think about what they will do with their two first round picks in 2024. While the Ravens will also be losing Tyler Huntley, they have Anthony Brown as their current backup.
UPDATE (April 6th): My dreams of getting Jimmy G have been dashed. However, I was right about the Ravens tagging Lamar to the Non-exclusive Tag because they want him to talk to other teams and go away. As of right now…three weeks later…NOBODY wants him. Ugh. There are still rumors of Atlanta and Indy, but nothing will happen until at least draft day. All the other teams who needed QBs have gotten them. Outside shot that the Jets will make a move, or possibly the Titans if they release Tannehill.
UPDATE II (April 23rd): The Ravens are currently still stuck with Lamar, not even getting nibbles from other teams. HOWEVER, Tyler Huntley signed on for one more year at the bottom-basement price of $2.5M.
Is Lamar really worth 15-25x that amount? Huntley was a RFA but re-signed maybe in hopes of becoming the starter. Huntley has reported to training and looks to be the #1 QB going into the draft.
UPDATE III (April 27th): The Ravens and Lamar Jackson have come to a ridiculously priced 5-year contract that will no doubt shut down any chance of the Ravens returning to the Super Bowl anytime soon. Remember the last time the Ravens did this with a QB? Joe Flacco. At least Flacco won the Ravens a Super Bowl first in an amazing post season (11 TDs/0 INTs) that saw the Ravens beat Manning in Denver and then Brady in New England. Lamar is now the highest paid player in the NFL, and the only player to have back-to-back season-ending injuries and then get such an absurd contract extension. Hopefully he does better than his current 1-3 playoff record in his next five years, but I doubt it. Don’t look for Baltimore to draft a QB anymore; that would be pointless.
UPDATE IV (May 23rd): The Ravens did not draft a QB, nor did they snag an undrafted rookie afterwards. Instead, they resigned Josh Johnson, who was with the team in 2021 before going to the 49ers last season. Johnson is 37 and has been signed to half of the teams in the NFL since he entered the league.
I’m guessing this is just for preseason, so Lamar doesn’t get hurt…again.
UPDATE V (Aug 27th): Rumors are swirling that the Ravens could trade Tyler Huntley before the trade deadline. Currently in one game in the preseason, Huntley has gone 8-11 for 88 yards and a TD. His counterpart, Josh Johnson looks to be QB3 going 8-12 for 45 yards and a TD. Brown has been unimpressive thus far going 3-8 for just seven yards and an INT.
Cincinnati Bengals/Joe Burrow:
Burrow is under contract this year at $11.5M with a fifth-year option next year valued at $29.5M. None of these things matter though, because the Bengals will re-sign him long term, and any backup will be insignificant. As of right now, the backup is Jack Browning.
UPDATE (May 5th): Burrow is going to make bank. How do I know? The Bengals didn’t draft a QB with any of their eight picks. They also didn’t rush out and grab an undrafted rookie prospect.
Instead, they went out and signed Trevor Siemian. I think Siemian was supposed to be the answer for the Broncos after Manning retired. Nonetheless, this will be Siemian’s fifth team in five years (Broncos, Jets, Saints, and Bears). If Burrow goes down with an injury…yikes. Jake Browning is presumably QB3, and he’s been with the Bengals Practice Squad since 2021.
UPDATE II (July 30th): Joe Burrow suffered a lower leg (calf) injury during practice and needed to be carted off the field.
Initial reports are than Joe may be out for the first couple of games on the regular season. As a contingency plan, the Bengals went out and signed quarterback, Reid Sinnett, who has not played a single snap in the NFL…ever.
UPDATE III (August 21st): The Bengals may want to re-evaluate their QB situation. In the first two games of the preseason, Siemian has gone 22-42 (52%) for 183 yards zero TDs and an INT. Browning hasn’t done any better, going 26-39 for 235 yards, no TDs but two INTs.
Best Quarterback Room?
Here’s the thing…we don’t know what Kenny Pickett can really do. Based off last years numbers, I would put him fourth out of the AFC North starting QBs. Watson wasn’t great last year either, so it really comes down to Jackson and Burrow. We know what each of them can do, but Jackson’s injuries combined with the fact that Burrow has played in TWO AFC Championship games, makes him the better option. HOWEVER, this year it would appear that Burrow has some injuries and his backups are crap. Huntley and Johnson have looked more efficient combining for 16-23 for 133 yards, two TDs and no INTs. The best QB Room goes to the Baltimore Ravens.