The NFL quarterback youth movement sets stage for next 10 years

2022 NFL Power Rankings, Patrick Mahomes. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
2022 NFL Power Rankings, Patrick Mahomes. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) /

Rarely in the NFL is there a mass movement of youth but for fans of the league, that is exactly what is going on. There is a movement at the NFL quarterback position.

Finding a quality starting quarterback isn’t easy in the NFL. Teams that draft well could find a franchise quarterback that will lead their team for 10 years if not more. Rising salary prices are not deterring most teams from keeping even average quarterbacks around.

Every year we watch teams draft quarterbacks, sometimes way too high. Every year there is turnover at the position for several football teams but it is starting to settle down and many teams have who they believe will be, their franchise quarterback.

During the 1970s the NFL was made up of guys like Bob Griese, Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, Ken Stabler, and so many more that led their franchises. In the 1980s, they gave way to John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly types who in turn passed the torch in the 1990s to guys like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and others.

Throughout those decades, quarterbacks always came and went but for the most part, many of those teams in those three decades had the same QB for almost the entire duration of that decade. Marino for example played from 1983 to 1999. Tom Brady still plays.

Now, there is a youth movement in the NFL that hasn’t been seen before and we are witnessing the ushering out of veteran QBs.

In the past six years, we have seen a lot of new faces take over the NFL and in some cases by storm. While nothing is ever 100% certain, these players make up what could be franchise players for the next 10 years or more.

  1. Bengals – Joe Burrow
  2. Ravens – Lamar Jackson
  3. Browns – Deshaun Watson
  4. Bills – Josh Allen
  5. Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa
  6. Patriots – Mac Jones/Bailey Zappe
  7. Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence
  8. Chargers – Justin Herbert
  9. Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes
  10. Steelers – Kenny Pickett
  11. Cardinals – Kyler Murray
  12. Bears – Justin Fields
  13. Cowboys – Dak Prescott
  14. Giants – Daniel Jones
  15. Eagles – Jalen Hurts
  16. Trey Lance – 49ers
  17. Malik Willis – Titans

The above players represent 17 of the 32 NFL franchises and while some may or may not end up being long-term solutions, for now, they are expected to be their franchise’s future.

That brings us to the veteran quarterbacks who will likely be out of the league in a couple of years at most. Last year the NFL lost Ben Roethlisberger and in the next couple of years, we will be saying goodbye to some, if not all of these.

  1. Tom Brady – 23 years
  2. Matt Ryan – 15 years
  3. Aaron Rodgers – 18 years
  4. Matt Stafford – 14 years

These four are the league’s oldest players and only the Packers believe they have their QB replacement on the roster, Jordan Love. Both the Buccaneers and Colts fall into the list of teams that do not have QBs set for the future. The Tennessee Titans are interesting because Ryan Tannehill has been in the league since 2012 but he is being pushed by rookie Malik Willis who the Titans believe to be their future.

  1. Houston Texans – Kyle Allen
  2. Indianapolis Colts – Matt Ryan
  3. Atlanta Falcons – Marcus Mariota
  4. Carolina Panthers – Sam Darnold/Baker Mayfield
  5. Detroit Lions – Jared Goff
  6. Los Angeles Rams – Bryce Perkins
  7. New Orleans Saints – Andy Dalton
  8. Seattle Seahawks – Geno Smith

This brings us to teams that have QBs on their roster but we can’t be sure what the future both long-term and immediate are.

  1. New York Jets – Mike White? Zach Wilson?
  2. Tennessee Titans – How long with Ryan Tannehill?
  3. Washington Commanders – Taylor Heinicke

Young quarterbacks are taking over the league and in the next two years, teams are going to continue drafting franchise QBs. We know that the Texans, Colts, Lions, Falcons, Rams, and Saints are likely to fix their QB spots in the next two drafts if not more.

In many ways, this is an end of a decades-long era. As it has been said a million times, Father Time remains unbeaten. On Sunday night, we watched an injured Aaron Rodgers leave the game but he has struggled all year long with his accuracy. Tom Brady lost his first game ever when leading with less than two minutes to go in a game and he couldn’t generate any offense in overtime. Brady looks nothing like the image he has created over 23 years.

For NFL fans, this is an exciting time and should be. We are witnessing a new generation of quarterbacks take over the league and the only question is who will still be standing when they reach 10 years in the league? 15 years? Or maybe 20?