Success in the NFL is often determined by the type of quarterback play you get. If your quarterback stinks, your record will probably reflect that. If you have a perennial Pro Bowler like Tom Brady, well, we know the result.
This is the exact reason teams have prioritized the position for years upon years. The Cowboys have found theirs, the Packers have had All-Pros at the position for several decades, while the Patriots continue to dominate on the back of Brady.
These seven teams, however, are in trouble when it comes to quarterbacks. They have the worst situations at the ever-important position, and it could make for a long 2017 season.
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John Elway may not be done working on the Broncos’ quarterback depth with Tony Romo expected to be available, but as it stands right now, this job is set to be either Trevor Siemian’s or Paxton Lynch’s. That’s … not ideal.
We all saw how much the quarterback position held back the Broncos last season despite having a Super Bowl-caliber defense, and they simply can’t afford to have the same mediocre play in 2017. In a best-case scenario, the Broncos will watch Lynch progress quickly and become the franchise quarterback they thought he was when they took him in the first round.
Worst-case scenario? Lynch struggles yet again and Siemian barely edges him out for the starting job, leading to another disappointing season. Regardless, the Broncos aren’t exactly in the best shape.
Blake Bortles: what is he? Is he a below-average starter with good potential, or is he simply someone with a big arm but an overall lack of talent to be a consistent playmaker in the NFL? That’s what the Jaguars have to figure out because he’s led them to an abysmal 11-34 record as the starter.
Tom Coughlin, Doug Marrone and everyone within the organization are likely to give him one more year to prove himself, but if things continue to go south early on, he’ll find his way out of a job.
The Jaguars have the talent across the roster to compete in the AFC South, they just need Bortles to get his act together and start playing like a former top-3 pick.
The Bears signed Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million deal this offseason, which is a large amount of money to give someone who hasn’t been a regular starter since 2014. However, it’s only $18.5 million guaranteed, which is half of what Brock Osweiler got.
Glennon will get the first shot to start for the Bears, and it would come as no surprise to see him beat out a potential draft pick. Chicago needs some stability at quarterback, and if Glennon can bring that, great. If not, they can cut ties with him after a year.
The Bears at least have someone capable of starting 16 games, which a few other teams on this list do not. The Bears have plenty of other gaps in the roster so they’re unlikely to compete for a playoff berth, so Glennon won’t be expected to win 11 games on a team that lacks talent.
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San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers basically became the Bears at quarterback this offseason, signing both Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. Neither are top-tier starters, but they’re also not as bad as Blaine Gabbert.
At least San Francisco knows what it’s getting in Hoyer. He’ll be a valuable depth guy who can start in a pinch, as he has the past two seasons. Since the start of 2015, Hoyer has completed 63 percent of his passes with 4,051 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions. That’s over the course of 14 starts, so his numbers are solid.
He likely won’t be their starter, though, as the 49ers are among the teams most likely to draft a quarterback in the first round – possibly at No. 2.
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New York Jets
The Jets can’t seem to find a quarterback, and their futility will continue until they do. Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty are huge question marks despite being second- and fourth-round picks, respectively. They were recently joined by Josh McCown, who’s a backup at best.
Some are arguing the Jets should take a quarterback every year until they hit on one, but they’ve tried that the past two years and have seen no return. What’s likely to happen is Petty and Hackenberg competing for the starting job with McCown serving as a fallback plan.
Yes, McCown will get a shot to start, too, but he’d be a last-resort option. The Jets have to hope one of their two youngsters can emerge as a viable 16-game starter. Even if they’re just average with good upside, it’ll be OK. The Jets aren’t making the playoffs in 2017.
Rejoice, Browns fans! Your team doesn’t have the worst quarterback situation! Still, it’s not great, or even good, really. The only reason it’s not the absolute worst is because of Cody Kessler.
We still don’t really know what he is in the NFL, but he was at least competent and a viable starter last season as a rookie. Ignoring the fact that he went 0-8, Kessler actually played fairly well – better than most expected him to. He completed 65.6 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Don’t expect the Browns to go into the season with him as their starter, but if for some reason they did, it probably wouldn’t be a complete disaster. Still expect them to draft a quarterback in the first two rounds, though, or finesse a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo.
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Even if the Texans still had Brock Osweiler, they’d still probably own the worst quarterback depth chart in the NFL. With Osweiler gone, the Texans are left with Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden. That’s it.
Now, by dumping Osweiler, the Texans are likely gearing up to land Tony Romo. They have the cap space, the roster spot and the desperate need for a good signal caller. Their season will hinge on whether Romo lands in Houston, because if he doesn’t, they may not even make the playoffs.
Savage is unproven and unreliable, while we’ve seen what Weeden is in the NFL. Unless the Texans want to spend their first-round pick on a quarterback or land someone like Romo or Jimmy Garoppolo, the Texans are in for a long season.