There won’t be too much of an argument about the top-five quarterbacks in the NFL. In no order, it’s obvious Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck and Drew Brees fall somewhere in that top five.
This doesn’t mean the five teams these star signal callers suit up for have the best quarterback situations in the NFL. You have to take into account backup quarterbacks and look a couple years down the road when factoring in this aspect of the analysis.
Not only does Indy have the best young quarterback in the NFL, it possesses the best veteran backup of the 32 teams. While the Colts would be in trouble if Luck went down for an extended period of time, Hasselbeck has proven that he’s more than capable of winning professional football games. In his last regular action as a starter, Hasselbeck put up a 9-7 record with 18 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions for the Tennessee Titans back in 2011. Overall, the 16-year NFL vet has thrown 55 more touchdowns than interceptions and is eight games over .500 in 152 career starts.
As it relates to Luck, there is no other young signal caller with as bright of a future as him. He’s won 11 games in each of his first three seasons in the NFL and is coming off a 2014 campaign that saw him put up career highs in completion percentage (61.7), passing yards (4,761) and touchdowns (40). It’s the perfect blend of franchise quarterback and reliable backup in Indy right now.
2. Denver Broncos
Quarterbacks: Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler and Zac Dysert
Just because we don’t necessarily have a solid sample size for Osweiler, it doesn’t mean that he’s not the Broncos' quarterback of the future. Blessed with a prototypical frame (6-foot-7 and 240) as well as a strong arm, there’s reason for optimism that he could one day take over for Manning. That’s only magnified by the presence of the future Hall of Famer to teach Osweiler the tricks of the trade.
With a top-five starter and a solid youngster, Denver already possesses two-thirds of what it takes to be in a good quarterback situation. Now add into the equation a project arm like Dysert, and this is an ideal scenario for a team that’s hovering between short-term contender and long-term insignificance. Being able to have a solid plan to move on from Manning in the not-so-distant future is big here.
3. New England Patriots
Quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Garrett Gilbert
Whether it was Matt Cassel, Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett, the Patriots have always had a quarterback behind Brady that other teams in the NFL wanted. Considering Cassel could very well end up as the Buffalo Bills starter and both Hoyer and Mallett are competing for the Houston Texans job, it’s quite obvious that Bill Belichick and company know what they are doing (duh).
Unlike the three quarterbacks listed below, Garoppolo likely won’t be dangled as a carrot in a potential trade. Selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, this young quarterback has all the tools needed to be a franchise guy when Brady eventually departs (whenever that is). For now, the Patriots have one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history playing ahead of a high-upside youngster. Yeah, that’s more than an ideal scenario.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
Quarterbacks: Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones and Tajh Boyd
Pittsburgh’s philosophy at the quarterback position differs from other teams in that it doesn’t necessarily have a true youngster ready to take over should Big Ben get injured or decide to retire. But based off the new deal this Super Bowl-winning quarterback signed and his ability to play through pretty much any injury, this isn’t necessarily a bad plan.
Pittsburgh also has a backup in Gradkowski that can come in and keep the team afloat for a few weeks should Big Ben go down.
Outside of that, Pittsburgh’s other two signal callers are nothing more than projects. Despite a solid career in Oklahoma, Jones was overdrafted by the Steelers in the fourth round back in 2013. As it relates to Boyd, calling him a project would be an insult to true project quarterbacks out there. Once considered a decent prospect at Clemson, Boyd simply doesn’t seem to have what it takes to be a viable quarterback in the NFL.
5. Miami Dolphins
Quarterbacks: Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore and McLeod Bethel-Thompson
Are you surprised? I sure the heck was when creating this article. However, the presence of Matt Moore makes this ranking more realistic. He would be a starting quarterback on at least one handful of teams out there. Moore also knows the Dolphins' scheme like the back of his own hand, which would be huge if Tannehill goes down to an injury.
Looking at Tannehill for a second, he’s improved in each of his first three seasons in the NFL and is now seen as a borderline Pro Bowl signal caller. The Texas A&M product is coming off a 2014 campaign that saw him put up career-high numbers in completion percentage (66.4), passing yards (4,045), passing touchdowns (27) and quarterback rating (92.8). Not only are those solid numbers, they promise to get better with Miami’s improved pass-catching options.