4. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
There’s no question Carson Wentz is a special talent and an excellent leader. The only thing in question for Wentz is health. Over the past three seasons – during which the Eagles have gone 31-17 – Wentz has averaged 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions to go along with an average passer rating of 99.1. The only problem is, while the Eagles have made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons and had a Super Bowl victory, Wentz only played in one of their six playoff games – in which he left before halftime with another injury.
The Eagles are clearly concerned about Wentz’s ability to stay healthy as well, as evident by their decision to invest their 53rd overall pick in QB Jalen Hurts, who some believe has starter-potential in the NFL. Keep in mind, Wentz signed a five-year contract worth up to $153 million, which the Eagles will likely not want to pay to someone on injured reserve by playoff time every year. Wentz is amazing, but he’s got to stay on the field this year; the Eagles can’t keep counting on their backups to fulfill their Super Bowl potential.
3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
You would think that coming off the heels of a trip to the NFC championship that the Green Bay Packers would look to use their 26th overall pick to help Aaron Rodgers win another Super Bowl while the 36-year-old is still a star in the NFL. They did not. Instead, they chose to draft QB Jordan Love, Rodgers’ likely successor. During this off-season, Rodgers has been vocal that he found the move perplexing, but that he just wants to keep his head down and prove to the organization that he’s got plenty left in the tank. Even though he posted excellent numbers in 2019 (26 TDs, four interceptions, 4002 yards, a passer-rating of 95.4, and a 13-3 record), he has somehow found himself in a “prove-it” year with the team that drafted him back in 2005. Expect special things from Rodgers in 2020, because he doesn’t seem like he wants to take a seat anytime soon.
2. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Coming off an MVP-winning season, you’re probably surprised to see 22-year-old Lamar Jackson on this list so early in his career. But after two phenomenal regular seasons, which both concluded in two abysmal playoff performances, he’s probably only one bad playoff loss away from being branded as a “regular-season quarterback.” In two playoff games, Jackson has completed only 51.14% of his passes, thrown three touchdowns and three interceptions, fumbled four times and had a passer-rating of 68.3. That’s not going to get it done in January, let alone February. Despite having a young phenom QB, the Ravens are in a “need-to-win-now” mode, and they’ll need their MVP to perform better than he has when it matters most.
1) Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Is Baker Mayfield a franchise quarterback? Ask me in 2018, and I’d tell you, “Absolutely.” Ask me in 2019, I’ll tell you, “Absolutely not.” Most quarterbacks don’t get more than three years of runway to figure that out either, so Mayfield is very much in a “put-up-or-shut-up” kind of year for the Cleveland Browns, whose main roster question appears to be under center. In 2018, the 1st overall pick went 6-7 with 27 touchdowns (the all-time record for a rookie), 14 interceptions and a 93.7 passer-rating on a pretty poor Cleveland Browns team, making his numbers even more impressive. Then in 2019, with players like Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. at his disposal (and a full off-season of trash-talking in the books), Mayfield imploded. In 2019, Baker went 6-10 in a mediocre division with 22 touchdowns, 21 interceptions (fewer than only Jameis Winston) and a passer-rating of 78.8. A lot of this blame falls on the offensive-line, who allowed Mayfield to be sacked 40 times, and now ex-head coach Freddie Kitchens. But Baker deserves his fair share of criticism as well. The Browns’ QB has insisted that he allowed the media to be a distraction a year ago and that he’ll be better at tuning it out in 2020. But now, he actually has to do that. Unfortunately for Browns fans, though their quarterback has great potential, Mayfield currently looks more like a question for Cleveland than an answer.
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers