I’m about to make a very bold statement about the most important position on a football team. In the next few years, quarterbacks will be constantly replaced. Now I know the title says “expendable” and in the first sentence I acknowledge quarterback as the most important position on the field, a very odd statement to make, but hear me out.

Here’s a list of quarterbacks under the age of 29 who will/should start for their teams next season:

  • Deshaun Watson
  • Lamar Jackson
  • Patrick Mahomes
  • Dwayne Haskins
  • Drew Lock
  • Baker Mayfield
  • Sam Darnold
  • Gardner Minshew
  • Kyler Murray
  • Jared Goff
  • Josh Allen
  • Dak Prescott
  • Carson Wentz
  • Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Derek Carr
  • Mitchell Trubisky

Then you see guys like Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston who will be in backup roles, but both were signed to potentially be the future of that organization. Let’s focus on two names on that list, Dak Prescott and Derek Carr.

Opinions aside, both are very serviceable quarterbacks who can get you wins. Since entering both have a passer rating above 90 and have averaged around a 65% completion rate. With that knowledge, you have to wonder, why are they both playing for their jobs this year? Unless you live under a rock, you know that the Cowboys will not give Dak the contract he wants, and he will play under the franchise tag this season. He also has Andy Dalton behind him, who is a solid QB in his own right. Derek Carr, coming off his best statistical season (4,054 passing yards; 70% completion; 100.8 passer rating), has Marcus Mariota breathing down his neck, and is hearing rumors that he may be out next season

Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

To answer this question, you have to look no further than the NFL draft. I know what you’re thinking, “Bryce, teams have always taken quarterbacks in the first round.” While this is true, with the game adopting more college style offenses, the bust rate for quarterbacks has went down. Let’s looks at first round quarterbacks from the 2016-2019:

  • Jared Goff
  • Carson Wentz
  • Paxton Lynch
  • Mitchell Trubisky
  • Patrick Mahomes
  • Deshaun Watson
  • Baker Mayfield
  • Sam Darnold
  • Josh Allen
  • Josh Rosen
  • Lamar Jackson
  • Kyler Murray
  • Daniel Jones
  • Dwayne Haskins

Out of those guys, how many can you already label a “bust?” Two? Three if you think Trubisky is finished. Now 10 years ago, you would get more time than just your rookie contract to prove your a bust. But now we’re seeing guys not even get to finish their rookie contract before they’re replaced. This is because you’re having great quarterbacks coming in every year. In next year’s draft alone we have 3 blue chip quarterback prospects coming out (Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance). Teams will take these guys to replace their 25 year old quarterback, who is then signed by another team, and since he’s only 25, he has plenty of time to develop his game. It’s a cycle that’s only going to get worse.

Now let’s look at from a financial perspective. Why would I pay a serviceable quarterback, like Dak $40 million a year, when I can get a great replacement on a rookie deal for 5 years? And this doubles up, since I’m not paying this rookie quarterback any kind of big money, I don’t have to rush him onto the field. Mahomes benefited greatly from sitting behind Alex Smith, another solid, but not great quarterback.

Now I say all of that to say this, I love that the NFL has this problem. Better quarterback play, makes better teams, which creates more competitive games. I am very much looking forward to seeing how the quarterback landscape will change over the next five years.

Featured photo courtesy of AP Photos/Eduardo Verdugo

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