NFL Teams Who Most Need a New Quarterback for 2024

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NFL quarterbacks are always in high demand. However, the 2023 season especially drove that point home in a variety of ways:

  • A quarter of the league’s primary quarterbacks suffered a season-ending injury, paving the way for us to get to know Jake Browning (Bengals), Tommy DeVito (Giants), Easton Stick (Chargers) and Tyson Bagent (Bears).
  • There may have been some buyer’s remorse in Year 1 for some veterans with Aaron Rodgers tearing his Achilles 4 snaps into his season with the Jets, and Derek Carr disappointed for most of the year in New Orleans.
  • While C.J. Stroud was excellent as a rookie in Houston, No. 1 pick Bryce Young (Panthers) really struggled, and Anthony Richardson (Colts) could not stay healthy.

At the end of the season, it was Patrick Mahomes driving the Chiefs in overtime of Super Bowl LVIII for a walk-off touchdown. If these teams want to compete for a championship, they need someone who can go drive for drive with that guy in Kansas City.

That is why some teams should be looking at free agency and this 2024 draft class for their next quarterback, as what they have is not adequate enough.

Before going into the top-rated online sportsbooks for the 2024 NFL Draft, we’ll look at those 8 teams below.

Note: Not every team who realistically could find their next quarterback this offseason is listed. For instance, we are giving the Jets another chance with Rodgers even if that situation has a time limit on it, and the Browns are so tied up financially with Deshaun Watson that it’s just not feasible for them to buy an upgrade in 2024.

New England Patriots: Gee, Ya Think?

The Patriots are going into their 5th season without Tom Brady. It will also be the 1st without head coach Bill Belichick.

If history is any indication, then they may still be a long way away from finding a worthy successor to Brady, because Mac Jones sure doesn’t look like the guy. Not after he was benched multiple times for Bailey Zappe in 2023. If you saw Zappe’s fake spike against the Colts in Germany, you know he’s not the guy either.

Still, no one ever said it was easy to replace a Hall of Fame quarterback:

  • The Bills had to wait over 20 years between Jim Kelly’s last season (1996) and Josh Allen’s debut in 2018.
  • Tua Tagovailoa (drafted in 2020) is the best Miami quarterback since Dan Marino retired following the 1999 season.
  • The Steelers had to wait about 20 years between Terry Bradshaw’s last season (1983) and when they drafted Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.
  • Bart Starr retired from Green Bay after 1971, and it wouldn’t be until 1992 when Brett Favre made his 1st start for the Packers.
  • The Bears are still looking for Sid Luckman’s true successor after over 70 years.

Yet, hardly any teams can make that seamless transition from Favre to Aaron Rodgers (to Jordan Love?) or from Joe Montana to Steve Young in San Francisco.

Offensive Struggles

There’s usually some pain and suffering to endure first.

No doubt, the Patriots have gone through some suffering on offense the last few years, as Belichick’s defense was still fine. After a promising rookie season in 2021, Mac Jones has only declined:

  • 2021: Jones (56.9) ranked 16th out of 31 quarterbacks in QBR
  • 2022: Jones (38.4) ranked 28th out of 31 quarterbacks in QBR
  • 2023: Jones (36.7) ranked 28th out of 30 quarterbacks in QBR

The Patriots did him few favors by botching the offensive coordinator hires and not bringing in any good wide receivers. Still, the quarterback position has been the biggest problem with Jones’ untimely turnovers and struggles to string together drives. Even just a middling quarterback would be an improvement in New England.

The Patriots still have Jones under contract this year with a 5th-year option available. Yet, in holding the No. 3 pick in the draft, new coach Jerod Mayo is going to have a big decision to make to start his tenure of replacing Belichick.

He still has to replace Brady first.

Chicago Bears: The Field Over Fields

The Bears hold the No. 1 pick in the draft and should absolutely take Caleb Williams if everything goes well in the interview process with him.

Justin Fields has been given 3 seasons to prove his worth. That is typically more than enough for a franchise quarterback. Most all-time greats only need a season or 2 to show they can perform at a high level. Fields has yet to do it, and the Bears are only 10-28 when he starts for them.

Out of 41 quarterbacks to throw at least 500 passes since 2021, Fields ranks:

  • 41st in sack rate (12.4%)
  • 40th in interception rate (3.1%)
  • 38th in completion percentage (60.3%)
  • 39th in passing success rate (37.8%)
  • 36th in passer rating (82.3)
  • 38th in adjusted net yards per pass attempt (4.77)

You simply cannot win many games in the NFL with a quarterback who has this many negative plays as a passer. Even Fields’ strength as a runner was not as good in 2023. He rushed for 657 yards and 4 touchdowns, declining from 76.2 rushing yards per game and 7.1 yards per carry in 2022 to 50.5 yards per game and 5.3 yards per carry in 2023.

Fields is also one of the worst quarterbacks in NFL history with the game on the line. Fields is 3-16 (.158) at game-winning drive opportunities in his career. One of the wins was against Houston in 2022 in a game where Davis Mills threw an interception to set the Bears up in the red zone for the game-winning field goal. Fields didn’t even have to do anything.

The Bears need much better quarterback play. It shouldn’t be that hard to find it this year.

Fields is not the guy.

Las Vegas Raiders: Antonio Pierce Doesn’t Have a Blueprint vs. Chiefs

New Raiders coach, Antonio Pierce, recently said that the team has “Mahomes Rules” for playing the Chiefs after they were the last team to beat Kansas City on Christmas. They want to hit Mahomes as much as possible, thinking they have a blueprint for knocking off the champs after their 20-14 upset win.

Does that blueprint include not completing a pass for the final 3 quarters of the game again? That’s what happened. Rookie Aidan O’Connell failed to complete a pass after the 1st quarter. He actually played better in the 31-17 loss to the Chiefs in Week 12 than he did in the win, a game decided by the Raiders turning 2 Kansas City turnovers into touchdowns in a span of 7 seconds.

Keep in mind O’Connell is the same quarterback who lost a home game played indoors 3-0 to the Vikings as well. That should be impossible in 2023, but it happened.

O’Connell’s Future

O’Connell might have a decade-long career ahead of him in the NFL given the way backup quarterbacks can stick around a long time. Just look at Chase Daniel, Chad Henne, and Blaine Gabbert.

However, O’Connell does not look the part of a franchise quarterback a la Brock Purdy in San Francisco. Not a hidden gem like that. That’s why the Raiders need the upgrade, especially if they are going to still compete in a division with Mahomes and Justin Herbert now that the latter should have a real coach in Jim Harbaugh.

The Raiders have talented skill players, including Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs, but the quarterback is a big question mark.

Don’t make the mistake of teams like the 2016 Broncos (Trevor Siemian) and 2023 Commanders (Sam Howell) by going into the season with an unheralded 2nd-year starter you owe nothing to.

Denver Broncos: Russ Is Cooked

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on Sean Payton for trying to bench Russell Wilson after the team just beat Kansas City midseason?

It was a weird year in Denver.

They missed the playoffs for the 8th season in a row. The expectations were for Payton to “fix” Wilson after that disastrous 2022 season. The offense did improve. However, it was still not good enough. Wilson set career lows in passing yards (3,070) and yards per pass attempt (6.9 – his first season under 7.0).

Basically, the Denver offense thrived on getting short fields from an absurd number of takeaways by the defense. Wilson still struggled and had one of the least efficient seasons of his career. He looked closer to Taysom Hill than he did Drew Brees in a Payton offense.

Benching Bombshell

Yet, the story took a weird turn late in the season.

Wilson was benched for the final 2 games in an effort to have the team not pay a $37 million injury guarantee that was baked into Wilson’s contract for 2025 if he was still on the roster. There was also a report that the team approached him after the win over the Chiefs in Week 8 about this future benching, a weird time to say the least after the team’s biggest win in a few years.

With that story leaking, you could say it’s curtains for Wilson in Denver after 2 rough years. Frankly, it is time to move on. There really is no precedent for a veteran needing more than 2 years to make things work out on a new team.

Like the Raiders, the Broncos are in that tough position where they have to contend with Reid-Mahomes and now Harbaugh-Herbert in the AFC West.

They’ll have to find Payton another quarterback.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Don’t See It with Kenny Pickett

A lot of attention has gone to the Steelers acquiring Justin Fields or Russell Wilson this year. However, it’s hard to believe that will happen based on the way this team loves to keep the standard in place.

Of course, the standard has turned into winning 9 or 10 games and getting crushed in the wild card round.

Pittsburgh has not won a playoff game since the 2016 season, and it is hard to see that changing with Kenny Pickett as the starter.

Pickett is the ultimate example of a quarterback who tries to win every game with 1 drive late in the game. Yet, you have to keep it low-scoring and close for him. Pickett is 1-7 when the Steelers allow at least 20 points, and even the win (26-22 against the 2023 Browns) was a game where the defense scored a pair of defensive touchdowns.

Pickett has thrown a touchdown on 1.8% of his pass attempts – the only quarterback in NFL history under 2% among the 391 quarterbacks with at least 500 pass attempts.

Pickett’s Predicament

If Pickett went to South Carolina or Oregon State instead of Pitt, it’s not crazy to think he would have been a 3rd-round pick at best. This was the team’s attempt at not repeating the Dan Marino mistake in 1983 when they passed on the local kid and Pitt hero when they had a chance to replace Terry Bradshaw.

In 2022, the Steelers needed to replace Ben Roethlisberger, and they likely reached in the 1st round with Pickett. He just hasn’t shown any exceptional talents from accuracy to pocket movement to mobility. Durability is also a huge problem, as he rarely can stay upright for long stretches of games.

The offense looked the best it has since Big Ben retired when Mason Rudolph took over late in the season. He effectively sent Pickett to the bench. Rudolph is more aggressive and did a better job of getting the ball to the wide receivers to allow them to make plays. However, Rudolph also doesn’t look like the long-term answer. They can no longer blame offensive coordinator Matt Canada for the failure here since he was fired in November.

Out of all the teams on our list, the Steelers are probably the least likely to make a quarterback move in free agency or the draft. Still, if they ever want to win a playoff game again in this AFC, they really should act now, as Pickett is not the guy.

Washington Commanders: Need a Savior

The new regime of owners in Washington has made its moves with a new head coach (Dan Quinn) and a new offensive coordinator (Kliff Kingsbury). However, what about the quarterback position?

This team has been a hellscape for the entire salary cap era. They are the only NFL franchise that has not had an 11-win season since 1992.

A lot of that starts with the failures at the quarterback position.

Going into a season with Sam Howell, a 2022 5th-round pick, as the Week 1 starter was a very bold decision last year. It did not pay off. Howell threw 21 touchdowns to 21 interceptions, took 65 sacks and did not improve as the season wore on and the team finished 4-13.

Howell at least showed enough to keep a roster spot on a cheap contract. Yet, he is unlikely ever going to be the guy that turns this team around. He cut down on the sacks late in the year. Yet, his overall numbers plummeted to embarrassing levels with 4 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 55.6 passer rating and 5.41 yards per attempt over his last 7 starts.

They benched Howell a few times for Jacoby Brissett late in the year, and he immediately moved the offense for touchdowns. It would be different if Howell showed improvement, but that was not the case.

When you have a new coaching staff coming in, that usually means big changes. It is unlikely the Commanders will want to go into another season with Howell as the Week 1 starter. They hold the No. 2 pick in the draft, so expect something big here.

Atlanta Falcons: Rid of Ridder

Playing in the NFC South, the Atlanta Falcons are a quarterback away from a division title.

It could have even happened last year if Desmond Ridder hadn’t thrown such an atrocious interception in a loss to the Panthers, the type of throw that will get a young quarterback benched as it did for Ridder.

Still, he just showed little to no improvement from his rookie year where he was nothing special either. He turns it over in too many big spots, he doesn’t do a good job of sustaining drives and he isn’t someone you can rely on with a pass-heavy game plan.

The Falcons have some very fine weapons at each level with Bijan Robinson in the backfield, Drake London at wide receiver and Kyle Pitts at tight end. Maybe new offensive coordinator Zac Robinson will use them better than fired coach Arthur Smith ever did, as Raheem Morris takes over the top job in Atlanta.

Yet, something really needs to be done at quarterback here.

Like Howell in Washington, the team doesn’t owe any commitments to a mid-round pick like Ridder. This is a new coaching staff. They have the freedom to explore other options and they absolutely should do that.

New York Giants: Sunk Cost

It is one of the toughest lessons to learn, but sometimes you have to take a sunk cost and move on from a bad decision.

The Giants gave Daniel Jones a 4-year extension worth $160 million. However, they really should just eat a big chunk of that going forward and find a new quarterback this year.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they need to trade Jones or cut him this year, as he has a dead cap hit of $69 million for 2024. Still, there is no reason you can’t draft his future replacement with the No. 6 pick in the 2024 draft. Maybe that player takes over in 2025 and Jones gets one more year to prove himself as trade value a la the Drew Brees and Philip Rivers situation in San Diego in 2004-06.

Giants’ Giant Mistake

The Giants never should have made the extension in the 1st place. Jones had a somewhat decent 2022 season under new coach Brian Daboll. Yet, he rarely lit it up as a passer when he wasn’t playing the terrible Minnesota pass defense, the same defense he beat in the playoffs that year. The team won a lot of close games early in the season, but Jones has never been good at close games since 2019 outside of that stretch.

Jones is 5-11-1 over his last 17 starts. This team went 3-3 with undrafted rookie free agent Tommy DeVito starting games in 2023. Worse, DeVito had a higher passer rating (89.2) than Jones (70.5). So did Tyrod Taylor (89.1), as the Giants had 3 different quarterbacks throw at least 160 passes behind their poor offensive line last year. Still, Jones quite arguably had the worst performance of the 3, which is why you should never pay $40 million a year for such mediocrity.

Jones’ cap hit is $47 million this year, so he’ll likely be back after tearing his ACL last year. Still, with the Giants already going through 5 seasons and multiple head coaches trying to coax a breakout year out of him, it is hard to see this ever working out for Jones in New York.