The Franchise Quarterback™ — it’s the Holy Grail in today's NFL. Every team is looking for one, yet few are finding them. One of the side effects of this never-ending quest is that franchises are talking themselves into bad quarterbacks more and more often.
We’ve seen this cost numerous teams like the Bears and Jaguars realistic Super Bowl windows of late. For a number of different reasons, the concept of the “quarterback of the future” is dated. NFL teams should instead prioritize the “quarterback of the now.”
More Talent = More Options
This is the crucial fact for NFL GMs to realize in today's landscape: There's more talent at the quarterback position than ever before. Five years ago, Andy Dalton was considered an average to above-average starting quarterback in the league after leading the Bengals to a 12-4 record and an AFC North title. He was rewarded with a 6-year, $96 million deal that was not criticized at the time.
Today, Dalton can’t find a starting job at only 33 years old — feasibly the prime of his career by modern standards. While his performance fell off as the talent eroded in Cincinnati, his actual talent level hasn’t noticeably dipped, as evidence by his 69.5 passing grade this past year with the Cowboys. The fact that he's a backup is indicative of just how much talent has entered the league of late.
This year, Gardner Minshew earned a 66.0 PFF overall grade, which ranked 25th in the league. That's the highest overall grade for a QB ranked that low that we have ever seen. Here’s how the 25th-ranked QB in PFF’s rankings has graded in years past:
|Year||25th-Ranked QB PFF Grade|
This grade is only going to improve in the coming years with the influx of talent in the 2020 quarterback class. Currently, the top-three players on the PFF Big Board are quarterbacks, and as many as six could go in the first round.