The 2022 NFL offseason has been exciting, to say the least. Plenty of big names have found new teams, such as Tyreek Hill and Jarvis Landry. This offseason has particularly seen a lot of movement from the quarterback position.
Four starting quarterbacks were traded this offseason – Russell Wilson to Denver, Deshaun Watson to Cleveland, Matt Ryan to Indianapolis, and Carson Wentz to Washington. All four look to slot into starting roles with their new teams, pending possible suspension for Watson.
This upcoming NFL season will be a QB carousel, as eight teams will feature a different Week 1 starting quarterback than they did last season. And that’s just the definites, as some training camp battles are coming up.
Here are my predictions for how every quarterback battle will shake up heading into Week 1 of the 2022 NFL Season.
Teams With Locked-In Starters
Plenty of teams in the league have their starting quarterback situation figured out, and they are as follows:
- Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray
- Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson
- Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen
- Chicago Bears – Justin Fields
- Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow
- Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott
- Denver Broncos – Russell Wilson
- Detroit Lions – Jared Goff
- Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers
- Houston Texans – Davis Mills
- Indianapolis Colts – Matt Ryan
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence
- Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes
- Las Vegas Raiders – Derek Carr
- Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert
- Los Angeles Rams – Matthew Stafford
- Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa
- Minnesota Vikings – Kirk Cousins
- New England Patriots – Mac Jones
- New England Patriots – Mac Jones
- New Orleans Saints – Jameis Winston
- New York Giants – Daniel Jones
- New York Jets – Zach Wilson
- Philadelphia Eagles – Jalen Hurts
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tom Brady
- Tennessee Titans – Ryan Tannehill
The Cleveland Browns are currently in limbo due to the Watson situation. While they might want him to start Week 1, he could be suspended by the league. That means they’ll have to go back to Baker Mayfield as their starter.
Teams That Will Have a QB Battle
The following teams are expected to have a quarterback battle in the summer: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and Washington Commanders.
Here’s how each quarterback competition will play out.
The current quarterbacks on the roster are Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder, and Feleipe Franks. Mariota is the veteran of the bunch, having been in the league since 2015, while Ridder was drafted this past year, and Franks joined the Falcons in 2021 as an undrafted free agent.
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Mariota signed a two-year deal with Atlanta after spending the past two seasons with the Raiders, where he was mainly used as a gadget quarterback in the run game. He should be a placeholder for Ridder, as the rookie was the second quarterback taken in the 2022 NFL Draft.
This is a two-man battle, as Franks has been trying his hand at tight end during OTAs. Even if he were still taking snaps under center, the focus would remain on Mariota and Ridder. The Falcons look to be in no rush to make a Super Bowl run, so they might elect to have Ridder sit and learn from Mariota.
Final Verdict: Marcus Mariota
The current quarterbacks on the roster are Sam Darnold, Matt Corral, P.J. Walker, and Davis Cheek. Darnold is entering the final year of his contract after the Panthers picked up his fifth-year option when he was traded from the Jets. Corral and Cheek are both rookies, with Corral being the 4th quarterback taken in the draft, while Cheek is an undrafted free agent.
It’s safe to say Darnold’s first year in Carolina was underwhelming. It started great, as he led them to a 3-0 record and threw for 888 yards and three touchdowns to one interception. Then, however, things began to fall apart, and after missing a couple of weeks with injury, Darnold finished with 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
Walker, an XFL standout, won his only two starts in two years for the Panthers, but his stats aren’t anything special. Corral was great at Ole Miss, throwing for 3,349 yards and 20 touchdowns his senior year, while rushing for 614 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, he’s not ready to start in the NFL.
For now, it looks to be that Darnold will be the starter, as he’s the best option the Panthers have. But keep an eye out this offseason for a trade, as Baker Mayfield could be on the move.
Final Verdict: Sam Darnold
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The current quarterbacks on the roster are Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph, and Chris Oladokun. The retirement of Ben Roethlisberger means it’s a new era for Steeler football. Trubisky signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh after a quick stop in Buffalo. Rudolph is the longest-tenured quarterback on the roster, as he’s been with the team since 2018. Both Pickett and Oladokun were drafted this year, with Pickett in the 1st round and Oladokun in the 7th round.
It looked as if Trubisky would slot in as the starter when he signed in March, but things got complicated when Pittsburgh drafted the hometown kid with the 20th pick. Pickett is the most ready-now QB in this draft class and will give Trubisky a run for his money. Rudolph hasn’t been great in his four years in the league and has been controversial, so the Steelers seem to be moving away from him.
This is Trubisky’s job for now, but they’ll have a tight leash on him, looking for any excuse to get Pickett into the game.
Final Verdict: Mitch Trubisky
San Francisco 49ers
The current quarterbacks on the roster are Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo, Nate Sudfeld, and Brock Purdy. Since Lance was drafted in 2021, it looked as if Garoppolo was on the outs. There have always been talks of Garoppolo wanting out of San Francisco, and he could get his way this year. Lance played well in Garoppolo’s absence in 2021, throwing for 603 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 168 yards and a score.
Garoppolo is still recovering from shoulder surgery, which means Lance is taking all the QB1 reps. Sudfeld hasn’t seen game action since 2020, and Purdy was the 2022 Mr. Irrelevant. Either way, if Garoppolo stays or is traded, Lance will be under center in Week 1 for the 49ers.
Final Verdict: Trey Lance
The current quarterbacks on the roster are Geno Smith, Drew Lock, and Jacob Eason. This is a competition between two quarterbacks looking for redemption and one looking to get a legit shot.
Smith has been with the Seahawks since 2019 and is by far the most experienced in the room. He finally got his first start with the team last season when Wilson got hurt and threw for 702 yards and five touchdowns in relief. Lock’s career in Denver has been one of highs and lows. He finished his rookie year strong, had a rocky sophomore season, and was benched in 2021.
Right now, it’s Smith’s job to lose. Lock has struggled over the past two years, and while Eason has the size of a starting quarterback, he doesn’t have the experience. So, if Seattle doesn’t trade for another quarterback, Smith is the guy.
Final Verdict: Geno Smith
The current quarterbacks on the roster are Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, Sam Howell, and Cole Kelley. Wentz shined early in his career in Philadelphia, but a downturn in 2020 saw him get shipped to Indianapolis. Then, a day before the anniversary of being traded, Wentz was traded again, this time to Washington. This could be his last shot as a starter in the NFL.
The Commanders quarterback room is getting a fresh coat of paint in 2022, with Heinicke being the only one that has played for the team. Howell was the sixth QB taken in the 2022 NFL Draft, while Kelley joined the team as an undrafted free agent. Heinicke had a good year in 2021 as he was coming off a strong playoff performance. He threw for 3,419 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions while also running for 313 yards and one touchdown.
Wentz is the favorite to become the starter, as the team traded three picks for him. Heinicke is the only one that will give Wentz a run for his money, but when the dust settles, Wentz will be under center in Week 1.
Final Verdict: Carson Wentz
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