The cliché that is often repeated by National Football League analysts and fans is that quarterback is the single most important position in all of North American professional sports. NFL rules favor quarterbacks and passing attacks more and more with every season, and it has become close to impossible, in some cases, to shut down elite pass-happy offenses because of those regulations. The top quarterbacks in the game today, men such as Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and others, cash in on contracts worth millions of dollars because of their abilities to post impressive stats and wins with their valuable arms.
Even the athletes who are viewed as the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL in 2015 make, according to Spotrac, millions of dollars because of what they have achieved at earlier points of their careers or because of what they could potentially provide for their current clubs. Both Brian Hoyer and Josh McCown put pen to paper on contracts that will give them financial security for the rest of their lives despite the fact that neither has come all that close to winning anything of note in the NFL. Even more remarkable about their deals is that neither man could be in the starting lineups for their teams by the time December 2015 rolls around.
New Orleans Saints starting quarterback Drew Brees is NFL royalty, a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player who has earned his NFL salaries over the years. Time has seemingly begun to catch up with Brees, however, and there are now concerns that his body may not be able to hold up for another NFL campaign following 2015. Sam Bradford of the Philadelphia Eagles is a man who has routinely been betrayed by his body since entering the NFL, and Bradford finding a new home in Philadelphia may not be enough to resurrect a career that could have been great had he been able to avoid costly injuries.
10. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Anybody who has followed the career and life of Drew Brees since he first entered the NFL should feel sad to see him mentioned here. The harsh reality of the matter is that Brees appeared to be physically breaking down a season ago, and it has been reported in September of 2015 that he is dealing with an injured rotator cuff. Brees has been a class act and a joy to watch during his Hall-of-Fame career. That the sun has begun to set on that career is unfortunate for all in the NFL community; except for those who have had to plan and play against him during his time with the Saints, that is.
9. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets
Fans of the New York Jets will be hoping that Ryan Fitzpatrick plays himself off of this list throughout the 2015 NFL regular season. Remember, Gang Green supporters, that Fitzpatrick was never supposed to be the starting quarterback of the Jets in the first place. That job belonged to Geno Smith until a man who is now a former teammate punched Smith in the jaw with a blow that sidelined the quarterback for at least a month and a half. Fitzpatrick has performed admirably in filling in for the injured Smith, and the Jets may decide to ride with Fitzpatrick so long as he remains healthy.
8. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles
Those who were optimistic that head coach Chip Kelly could resurrect that career of Sam Bradford were remembering the quarterback who was once worthy of winning a Rookie of the Year award. Bradford has the physical tools to win on NFL Sundays. That cannot be denied. It also cannot be questioned that Bradford has not proven that he can survive as a starting quarterback for any significant length of time. It will be a matter of when and not if that Bradford is replaced by Mark Sanchez or by another quarterback until the former starter for the St. Louis Rams shows that he can stay healthy.
7. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
Odds are that NFL fans who do not cheer on either the Baltimore Ravens or Buffalo Bills were unfamiliar with Tyrod Taylor at the start of the 2015 NFL preseason. Taylor earned the starting quarterback job with the Bills during August, and he has performed admirably in a couple of outings. Two games do not, however, make a franchise quarterback in any situation. It is the unknowns that surround Taylor that make him one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL for 2015. Taylor may silence any and all critics during the fall months.
6. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Blake Bortles may not be the next version of Blaine Gabbert to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars. What you have to ask yourself is this: Would you take Bortles over Teddy Bridgewater? Over Derek Carr? Would you start Bortles ahead of the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles or a healthy Jay Cutler? Bortles may evolve into a top-tier quarterback who can help guide the Jaguars out of the basement of the AFC South standings. He still has quite the journey ahead of him before he arrives to that final destination, and thus Bortles currently has to be considered to be one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL.
5. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The days of NFL teams using common sense and allowing rookie quarterbacks to sit and learn from the sidelines are, in many cases, a thing of the past because fan bases and front offices are impatient and demand instant gratification. Florida State University product Jameis Winston has the physical tools to be a star as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Winston will also likely have noteworthy downs during his first season in the NFL as defenses scheme against the first-year signal-caller. Do not get too down on Winston, fans and critics of the player, during his rookie campaign.
4. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans opened his NFL account with, statistically speaking, a perfect performance in leading the Titans to a victory over Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mariota was then made to look rather ordinary and lackluster by the Cleveland Browns in Week 2 of the 2015 season. Just as with Winston, Mariota is going to have ups and downs as he learns the ropes on the field and inside of the film room. Neither Mariota nor Winston should be expected to move mountains or even win Rookie of the Year honors, but that does not mean that both will not one day be great quarterbacks.
3. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
There has to come a time when one begins to feel sorry for Robert Griffin III if we have not already gotten to that point. RG3 is barely a member of the roster of the Washington Redskins with Jay Gruden serving as the head coach of the team, and it is Kirk Cousins who is now the starting quarterback of the Redskins for at least part of the 2015 NFL regular season. Placing Cousins this high on the list is not a personal shot at the man or the athlete. Cousins simply has not done anything as a pro to make even the most optimistic Washington fan believe that he will be the long-term answer at the quarterback position for any NFL team.
2. Josh McCown, Cleveland Browns
No team in the league has fumbled quarterback decisions since 1999 as have the Cleveland Browns, and that trend has continued in 2015. 36-year-old Josh McCown went 1-10 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, but that did not stop the Browns from giving McCown over $6 million in guaranteed cash before head coach Mike Pettine named McCown his starting quarterback. McCown rewarded his coach by getting injured on the first drive of the regular season, which opened the door for second-year quarterback Johnny Manziel. Manziel has visibly improved following a disaster of a rookie campaign, but Pettine and company are nevertheless sticking with McCown for the foreseeable future. Alright.
1. Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans
Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien may find himself flipping a coin to determine his starting quarterback at some point in November. O’Brien named veteran and Cleveland Browns castoff Brian Hoyer as his starter before Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season, but O’Brien pulled the plug on that experiment before the fourth quarter of the first game. Ryan Mallett, who has never had a true opportunity to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, has now been given the keys to the Houston offense for the time being, and that puts Hoyer atop this list as of the posting of this piece. The situation with the Texans could change, however, and maybe Mallett will be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL for 2015 when all is said and done.