The 20 Best Quarterbacks of the 2010s

The concept of a “Golden Age” is fun to debate, and there are few applications more apt than the 2010s being a Golden Age of quarterback play. Some of the game’s greats, like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, battled it out late into the winter, while transcendent talents like Cam Newton and Lamar Jackson took the league by storm and reinvented what it means to be a quarterback. These players upped the ante nearly every season and left defenses in the dust.

To commemorate this pivotal and exhilarating decade, I am ranking the 20 best quarterbacks of the 2010s. This ranking will look at the player’s legacy (emphasis on playoffs) as well as talent (who would I want to win a game) to judge their contribution to the NFL over this time period. No players are ruled out over their small sample sizes, but longevity was a key factor in decisions. Here we go…

Tier One — The Greats — They were the best for at least one season and are future first-ballot Hall of Famers

  1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Decade Stats: 316 touchdowns (2nd), 99.6 passer rating (8th), 122-34 record (1st), 43,727 passing yards (4th), 8.05 adjusted yards per attempt (7th), 1.39 INT pct (4th), 64.21 COMP pct (20th)

Rush Stats: 460 yards (43rd), 16 touchdowns (8th), 2.9 ypg (86th)

Similar Profiles: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees

Resume: 3x Super Bowls, 4x SB Appearances, 10 playoff appearances, 16-7 playoff record

Awards: 2x All Pro, 2x MVP, 9x Pro Bowl, 2x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2017 — 32 TD, 8 INT, 4,577 passing yards, 13-3 with SB Appearance

Elite Seasons: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Rundown: The three Super Bowl rings should say it all — Tom Brady was the best quarterback of the 2010s. To say he won a lot is an understatement. With Brady under center, the Patriots reached the Super Bowl five of 10 years and made the playoffs every season. While his numbers never approached his monster 2007 season, Brady posted strong numbers with especially impressive touchdown-to-interception ratios. Even as he reached his late 30s and early 40s, Brady could make the claim to being the best quarterback in the game for most of the decade.

  1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Decade Stats: 305 touchdowns (3rd), 103.6 passer rating (3rd), 96-45-1 record (2nd), 38,145 passing yards (7th), 8.41 adjusted yards per attempt (2nd), 1.28 INT pct (2nd), 64.71 COMP pct (14th) 

Rush Stats: 2,552 rush yards (3rd), 19 rush touchdowns (4th), 18.0 ypg (24th)

Similar Profiles: Drew Brees, Tom Brady

Resume: 1x Super Bowls, 1x SB Appearances, 8 playoff appearances, 10-7 playoff record

Awards: 2x All Pro, 2x MVP, 7x Pro Bowl, 1x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2011 — 45 TD, 6 INT, 4,643 passing yards, 15-1 and lost in Divisional

Elite Seasons: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019

Rundown: Rodgers gets the benefit of the doubt with his lone Super Bowl win and appearance coming in the first season of this decade, and he was on the doorstep of two other Super Bowls in 2014, 2016, and 2019. When he was on his game, there was nobody better than Rodgers, as evidenced by his efficient usage statistics and composite numbers over the course of the decade. His deep throwing ability is legendary, and he elevated the Packers to Super Bowl contention status for much of the decade. His mobility (3rd and 4th in rush yards and TD, respectively) added another element to his well-rounded game.

  1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Decade Stats: 227 touchdowns (9th), 101.2 passer rating (5th), 86-41-1 record (5th), 29,734 passing yards (11th), 8.26 adjusted yards per attempt (4th), 1.8 INT pct (12th), 64.50 COMP pct (15th)

Rush Stats: 3,993 rush yards (2nd), 19 rush touchdowns (4th), 31.2 ypg (9th)

Similar Profiles: Aaron Rodgers

Resume: 1x Super Bowl, 2x SB Appearances, 7 playoff appearances, 9-6 playoff record

Awards: 0x All Pro, 0x MVP, 7x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2019 — 31 TD, 5 INT, 4,110 passing yards, 11-5 and lost in Divisional

Elite Seasons: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Rundown: Russell Wilson made a greater impact than Drew Brees over the course of the 2010s, and that’s not including the 2010 and 2011 seasons he spent at University of Wisconsin before coming to the league in 2012. Wilson reached two Super Bowls and nearly won both as more of a game manager on a ground-and-pound Legion of Boom team in the first half of the decade, and then blossomed into one of the league’s premier arms and a perennial MVP candidate in the latter half. Wilson’s escapability and play making prowess helped him elevate his often undermanned supporting cast. One detraction is that Wilson-led teams have never dented the Super Bowl picture, so it will be interesting to see where the Hawks go from here.

  1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Decade Stats: 345 touchdowns (1st), 102.9 passer rating (4th), 95-58 (3rd), 46,770 passing yards (1st), 8.00 adjusted yards per attempt (8th), 2.12 INT pct (18th), 69.53 COMP pct (1st)
Rush Stats: 272 rush yards (62nd), 16 rush touchdowns (9th), 1.8 ypg (95th)

Similar Profiles: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 0x SB Appearances, 6x Playoff Appearances, 4-6 playoff record

Awards: 0x All Pro, 0x MVP, 9x Bro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2011 — 46 TD, 14 INT, 5,476 passing yards, 13-3 record and lost in Divisional

Elite Seasons: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Rundown: From a statistical perspective, Brees is golden. He ranks first in touchdowns and passing yards and set the all-time marks during this decade, plus ranks highly in usage statistics of completion percentage (1st) and passer rating (4th). He even adds a bit in the running game as a red zone sneak threat. Unfortunately, Brees has also been on the losing end of some of the most crushing playoff defeats of this era, from the Minnesota Miracle to the phantom PI call against the Rams, and has never reached a Super Bowl in this decade. 

  1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts/Denver Broncos

Decade Stats: 173 touchdowns (14th), 99.4 passer rating (9th), 55-18 record (14th), 21,812 passing yards (21st), 7.76 adjusted yards per attempt (10th), 2.46 INT pct (35th), 66.44 COMP pct (6th)

Rush Stats: -37 rush yards (last), 1 touchdown, -0.5 ypg (last)

Similar Profiles: Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes

Resume: 1x Super Bowls, 2x SB Appearances, 5 playoff appearances, 5-4 playoff record

Awards: 2x All Pro, 1x MVP, 4x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 55 touchdowns, 10 INT, 5,477 passing yards, 13-3, lost in Super Bowl

Elite Seasons: 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014

Rundown: Manning, on his last legs with the Denver Broncos, posted four truly great seasons in the 2010s and the best passing season of all-time in 2013 with 55 touchdowns and almost 5,500 passing yards. In half the number of seasons as many of the other names on this list, Manning reached two Super Bowls and won one. The last appearance, a Super Bowl 50 win, showcased Manning at his physical worst, but also underscored his mental and leadership abilities on the brightest stage. If he had sustained this success over the course of the whole decade, he might have challenged Brady for the top honors on this list.

  1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Decade Stats: 76 touchdowns (30th), 108.9 passer rating (1st), 24-7 record (34th), 9,412 passing yards (44th), 9.21 adjusted yards per attempt (1st), 1.64 INT pct (8th), 65.88 COMP pct (8th)

Rushing Stats: 500 rush yards (40th), 4 touchdowns (44th), 16.1 ypg (29th)

Similar Profiles: Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees

Resume: 1x Super Bowl, 1x SB Appearances, 2x Playoff Appearances, 4-1 playoff record

Awards: 1x All Pro, 1x MVP, 2x Pro Bowl, 1x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2018 — 50 TD, 12 INT, 5,097 passing yards, 12-4 record and lost in AFC Champ

Elite Seasons: 2018, 2019

Rundown: Mahomes may seem an odd fit on this list due to his lack of longevity — he only started for his team two seasons during this decade. But as with his peers on Tier 1, Mahomes staked a claim to being the best player in the game and dominated like few before him. Mahomes has unparalleled playmaking ability and can make plays with his legs, arm, eyes, and, famously, even without his eyes. He’s an overwhelming favorite to lead the Tier 1 of the 2020 decade list.

Tier Two- Franchise — Pro Bowl regulars without sustained dominance

  1. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Decade Stats: 283 touchdowns (5th), 96.1 passer rating (13th), 89-70 record (4th), 44,830 passing yards (2nd), 7.56 adjusted yards per attempt (19th), 2.06 INT pct (17th), 66.28 COMP pct (7th)

Rushing Stats: 1,142 yards (18th), 7 touchdowns (29th), 7.2 ypg (61st)

Similar Profiles: Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 1x SB Appearances, 5x Playoff Appearances, 4-5 playoff record

Awards: 1x All Pro, 1x MVP, 4x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2016 — 38 TD, 7 INT, 4,944 passing yards, 11-5 record and lost in SB

Elite Seasons: 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018

Rundown: The longtime Falcon just edges out Ben Roethlisberger by virtue of a better track record of durability and remarkably productive passing statistics (2nd to only Drew Brees in passing yards). Ryan has directed some of the league’s best offenses this decade, and his eye-opening 2016 MVP campaign gives him an edge over his contemporaries. Sure, he’s had legendary targets like Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones, but the Falcons have excelled behind Ryan’s arm in a division with stellar quarterbacks like Brees and Cam Newton. And if Atlanta had held onto its 28-3 Super Bowl lead, Ryan would be firmly entrenched as an all-time quarterback.

  1. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Decade Stats: 236 touchdowns (8th), 95.1 passer rating (14th), 84-45-1 record (6th), 37,243 passing yards (8th), 7.69 adjusted yards per attempt (12th), 2.28 INT pct (27th), 64.85 COMP pct (13th)

Rushing Stats: 659 rush yards (28th), 7 touchdowns (32nd), 5.0 ypg (75th)

Similar Profiles: Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 1x SB Appearances, 6x Playoff Appearances, 5-6 playoff record

Awards: 0x All Pro, 0x MVP, 5x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2014 — 32 TD, 9 INT, 4,952 passing yards, 11-5 record and lost in Wild Card

Elite Seasons: 2014, 2017, 2018

Rundown: Big Ben hasn’t won a Super Bowl in this decade after capturing two in the first, but he emerged as the leader for a traditionally defense-oriented franchise. Roethlisberger has been proficient throwing to targets like Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, is almost impossible to take down in the pocket, and has led the Steelers to six playoff berths in a difficult AFC North division. Injuries have limited Roethlisberger more than most quarterbacks and the lack of a playoff breakthrough stings, but he has done enough in this decade to garner serious discussion for the Hall of Fame.

  1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Decade Stats: 182 touchdowns (13th), 86.1 passer rating (41st), 68-55-1 (11th), 29,041 passing yards (12th), 7.3 adjusted yards per attempt (29th), 2.71 INT pct (54th), 59.57 COMP pct (65th)

Rushing Stats: 4,806 rush yards (1st), 58 rush touchdowns (1st), 38.4 ypg (3rd)

Similar Profiles: Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 1x SB Appearances, 4x Playoff Appearances, 3-4 record

Awards: 1x All Pro, 1x MVP, 3x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2015 — 35 TD, 10 INT, 3,837 yards, 10 rush TD, 15-1 record and lost in SB

Elite Seasons: 2011, 2015, 2018

Rundown: There’s really no comparison for 2015 MVP Cam Newton on this list. By traditional pocket passer standards, he’s a misfit. His career completion percentage is a horrific 59.57 (65th), while he sports a passer rating a touch above 86 (41st). His passing yardage statistics have never reached the levels of NFC South foes Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, either. Where Newton rises is in the ground game, where he has amassed an incredible 58 rushing touchdowns, the best mark among quarterbacks by 39 (!), and 4,806 rush yards. Though erratic, he has made big plays through the air as well despite lacking great weapons for much of his prime. The style has translated to four playoff appearances, most memorably in 2015 with the 15-1 Panthers team that almost won the franchise’s first Super Bowl. Newton never fit the traditional mold (well, his 2018 season may have been a step in that direction), but he undoubtedly helped his team win games and in a way we’ve never seen before.

  1. Philip Rivers, San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers

Decade Stats: 291 touchdowns (4th), 94.8 passer rating (15th), 77-83 record (9th), 44,320 passing yards (3rd), 7.62 adjusted yards per attempt (14th), 2.70 INT pct (51st), 65.19 COMP pct (12th)

Rushing Stats: 399 rush yards (48th), 1 rush TD (74th), 2.5 ypg

Similar Profiles: Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 0x SB Appearances, 2x Playoff Appearances, 2-2 playoff record

Awards: 0x All Pro, 0x MVP, 5x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2018 — 32 TD, 12 INT, 4,305 passing yards, 12-4 record and lost in Divisional

Elite Seasons: 2013, 2017, 2018

Rundown: Rivers, the only of the 2004 Draft’s superstar trio of quarterbacks to be without a Super Bowl title, is a very intriguing option on this list. He’s only made the playoffs twice in the decade, has never reached the AFC Championship, and had one of his most prolific seasons on a team that finished 4-12. He didn’t even finish with a winning record this decade! Rivers has also relapsed into turnover mode too often late and in big games, with a 2.70 interception percentage that ranks 51st among active quarterbacks over the course of the decade. Still, the longtime Charger lived just below the MVP conversation for the latter half of this decade and has been a superstar for a dysfunctional franchise. 

  1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Decade Stats: 171 touchdowns (15th), 89.5 passer rating (27th), 53-33 record (15th), 23,671 passing yards (17th), 7.10 adjusted yards per attempt (26th), 2.52 INT pct (42nd), 60.79 COMP pct (52nd)

Rush Stats: 1,590 rush yards (12th), 14 touchdowns (12th), 18.5 ypg (23rd)

Similar Profiles: Cam Newton, Peyton Manning

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 0x SB Appearances, 4 playoff appearances, 4-4 record

Awards: 0x All Pro, 0x MVP, 4x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2014 — 40 TD, 16 INT, 4,761 yards, 11-5 record and lost in AFC Champ

Elite Seasons: 2013, 2014, 2018

Rundown: Andrew Luck now serves as a cautionary tale for NFL general managers — a generational talent that was knocked out of the game by franchise ineptitude and irresponsibly awful offensive line play. Still, it’s amazing to look at what Luck accomplished in his time in the league, and he should be considered an elite, top-five quarterback in at least three of his great seasons. The mobile Luck was a big play machine and especially great in the clutch — his bold, diving fumble recovery touchdown against the Chiefs comes to mind — and elevated his team more than any player in this tier. He wasn’t particularly efficient and didn’t have the longevity of his peers on this list, but when he was on the field, he was very likely the better quarterback and his teams, despite their flaws, had a chance to win. It is tragic that we won’t see Luck play another down in the NFL.

Tier Three: Fragmented Franchise Guys – These QBs played for bits of the decade, or lifted an awful franchise

  1. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

Decade Stats: 71 touchdowns (35th), 101.0 passer rating (6th), 24-13 record (35th), 9,716 passing yards (42nd), 8.17 adj yards per attempt (6th), 2.41 INT pct (33rd), 66.78 COMP pct (4th)

Rush Stats: 1,233 rush yards (15th), 14 touchdowns (12th), 32.4 ypg (8th)

Similar Profiles: Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 0x SB Appearances, 2 playoff appearances, 1-2 record

Awards: 0x All Pro, 0x MVP, 2x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2018 — 26 TD, 9 INT, 4,165 yards, 11-5 record and lost in Wild Card

Elite Seasons: 2018, 2019

Rundown: We now come to the quarterbacks that have put together amazing careers but lack the longevity to reach the higher tiers. Watson, an accomplished college quarterback at Clemson, has outperformed expectations and flashed elite playmaking ability in his 2 ½ seasons as a starter. Perhaps most surprising is his otherworldly accuracy and efficiency statistics given the unavoidable comps to quarterbacks like Mike Vick and Cam Newton, and his heroics in last year’s Wild Card game send the message that this guy could be a factor in the Super Bowl picture for years to come. His greatest test comes in the years ahead with the roster malpractice of coach/general manager Bill O’Brien as his supporting cast erodes, but his presence in Houston ensures a good bit of highlight reel plays.

  1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Decade Stats: 42 touchdowns (51st), 104.7 passer rating (2nd), 19-3 record (45th), 4,321 passing yards (67th), 8.34 adjusted yards per attempt (3rd), 1.58 INT pct (7th), 63.75 COMP pct (23rd)

Rush Stats: 1,901 rush yards (8th), 12 touchdowns (18th), 61.3 ypg (1st by 20 yards)

Similar Profiles: Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 0x SB Appearances, 2 playoff appearances, 0-2 record

Awards: 1x All Pro, 1x MVP, 1x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2019 — 36 TD, 6 INT, 1,206 rush yards, 14-2 record and lost in Divisional

Elite Seasons: 2019

Rundown: Like Watson, Lamar Jackson has made a tremendous impact on the game in a short window (only 1 ½ years). He blossomed as a passer in his sophomore season by leading the league in touchdowns and exploded as a runner with 1,206 rush yards, and is an astounding 19-3 in the regular season. He may seem like a curious fit on a ranking of players over the course of a whole decade, but his contributions to football over his time as a starter are up there with any player on this list. Playoff mastery is next on Jackson’s checklist, and given his track record, it would not be wise to doubt him.

  1. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Decade Stats: 243 touchdowns (6th), 91.4 passer rating (19th), 67-71-1 record (12th), 38,758 passing yards (5th), 7.24 adjusted yards per attempt (21st), 2.14 INT pct (33rd), 63.13 COMP pct (27th)

Rush Stats: 978 rush yards (23rd), 12 touchdowns (20th), 7 ypg (63rd)

Similar Profiles: Eli Manning, Alex Smith, Joe Flacco

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 0x SB Appearances, 3x playoff appearances, 0-3 record

Awards: 0x All Pro, 0x MVP, 1x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2011- 41 TD, 16 INT, 5,038 yards, 10-6 record and lost in Wild Card

Elite Seasons: 2011, 2015, 2016

Rundown: Imagine if Matthew Stafford played for a functional franchise. The strong-armed Stafford would be a familiar face in late January, instead of a recurring character in the early Thanksgiving slot. The fact that Stafford has reached the playoffs three times with a Lions franchise that hadn’t touched success since Barry Sanders in the 1990s is a testament to his game, and though he has a losing record overall in Detroit, he has accumulated impressive passing statistics in a tough division. The efficiency optics aren’t great, but all things considered, Stafford has a case for the most underrated quarterback of the decade.

  1. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Decade Stats: 97 touchdowns (26th), 97.0 passer rating (11th), 40-24 record (21st), 15,778 passing yards (26th), 7.77 adjusted yards per attempt (9th), 1.74 INT pct (10th), 65.81 COMP pct (9th)

Rush Stats: 1,221 rush yards (16th), 21 touchdowns (3rd), 19.1 ypg (22nd)

Similar Profiles: Deshaun Watson, Tony Romo, Carson Wentz

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 0x SB Appearances, 2x playoff appearance, 1-2 record

Awards: 0x All Pro, 0x MVP, 2x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2016 — 23 TD, 4 INT, 3,667 yards, 13-3 record and lost in Divisional

Elite Seasons: 2016, 2018, 2019

Rundown: One of the most interesting decisions on this list came between the two Dallas quarterbacks who split the 2010s, Dak Prescott and Tony Romo. Both quarterbacks won 40 games and ranked next to each other in passer rating and adjusted yards per attempt. Prescott has the edge as a less turnover-prone passer and more of a factor in the run game, while Romo tops his successor in accuracy and passing yardage and touchdowns. Prescott undoubtedly had the stronger supporting cast, though he also has more wins and playoff appearances than Romo. Ultimately, Prescott’s winning ways and 21 rushing touchdowns made his case. He hasn’t eclipsed Romo’s overall career, but he was the best Cowboys quarterback of the 2010s. 

  1. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Decade Stats: 141 touchdowns (22nd), 98.3 passer rating (10th), 40-32 record (21st), 19,138 passing yards (24th), 7.74 adjusted yards per attempt (11th), 2.50 INT pct (40th), 66.63 COMP pct (5th)

Rush Stats: 245 rush yards (65th), 2 touchdowns (62nd), 3.4 ypg (84th)

Similar Profiles: Eli Manning, Dak Prescott, Jimmy Garoppolo

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 0x SB Appearances, 1x playoff appearance, 1-1 record

Awards: 0x All Pro, 0x MVP, 1x Pro Bowl, 0x Super Bowl MVP

Best Season: 2014 — 34 TD, 9 INT, 3,705 yards, 12-3 record and lost in Divisional

Elite Seasons: 2011, 2012, 2014

Rundown: Most of Romo’s case is above, but here are a couple additional points on the Eastern Illinois product. Romo made the playoffs once, but was in position in three prior years and played at an MVP level during his fantastic 2014 campaign. He had little to work with in terms of a supporting cast or coaching staff and missed 2015 when he looked to be most promising as a passer. In terms of which passer I’d prefer to start a game, Romo ranks just about where he should on this list. 

  1. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Decade Stats: 97 touchdowns (27th), 92.7 passer rating (17th), 32-24 record (26th), 14,191 passing yards (30th), 7.08 adjusted yards per attempt (28th), 1.70 INT pct (9th), 63.80 COMP pct (22nd)

Rush Stats: 785 rush yards (26th), 3 touchdowns (50th), 14.0 ypg (37th)

Similar Profiles: Dak Prescott, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton

Resume: 1x Super Bowl (backup), 1x SB Appearance (backup), 3x playoff appearance, 0-0 record

Best Season: 2017 — 33 TD, 7 INT, 3,296 yards, 13-3 record and won the Super Bowl

Elite Seasons: 2017, 2018, 2019

Rundown: Carson Wentz is the greatest what-if on this list after he has had three seasons cut short by injury, each ending his season before his team finished the playoffs. When he’s on the field, he has been as good as they come — a dangerous big play threat with good decision making (9th in interception percentage). His 2017 season was MVP worthy and I maintain the stance that Wentz should have won even considering his injury against the Rams in the late stages of the season. He has also elevated lackluster supporting casts and proven that he has what it takes to be a top-five quarterback. I’d rank him below Prescott and Romo, two other quarterbacks who have played for halves of the decade, because his track record has not yet caught up to his talent. The best thing about Wentz is that the book has not closed on the “greatest what-if” — he still has time to right the ship and rise to greatness.

Tier Four: Just Made the Cut – Quarterbacks with some success that sneak on the list

  1. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Decade Stats: 183 touchdowns (12th), 84.0 passer rating, 78-61 record (8th), 33,483 passing yards (9th), 6.37 adjusted yards per attempt (56th), 2.34 INT pct (28th), 61.90 COMP pct (41st)

Rush Stats: 595 rush yards (33rd), 14 touchdowns (14th), 4.3 ypg (79th)

Similar Profiles: Eli Manning, Nick Foles, Alex Smith

Resume: 1x Super Bowl, 1x SB Appearance, 4x playoff appearances, 7-3 playoff record

Best Season: 2012 — 22 TD, 10 INT, 3,817 yards, 10-6 and won the SB

Elite Seasons: None

Rundown: I had a really hard time putting Flacco on this list, because he was never an elite regular season quarterback and was a cap liability for most of this decade with the Ravens. But his monster 2012 playoff run, arguably the best ever by a quarterback, along with his eye-opening 78-61 record as a starter gives him a strong case for inclusion on this list. Flacco worked best as a game manager for a ground-and-pound Baltimore team that enjoyed playoff success in the early 2010s, then proved he had some Johnny Unitas in him in leading the Ravens to a Super Bowl when the defense was starting to erode. Flacco has never been a particularly accurate or mistake-free quarterback, but his durability and big arm have proven valuable assets during his time in Baltimore. The closest comparison is Eli Manning, who likewise has never been a Pro Bowl-level quarterback in the decade and has a Super Bowl ring, but Flacco has the upper hand with his 78 wins and 7-3 playoff record.

  1. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers/Kansas City Chiefs/Washington Redskins

Decade Stats: 156 touchdowns (17th), 92.9 passer rating (16th), 78-42-1 record (7th), 27,039 passing yards (15th), 7.31 adjusted yards per attempt (18th), 1.54 INT pct (6th), 64.26 COMP pct (18th)

Rush Yards: 2,211 rush yards (5th), 13 touchdowns (16th), 18 ypg (26th)

Similar Profiles: Joe Flacco, Matt Stafford, Andy Dalton

Resume: 0x Super Bowl, 1x SB Appearance (as backup), 5x playoff appearance, 2-5 playoff record

Best Season: 2017 — 26 TD, 5 INT, 4,042 yards, 10-6 and lost in Wild Card
Elite Seasons: 2017

Rundown: He’s the quarterback who lost his job to Colin Kaepernick, and then to Patrick Mahomes. But beyond that, the former top overall pick has put together a quiet but impressive career highlighted by a 78-42-1 record and five playoff appearances. Like Flacco, Smith performed well in a game managing role, ranking 6th in interception percentage but also adding value on the ground with 2,211 rush yards. I was never high on Smith when he was a starter and didn’t see him as much more than a complementary piece, and he did have the good fortune of working with Jim Harbaugh and Andy Reid, but he accomplished a lot in the 2010s.

  1. Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots/San Francisco 49ers

Decade Stats: 44 touchdowns (49th), 100.0 passer rating (7th), 21-5 record (44th), 6,946 passing yards (52nd), 8.22 adjusted yards per attempt (5th), 2.51 INT pct (41st), 67.50 COMP pct (2nd)

Rush Yards: 116 rush yards (84th), 2 touchdowns (62nd), 2.8 ypg (87th)

Similar Profiles: Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, Colin Kaepernick

Resume: 1x Super Bowl (as backup), 1x Super Bowl Appearance, 1x playoff appearance, 2-1 playoff record

Best Season: 2019 — 27 TD, 13 INT, 3,978 yards, 13-3 and lost in Super Bowl

Elite Seasons: 2019

Rundown: The final spot on this list shocked me. I expected to deal this one to an established starter who played for the majority of this decade like Andy Dalton or Eli Manning, one who was never a Pro Bowl regular and whose numbers didn’t pop off the page but who got the job done. In poring over the statistics, one name came up that couldn’t be ignored — Jimmy Garoppolo. Like others on this list with a limited track record, Garoppolo has done much in a short time. He has a 21-5 record as a starter between New England and San Francisco and has done so with jaw-dropping efficiency — 7th in passer rating, 5th in adjusted yards per attempt, and 2nd in completion percentage. I also compared him to former 49er Colin Kaepernick, a player with similar playoff success and a relatively short stint as a starter, but Garoppolo is much more efficient as a passer and galvanized a weak San Francisco team the moment he arrived. Garoppolo’s sample size is small, but he also did something that guys like Jackson, Watson, and Prescott have not — appeared in a Super Bowl. His 4th quarter implosion in that game was alarming, but by the numbers and the win column, Garoppolo could be a special player going forward and could be back to the Big Game soon.

In Consideration: Eli Manning, New York Giants; Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals; Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers; Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals; Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins/Minnesota Vikings; Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams; Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

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