A few people recently asked me where I would rank Justin Fields among the other NFL quarterbacks and I’ve frequently said “probably about 20.” But it made me think, is that an accurate number? I hadn’t ever really thought about it much beyond that.
But with the calendar just a few weeks away from flipping to 2024, it made me think, where would he rank heading into 2024? Now obviously, I’m not going to attempt to rank any of the QBs that will be rookies in 2024. But I took who I thought were the most relevant QBs from this season and ranked them. I came up with 35.
What’s the ultimate goal in the NFL? To win the Super Bowl, obviously. So I put the quarterbacks in tiers on the likelihood that you can win a Super Bowl if that player is your starting quarterback.
How were these ranked? There was no statistical formula. It was my opinion and only my opinion. I figured that was the best way to have you guys rip me to pieces in the comments. But I looked at every QB’s full body of work over their career, how they’ve played recently, and a little bit on expectations moving forward.
These rankings are not just based on this year’s performance, and I didn’t knock players further down on the rankings for being injured. How will Kirk Cousins or Aaron Rodgers bounce back from their injuries? Obviously, nobody knows, but these rankings are based off the idea that they do fully, or nearly fully recover.
Without further adieu, I give you the definitive Zimmerman QB Rankings heading into 2024:
Will Win a Super Bowl
Obviously, Mahomes and Rodgers already have Super Bowl rings, but this is the tier of players that either have won Super Bowls, or I have full expectations that they will win a Super Bowl. If one of these players didn’t, it would be Dan Marino-level shocking. These are the best of the best, and sure, Aaron Rodgers is injured and was down a bit in 2022, but until Rodgers proves he’s no longer at this level, he’s at this level for me.
Should Win a Super Bowl
This is still a level of QB play that is in the you can win the Super Bowl because of this QB. These players have proven that they can win games and have elite talent. Some of you may question Lawrence or Stroud this high already, but I think they continue to make plays that show they have what it takes and will continue to ascend at the position. There’s no guarantee these QBs will all win Super Bowls (Philip Rivers would have been in this tier), but it would be more surprising if they didn’t win a Super Bowl by the end of their career than if they did.
10. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Dak rounds out the top ten, and he gets his very own tier. He’s having a phenomenal season, but I want Dak to show he can do this again in 2024 before I elevate him up a tier. He absolutely has the skills to be at that level, but his odd years seem to be a lot better than his even years. If he plays at this level two years in a row, I’ll elevate Dak without hesitation, but for now, he’s not quite in that tier, but it would be insulting to him to drop him into the next tier.
Could Win a Super Bowl
11. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
12. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
13. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
14. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
15. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
16. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
17. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
18. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
Wilson was once in the top tier on this list and Stafford was in the second tier, but due to age and declining skills, they find themself in this third tier of QBs. These are the quarterbacks that need a near-perfect situation around them, and if that happens, they could pilot a team to a Super Bowl. This is kind of like peak Joe Flacco when he had those 4 or 5 years of competent play and won a Super Bowl with Baltimore. I’m not ready to elevate Tua into that next tier because of the talent and coaching around him. It pained me to put Love in this category, but I call them like I see them, and while I don’t think Love will ever depart from this tier, he’s a better QB than I expected. I thought he would have been in the tier below this.
Lightning in a Bottle Chances at a Super Bowl
This group of quarterbacks still have legit NFL talent but they don’t have the complete package. Carr was once in tier 3, and Watson was once in tier 2, but they’ve fallen off lately. These are the type of quarterbacks that probably can’t have sustained success for their team, but if they get into the playoffs, they have the skill and talent to go on a Nick Foles-like heater and potentially lead their team to the promised land.
I’m sure Bears fans won’t be pleased with Fields’ ranking here, but I objectively think this is the right place for him. If you want to argue a spot or two, that’s fine, but I just don’t know if Fields has shown enough at this point to be in tier 3.
Too Early to Tell
This is the group of incomplete grades. O’Connell probably won’t ever reach tier 4 and is probably a bottom tier QB, but we have to be fair to him and give him a little time. Young’s first year has been rough, Richardson’s was lost due to injury, and Levis only has a few starts under his belt. Howell has had plenty of reps, but I still think we need to see more of him on the football field before we can determine exactly what level of quarterback he can be.
Can’t Win a Super Bowl
29. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
30. Jimmy Garoppolo, Las Vegas Raiders
31. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
32. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
33.. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
34. Mac Jones, New England Patriots
35. Zach Wilson, New York Jets
If one of these quarterbacks is starting for your team, you need to be in the market for another quarterback. Thanks to the Rodgers injury, Wilson has had another year to prove he doesn’t have it as a QB, Jones has completely collapsed and Ridder already has Falcons fans thinking about their next QB.
Garoppolo and Tannehill once were tier 3 QBs, but age and injury have caught up with them. Some may claim I’ve written off Pickett too early, but I disagree, I’ve seen enough to feel that he isn’t going to be Pittsburgh’s answer at quarterback. I figure he gets one more season before they pivot. Mayfield was the closest one to be in that lightning tier, but I just don’t see him capable enough of stacking consecutive games and go on a heater. He’s going to be a stop-gap QB with multiple teams before his career ends.