Not every quarterback who starts Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season will start Week 17.
Injuries will play a role, to be sure, but “coaches’ decision” will factor into it as well.
There will be teams in a win-now mode that may not be getting what’s needed from their most-important position, and they’ll look for a spark elsewhere. Other teams out of the running may take a look at someone else under center as a glimpse of a possible future.
Bookies.com oddsmaker Adam Thompson has created an NFL betting market that looks at which QB is most likely to first get benched in 2022.
First QB Benched In 2022 Odds
Geno Smith is 13-21 as a starter with a QB rating of 75.7 but was made the default QB1 for Seattle after Drew Lock tossed three INTs in the preseason finale. The Seahawks have a chance to be a bottom-five team this season, and Smith, 31, isn’t likely to be part of the team’s future plans. Lock, 25, may not be either, but nobody would be shocked if coach Pete Carroll makes a move to shake things up if the offense isn’t working after a few games.
The Browns give the ball to Jacoby Brissett in Week 1 in the hope he can keep the team’s playoff chances going until Deshaun Watson’s 11-game suspension is over. But Brissett is only 14-23 as a starter and has an 83.0 career passer rating. He also not only had a poor preseason, but he was also thoroughly outplayed by Joshua Dobbs (96.3 QB rating compared to 50.3 for Brissett). A team with a win-now mindset may be quick with the hook at QB.
Expectations are pretty low in Atlanta this season. Marcus Mariota gets another chance to prove himself as an NFL starter following two-plus seasons on the bench in Tennessee and Las Vegas. But the Falcons – not expected to be a contender of any sort – may make a go of it with rookie Desmond Ridder if the season goes off the rails.
Mitchell Trubisky’s overall numbers in Chicago weren’t that bad, though he was often saddled with the blame for a listless Bears offense. It’s not official yet, but he likely gets a second chance at a starting gig in Pittsburgh, taking over for the retired Ben Roethlisberger. That said, the team also used a first-round draft pick on Kenny Pickett, who tore up the preseason. Trubisky will get the opportunity to prove himself, but the Steelers are in a position to make a change if it goes south.
After spending much of the last offseason trying to find a replacement for Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins flipped the script and instead went all-in on providing weapons for him. They added Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert to bolster one of the NFL’s worst rushing attacks and one of the top WRs in the game in Tyreek Hill.
But they also added veteran Teddy Bridgewater, who has 63 career starts and a winning record (that goes for Bridgewater’s ATS record), too. If Miami feels it can make a push for a playoff berth and the QB is letting the team down, it may be proactive in making a switch.
The Giants are so unsold on Daniel Jones that they didn’t pick up the option on his rookie contract, allowing him to become a free agent after 2022. Veteran Tyrod Taylor, who is 26-25-1 as a starter but with a respectable TD/INT ratio and a career QB rating higher than Jones, could be in line for starts if the rest of the Giants team shows improvement.
Perhaps no team is better suited to go to the bench than the 49ers. Trey Lance gets the ball for his second season. He showed flashes in two starts last year, going 1-1 with a 97.8 QB rating.
Waiting just in case is Jimmy Garoppolo, who, in two full seasons as a starter, guided the Niners to Super Bowl and NFC Championship game berths. One may argue Garoppolo was more of a game manager, and Lance has far more potential, which might be true. But if Lance needs more seasoning, Jimmy G is there to guide him.
The fact that the 49ers recently re-signed Garrappolo to a salary cap-relief designed extension, rather than trading or cutting him, has signaled to some that they’re hedging against Lance struggling in his first year on the job. Lance is suddenly under a lot more scrutiny.
Ryan Tannehill is 30-13 as a starter with the Titans. He’s also received the brunt of the criticism when things fall apart, often fairly. Rookie third-rounder Malik Willis showed flashes of greatness in the preseason, but a 54.9% completion percentage and a whopping nine sacks in limited action pushed him to the No. 3 spot on the QB depth chart for Week 1. Tannehill appears safe for now.
Justin Fields had a miserable rookie season, and many pundits believe 2022 could be just as bad without much help brought in this offseason. Chicago should let Fields find his way through the pain, as Trevor Siemian, who hasn’t won a game as a starter since 2017, is the next-best option.
Jameis Winston was 5-2 before an injury ended his 2021 season. He returns this year but with a new coach. Before last year’s run, he was 28-42 as a starter. If this becomes another win-now scenario and Winston reverts back to the form that had him lead the NFL in INTs (2019), a safer choice – Andy Dalton – is waiting.
The Field has a few legit options, especially veteran QBs brought in to lead teams to new success.
Matt Ryan in Indianapolis, Carson Wentz in Washington, and Baker Mayfield in Carolina fall into this category, though the No. 2 options in those cases appear unexciting.
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