Ranking the six worst NFL quarterback situations

Some NFL franchises appear to possess all the luck when it comes to having a successful starting quarterback and adequate backups in place.

On the flip side, other teams could be entering the 2016 season in desperation mode. Some clubs are tasked with finding a better starting quarterback while others need to focus on a fail-proof backup plan.

Or worse yet, there are teams that need to fill both primary and secondary quarterback slots.

This leads us to examine six teams that have the worst quarterback situations in the NFL.

6. Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo won’t play forever

Eric Hartline, USA Today Sports

As long as Romo returns healthy for the upcoming season, the Cowboys are in fabulous shape for the time being. However, the team is only one Romo mishap away from facing a bleak quarterback situation with its weak backup squad.

Currently on the roster is Kellen Moore, who arrived after spending three seasons in Detroit having played in zero games. He has only two career-starts on record that came from late last season in Dallas. He makes for a scary No. 2 behind Romo considering he completed only 58.7 percent of his passes 779 yards, four touchdowns and six picks.

Next in line is an unsigned Jameill Showers who threw for a total of 3,121 yards during his two seasons at Texas-El Paso. He has no NFL stats on record.

This is what remains after the 2015 Cowboys, (4-12) burned through Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel last year while Romo was sidelined with a broken collarbone.

No matter how much Jerry Jones insists that Romo has four-to-five good years left to play, the Cowboys must make a move on a viable backup either through free agency or in the 2016 NFL Draft.

5. San Francisco 49ers: Will Chip Kelly coach Colin Kaepernick?

Colin Kaepernick

The 49ers have gone from a Super Bowl run in 2012 to practically bust over the past couple of seasons.

A Jim Tomsula-Kaepernick combination that lasted eight games in 2015, resulted in a pitiful (2-6) record. This ultimately led to the benching of Kaepernick, whose preseason work with Kurt Warner clearly didn’t pay off.

In came Blaine Gabbert, who surprisingly did a decent job in his eight game starts. Though at the end of the season, the 49ers still finished at the bottom of the NFC West (5-11).

Chip Kelly has since been signed on as the new head coach, and conflicting reports have surfaced regarding Kaepernick’s future with the 49ers. Kelly appears to be ready to “coach the heck” out of Kap while there are rumors afloat that Kaepernick is seeking a trade.

If Kap departs, it leaves only Gabbert and Thaddeus Lewis on the roster. Lewis has bounced from team to team and has a career (2-4) record. Kaepernick’s $11.9 million base salary becomes guaranteed if he is still with the team after April 1. If not, then it would make sense for the 49ers to target a quarterback with their No. 7 draft pick.

In the meantime, the situation is messy, and we’re not sure where Kaepernick’s head is at from inside his Beats’ headphones.

4. Los Angeles Rams: New home, same old quarterback scene

Case Keenum Rams

New and exciting things are in store for a Rams’ team on the move to Los Angeles, Ca.

What is not new is the tired quarterback scene that saw the horrendous side of Nick Foles in 2015. Putting in a dreadful (4-7) season as starter, Foles completed 56.4 percent of his passes for 2,052 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

This led to Foles getting the hook and Case Keenum taking over. The end result saw the Rams rank dead-last in the passing game, having totaled only 2,805 yards and 11 passing touchdowns.

Already addressing the quarterback situation, the Rams have named Keenum the starter entering OTAs this spring.


Though, Keenum can only be viewed as the lesser of two evils at this point in time. Finishing up 2015 (3-2) and completing 60.8 percent of his passes, Keenum earned a quarterback rating of 47.68 according to ESPN stats.

Certainly the task at hand would be for the Rams to acquire some depth behind their unimpressive and injury-prone quarterback duo.

3. New York Jets: Will the team fight to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick?

Ryan Fitzpatrick Jets

The Jets enjoyed a successful season with Fitzpatrick under center in 2015.

Fitzpatrick was a breath of fresh air as a leader compared to other quarterbacks of the Jets’ recent past. He also passed for career-highs in yards (3,905) and touchdowns (31). For this, Fitzpatrick wants starting quarterback pay versus the reported backup pay the Jets are currently offering.

This may mean Fitz is one-and-done if the Jets don’t up their offer or another team in need waves more dollar signs his way.

After posting the most wins (10) than the franchise has since 2010, it is painfully clear the Jets need to do what it takes to retain Fitzpatrick, even if the franchise is saying otherwise.

The prospects behind him are depressing. Smith (11-18) in two seasons, has done little to establish himself as a dependable starter or respected leader in the locker room. Even more concerning is Bryce Petty who has yet to play during the regular season.

If Fitzpatrick slips away, the Jets could always explore Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaepernick as options. Although to some, both names have about as much appeal is three-day old, leftover meatloaf.

2. Denver Broncos: Super Bowl champions starting from scratch

Mark Sanchez Eagles

In a rare and not-so-wonderful turn of events, the reigning Super Bowl champions enter the 2016 season without their two top quarterbacks from their championship run. Instead, the Broncos now have Mark Sanchez on the depth chart as their starting quarterback.

As predicted, Peyton Manning called it quits after earning a second ring. Shortly after Manning’s retirement announcement, Brock Osweiler fled the scene after the Houston Texans lured him away with a gigantic $18 million per-year contract. Happy as a clam, Osweiler will now earn only a couple of million less per year than some of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.

In the end, the Broncos wouldn’t pony up enough money to keep Osweiler around. The team is also low-balling Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is looking for starting quarterback pay.

Holding the 31st pick in this year’s draft doesn’t help the team’s desperate situation either. Meanwhile, there are reports that the Broncos are interested in Colin Kaepernick.

Nevertheless, Denver has the challenge of starting over with a quarterback who will be pressured to fill the big shoes Manning left behind.

1. Cleveland Browns: Will they ever get it right?

Instead of investing hard-earned money into Browns’ quarterback jerseys, fans are simply crossing out the name above and adding whoever is the current flavor of the month.

To be current, we need to add Josh McCown and cross off Johnny Football to make this photo completely accurate. This is how truly pathetic the Browns’ starting quarterback situation has been for decades.

The team clearly missed the mark when it selected Manziel in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. After giving the Browns nearly 24 drama-filled months of disappointment and hollow promises to better his life, Manziel was released by the team earlier in March.

In the position to possibly gain depth from free agency with quarterbacks such as RGIII, the Browns also have the second pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. This could be used to snag California’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz.

Holding down the fort in the meantime, the Browns have oft-injured McCown and Austin Davis on standby.

With a toxic Manziel out of the picture, Browns fans must be eager with anticipation to see what big moves the team has planned in the upcoming weeks to better its drab quarterback situation.