While we didn’t see a super-busy veteran quarterback carousel this offseason like we did in 2022, a small collection of marquee, established veterans will play in new locales this upcoming season.
It will take time to get used to Aaron Rodgers in Jets green or Jimmy Garoppolo in a Raiders helmet. And, heck, Baker Mayfield is already on his fourth team since 2021.
What will these veteran passers bring to the field for their new teams? Here’s a breakdown.
What Rodgers brings: Big-play ability under pressure and knowledge of the system
Last season, one of Rodgers’ least effective during his first-ballot Hall-of-Fame-worthy tenure with the Packers, he had a big-time throw rate of 9.2% under pressure. That trailed only Josh Allen (10.7%) among full-time starters in the NFL. And it wasn’t a fluke.
Rodgers has been above 7.0% in that specific stat category in each of the last four years. Of course, that capability has been a staple throughout Rodgers pro career too. It has not been a staple for recent Jets quarterbacks. Zach Wilson’s big-time throw rate was 4.7% under pressure in his abysmal 2022 and 4.8% as a rookie. Sam Darnold’s was 3.8% in 2020.
Rodgers will be able to make magic happen while pressured far more frequently than what Fireman Ed has seen lately. And Rodgers is going from Matt LaFleur to familiar face Nate Hackett, a trusted coach from 2019-2021 in Green Bay, during a time in which Rodgers won a pair of MVPs. From schematic and verbiage angles, these two should gel quickly.
What Garoppolo brings: Vast knowledge of the offensive system
Josh McDaniels was the Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for each of the first four seasons Garoppolo spent in the NFL. McDaniels was integral to Garoppolo morphing from Tom Brady’s backup who’d probably never play to one of the hottest commodities on the veteran quarterback market in 2017 after two 2016 starts in which he completed over 71% of his throws at 8.41 yards per attempt with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
It’s essentially impossible to qualify in writing, but yeah, Garoppolo has vast knowledge of McDaniels’ complicated, quick-strike offense. The Raiders head coach will ask Garoppolo to identify underneath coverage in a hurry, get the ball out of his hands in well under 2.5 seconds on a regular basis, and throw the ball to the correct shoulder of slot wideouts and backs on option routes. And, in theory, Garoppolo should be ready to do all of those things.
What Carr brings: Relative steadiness
Carr is good. Is he great? Ehhh. Sometimes. Was it time for he and the Raiders to part ways? Yes. The Carr era had run its course with minimally positive results.
To me, Carr is the most “you know what you’re getting” quarterback in the NFL. Rarely going to look elite. Rarely going to be absolutely brutal so his offense comes to a screeching halt. Over the past three seasons, across 48 starts, Carr had just five contests with a passer rating below 70. Now — you may want to stop reading, Saints fans — four such occasions did occur in 2022 and two came in his final three starts with the Raiders. A little concerning for his fresh start in New Orleans.
But, in general, the Saints should feel reasonably comfortable they’ll be small variance in play each week from their new starting quarterback.
What Mayfield brings: High-level flashes
In a late-season start against the Broncos a season ago with the Rams, Mayfield completed nearly 86% of his passes at a robust 8.2 yards-per-attempt average with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the win. While most of his time in Carolina was dreaful, a low-volume, high-efficiency start sticks out against the Bengals when he completed 70% of his 20 attempts with a pair of touchdown tosses without a pick en route to a 126 passer rating.
Mayfield’s final year in Cleveland? The randomly awesome contests popped then too. There were two contests — against the Bengals and Chargers — when the former No. 1 overall pick had quarterback ratings higher than 120. Mayfield will have some scary lows with the Buccaneers in 2023. Based on his playing history in the NFL, there will be some Sundays — or Thursdays — when Mayfield stirs excitement about his future as a starter in this league.