No matter the talent level of your team, your quarterback will always determine how far you can go. Many teams currently have their starting spot locked up, either by a young stud or a veteran with a decorated career. However, there are certainly teams whose starting QB is not guaranteed to stay long term. Here is a list of NFL QBs who need to prove themselves this year to keep their job long term.
Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns
Baker was polarizing in college, but nobody could doubt his ability. He was always going to be drafted high, and with the up and coming talent on the Browns, it seemed like a good fit. However, especially with the moves before this past season, most people would agree that he and his team have not met expectations. Baker has made the Browns relevant again, but they need team success. This year, with the offense adding Austin Hooper and likely a lineman in the draft, Baker needs to take Cleveland back to the playoffs.
Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders
Jon Gruden and Raiders ownership did not bring the Raiders to Vegas to continue in mediocrity. It is time to improve, and time to win. Carr has been inconsistent in recent years, and the Raiders have not made the playoffs since 2016. However, Carr was in the MVP discussion that season, before a season-ending injury. He has a talented running back and tight end, paired with a decent wide receiver core. With Mariota being brought in this offseason, Derek Carr does not have much time to turn things around.
Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
Dak is good, and his job is likely safe. However, with the lofty expectations on the Cowboys every single season, it is time for Dak to deliver. Allowing the Eagles to win the division last season, with all of their injuries, was unacceptable. He still has a solid offensive line, Zeke, and great weapons on the outside. If Dak truly thinks he should be paid like an elite quarterback, he needs to prove it this year, and take Dallas to at least the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Sam Darnold – New York Jets
Admittedly, Darnold has not been surrounded by the talent that Baker has been, and did miss 3 games last season due to injury. However, the Jets have steadily added pieces for him, and it is time to prove to Jets fans that they made the right call drafting him. He has shown flashes, but he has simply been too turnover prone, and not consistent enough for New York. With a healthy defense, Le’veon Bell, new receivers and an improved offensive line, Darnold needs to have his best season yet this season, and get the Jets into playoff contention.
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
There is not much time left in Ben’s career, and this year is very important for him. He missed most of last year, and the team struggled, still somehow almost making the playoffs because of their defense. This season, with less weapons than previous years but a far superior defense, Ben needs to prove he can do it on his own. No Brown, no Bell, just Ben and some younger weapons. If he can take the Steelers to the playoffs, he will prove a lot of doubters wrong, and likely delay the Steelers drafting a QB for at least another year.
Tom Brady – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brady is on here for a very different reason than the others, apart from Ben. Many consider Brady the best quarterback of all time, or at the very least of this generation. However, he is out to prove he is not done yet, and that he can win without Belicheck. The Bucs are not the well-oiled machine that the Pats are, but they have talent. Two incredible receivers in Evans and Godwin are standouts, giving Brady his best offense in years. If Tom can take Tampa back to the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and truly compete in a crowded NFC, he may prove every single doubter wrong.