Now that Week 1 is upon us and we have a list of all 32 opening-day starting quarterbacks, we’d like to take a chance to preview the job security each of them has by ranking them in order of how likely they are to lose their jobs for performance reasons before Week 17 arrives. Naturally, we’ll start at the bottom.
Tom Brady: Especially the case now that it’s just him and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Drew Brees: He’s too much of a local hero to be benched this late in his career.
Jay Cutler: He’s got a stranglehold now that Josh McCown is gone and he’s making huge money.
Andrew Luck: You don’t bench a third-year No. 1 overall pick no matter how rocky things get.
Peyton Manning: The best quarterback in NFL history? No chance.
Cam Newton: It would take a miracle for Derek Anderson to get a nod over Newton.
Aaron Rodgers: The highest-rated quarterback in NFL history? No chance.
Matt Ryan: They’re paying him way too much money to hold a clipboard.
Ben Roethlisberger: See above.
Russell Wilson: Super Bowl bought him a year, regardless of what happens.
Nick Foles: His leash will be extremely long, but there’s a chance 2013 was a fluke and Mark Sanchez has been good.
Philip Rivers: You just never know with this guy, and Kellen Clemens is a solid backup. Would take an epic breakdown.
Tony Romo: Nothing is set in stone in Dallas, but Romo has a huge contract and Brandon Weeden is the backup.
Alex Smith: Just signed a huge new contract and never makes a lot of mistakes. Plus, there’s nobody really threatening.
Matthew Stafford: One year into a massive contract, and backup Dan Orlovsky is a train wreck.
Joe Flacco: One year removed from the Super Bowl and a huge contract in place, but in a far-fetched scenario Tyrod Taylor could get a shot.
Colin Kaepernick: He’s still young and prone to gaffes, but it would take a lot for them to go to Blaine Gabbert.
Ryan Tannehill: Improved steadily in Year 2 and should continue to do so in Year 3. Would take a lot for them to go to Matt Moore.
Eli Manning: If the season goes up in flames and Manning is taking a beating, there’s a small chance they give Ryan Nassib a shot.
Andy Dalton: Dalton’s had some crazy highs and some brutal lows, which always makes him a candidate here. Still, it won’t likely happen with that new contract and only Jason Campbell “pushing.”
Carson Palmer: Arizona should be competitive and Palmer is a trusted veteran, so it’s extremely unlikely they ditch for rookie Logan Thomas this season.
Josh McCown: Also signed a big deal, but it’s not as though he’s ever been a firmly-entrenched starter and Mike Glennon had his moments last year.
Robert Griffin III: I think they stick with Griffin regardless of his play, but if he’s taking a beating and they’re out of contention, Kirk Cousins could get another shot.
Jake Locker: Ken Whisenhunt’s going to want to give him a full season but if it really goes downhill they won’t hesitate to try Charlie Whitehurst or even Zach Mettenberger.
Geno Smith: Smith crushed Michael Vick this summer, but if he begins to struggle Rex Ryan might pull the trigger and bring in the veteran lefty. It’s not a toss-up, but it’s close.
EJ Manuel: The addition of Kyle Orton is big, especially with the jury still well out on Manuel in Buffalo.
Derek Carr: They paid Matt Schaub to come in and start, so the leash on the rookie might not be very long at all.
Shaun Hill: It’s not as though they have anyone else, so let’s call it a toss-up. At some point, they might simply make a change out of sheer boredom.
Matt Cassel: Eventually, if the season isn’t going smoothly, you’d have to think Teddy Bridgewater will get a shot.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: Tom Savage had a shot already, but Ryan Mallett’s presence pushes it past a 50/50 proposition.
Chad Henne: They’re being extra cautious with Blake Bortles, but there’s no way the Jaguars hold out for 16 weeks.
Brian Hoyer: Same deal here, except I think the Browns will have even less will power. Johnny Manziel is inevitably going to start some games.