Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined 12 other QBs who have made an appearance on the injured list this season. That bodes ill for their teams.
Their backups combined for a four-to-five touchdown-to-interception ratio in relief during Week 6. That's not unusual for quarterback play league-wide this season, as nine NFL passers have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns overall.
Nearly halfway through the 2017 campaign, Kaepernick is still unemployed – and still the topic of contentious debate. On Oct. 15 it was announced he would file a grievance against the NFL's owners for collusion in keeping him out of the league.
Here's how the 2016 performance of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback compares to the league’s signal callers so far this season, using a stat called adjusted net yards per attempt. We’re looking at QBs that qualify for passing leaderboards, meaning they’re averaging 14 pass attempts for each game their team has played (on pace for 224 attempts on the season).
Faded QBs are not currently starting.
Among qualified quarterbacks, 13 are worse than Kaepernick, 5 are about the same (plus or minus 0.35 ANY/A) and 14 are better.
Having a capable starter under center in the NFL is a requirement for success, and adjusted net yards per attempt is one of the best measurements available for QB passing performance. It correlates more closely with winning than either traditional passer rating or yards per attempt.
Note that ANY/A only measures passing. Quarterbacks who run a lot – such as Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Marcus Mariota – are not given credit for those contributions. Here’s the full QB ranking, from worst to best:
Faded QBs are not currently starting.
|Player||Team||Total seasons||Passing Stats||ANY/A|
|32.||DeShone Kizer||Cleveland CLE||Rookie||50.9% comp, 3 TD, 9 INT||2.59|
|31.||Joe Flacco||Baltimore BAL||10||62.7% comp, 4 TD, 8 INT||3.26|
|30.||Jay Cutler||Miami MIA||12||61.6% comp, 5 TD, 4 INT||4.01|
|29.||Mike Glennon||Chicago CHI||4||66.4% comp, 4 TD, 5 INT||4.12|
|28.||Brian Hoyer||San Francisco SF||9||58.0% comp, 4 TD, 4 INT||4.67|
|27.||Josh McCown||N.Y. Jets NYJ||15||70.1% comp, 7 TD, 6 INT||5.26|
|26.||Blake Bortles||Jacksonville JAX||4||57.1% comp, 8 TD, 5 INT||5.29|
|25.||Trevor Siemian||Denver DEN||3||61.4% comp, 8 TD, 6 INT||5.34|
|24.||Ben Roethlisberger||Pittsburgh PIT||14||62.3% comp, 7 TD, 8 INT||5.37|
|23.||Matthew Stafford||Detroit DET||9||60.4% comp, 12 TD, 4 INT||5.42|
|22.||Cam Newton||Carolina CAR||7||64.5% comp, 9 TD, 8 INT||5.47|
|21.||Eli Manning||N.Y. Giants NYG||14||67.0% comp, 9 TD, 5 INT||5.55|
|20.||Tyrod Taylor||Buffalo BUF||7||62.5% comp, 6 TD, 2 INT||5.55|
|19.||Derek Carr||Oakland OAK||4||68.3% comp, 8 TD, 4 INT||5.76|
|18.||Andy Dalton||Cincinnati CIN||7||65.4% comp, 7 TD, 6 INT||5.78|
|17.||Jacoby Brissett||Indianapolis IND||2||59.8% comp, 3 TD, 3 INT||5.89|
|—||Colin Kaepernick||— —||6||59.2% comp, 16 TD, 4 INT||5.92|
|16.||Carson Palmer||Arizona ARI||14||61.8% comp, 9 TD, 6 INT||6.03|
|15.||Russell Wilson||Seattle SEA||6||62.4% comp, 8 TD, 3 INT||6.11|
|14.||Matt Ryan||Atlanta ATL||10||65.9% comp, 6 TD, 6 INT||6.33|
|13.||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay GB||13||66.3% comp, 13 TD, 3 INT||6.45|
|12.||Dak Prescott||Dallas DAL||2||62.6% comp, 11 TD, 4 INT||6.46|
|11.||Philip Rivers||L.A. Chargers LAC||14||61.3% comp, 10 TD, 5 INT||6.63|
|10.||Marcus Mariota||Tennessee TEN||3||62.7% comp, 4 TD, 4 INT||6.84|
|9.||Deshaun Watson||Houston HOU||Rookie||61.5% comp, 15 TD, 5 INT||6.87|
|8.||Case Keenum||Minnesota MIN||6||64.2% comp, 5 TD, 1 INT||7.03|
|7.||Jameis Winston||Tampa Bay TB||3||60.4% comp, 7 TD, 3 INT||7.12|
|6.||Carson Wentz||Philadelphia PHI||2||60.9% comp, 13 TD, 3 INT||7.30|
|5.||Jared Goff||L.A. Rams LAR||2||60.0% comp, 8 TD, 3 INT||7.46|
|4.||Drew Brees||New Orleans NO||17||68.9% comp, 10 TD, 2 INT||7.50|
|3.||Kirk Cousins||Washington WSH||6||66.5% comp, 9 TD, 2 INT||8.11|
|2.||Tom Brady||New England NE||18||65.7% comp, 13 TD, 2 INT||8.15|
|1.||Alex Smith||Kansas City KC||12||72.9% comp, 12 TD, 0 INT||8.27|
About this story
All data from Pro Football Reference. Quarterback photos are from the NFL via Pro Football Reference, with the exception of Colin Kaepernick (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP).
Originally published Sept. 7, 2017.