We're looking at a very interesting time right now when it comes to the quarterback position in the NFL. Many of the league's marquee names now have their age working against them. They've mainly eclipsed the prime of their careers, and are now trying to prove that they can still be productive in their veteran standing. On the other hand, many of the younger quarterbacks in the league are beginning to take it by storm, proving that they are truly leaders in the NFL, as the league moves to its next era.
So, where does that leave us for the upcoming 2017 season as far as quarterbacks are concerned? As usual, it means that we're going to plenty of successes and failures. While it certainly isn't a requisite that a quarterback throws for 4,000 yards in a season, at the very least it ensures that they're carrying their own weight. It's a good benchmark to use for the league's best throwers. Quarterbacks who throw for under the 4,000-yard mark can certainly win games, but they would definitely aspire to be a little better statistically. Let's take a look who fits the bill for next season.
Ranked below are 8 NFL quarterbacks who will throw for 4,000 yards in 2017, and 7 who will fall short.
15 Cam Newton (Will)
It's no secret that the Panthers had a rough season last year. Coming off of a Super Bowl appearance, the team struggled to get anything going on either side of the ball. Newton took a massive step back, leaving his future as a potential elite quarterback in question. Fortunately for Carolina, it's likely that he has a bounce-back effort in 2017.
Expect him to team up with receiver Kelvin Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen for a huge year, dispelling all the criticisms of him that he's garnered over the past year or so. Still, there does lie a chance that Newton could miss out on 4,000 yards passing, because he's also an effective runner. Even so, he's usually around that mark to begin with, and should have one of his best years yet in 2017.
14 Marcus Mariota (Won't)
There's no question that the Titans are a team on the rise, and that Mariota is a very good young quarterback. However, he's not yet come even close to the 4,000-yard mark, and that's not likely to change in 2017. Tennessee is definitively a running team, and Mariota doesn't need to throw for such a high yardage mark for them to be successful.
If Mariota is sensible with the ball, and just manages the offense, the Titans always have a decent chance to win. He's capable of making some very nice throws, but the difference is that the Titans offense doesn't rely on it as much as other teams. Mariota will miss out on 4,000 yards, but still impress with his skill set as a whole, and his game-management skills.
13 Matt Stafford (Will)
Despite his critics pointing out that he throws ill-timed interceptions, Stafford has one of the biggest arms in the league, and is almost a lock for 4,000 yards every season. Detroit has cultivated a distinct passing offense, and even now without Calvin Johnson, has proven that it still means Stafford will put up big statistics.
That is bound to continue next year. Stafford will look to receiving targets like Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron to achieve this, and simultaneously attempt to get the Lions over the playoff hump, that has plagued them seemingly forever. If he doesn't accomplish that, 4,000-5,000 yards passing will be a nice consolation, as he continues to prove that he's one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL.
12 Dak Prescott (Won't)
We all know that Prescott had a 2016 season that was well beyond anybody's expectations for the 4th-round rookie. Even though he had a plethora of great skill players at his disposal, however, Prescott was mainly a heightened version of a game manager. The Cowboys employ a run-first offense, one that was solidified with the addition of Zeke Elliott in the draft last year, three rounds before Prescott.
This means that Prescott will definitely have another season of solid, but unspectacular numbers next year. The only part of his stat sheet that was amazing last year, was his touchdown to interception ratio, and that will likely be the case next year as well. He'll still easily hit 3,000 yards passing when throwing to the likes of Dez Bryant, but he won't come close to hitting the 4,000 mark this season at least.
11 Carson Wentz (Will)
The biggest detriment to the Eagles offense last season was the complete lack of skill players on offense. It ended up hindering Wentz's game as a rookie; he just didn't have anyone to give the ball to. That's changed for 2017, with Philly acquiring Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency during the offseason. With another running back expected to be added in the draft, Wentz's breakout season may come this year.
Wentz likes to play with a big arm, and take calculated risks that could easily turn into big plays. He didn't get the opportunity to do that last year, but with the roster upgrades, we're likely going to see him hit his stride in full this year. Wentz will hit 4,000 yards when it's all said and done, setting himself up well as one of the best young quarterbacks in the game.
10 Mike Glennon (Won't)
Contrary to popular belief, the Glennon signing wasn't that bad for the Bears. They clearly need a stopgap after moving on from Jay Cutler, and Glennon was probably one of the safest choices on the market. He's not likely to be an All-Pro quarterback, but he will be a professional that the team can count on to be relatively competitive until they find the long-term answer.
While Glennon has the potential to do some solid things in Chicago, he's still not going to reach the level of a 4,000-yard passer. Not only because of him, but because of the personnel issue that the Bears offense has. There's a lot of new pieces, and players that simply haven't proven their worth alongside him. Glennon has potential to find some success here, but he doesn't have the firepower to throw for elite yardage.
9 Kirk Cousins (Will)
The future for Cousins in Washington currently remains up in the air. He was franchise tagged for the second time in two seasons during the offseason, and it's the first time in league history that it has occurred for a quarterback. Despite this, it'll be business as usual for Cousins in the pass-heavy Redskins offense run by Jay Gruden.
The running game in Washington is almost nil, so yet again Cousins will be relied upon to throw for tons of yardage. The team lost DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon on their receiving corps, but added Terrelle Pryor from Cleveland, and have a budding player in Jamison Crowder, along with last year's 1st-round pick in Josh Doctson who could step up. This should be enough for Cousins to continue his passing trend. He almost hit the 5,000 yard mark last season, and it would take a lot for him not to hit the 4,000-yard threshold this time around.
8 Jared Goff (Won't)
After being selected with the 1st-overall pick in the 2016 draft, Goff had a troubling rookie season that saw him struggle mightily. While it's definitely too early to pass him off as a confirmed bust, it's definitely not a good sign that he only played half of his rookie season, and showed almost nothing positive in his one half season of play on the field. Granted, the Rams don't have the most high-powered offense, but there are several red flags with Goff that are certainly concerning.
It would be a pretty big leap forward for Goff to go from a borderline NFL player, to a 4,000-yard passer in the span of one offseason. If he does improve, which remains to be seen, it'll likely be done incrementally, and he'll have a league-average season next year. From there, he could possibly work his way up to being a good, or even great starting quarterback, but that's not likely to happen this year. Goff will fall well below the 4,000-yard mark.
7 Tom Brady (Will)
It should come as a surprise to nobody that Brady will pass for 4,000 yards this year, and continue his elite level of play that for all we know, may never come to an end. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but until Brady shows any sign at all of being unable to perform at an elite level, it would be wise to assume that he'll be on the up-and-up.
He still has plenty of receiving targets to help him out. Gronk will be back, as will Edelman. Young receiver Malcolm Mitchell figures to be in the mix, and New England always has a plethora of running backs that can run routes out of the backfield. While it may seem monotonous at this point, Brady is slated to have another great season, and will continue to be among the league's top passers.
6 Ben Roethlisberger (Won't)
He contemplated retirement during the offseason, and for a short period of time it actually looked like it was going to come to fruition. Yet again however, Roethlisberger has confirmed that he will be returning to the Steelers for at least one more season. Unfortunately, this one has a good chance to be his last, as he'll struggle to stay healthy, and thus won't be able to accumulate the amount of passing yards that we've seen he's more than capable of.
It will be a valiant effort, but the chances of Roethlisberger evading injury entirely for the 2017 season are slim to none. He's dealt with ailments for the past several seasons, sometimes missing significant time. It makes sense for him to give it one more go, a last-ditch effort to get one more Super Bowl for Pittsburgh while they still have Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown still on the roster. With the injuries he'll suffer though, he won't be able to hit 4,000 yards passing, or lift the team to a deep playoff run.
5 Jameis Winston (Will)
One of the best young quarterbacks in the game, Winston possesses a complete skill set, and with some prominent additions for the Buccaneers in the offseason, 2017 is shaping up to be his best season yet in the NFL. With receivers like Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson at his disposal, Winston is going to rack up statistics this year, no matter what. That's to say nothing of the fact that the Bucs are one of the best sleeper teams in the league this year.
No question about it, Winston is set up for a true breakout season in 2017. It would take a lot for him to take a step back, and in all likelihood we'll be viewing him as one of the top quarterbacks in the league by the end of the year. He'll solidify himself as a threat by eclipsing the 4,000-yard mark.
4 Alex Smith (Won't)
The most renowned game-managing quarterback in the league today, Smith has made an entire career out of simply not making mistakes. He's never going to be able to carry an entire offense with improbable throws of a jaw-dropping nature, but he doesn't turn the ball over much, and can handle an offense well enough. He's racked up plenty of wins for the Chiefs, but is a detriment to the team against elite defenses in the playoffs.
That figures to continue, and as usual, he'll fall well under the 4,000-yard passing mark. That's just not his game, and while some in Kansas City may be clamoring for a new franchise quarterback, there's simply nobody available that is better than Smith is at running the offense.
3 Andrew Luck (Will)
Luck had a very solid bounce-back season in 2016, after he spent much of the 2015 season on the injured reserve list. He's proven by his point that he's good for an upper-tier passing season if he's on the field for the majority of the year. That won't change, with the Colts still having one of the best receiving corps in the league, and Luck knowing exactly how to disperse the ball in that system.
He's a lock for 4,000 yards this season. What's not a lock is the Colts' playoff chances, and if they'll be able to fix their piss-poor defense for this upcoming season. It'll be interesting to see it unfold, but Luck is guaranteed to get his, even if the rest of the roster isn't on the same tier as he is.
2 Eli Manning (Won't)
Every quarterback has to suffer a significant drop-off at some point, and Manning may be the one for this upcoming season. Manning has always benefited from an elite defense, and often requires such a defense to carry the entire team to playoff success. There's no doubt that he's been a good quarterback for years, but he also has a penchant for throwing stupid interceptions, and ill-advised throws late in games.
Obviously, he has an elite receiver in Odell Beckham, and a good receiving corps as a whole. But the Giants have no semblance of a quality offensive line or running game, which will hurt Manning and his increasing age. Logically, he won't be able to do the same things that he could 5 years ago, and will start to suffer the consequences in 2017. Manning won't hit 4,000 yards passing, and will begin the regression which ultimately forces him to retire.
1 Derek Carr (Will)
There's not a better young quarterback in the game, and Carr has a truly dangerous offense at his disposal for the 2017 season. The Raiders are in their prime right now as a roster, and are stacked at nearly every offensive position. This will aid Carr in what will be a career year for him, as he solidifies himself as the leader of the "new generation" of NFL quarterbacks.
With players like Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Marshawn Lynch playing alongside him, there's really very little room for Carr to fail this year. He'll likely put up career-highs in every statistical category, and take the Raiders on the deep playoff run that should have happened last year, if not for Carr's injury late in the year. It's a dangerous team, with a true game-breaker at quarterback, and there will be no stopping them in the 2017 season.