There have been some really good quarterbacks in the last 18 NFL seasons. And there are a lot of backups who were forced into starter roles and did about the best you could have expected. The other commonality is the teams they played on, showing that a lack of ability to judge talent. The Raiders appear here thrice, followed by the Panthers, Jets, Browns, and Jaguars ,who appear twice, and the Chargers, Lions, Bears, Dolphins, Saints, Chiefs, and Rams, who appear once. The Raiders are surprisingly on here the most amount of times, but they also had one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory so it is not surprising that they made it.
The other commonalities on this list are that they do not complete 60% of their passes or have a high passer rating. They almost always throw more interceptions than touchdowns. Their team always had a losing record and they definitely had losing records as the starting QB. Those are just a few things that led to players making this list and go down in football infamy. So from draft pick busts, to backup players just not playing well, all the way to veterans who should have just hung it up. Here is the list of players who underperformed at their position for the last 18 seasons.
18 2000: Ryan Leaf (Chargers)
Ryan played in 11 games and started 9 of them for the Chargers in 2000. This was one of three seasons he played and his second worst of the three, but he was still the least talented in 2000. For the year, he threw for 1,883 yards with 11 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He had a passer rating of 56.2 and completed exactly half of his pass attempts. Leaf started the first two games of the season, where he completed less than half of his passes and threw 5 interceptions.
He was benched in the third game and replaced the starter after he got injured.
Leaf faced a lot of injuries himself in 2000. He injured his wrist in Week 4 and did not play again until Week 11. It was speculated that he lied about the injury to get out of practice in order to play golf. Soon after he returned he injured his hamstring but that didn't keep him out longer. The Chargers finished the year with a 1-15 record and Leaf was 1-8 in his starts. He was released at the end of the year. In his three years with the Chargers, he only managed 4 wins as a starter.
17 2001: Chris Weinke (Panthers)
Chris Weinke played in 15 games and started in all 15 of them. In that time he threw for 2,931 yards with 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He had a passer rating of 62.0 and completed 54.3% of his passes on the year. Weinke averaged 36 pass attempts per game which was more than any other rookie in NFL history up to that point. He started more games in 2001 than he played the rest of his career. He was clearly the least talented quarterback that season.
The Panthers went 1-15 that season, and Chris Weinke was 1-14 in those games. He also took 26 sacks for 177 yards lost. He also fumbled the ball 11 times with 3 losses. The guy had a very hard time holding onto the ball during his time. It is no surprise that he never had another starting job. The only real surprise about his situation is that he was given 15 different starts this season without the coaches looking to another quarterback give it a shot. Weinke finished his career with 15 touchdowns to 26 interceptions. and totalled only 2 wins as a starter. He won the first game of the season, then earning the second longest losing streak in NFL history at 17.
16 2002: Joey Harrington (Lions)
One of the biggest draft busts ever. He was taken with the 3rd overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. In 2002 he had 2,294 yards with 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He also went on to have a passer rating of 59.9 which was the lowest in the league that year and he completed 50.1% of his pass attempts. Harrington took over late in the Lions' Week 1 loss and became the starter for Detroit. He was initially given the label of "Saviour" by fans and media in Detroit until he did not live up to these expectations when that was changed to "Bust". The Lions went 3-13 in 2002, with Joey going 3-9 as a starter.
Many speculate that he did not reach these expectations for numerous reasons. Mostly it is for his premature promotion to starter. Many believe that if he had been given some more time to develop and learn the game he could have been a much better player in the league. It has also been said that he had a lack of surrounding talent, poor coaching, and questionable offensive lines. Regardless of any of that, he did not perform and that led to him being without a doubt the worst talented quarterback in 2002. You could even make a case for him over the next two seasons, because in 2003, he hd 22 interceptions.
15 2003: Kordell Stewart (Bears)
Kordell Stewart had a terrible lone season with the Bears, in his last year as a starter in the league. He played in 9 games and started 7 of them. In those games he went for 1,418 yards with 7 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also had a passer rating of 56.8, which was his career low, and a pass completion of 50.2% ,which was the lowest he had as a starter. After a few poor performances, he was replaced by Chris Chandler, who was similarly bad. He was reinserted into the starting lineup and then was benched for Rex Grossman after they were eliminated from playoff contention. Stewart was released at the end of the season.
The Bears went 7-9, with Kordell going 2-5 in that time.
Kordell had a few good seasons as a starter from 1997-2001. In 2001 he was named to his first and only Pro Bowl. Stewart was definitely at the end of his career. During the next two seasons, he played a total of 3 games without a single start to his name. There were a couple of other players who could have gotten this spot because 2003 was not a great year for the quarterback. Jeff Blake is another lowly rated player as a starter, but I think Stewart was worse than him.
14 2004: A.J. Feeley (Dolphins)
2004 was the only year where Feeley started at least half the games. He did not make the most of it in his time in Miami. During the year, he played in 11 games and started 8 of them. In those games, he had 1,893 yards with 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He also had a passer rating of 61.7 while completing 53.7% of his passes. He had few bright spots but produced them. After the Miami Dolphins started 1-9, he was given the start in the next games, going 3-3. He did lead his 2-11 Dolphins to an upset victory over the 12-1 Patriots on Monday Night Football. Trailing by 11 points with 3:59 left in the game, he guided the team to two late scores including the game-winning touchdown.
That loss would be significant as it took home field advantage during the playoffs. It mattered little as the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl, but it was the best moment for the 'Phins that season. This was the only good season that Feeley had and it was the worst in the league. He went on to be the third string QB for the Chargers before being cut. he then resigned with Philly and played 2 games for them but never really had a starting role. In 2004 the Dolphins went 4-12 as a team and Feeley went 3-5 as a starter.
13 2005: Aaron Brooks (Saints)
Aaron Brooks was the starter for the Saints for five years and in 2005 it was by far his worst season. For the year, he played and started in 13 games. During those games, he went off for 2,882 yards with 13 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He had a passer rating of 70.0and completed 57.3% of his passes. Brooks never played well throughout the season and was the only year where he started at least 10 games he had the second-worst quarterback rating of any player with more than 12 starts. He was only able to lead the Saints to one playoff appearance in 2000 and never really came close to getting back.
In 2005 the Saints went 3-13 and Brooks went 3-10 as a starter. He was released at the end of the season and went to the Raiders where he went on to have another terrible season. After starting 0-2 and getting injured, Andrew Walter took over and we will cover his season next. He went on to throw 3 touchdowns with 8 interceptions and went 0-8 as a starter. It was not good for him. He had a career-low passer rating with 61.7. He never played another down in the NFL.
12 2006: Andrew Walter (Raiders)
Andrew Walter played three seasons in the NFL and this was the only year that he started more than 1 game. During the next two seasons he also only played in 3 games. In 2006 he played in 12 games and started 8 of them. In those 8 games, he went off 1,677 yards with 3 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He threw four times as many interceptions as touchdowns. Walter also went off to have a 55.8 passer rating while completing 53.3% of his passes for the year. He started after Aaron Brooks went down with an injured pectoral muscle. Walter played until Brooks came back in November and only started 1 more game that season. He did not have a good career ,especially in 2006.
The Raiders went 2-14 as a team with Walter going 2-6 as the starter.
They did not have a good option at QB all season, with Brooks going 0-8 as the starter. He was one of the worst QBs ever and that is reflected by one of the lowest passer ratings of the season. He was also sacked 46 times for 256 yards. That is an incredible amount for a man to be sacked and could have been one of the reasons why he played so poorly that season.
11 2007: Kellen Clemens (Jets)
Kellen Clemens did have a long career as a backup and only started 8 or more games twice in his 12-career. The second being in 2013 with the St. Louis Rams. In 2007 he played in 10 games and started 8 of them. In those 8 he had 1,529 yards with 5 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. That year he had a passer rating of 60.9 and completed 52.0% of his passes. He made his first career start in week 2 due to an injury to Chad Pennington. He then was named the starter later in the year due to an underperforming season.
In the 2007 season, the New York Jets went 4-12 and Clemens was 3-5 as a starter. Clemens went on to be a backup for the remainder of his career. Playing on the New York Jets, St. Louis Rams, and the San Diego/Los Angeles Charges. Even up to the 2017 season he could be found on the sidelines of the Chargers. Although he has not yet signed for a team in 2018, it is not unlikely that he would though. Clemens can say goodbye to his starting days and it is a little shocking to see that he has found a team to play on for as long as he has.
10 2008: Derek Anderson (Browns)
Derek Anderson is one of two Browns players to make it on this list, but that might surprise many people. Anderson was coming into his third year in the league and come off his only Pro Bowl Selection showing that flukes are a very real thing. His drop off from 2007 was a truly remarkable drop. In 2007 he played in 16 games and stared in 15 of them, whereas in 2008 he only played in 10 while starting 9 of them. He also threw for 3,787 yards with 29 touchdowns while in 2008 he threw for 1,615 yards with only 9 touchdowns.
Anderson threw for 2,000 fewer yards and 20 fewer touchdowns. He did throw 11 fewer interceptions, which is the only good mark. His passer rating fell from 82.5 to 66.5, but he was sacked an equal number in both seasons. Derek Anderson never made it back to his Pro Bowl season In 2008 the Browns went 4-12 with Anderson going 3-6 as the starter. He played one more season in Cleveland before going to Arizona in 2010. Anderson has been the backup QB in Carolina since 2011 and is still there. He even started 2 games for Cam Newton in 2016, and played 3 more games last year.
9 2009: JaMarcus Russell (Raiders)
JaMarcus Russell is one of the most egregious draft busts of all-time. Russell played three seasons in the NFL and 2009 was his worst one. In 2009 he played in 12 games and started in 9 of them. In those 12 games, he had 1,287 yards with 3 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also had a passer rating of 50.0 and completed 48.8% of his passes. Russell was also sacked an amazing 33 times for 207 lost yards. He finished the 2009 season with the lowest QB rating, lowest completion percentage, fewest passing touchdowns, and fewest passing yards among qualifying quarterbacks in the NFL. By the end of the season, he found himself being the 3rd QB in the depth chart behind Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye.
In 2009 the Raiders had a record of 5-11 with JaMarcus Russell went 2-7 as the starter.
He got released during the offseason after coming in at 300 pounds, and had nowhere to play after a few trades that landed the Raiders with 5 QBs on the roster at the time. He never played another down or signed with another team. Russell has had multiple comeback attempts, but with his lack of a work ethic and his drug issues, he never got a real look. Most notably, he tried to make a comeback in 2016 by writing a letter to all 32 teams asking for a tryout and saying he would play one year for free. No one responded.
8 2010: Jimmy Clausen (Panthers)
Jimmy Clausen was never a good player in the league. He was originally projected to be a top-10 pick in the 2010 draft but fell to the 16th pick in the second round, going 48th overall. Jimmy Clausen played in 13 games and started in 10 of them this season. In those 13 games, he was able to throw for 1,558 yards with 3 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. That year he was also sacked 33 times for a total of 223 yards lost. Clausen really showed he would never have been worth that early pick so it is good that no one took him there.
The Raiders went 2-14 in 2010 and Clausen went 1-9 as a starter. Clausen's season was not a total loss on the Panthers as they went on to draft Cam Newton with the first pick in the 2011 draft. Because of that he never really got a shot to earn that starting spot. Even if he could have earned that starting spot, the Panthers signed Derek Anderson, so Jimmy was moved to the 3rd string in the depth chart. He played one and a half seasons with the Bears and half a season with the Ravens. In the next five years, he started only 4 games and has not played since the 2015 season.
7 2011: Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars)
Gabbert is still playing today, which is just shocking. After being the 10th pick in the 2011 draft, he never lived up to that hype. Gabbert played in games and started in 14 of them. In those games, he threw for, 2,214 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also had a passer rating of 65.4 while completing 50.8% of his pass attempts. In 2011 he was also sacked 40 times for a mind-blowing loss of 293 yards. He led the quarterbacks in fumbles with 14. He was not slated for starter minutes but after David Garrard was released in the preseason, not to mention poor performances by Luke McCown, he was forced into the role and he was really bad in it.
The Jaguars went on to have a 5-11 season with Gabbert going 4-10 in his starts. Gabbert was also the main starter the following season and went 1-9 in those games. He then went on to play in San Francisco and started a few games there over the last few years, and in 2017 he started 5 games for the Cardinals. In March he signed a two-year contract with the Tennessee Titans and will undoubtedly serve as a backup behind Marcus Mariota.
6 2012: Matt Cassel (Chiefs)
Matt was supposed to be the next great quarterback after being the backup for him for four years and being the starter for an injured Brady in 2007. He had a great year in New England then went on to Kansas where he was never anything special. In 2012 he had 9 played games with 8 starts, and he has never gotten back to that number. In the 9 games that he had, he threw for 1,796 yards with 6 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also had a passer rating of 66.7, a career low, and a pass completion of 58.1%, also a career low. He was also sacked 19 times with 101 loss yards.
The Chiefs went 2-14 in 2012 and Matt Cassel led them to 1-7.
That was one of the many reasons that he was released at the end of the year. Since 2012, he has gone on to play for 5 different teams including the Lions who signed him for the 2018 season to undoubtedly serve as a backup. Matt has also played for the Vikings, the Bills, the Cowboys, and the Titans. The most he has played in for Dallas in 2015 when Tony Romo broke his collarbone.
5 2013: Terrelle Pryor (Raiders)
Yes, the guy who is now a receiver was once a quarterback in the league. Yes, this was his last year as a quarterback and missed the entire 2014 season before becoming a wide receiver in 2015. In 2013, he played in 11 games and started 9 of those games. In the games that he played in, he threw for 1,798 yards with 7 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also had a passer rating of 57.1, which was he career high, and completed 57.4%. He was also sacked 31 times for a loss of 203 yards. It was well deserved for him to be on this list and to never play as a quarterback again.
In the 2013 season, the Oakland Raiders went 4-12 with Terrelle Pryor leading them to 3-6 as the starting quarterback. At the end of the season, he was traded to the Seahawks and played in the preseason with them before being cut. He worked out for 5 different teams but did not get a contract to play. He did sign a deal with the chiefs in 2015 but was cut, then he signed with the Bengals and he was cut. After he was cut by the Bengals he announced he would switch to the wide-out and has been there ever since. He had a 1,000 yard receiving season in 2016 with the Browns and will be catching passes from Sam Darnold with the Jets in 2018.
4 2014: Blake Bortles (Jaguars)
Blake Bortles is just a very inconsistent player. His rookie season was just the beginning of the frustrations that the fans from Duval County have had to deal with. Blake played in 14 games and started in 13 of them. In those 13 games, he threw for 2,908 yards with 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He also had a passer rating of 69.5 while completing 58.9% of his passes. He was also sacked an amazing 55 times while losing 345 yards. Just let that sink in. So the reasons that he was so bad in 2014 could have been because of poor line play. He was sacked 10.4% of the times he was attempting a pass, which is double what the average was during the season.
During the season the Jags went 3-13 as a team with Bortles leading them to 3-10 as the starting QB.Bortles has since played and started in every game for the Jags. During his career has thrown for 14,928 yards with 90 touchdowns and 64 interceptions and an average passer of 80.8. The other thing that has been a constant in his career is rumors. Every season there are rumors that he will be traded or the Jags will go after a QB in free agency or the draft. He still remains their very inconsistent guy.
3 2015: Nick Foles (Rams)
Nick Foles led the Eagles to the Super Bowl when Carson Wentz went down with an ACL tear and won Super Bowl MVP. Three years ago, however, he led the Rams to a losing season. He has been very inconsistent and mostly bad during his career. During 2015, he played and started in 11 games for the St. Louis Rams. In those 11 games, he threw for 2,052 yards with 7 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also had a passer rating of 69.0 and completed 56.4% of his passes. He was only sacked 14 times that year but he still lost 98 yards in the process. Foles was nothing to be praised this season and it is without a doubt the reason he only played one season in St. Louis.
In the 2015 season, the Rams went 7-9 as a team and Foles lead them to 4-7 as their starting quarterback.
For the first time on this least, the QB requested to be released and he was granted that request. He then signed a two-year deal with the Chiefs with the second year being an option. After a nothing sized year he was not picked up for the second year. Instead, he went on to sign for the Eagles and we all know how that ended. He is still slated to be with the Eagles next year and the starter has yet to be announced for Week 1.
2 2016: Ryan Fitzpatrick (Jets)
Ryan Fitzpatrick has had a pretty back and forth career. He started the most games from 2009-2012 when he played with the Buffalo Bills. The 2016 season was the worst career year he had when he started more than 10 games. In 2016, he played in 14 games and started 11 of them. During those 14 games, he threw the ball for 2,710 yards with 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He also had a passer rating of 69.6, while completing 56.6% of his passes. He was also sacked 19 times while losing 81 yards that season. Ryan did not have much to show for during his second season with the New York Jets.
In 2016 the Jets went 5-11 as a team with Ryan Fitzpatrick leading them to 3-8 as their starting quarterback. After the season ended the Jets voided his contract, making him a free agent. He then signed a one year deal with the Buccaneers as a backup. Due to unfortunate injuries to Jameis Winston over the year, he got to play in 6 games and started 3 of them. After the season ended he signed an extension with the Bucs to play in 2018. He will have a backup role again and hopefully plays in fewer games.
1 2017: DeShone Kizer (Browns)
The Browns only lost 16 games so of course, they made the list. DeShone Kizer was in his rookie season and of course, bears the weight of the blame for their terrible season. He played and started in 15 games this season. During those 15 he threw the ball for 2,894 yards with 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He had the most interceptions by 6 for the season. That's not a great way to start your career. He also had a passer rating of 60.5 while completing 53.6% of his passes. Both were the lowest in the league. It is not surprising the Browns brought in so much help at QB.
The Browns went 0-16 on the year with Kizer leading them to 0-15 as their starting QB. He was obviously traded at the end of the season to the Green Bay Packers. The Browns also traded for Tyrod Taylor, who is supposed to be the starter. They also drafted another quarterback in Baker Mayfield, which shocked everyone, but he will eventually become the starter. There is no doubt that however long the rest of Kizer's career is, he will remain as a backup. He might have come in highly touted but he never lived up to that potential.