The 2022 NFL season will be one of the more intriguing ones in recent history, with the offseason having seen some major moves on playing and coaching fronts, and with the draft class being strong in many areas, but notably short on star quarterbacks. While Trevor Lawrence landed in the league last season and Joe Burrow led a potentially golden generation in 2020, the vast majority of this year’s triggermen will be players who were already in the league. In fact, assuming Mitch Trubisky beats out Kenny Pickett in Pittsburgh – which he is expected to do – all 32 quarterbacks who start the season will be veterans.
This, of course, does not mean that they’ll all be comfortable under center. For a variety of reasons, there will be questions over more than a few, maybe even half of the starting QBs. While we will leave some out of the conversation – Tua Tagovailoa has been discussed ad nauseam, Joe Burrow’s appendectomy won’t harm his prep that much, and Trevor Lawrence will be better with Jacksonville adding more talent – below are three likely starters who will be the subject of intense speculation.
Kyler Murray, Arizona
Murray was seen as such a “can’t miss” prospect by Arizona that they drafted him a year after taking Josh Rosen in the first round. And he hasn’t missed, delivering two seasons of excellent performance and taking the Cards to the postseason last time out. Most crypto fans would bet using Ethereum on another year of improvement. However, it has recently emerged that the club could unilaterally break his contract if he does not independently study 4 hours of game film a week. Murray has previously expressed a belief that film study doesn’t help him because he sees so much on the field, but this story will certainly keep people talking if he doesn’t maintain his previous performance levels in his third season.
Trey Lance, San Francisco
Lance has seemingly secured the starting berth with the 49ers, who have probably missed any chance to trade away Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. That means that the second-year slinger will need to hit the ground running this season. Garoppolo divides opinion among NFL watchers, many of whom believe he could be elite with the right supporting cast. If Lance seems to be taking the Niners backwards, calls will grow to put the older QB back in the lineup, giving Kyle Shanahan a decision to make. Of course, if things go well, then Garoppolo represents a handy trade chip prior to the 2023 draft.
Deshaun Watson, Cleveland
Watson is unlikely to face criminal charges over his alleged misconduct toward massage therapists, but that doesn’t mean his time in the dock is over. Before the season kicks off, he’ll face an NFL hearing which will decide the extent of his likely suspension for breaching the league’s personal conduct policy. The former Texans QB could be locked out for a full season, although recent rumors put the likely duration of a ban at eight weeks. However long he sits, his signing has put the Browns in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, and the club will likely balance that against how effective he is when he does get on the field. How good do you need to be to make such serious allegations worth ignoring?