My Top 25 Quarterbacks

July 2nd, 2019

Outraged by Chris Simms, the Sage of Tampa Bay Sports responds.


Somebody’s got to do it.

I like Chris Simms, but he can’t get away with this nonsense, so I’m here to remind Simms of what Cher said to Nicolas Cage in that classic “Moonstruck” scene:

Snap out of it!

A few weeks ago, the former Bucs signal caller decided to rank the NFL’s top 40 quarterbacks. He placed Jameis Winston at No. 27, which is too low, and he ranked Deshaun Watson at No 5, which is way too high.

But his most egregious errors involved two first-ballot Hall of Famers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, who barely squeezed into the Top 10. That’s like listing Aaron Donald at No. 7 among defensive tackles.

At the risk of alienating a powerful voice at Pro Football Talk, here’s my blueprint for how Simms should rejigger his list to reflect NFL reality.

1. Tom Brady. Lord of the Rings and still the first guy you’d pick to win a big game.

2. Drew Brees. With only one legitimate downfield threat, he still completed 74 percent of his attempts.

3. Aaron Rodgers. Of his 597 throws last year, only 2 ended up in enemy hands.

4. Patrick Mahomes. The league’s reigning MVP could top this list by the end of the year.

5. Andrew Luck. Only Mahomes threw more TD passes during Luck’s magical comeback season.

6. Matt Ryan. Don’t blame him for Atlanta’s disappointing season.

7. Philip Rivers. Never gets hurt and ranks No. 8 in all-time passing yards.

8. Russell Wilson. Can beat you with his arm, his legs or his intelligence.

9. Ben Roethlisberger. Led the NFL with 16 interceptions and life without Antonio Brown will be challenging.

10. Jared Goff. Has flourished under Sean McVay with the help of a robust ground game.

11. Carson Wentz. If he stays healthy, he can make a big move up the chart.

12. Deshaun Watson. Texans need to surround him with more legitimate weapons.

13. Cam Newton. Easy to forget the Panthers were 6-2 before his shoulder went south.

14. Kirk Cousins. Has his critics, but nothing wrong with that 70 percent completion rate.

15. Baker Mayfield. Natural leader who surpassed all expectations as a rookie.

16. Dak Prescott. Developed an impressive rapport with Amari Cooper down the stretch.

17. Jimmy Garoppolo. That 8-2 career record is an indication he’s a winner.

18. Derek Carr. Should throw more than 19 TD passes with Antonio Brown in the fold.

19. Nick Foles. Went 21-11 in Philadelphia before the Jaguars pounced on him.

20. Jameis Winston. Plenty to prove, plenty of reason to believe this will be his year to shine.

21. Mitch Trubisky. Only 24, he has already learned to play within his limits.

22. Eli Manning. Somebody needs to tell Giants brass that Manning’s last playoff win came 8 years ago.

23. Matt Stafford. After 10 pro seasons, he’s got a ton of passing yards and a losing record.

24. Andy Dalton. The last three years have been rough and he’s never won a postseason game.

25. Marcus Mariota. Like Winston, he’s facing a make-or-break year in pursuit of a long-term contract extension.

41 Responses to “My Top 25 Quarterbacks”

  1. Magadude Says:

    Goff, Mahomes, Watson, Mayfield, Wentz…all above Winston, none of them have disgraced their teams, and had we drafted a D line stud and just held off…could have gotten any one of them. But no…

  2. Magadude Says:

    I think Trubisky and Stafford rate above Winston…one for potential, and one for actual accomplishments in the big picture of leading his team and having something tangible.

  3. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    Generous to Winston. Better than Trubisky? Uhhhh…don’t think so. That trade would require two extra first rounders.

  4. tickrdr Says:

    Well done, Ira!


  5. DB55 Says:

    You should slide Winston up to 14.

    Baker will be exposed this year bc funny things happen when teams have tape of you.

    Dak has the #1 RB and oline in the league.

    As for Carr and Jimmy G I think you’re just getting old.

  6. Maze Says:

    Why the Baker hate?

  7. DB55 Says:

    Mitch is proof of what an elite defense and good running game can do for you.

  8. Bird Says:


    I don’t disagree
    Jameis should be in front of Mitch , Eli , Andy and Marcus

    It’s funny cause Simms like Jameis
    He put at 27 ? That is too low.

    He is 16-24 range as of now for me.
    Let’s hope arians gets him into 8-15 range

  9. Destinjohnny Says:

    You have jameis a bit high
    I would love to see him crack the top 20 but I dont know if he has the skill set

  10. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    Ira, I love you more than anyone, and this list is more accurate than Simms’. But I take issue with some of these.

    Mahomes looked unbeatable last year, unfortunately his defense was very beatable. Since Brady still wins every game, he’s #1, followed by Mahomes at #2.

    Then your lost looks good until #10, where you have Jared Goff. Sorry, but no. He looked bad down the stretch, finally exposed to be a McVay system product. Slide him down to the low teens, and I wouldn’t take him over Jameis.

    Jimmy G and Derek Carr before Jameis? No, slide em down.

    Eli Manning over any of these guys? No, slide him all the way down.

    Jameis should currently reside between #15-20 on any list. I still think he could hop into top #12 this year, and if he does, Bucs will be in the playoffs. Love you Ira!

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    Is this based on last year’s performance or their body of work?

    I’m not sure that I agree. All things being equal, do you take Jameis over Eli, Matt, or Andy?
    There are at least 3 QBs that are WAAAAAY overrated on this list: Dak, Baker, and Foles for starters!

  12. Cobraboy Says:

    I look at that list and wonder how many of those QB’s played with the desperation of being behind several scores almost their entire careers?

    “Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems.”
    -Earle Bruce
    Tampa U, ISU, Ohio State

  13. tickrdr Says:

    Manning, Stafford, Dalton, Mariota and Winston:

    All “pick em” in the bargain rack at the bottom.


  14. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Looking at that list, WinSTUNNED is no top 25 QB

  15. Bucdelight Says:

    Simms did his based off of what this year will do. Ira is doing his based off past performance. Not the same.

  16. c-span Says:

    I think Goff is rated to high, he was exposed in the SB and by the Bears defense. Baker is high as well, like some one said once teams have tape of you things change. I would put Mariota above Tribuisky. I think JW is better than Foles. Foles is a system QB you put him on the Bucs and he would be a backup.

  17. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    It’s a fair list

    Jameis still has so much to prove when it comes to playing consistently and putting his team in a position to consistently win and be in games

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    “23. Matt Stafford. After 10 pro seasons, he’s got a ton of passing yards and a losing record.”

    Ira … Seems like you could substitute 4 seasons for 10 seasons and write exactly the same thing about Jameis. Strange thing though is that many love to make excuses for Jameis (no defense, no running game, etc) but in your whole list I’d say that Jameis has had close to the best set of receivers (WRs & TEs). That’s a BIG plus IMO. Several of those rated well above Jameis (like Mahomes & Ryan) didn’t have much of a defense either. Roethlisberger’s Steelers had the #31 rushing attack. And yet those QBs helped to compensate for some of their team’s weaknesses.

    Jameis has all the tools, he handles the ball almost every time it’s snapped, he’s got 4 years of starting experience, he makes the most $$$ of any Bucs’ player, yada yada. And now with what SHOULD be better coaching, Bucs’ fans need to see some definite improvement. No more excuses.

  19. ChipBuc Says:

    Is it just me who thinks, what is up with all the Jimmy G hype. Really what has he really done. He’s 8 and 2 in his career, big whoop. He hasn’t even played a full season in the Nfl and he’s better than almost half the QB’s in the league. Don’t see it. Just my opinion.

  20. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Definitely stafford above jameis & maybe dalton and tribusky. I think Simms was ranking his qbs based on the 2019 season and projected stats, simms list was pretty accurate based on that measureable. Obv Tom Brady is best qb due to winning and the rings

  21. D-Rome Says:

    Great article Ira. Fair list. I have Jay-Miss at 21. Anyone claiming he’s in the top half of the league is delusional.

  22. FrankPillow Says:

    EVERYONE slotted ahead of Jameis has a more complete TEAM around them and better coaching. Even Jimmy G. The perpetual construction, deconstruction and rebuilding has not facilitated his development one bit. For every stud like Evans (and Howard), there still are deep, deep holes. Inexcusably so.

  23. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Just think, in the 2014 draft we could’ve had Jimmy GQ in the 2nd round (before NE) instead we chose Austin Seferian-Jackass.

  24. D-Rome Says:

    Just think, in the 2014 draft we could’ve had Jimmy GQ in the 2nd round (before NE) instead we chose Austin Seferian-Jackass.

    We had Mike Glennon!

  25. Tye Says:

    you can argue Andy Dalton, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winson all lumped together because they are about equal..

    Mitch Trubisky I would put as better than those 3..

    Winston better than Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford is laughable and just a homer move..

    I’d trade Jameis for either of those guys without batting an eye and sleep WAY better at night!

  26. Waterboy Says:

    I like this list if we’re only drafting a QB for this season but if we’re looking at it from the perspective of building a franchise or a 5 yr plan my rankings would be a lot different. For 1 I’d gamble on Mahomes at #1 all day and I’m not that sold on Goff.

  27. Tye Says:

    If you give Arians Eli Manning or Matthew Stafford you would surely see and hear the football world giving the Bucs hope at the playoffs and possibly much higher odds in Vegas to appear in a Super Bowl!

  28. Jean Lafitte Says:


    You know as well as I do Smith was never gonna give Glennon a chance. He was a Schiano pick. Instead we endured McClown all season.

  29. 813bucboi Says:

    i think winston’s ranking is about right unfortunately….

    rodgers is ranked too high imo….

    top 10 not top 3….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  30. Pete I Says:

    Well the 5 rated below Winston have had playoff appearances
    so they have that going for them.

  31. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    OMG our fan base is so dumb. Trubisky is a game manager, and not a very good one. JW is twice the QB that he is.

  32. ATLBucs Says:

    I’m not sold on Mayfield. I have not been overly impressed with him. I think Jameis should be right after Carson Wentz

  33. The Buc Realist Says:

    Once again, local media ranking a buc player waayyyyyyyyyy to high!!!!!!!!!! Homerism at its best around buc-land!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Buczilla Says:

    Good list.

  35. SteveK Says:

    Trubisky is as good/better than Jameis. Funny to see folks saying he is “half as good” as Jameis.

  36. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Lolol, whatever.

  37. Malcolm-Reynolds Says:

    I STILL point to 2 of the top 3 quarterbacks on Ira’s list and mention that BOTH of these likely Hall-of-Fame players missed the playoffs 2 or more straight years at one point in their careers due to their TEAMS having Lousy Defenses and NO running games. I think giving up on a #1 overall quarterback without seeing what he can do with ONE or BOTH of those things is foolish. I mean do ANY of its think Aaron Rodgers isn’t still an Elite quarterback? YET he’s missed the playoffs the last 2 years because his TEAM has a lousy defense and can’t run the football. Brees (for all his Greatness) still managed 3 straight 7-9 seasons because his Defense was HORRIFIC and he didn’t have much running game. Franchise QB’s don’t grow on trees. BA has a track record of getting the most out of his quarterbacks so Winston HAS to give evidence that he’s left his recklessness behind him, and can hit the big plays when they are there as well as taking better care of the football. His mantra during the OTA’s has been : “Footwork, and take care of the football. Footwork and take care of the football.” Well here’s hoping he’s taking that to heart.

  38. Chris Says:

    Jameis over Stafford and Dalton? When dalton was healthy he put up pretty good numbers and playoff birth. And stafford has had much more success than Winston. Both had more success each in their first 5 years in the league than Winston.

    Number 20 is a homer pick. Winston is in the 25-32 range.

  39. Chrissy G Says:

    Finally a fair assessment of Jay miss

  40. “That guy” Says:

    ‘Top 25 quarterbacks’ is an oxymoron.

  41. Oneilbucs Says:

    You see when he talks about Matt Ryan it’s the team fault. But with the bucs it’s Jamies fault. Lol lol lol Matt Ryan team is waaaaay better than Jamies but it’s his team fault. I rest my case….