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Time To Hang It Up: Five NFL Quarterbacks That Should Retire After The Season

Matt Ryan - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

The average NFL career is relatively short. Most players hang around the league for about three years on average. However, the quarterback position is one with a longer life expectancy than most when it comes to years of service.

Perhaps the greatest - and most recent - example of just how long QBs can play is the recently-retired Tom Brady, who was throwing passes until the ripe-old age of 45!

While there are some extreme outliers such as Brady, the quarterback position has gotten noticeably younger in recent years with veteran signal-callers such as Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, and Phillip Rivers all calling it quits. While many of the league's current superstar passers are still in their 20s, there are still a few vets holding on in the NFL. Let's discuss five quarterbacks that should hang it up before next season.

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#5. Marcus Mariota, Age 29

2022 Stats: 13 Games, 88.18 Passer Rating, 2,229 Passing Yards, 15 TDs, 9 INTs

The second overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, Marcus Mariota had some good years with the Tennessee Titans at the outset of his career but was never able to truly live up to his potential superstar billing. Mariota was plagued by injuries throughout his Titans' tenure and during his five years with the team, he was never able to play every game in a season.

After being replaced by Ryan Tannehill midway through the 2019 season, Mariota landed with the Las Vegas Raiders, where he would spend the next two years backing up Derek Carr. He started zero games in his time with the Raiders.

The 29-year-old was signed by the Atlanta Falcons ahead of the 2022 season to be a bridge QB between an exiting Matt Ryan and rookie Desmond Ridder. Mariota floundered in Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith's extremely run-heavy scheme and managed to top 250 passing yards just once in 13 starts for the Falcons in 2022 while amassing just a measly 2,229 passing yards. He was replaced by the rookie Ridder after Week 13. Mariota elected to undergo knee surgery and finished the year on IR and away from the team.

Mariota is unlikely to return to Atlanta in 2023 and currently has zero prospects of signing as starting QB with any team in the NFL. He would likely have little trouble catching on as a backup somewhere in 2023, though that would seem to be his destined position on any depth chart for the remainder of his career, as his time as a starter appears to be over.

#4. Matthew Stafford, Age 35

2022 Stats: 9 Games, 87.4 Passer Rating, 2,087 Passing Yards, 10 TDs, 8 INTs

After years of punishment and failure in Detroit, Matthew Stafford finally had his Cinderella season in 2021 after a blockbuster trade sent him to the Los Angeles Rams. Stafford led the Rams to a 12-5 regular season record in his first year with the team, but more importantly, the veteran guided L.A. to the Super Bowl title in 2021.

If his 2021 title-winning season was a dream, then Stafford's 2022 campaign can be fairly classified as a nightmare. After signing a contract extension in the offseason, the then-34-year-old underwent an elbow procedure after experiencing lingering pain, an issue which was still present as he entered the '22 season amid concerns about his arm strength.

When Stafford and the Rams did get the new season underway, it was quickly evident that this was not the same Super Bowl-caliber team of the previous year, as the star QB remained under constant siege behind an offensive line that was ravaged by injuries and void of talent.

The Rams signal-caller suffered a concussion in Week 9 and was forced to miss Week 10. When Stafford did return in Week 11 he was forced to leave the game in the third quarter after suffering another concussion. It marked the last time he would suit up in 2022, as he was diagnosed with a spinal contusion a few weeks later and placed on Injured Reserve.

As we turn our attention to the 2023 season, there's little doubt that Stafford can still play, the question is rather if he should still play after the scary injuries he suffered last year.

#3. Aaron Rodgers, Age 39

2022 Stats: 17 Games, 91.07 Passer Rating, 3,695 Passing Yards, 26 TDs, 12 INTs

We're veering dangerously close to Brett Favre territory here, as every offseason seems to be a game of "will he or won't he?" for Green Bay Packers legend Aaron Rodgers.

Despite his long and successful tenure with the Packers, there's certainly been plenty of friction between Rodgers and the organization over the last few seasons, with both sides having aired their grievances at various times in recent years. Rodgers has been frustrated with the lack of input he has with the front office on personnel decisions, while Green Bay management seems concerned about their 39-year-old's commitment to football.

Despite back-to-back MVP awards in 2020 and 2021, as well as a new massive contract, inked ahead of 2022, Rodgers - and the Packers - seem to be entering the offseason at a true crossroad point. Returning to a team that missed the playoffs with an 8-9 record and still sports an underwhelming receiving corps, forcing a trade, or simply walking away from the game altogether are all options that appear to be on the table for Rodgers at the moment.

Is Rodgers still capable of a glorious, Tom Brady-like Super Bowl run if he joins the right team? Maybe. Does he love to play football as much as Brady? Definitely not.


#2. Carson Wentz, Age 30

2022 Stats: 8 Games, 80.12 Passer Rating, 1,755 Passing Yards, 11 TDs, 9 INTs

Playing on his third team in as many years last season, things didn't get any better for Carson Wentz in Washington. After a messy end to his time in Philly...and his time in Indy...Wentz will likely be on his way out the door yet again ahead of 2023, as his first/last campaign with the Commanders was one marked by injury and inconsistency.

After getting off to a promising start to his Washington tenure by throwing for 650 yards and seven TDs across the first two games of the season, things quickly unraveled for the turnover-prone veteran. The Commanders went just 2-4 with Wentz at the helm before a fractured finger sidelined him ahead of Week 7.

Despite being re-activated from IR on December 12th, Wentz failed to regain his starting job due to the success of backup QB Taylor Heinicke and wouldn't see action again until Week 16. He did get the starting nod in a must-win Week 17 game against the Cleveland Browns and promptly stunk up the joint by going 16 of 28 for 143 yards and three INTs in a 24-10 Washington loss.

After being a healthy scratch in the 2022 regular-season finale, the Wentz experiment is almost certainly over for Washington, as the organization can save around $26 million by cutting ties with the floundering signal-caller. The question is now what becomes of a 30-year-old, injury-prone QB, whose horrible decision-making leads to turnovers in mass quantities, and whose character issues have now been called into question by multiple organizations?


#1. Matt Ryan, Age 37

2022 Stats: 12 Games, 83.94 Passer Rating, 3,057 Passing Yards, 14 TDs, 13 INTs

The former NFL MVP was supposed to be a final piece for a ready-to-win Indianapolis Colts team. However, that was far from the case for Matt Ryan in what proved to be a disastrous first season for him in Indy. Ryan and this Colts team performed so horribly across a disappointing 3-5-1 start to the 2022 season that Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich was dismissed ahead of Week 10.

Ryan's arm strength had obviously declined over his last few years with the Atlanta Falcons, though the Colts felt he had enough left in the tank - along with his leadership and experience - to help them make a serious playoff run. Yeah...didn't exactly pan out.

Ryan was abysmal in 2022, accounting for an eye-opening 28 turnovers on 13 INTs and 15 fumbles. The 37-year-old looked every bit his age (and then some) behind a high-paid Colts offensive line that turned out to be one of the NFL's worst units in '22. His 14 passing TDs were a career-low for him in a single season, while he failed to reach 3,500 passing yards for the first time since 2010.

He currently has 12 million reasons not to retire, as Indy owes him $12 million for 2023, which will be fully guaranteed if he's cut but not if he retires.

Needless to say, Ryan will be cut, and after that official business is over and done, he should view his final payday from the Colts as a retirement gift and call it a career, as he has no juice left in his arm and nothing left to prove.

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