Quarterbacks drive the NFL in every way imaginable.
Now it’s more than ever. It’s why they are pushing back against their employers, with quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson all hinting that playing for another team might be a good option.
That’s because their importance and value has never been greater, especially in an era of wide-open football.
My 2021 NFL Top 100 list is just more proof of that.
There are five quarterbacks in the top 10, with Patrick Mahomes at the top. The others are Rodgers, Tom Brady, Wilson and Josh Allen. That doesn’t even include Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, who was a top 10 player last year after earning MVP honors in 2019.
When he was seventh on my list last year, I wrote about how quickly things change in this league. He wasn’t even on the list the year before. This year, that’s Allen of the Buffalo Bills.
He was nowhere on my list last year, even though I thought he had a chance to make big strides in 2020. I just didn’t think he’d make the strides that he did. Now he’s 10th on this list.
I did have a Josh Allen on the list last year — but it was Josh Allen of the Jaguars, who didn’t come close to playing to that level in 2020 as injuries hurt his numbers.
Buffalo’s Allen is now an MVP candidate, even if there are some out there who still wonder if he’s a one-hit wonder. They shouldn’t. He’s a star now, one of the many who make up this list.
In addition to the five quarterbacks in the top 10, there are nine other quarterbacks on the list. That’s a total of 14, or almost half of the starters in the league.
Quarterbacks rule the NFL, and they always have.
Now there is no doubt about it.
JUST MISSED: Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos; Kenny Golladay, WR, New York Giants; John Johnson, S, Cleveland Browns; Quinnen Williams, DT, New York Jets; Adrian Amos, S, Green Bay Packers; Tyron Smith, T, Cowboys; Micah Hyde, S, Buffalo Bills; Rodney Hudson, C, Arizona Cardinals; Eric Kendricks, LB, Minnesota Vikings; Jonathan Jones, CB, New England Patriots; Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders; Patrick Peterson, CB, Minnesota Vikings; Mechi Becton, T, New York Jets; Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys; Ryan Ramczyk, T, New Orleans Saints; Fletcher Cox, DT, Eagles; Ali Marpet, G, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans; Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team; Jack Conklin, T, Cleveland Browns; Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Tennessee Titans; D.J. Humphries, T, Arizona Cardinals; Taylor Moton, T, Carolina Panthers; Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints; Marcus Williams, S, New Orleans Saints; Orlando Brown, T, Kansas City Chiefs; Anthony Harris, S, Philadelphia Eagles; Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders; James Bradberry, CB, New York Giants; Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns; Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns; David DeCastro, G, Pittsburgh Steelers; Darius Slay, CB, Eagles; Brian Burns, DE, Carolina Panthers; Shelby Harris, DT, Denver Broncos; Marcus Maye, S, New York Jets; Brandon Linder, C, Jaguars; Bradley Chubb, EDGE, Denver Broncos; Chris Harris, CB, Los Angeles Chargers; J.C. Tretter, C, Cleveland Browns.