In the NFL, the average retirement age is 27.6 (rbcwealthmanagement.com). However, quarterbacks stretch their careers out a bit out of love for the game or to retire before changing teams and causing chaos on the Madden cover (Brett Favre). Tom Brady didn’t repeat the same mistake Brett Favre did, but Brady might want to consider hanging up his boots after this year.
Looking at the three oldest starting active quarterbacks, seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady leads the pack at 45. Brady announced his return to the field after conflicting reports about him retiring. Eight weeks into the regular season, his future seems shipwrecked as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback.
His revenge tour back to the Super Bowl has some blocks in the way. First, Russell Gage, Julio Jones, and Mike Evans are dealing with injuries. In addition to them, tight end Cameron Brate is nurturing a neck injury (bucaneers.com). Brady’s options are wide receivers Chris Godwin, Breshad Perriman, and tight end Cade Otton. Brady also has Fournette and White, but Brady’s arsenal has diminished with every game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 3-5, and Brady’s fight to be the king of the hill has plenty of obstacles.
Jalen Hurts at 24 years old, turning the Philadelphia Eagles into a powerhouse to be reckoned with at 8-0. Josh Allen is 26 years old and is the odds-on favorite to win MVP this year, leading the Buffalo Bills to a 6-1 record in the AFC. Daniel Jones (24) is bringing the Giants back from the dead at 5-2, and Patrick Mahomes (27) continues his Hall of Fame-worthy career with a 5-2 record as a Kansas City Chief. Sticking to the same division, Justin Herbert (24) is doing his best to catch lightning in a bottle with the Los Angeles Chargers at 4-3. Granted, all these quarterbacks have weapons to throw to or running backs having breakout/comeback years.
There are ten weeks left in the NFL and plenty of thrills before discovering who is going to the playoffs. However, the landscape is changing, and the youth is taking over the quarterback position.
Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers (38) is having a tough time in Lambeau. Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are 3-5 this year. Rodgers has been sacked 17 times this season (statmuse), and his options are limited. Allen Lazard has emerged as the #1 WR, yet eclipsed 100 yards only once. Romeo Doubs and Robert Tonyan have yet to record over 100 receiving yards in a game, combining for four touchdowns.
The Devante Adams trade and a shaky offensive line left head coach Matt LaFleur wondering how to keep up with a divisional rival.
The Minnesota Vikings are 6-1, despite Kirk Cousins being 34. Cousins is the only exception so far when it comes to age. I’d pin their success on the defense and coaching, along with Cousins having Cook, Jefferson, Thielen, and newly acquired TJ Hockenson. Then again, Kirk is 13th in fantasy football while recording a pass and rush touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals. He might be the only one turning back the clock this year.
Another quarterback experiencing a tough time is Russell Wilson. Wilson is 33 years old, and the Denver Broncos are 3-5. In a division where he is the oldest quarterback (Carr, Mahomes, and Herbert), Wilson hasn’t been able to match the energy of his rivals. Instead, he’s dealing with the trade backlash as his former team, Seattle Seahawks is 5-3 led by Geno Smith.
Speaking of the Denver Broncos, former Bronco Joe Flacco (38) is mentoring Zach Wilson (23) in New York. Flacco doesn’t get much attention but lest we forget he is a Super Bowl MVP (47) with the Baltimore Ravens. Led by Zach Wilson, the Jets are 5-3 in a division where all teams are 4-4 or better. Both quarterbacks are getting playing time and learning how to thrive in the toughest AFC division. Joe Flacco might be retiring soon, but a mentor is an effective way to give back.
Last but not least, Matt Ryan (37) is with the Indianapolis Colts. Even with Jonathan Taylor, one of the top running backs in the league, the Colts are 3-4-1. Taylor’s status will frustrate fans as he is ruled out. The future of both these two heading into next year leaves the Colts wondering what’s next for the franchise.
Age is a factor, but another factor worth looking at is the support around these quarterbacks. Each team thriving has firepower around them on the ground, in the air, and in between the trenches. Tom Brady didn’t expect injuries to prevent him from success, and Aaron Rodgers is still navigating how to win with Davante Adams sent packing. Russell Wilson might miss his 12th man in Seattle, as he gets accustomed to being a Denver Bronco. Matt Ryan doesn’t have his running back, while Cousins is cooking in Minnesota with a new head coach.
What is the future of this current crop of talent? Well, history has shown there are opportunities available after retirement. Tom Brady already made a deal with FOX Sports for ten years, 375 million (NYPOST), so whenever he decides to call it a career that’ll be waiting for him. He’s followed in the footsteps of two others. Drew Brees retired at 42 and became an NFL analyst for CBS briefly. Tony Romo also retired at 42 and is now an NFL broadcast commentator for CBS. Meanwhile, Andrew Luck hasn’t been active in the public eye, but he did retire at 30 due to health reasons.
Whatever lies ahead for these quarterbacks, it seems to be a new Era in the NFL. Last year’s Super Bowl featured the Cincinnati Bengals who are led by Joe Burrow (25). Despite their offensive line, very few picked them to get there. This year, the Eagles and Bills are emerging as Super Bowl contenders with dual-threat quarterbacks and shut-down defense. It seems the days of pocket passers are over, and teams are scrambling to get field generals who can do it all. What that means for Brady and co. is yet to be determined. Is it time for them to hang up their boots is only a question they can answer. Until then, let’s enjoy what we have in front of us.