You usually don’t hear too much about backup quarterbacks, but they are a big deal in today’s NFL. Last year, a ton of franchise quarterbacks were out due to season-ending injuries. It was super sad. Right away, at the very start of the season, Aaron Rodgers was out, and then others followed. So, now, all eyes are on backup quarterbacks going into the 2024 season. So, who’s the best NFL backup quarterback?

Who’s the Best NFL Backup Quarterback?

The NFL experts at Sports Illustrated have a recent feature out about the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL. They ranked all of the guys and picked their favorites. I’m selecting a handful to talk about, and you can find the rest via the full feature.

Their pick for No. 1 isn’t a shock. It’s Jake Browning of the Cincinnati Bengals. Browning was helped the team in the playoffs following Joe Burrow’s season-ending wrist injury, and he did well, so I think he’s a great pick for No. 1. I really can’t think of another backup quarterback that could take his place.

No. 2 is Gardner Minshew II of the Las Vegas Raiders. He was with the Colts last season and helped a lot following Anthony Richardson’s season-ending shoulder injury. Now, he’ll possibly be a starting quarterback for the Raiders, but it remains to be seen with Aidan O’Connell there.

No. 3 on the tally of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL is Joe Flacco of the Indianapolis Colts, who assisted the Browns in getting to the postseason last season.

No. 4 is Michael Penix Jr. of the Atlanta Falcons and No. 5 is Justin Fields of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fields hails from the Bears, where he had a pretty good performance as their franchise quarterback last season. He got traded this season to make way for Caleb Williams to be the new franchise quarterback for the Bears. It remains to be seen if Williams will be the deciding factor on whether the Bears can make a comeback. Fields is the backup quarterback in Pittsburgh and has a lot of expectations.

Outside of the top five is Sam Howell of the Seattle Seahawks. He was with the Commanders last season and now is with the Seahawks. He could surprise people and be one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league.

I’m happy to see these guys get some love. Being a backup quarterback is like being an understudy. You never know if you’ll be needed, but when you are, you’ll be very needed.