What's that saying about the best-laid plans?
Last Thursday, we kicked off our countdown of the 32 best quarterbacks currently employed by an NFL team. Three days later - at least somewhat out of the blue - the New England Patriots inked former NFL MVP Cam Newton to a one-year contract.
Even though it involves a detour in our countdown, it would seem inexcusable not to have Newton on the list in some form. Perhaps it would have been even if he hadn't signed with a team before the conclusion of this countdown.
So rather than ranking the 32 best quarterbacks for the 2020 NFL season, this exercise will become the top 33 quarterbacks for the upcoming season. Here's what we have so far:
33. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
32. Dwayne Haskins, Washington Professional Football Team
31. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
30. Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots
29. Nick Foles, Chicago Bears
28. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
27. Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Without further ado, here are the next six quarterbacks on RADIO.COM Sports' countdown of the top 33 for the 2020 NFL season:
26. Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers
Bridgewater is unquestionably one of the 32 best quarterbacks in the NFL, but one question has always lingered for him - does he have a higher ceiling than just being a capable starter? It's true, in Drew Brees' absence he led the Saints to a 5-0 record last season, but Michael Thomas and Sean Payton won't be joining him in Carolina. That said, Bridgewater will be reunited with Joe Brady in Carolina, so he'll run a similar offense. His group of skill-position talent - Christian McCaffrey, Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel - is also better than anything Cam Newton ever had at his peak. The guess here is that Bridgewater ends up being a placeholder for a few seasons before Matt Rhule and the Panthers turn things over to a younger quarterback. From the sense of establishing a culture, he's a pretty good option.
25. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Is it disrespectful to have Tannehill this low a season after he helped the Titans to reach the AFC Championship Game? Perhaps, but you are left to wonder whether the 31-year-old, who usurped Marcus Mariota last October, didn't catch lightning in a bottle to a degree. It's also worth pointing out that while he helped the Titans reach the AFC Championship Game, the reason they were in that situation was largely because Derrick Henry went on one of the greatest runs in NFL history. Tannehill certainly reminded the NFL world that he is a starting quarterback in 2019, and probably that he wasn't appropriately appreciated during his time in Miami. From here, though, it's hard to imagine him (or the Titans) topping what happened in 2019.
24. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
It's pretty hard to be a top-five pick in New York City and still have a feeling like the jury is out after two years, but here we are with Darnold. He's unquestionably been dealt a bad hand in New York, with two head coaches in as many NFL seasons. Nothing that happened in 2019 leaves you with the feeling that Adam Gase is a great fit in New York, either. It's also not Darnold's fault that he got mono last season, costing him three games. He did lead the Jets to a 7-6 record last year in games he played, despite playing behind a disastrous offensive line. The Jets used their first-round pick on former Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, which will hopefully help rectify that situation. However, the team let wide receiver Robby Anderson walk in free agency, weakening an already unimpressive group of skill-position talent. For the third consecutive season, Darnold will be left to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation.
23. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
A year after leading LSU to the National Championship, Burrow will bring his immense confidence to Cincinnati, after the Bengals made him the No. 1 overall pick. Even though they went just 2-14 last season and haven't won a playoff game since before Burrow was born, this actually isn't a terrible spot to land. A.J. Green will return after missing the entirety of the 2019 season, and he's part of a group of skill-position talent that includes Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, John Ross III and Auden Tate. The Bengals aren't going to compete for the playoffs in 2020, but if Zac Taylor can coach, Burrow will lead the Bengals to four or so more wins than they had a season ago.
22. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Despite being coached by the eventually-dismissed Pat Shurmur and having to navigate through a curious second season from Saquon Barkley, Jones looked worthy of the No. 6 overall pick in his first NFL season. In 12 starts, Jones tossed 24 touchdowns and was picked off 12 times, a pretty impressive ratio for a rookie. He also ran for 279 yards, displaying the ability to take off when needed, something that's essentially a requirement in today's game. The biggest issue that Jones needs to fix from his rookie season is his fumbling, as he led the NFL with 18 fumbles. That should be something that's correctable, especially if he has better protection after the Giants used the No. 4 overall pick on former Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. Jones may not have the ceiling of being a top-five starter, but he projects as someone capable of being a top-half-of-the-league starter for a long time.
21. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
2020 can't be a make-or-break year for Goff because the Rams are essentially tied to the former No. 1 overall pick contractually through the 2022 season. However, after the Rams' offense laid an egg in Super Bowl LIII, Goff saw massive regression in 2020. In his age-25 season, Goff was asked to throw a league-high 626 times, and ended up being picked off a career-high 16 times. Don't listen to the spin, Sean McVay is a really good offensive mind. He'll need to do a better job putting Goff in situations to be successful this year, including running the ball more, which one would expect after they spent a second-round pick on Cam Akers. Still, Goff will take home over $31 million in 2020, and his individual performance needs to reflect as such.