Brandon Weeden is literally one of the two worst quarterbacks in the league. Of, course, the Cowboys signed him to a two-year deal.
Calling Weeden one of the two worst quarterbacks is debatable because the NFL still features Mark Sanchez and Blaine Gabbert, and breaking their stranglehold on the coveted “putrid two” designation is a feat in and of itself*. But Weeden has claimed the spot from Sanchez, though the race is close. Whether or not he is worse than Gabbert is also below.
Sanchez didn’t even start last year (he was benched in favor of Geno Smith), but he was so awful that he grand-fathered into the putrid two with Blaine Gabbert, who we’ll get to.
QBR, ESPN’s quarterback metric and one of the closest things in football to sabermetrics, rated Weeden much worse than Sanchez. In their last two years of consistent starting, Weeden’s average final-year QBR was 26.2. Sanchez’ was a comparatively rosey 30.9. The average is 50.
In most traditional metrics, they are much closer. Both Weeden and Sanchez, in the last two years they started, had completion percentages that hovered around 54-55%.
Both fumbled– a lot. Sanchez averaged a .77 fumbles per game, and Weeden trailed him at .47, though their numbers are similar if you strip out rushing fumbles.
Both threw interceptions at roughly the same rate as well. Sanchez threw 1.16 interceptions per game his last two years starting, and Weeden threw 1.13.
Weeden and Sanchez are about equal in how badly they play, at least statistically, but Sanchez threw more touchdowns. With this 36 interceptions his last two years came 39 touchdowns. He threw 1.08 touchdowns per interception. By the same metric, Weeden threw .88.
To boil down the evidence, Sanchez throws more touchdowns but coughs up the ball more, and the rest is mostly a wash.
It appears we have a tie, except in QBR, where Weeden takes his spot as one of the worst two quarterbacks in the league.
But is he truly the worst? He faces Blaine Gabbert for the title.
If we are consistent between the three quarterbacks, and only use the last two years they consistently started, than Gabbert is still worse. His TD/INT ratio is better than Weeden’s, but he fumbled 23 times in 25 games and threw for only ~5.6 yards per attempt, compared to Weeden’s 6.5. His other numbers are either similar of worse.
But I must mention Gabbert’s third season, one that only lasted three games, because it was so bad that it cannot be ignored. His QBR (remember the average is 50) was 1.8, by far the worst recorded since the statistic’s inception. He threw one touchdown and 7 interceptions. Had he started the entire season, he was on pace for 5 touchdowns, 37 interceptions, and at least 11 fumbles.
Without a doubt, Gabbert is the worst quarterback in the league.
Luckily, the Cowboys gave a two year deal to only the second-worst quarterback in the league.
* Notably, all three are considerably better than I ever could be. In the grand scheme of things, all are great quarterbacks. By the NFL’s standards, they are not.