The former Bengal rates Burrow as having surpassed Mahomes as the NFL’s top quarterback

If you ask a random group of people who they believe is the most talented quarterback in the NFL, you are likely to hear a variety of responses. The majority of people would probably pick Patrick Mahomes, the current MVP, but there are some people who might prefer Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts, or Joe Burrow, just to mention a few examples. Mahomes is the reigning MVP. Carson Palmer, a quarterback who formerly played for the Cincinnati Bengals, is a member of the Burrow Backers.

Joe Burrow vs. Patrick Mahomes: Why the Bengals QB has held his own, with off-script plays a stunning strength -

During an appearance on The QB Room podcast, Palmer was quoted as saying, “I think Joe [Burrow] is the best quarterback in the league,” as was reported by “I am aware that Patrick Mahomes is a terrific quarterback, but I believe that Joe is more consistent. He is more reliable than others. He is more accountable to run the system and the play that is called and not feel like, ‘Well, he didn’t win the last time and get open for me, so I’m going to do it with my feet,’ and before you know it, you’re sacked for a four-yard loss because you tried to make two or three guys miss. He is more accountable to run the system and the play that is called.

“Joe is just — talk about not having a weakness — mentally strong, physically tough, accurate, able to throw it far enough, fast enough, gets the ball out quick, and then he can actually do a lot with his legs. He’s got it all.” He just doesn’t exhibit it very often. I believe that he is just as athletic outside of the pocket and that he is capable of doing many of the same things that Patrick Mahomes has done. He hasn’t carried it out and demonstrated it as of yet. He has played more consistently within the confines of his system and approach. However, in my opinion, he is the league’s most talented quarterback.

Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Joe Burrow on the Preseason: 'I've Been Lobbying' to Play - Sports Illustrated Cincinnati Bengals News, Analysis and More

There are, without a doubt, points that can be made in support of Burrow, but the ones that Palmer presented are actually factors that are likely to tip the scales in the direction of Mahomes.

Mahomes is the most reliable quarterback in the league and quite possibly in the history of the position. Every year over his five years as a starting quarterback, he has a completion percentage that ranges from 65.9 to 67.1% of the throws he attempts. Every year except for one, his average number of yards gained per pass attempt has been between 8.1 and 8.8 yards, and he has an interception rate that ranges from 1.0 to 2.1% of the passes he attempts. He has won the Most Valuable Player award twice, the Offensive Player of the Year award once, and two Super Bowls. Additionally, his team has played host to the AFC championship game every year that he has been a starting player.

Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow Took Different Paths to the AFC Championship - The New York Times

Because of his minuscule 3.9% career sack percentage, it is extremely unlikely that Mahomes will ever be brought down by an opposing player. (Burrow’s, as a point of comparison, is 7.5%.) You could make the argument that Mahomes has had better protection, and you would be right. However, this would be nullified by the fact that Burrow has taken a sack on 23.8% of his pressured dropbacks throughout his career, which is the third-highest rate among 42 qualified quarterbacks over the past five years, while Mahomes’ 11.1% sack-to-pressure rate is the second-lowest rate among the same group of players. (It is important to point out that Burrow made significant strides in this area in 2022, but he was not even near to being on par with Mahomes.) It is true that Mahomes has scrambled the ball more frequently than Burrow has when under pressure (17.7% of pressured dropbacks vs. 12.1%), and he has gained a significant amount more yards per scramble when doing so (7.8 vs. 6.1).

Patrick Mahomes vs Joe Burrow: Has the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback found his match in Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals? | NFL News | Sky Sports

Nothing about this should be taken to imply that Burrow is not outstanding or that he is not indisputably the league’s most talented quarterback. (Even if it is highly unlikely that he is, given Mahomes’ outstanding performance in all aspects.) It basically implies that Palmer chose the wrong foundation on which to rest his case, because the aspects of quarterback play in which he decided to focus Burrow rather than Mahomes are aspects in which Mahomes is unquestionably superior. This is because Palmer chose to highlight Burrow.

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