A quarterback passing for 4,000 yards in a season was once a major accomplishment and now it’s the new normal for the NFL’s top passers.
The first quarterback in league history to top 4,000 yards in a single season was Joe Namath in 1967. It did not happen again until Dan Fouts threw for 4,082 yards in 1979. There were 14 4,000-yard seasons by quarterbacks in the 1980s, 22 in the 1990s, 47 in the 2000s and 102 in the 2010s.
In 2019, 11 different quarterbacks passed for over 4,000 yards. Of those quarterbacks, two accomplished the feat for the first time: Eagles’ Carson Wentz and Cowboys' Dak Prescott. I believe 2020 will produce three first-timers.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Prior to the 2019 season, Jimmy Garoppolo had just 10 starts and 361 passing attempts since entering the league in 2014. Despite his flashy success across that span and a contract that paid him like a top starter, Garoppolo was still very unproven.
Last season, Garoppolo quarterbacked the 49ers to a 13-3 record in the regular season and two playoff victories before suffering a loss to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. He completed 69.1% of his passes for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns in his first full season as a starter. Garoppolo nearly topped 4,000 yards in 2019 and he should surpass it in 2020.
Garoppolo is entering his fourth season with Kyle Shanahan and his comfort level in the offensive system should lead to outstanding production in addition to his growth with wide receiver Deebo Samuel. San Francisco invested a first-round draft pick on wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to go with Samuel, tight end George Kittle and a host of potent young receivers.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
The 2019 season didn’t go anything like what Baker Mayfield and the Browns envisioned, especially after Mayfield’s historic rookie season. Mayfield’s passing efficiency and production took a major dip as Cleveland failed to fortify the offensive line and Freddie Kitchens disappointed as the head coach.
With an improved offensive line and fresh leadership in Kevin Stefanski, it’s not far-fetched to think Mayfield can restore the magic of his rookie season and build upon that.
The Browns will feature a fair amount of 12-personnel and Mayfield targeting tight ends Austin Hooper and David Njoku should lead to more efficiency. Mayfield should find more consistency with Odell Beckham Jr. in their second season together while Rashard Higgins’ role in the offense should be restored.
Mayfield came within reach of 4,000 yards in both of his NFL seasons so far, but 2020 is the year he goes over the top.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray’s rookie season was littered with high-level flashes and hints of dynamic playmaking ability. Murray, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft and NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, completed 64.4% of his passes for 3,722 yards with 20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 87.4.
Those numbers are outstanding for a rookie passer, but even more impressive when considering Murray was just a one-year starter in college. In his second season as the starter in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and the DeAndre Hopkins’ addition to the receiving corps, Murray should take a major step forward and easily surpass 4,000 passing yards.
- Aug 17, 2022
- Aug 17, 2022