Tom Brady retires: Ranking current NFL QBs with best chance to match Buccaneers, Patriots great's legacy -

Tom Brady is officially calling it a career after 22 NFL seasons, retiring at 44 as one of, if not the, greatest quarterback of all time. The reigning Super Bowl MVP and seven-time world champion leaves behind an unprecedented resume, ending a historic run with the Patriots and Buccaneers as a 15-time Pro Bowler, three-time MVP and an arm and mind that only seemed to improve with age. Suffice to say, it's going to be hard for anyone to ever match, let alone top, Brady's achievements.

Just for fun, though, in celebration of Brady's unmatched NFL glory, which current QBs have the best chance of finishing their careers in the same conversation? Who among today's -- or tomorrow's -- signal-callers is most likely bound for Brady-level Hall of Fame success? Here's how we'd rank the candidates:

For reference, Brady retires with the following career numbers: 22 seasons, 84,520 yards, 624 TDs, 203 INTs, 97.6 rating, 243-73 record, 35-12 playoff record, 7-3 Super Bowl record.

7. Lamar Jackson (Ravens)

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You can critique his big-game performances to date, but Jackson is in the conversation because he's also a game-changer with his legs, totaling 3,673 rushing yards in four years. He's on pace to blow past the top all-time QB rushing marks held by Michael Vick, Cam Newton and Randall Cunningham. He's also helped lead playoff runs in three of his first four seasons and is buoyed by a strong support staff in Baltimore. From a sheer athletic standpoint, he's got the tools to be an all-timer.

6. Justin Herbert (Chargers)

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The only reason he's not in the top five is because he's yet to start a playoff game. But there's time. At just 23, he's got the world in front of him. Herbert is a prototypical pocket artist with one of the best arms in football. He's got an uphill battle to multiple titles just because he plays in the AFC, which is loaded with elite young QBs, but just two years in, he feels like one of the NFL's most polished vets, becoming the first QB in NFL history to throw at least 30 TDs in his first two seasons.

5. Joe Burrow (Bengals)

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It's incredibly tough to project a Hall of Fame finish after just two seasons -- one of which was shortened by a knee injury. So many things can change, and quickly, in the NFL. But Burrow's early production has matched his cool charisma. Like Herbert, he's a ready-made pocket general, except with even more of a penchant for the big play. It also helps that, two years in, he's already guided Cincinnati to a Super Bowl appearance. If he can win one at 25, he's well ahead of the game.

4. Russell Wilson (Seahawks)

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Does Wilson have another six rings in him? Probably not, but that's why Brady is Brady. Ten years in, with maybe another eight to 10 left, however, Russ has already confirmed himself as a great of his time. Setting aside his trademark elusiveness (his 4,689 career rushing yards rank fourth all-time), he's been a historically risk-averse passer with a pretty deep ball. Where he finishes his career -- in Seattle, or elsewhere -- could help determine whether he gets more cracks at multiple Lombardi Trophies.

3. Josh Allen (Bills)

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Once an afterthought because of inaccuracy in college and early in the NFL, Allen has now been the league's most consistent play-making QB this side of Patrick Mahomes for at least two years. He's a bruiser on the ground (2,325 career rushing yards) and a ridiculous big-play specialist through the air. He's also overseen three playoff runs in four years and looks increasingly closer to getting over the hump. Maybe all but a couple teams would give up countless picks to have him. All the tools are there.

2. Aaron Rodgers (Packers)

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Like Russell Wilson, Rodgers being so far into his career is bittersweet: on one hand, he's closer to the finish line than most, even considering retirement as we speak. On the other, he's already established a Hall of Fame resume, and another couple titles (easier said than done, but not impossible) would catapult him closer to Brady. He could return at 38 and easily guide another title bid, considering his gifts as a poised and precise passer.

1. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)

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The easy but right answer. Mahomes may be more human now than he was during his MVP breakout, but we take for granted how easily he plays point guard in one of the NFL's most explosive offenses. Someday, his off-script tendencies may really catch up to him, but he remains the total physical package with an uncanny ability to come alive in crunch time. Oh, and he's already been to four AFC Championships in four years as a starter. At that pace, he actually has a chance of being in Brady's ballpark.

Future NFL QBs to watch

These guys have yet to even kick off their NFL careers, but they could be in the conversation down the road. Profiles courtesy of 247 Sports' Chris Hummer:

Bryce Young (Alabama)

If you're looking for a college football quarterback with the best claim to "next," you have to start with the 2021 Heisman winner. Young was brilliant in his first year as a starter at Alabama, throwing for 4,872 yards, 47 touchdowns against seven interceptions while completing 66.9% of his passes. He did that with less talent around him than any Alabama QB in recent memory, too. Young might not look like a prototypical NFL signal caller -- he's a slight 6-foot, 194 pounds -- but he has a combination of accuracy, processing ability and a knack for extending plays both within and out of the pocket that only the best passers possess. Young rated as 247Sports' No. 1 overall player in the 2020 class. I expect him to maintain that rank and go No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Predicting pro success is a dangerous game given how much the pieces around a quarterback play a factor. But the way Young sees the game and creates magic within it gives him an excellent chance to be an impact NFL player for a long time.

Caleb Williams (USC)

I'm a big believer in Williams' talent. We saw a lot of that from Williams as a true freshman at Oklahoma. He threw for 1,912 yards, 21 touchdowns against four interceptions and completed 64.5% of his passes in about half a season as the starter. Williams is a more modern take on what's required in an NFL QB. He's not huge (6-foot-1, 218 pounds), but he's thick with true dual-threat capabilities (4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash). Williams is also creative out of the pocket and makes the spectacular feel normal. He also really cares about getting better. This is someone who's No. 1 transfer priority was NFL development. Williams is also a magnetic presence. His teammates truly gravitate to him -- check out the comeback Williams led against Texas this year -- and he can command whatever room he walks in. Williams still needs to become more consistent as a passer. He's also a long way away from being considered a future NFL Pro Bowler. But if I'm betting on talent in the college ranks, give me Williams and his upside.

Arch Manning (TBD)

It feels silly to lump Manning in this conversation with NFL and college stars. But if anyone is used to outsized expectations, it's the nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning. Currently ranked as the No. 1 overall player in the 2023 class, Manning is the next QB up in the Manning dynasty. And Cooper's son has been excellent at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans. The frame (6-foot-4) is there. The arm is there. The feel in the pocket is there. The accuracy is there. And unlike his uncles, Manning is more than a functional athlete. He can make a lot happen in off-schedule situations. There's still a lot standing between Manning and the NFL -- he hasn't even picked a college yet -- but his bloodlines are undeniable. The Mannings are quarterback royalty, and Arch, at least early on, is showing all of the requisite traits to make him yet another quarterback success story from the family.