Benched or hurt? Here's how many NFL teams have started two quarterbacks in 2022

Which NFL quarterbacks have been benched in 2022? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

There’s no question about it: The NFL is a quarterbacks league in 2022.

While that indisputable truth presses on the minds of all football coaches and GMs throughout the season, there’s still a hesitation to pull the plug on one signal caller and send him to the bench in favor of another.

Is the timing right? What will it do to the other 51 men in the locker room? Questions persists yet decisions must be made. Waiting too long could kill a season.

Did the New York Jets wait too long to sit Zach Wilson or is now the precise time for Mike White to get his turn as an NFL starting QB? There’s no simple answer. 

Just look at the Pittsburgh Steelers, another team to officially announce a quarterback change this season. Despite going with rookie QB Kenny Pickett, the team has still had to resort back to Week 1 starter Mitch Trubisky. Coincidentally Trubisky and Wilson are both former No. 2 overall draft picks. The only other benched QB of the 2022 season? Carson Wentz of the Washington Commanders. Wentz, also a No. 2 overall pick, went down with a finger injury early in the season but has since been replaced by Taylor Heinicke.

Injuries happen. So does bad luck. This is the NFL. Nothing is perfect.

Let’s take a look at the teams scrambling to find the right signal caller this year. 

How many teams have started two quarterbacks in 2022?

Almost half the league -- 14 teams to be exact -- have started two or more quarterbacks this season.

The AFC East has seen the most QB turnover in 2022. Joe Flacco, Skylar Thompson, Teddy Bridgewater, Brian Hoyer and Bailey Zappe have all been tapped for starts, and Mike White is set to join the list in Week 12 after Zach Wilson was benched.

Elsewhere in the AFC, the Steelers have gone back and forth between Trubisky and Pickett with the latter being tapped as the team’s starter moving forward. In the AFC West, the Broncos have started Russell Wilson and Brett Rypien. The QB switch was due to Wilson’s injury before Denver’s Week 7 loss to the Jets – not because of performance, which has been lackluster for DangeRuss in 2022.

The AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans started rookie Malik Willis in place of Ryan Tannehill in Weeks 8 and 9 due to injury before the veteran returned in Week 10.

In the NFC, the Commanders and Cowboys have had to go to the bench for quarterback play after starters Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott suffered finger and thumb injuries, respectively. Taylor Heinicke will remain the Commanders' starter after a strong fill-in performance, even when Wentz is healthy.

The NFC West and NFC South have been plagued by quarterback injuries. The San Francisco 49ers, Los Aneles Rams, Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers have also all had to go with backup quarterbacks after their starters suffered injuries. Jimmy Garoppolo, John Wolford, Colt McCoy, Andy Dalton and PJ Walker have all jumped into duty for those respective teams in 2022. Carolina will turn to a third starter, Sam Darnold, in Week 12.

The NFC North is the only “clean” division with all Week 1 starters still going strong through 11 weeks on their respective teams.

How many NFL quarterbacks have been benched this season?

Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger, Mitch Trubisky, Carson Wentz, Baker Mayfield and Zach Wilson are the NFL quarterbacks in 2022 to officially be benched by their teams.

NFL GM believes Mac Jones will be available for trade next offseason

Who is the highest paid backup QB in the NFL?

Sam Darnold – making $7.5 million annually – is no loner the highest-paid backup, as he rejoins the group of starters in Week 12.Wentz and Trubisky now lead the group of backups. Garoppolo, who was thrust into action in Week 2 for injured San Francisco starter Trey Lance, is the third highest paid backup at $7 million in 2022.

Next is Bridgewater with $6.5 million to be the backup behind Tua Tagovailoa.

Do backup quarterbacks get paid more than starters?

There are currently seven backup QBs who are among the league’s top 32 highest-paid quarterbacks. The backups are: Trubisky, Garoppolo, Bridgewater, Case Keenum (Buffalo Bills), Tyrod Taylor (New York Giants), and Mason Rudolph (Pittsburgh Steelers).

Yes, that’s right. The Steelers currently own two of the 32 most expensive passers in the game, and they aren't starting either of them.

Starters who are making less than backups include: Justin Fields, Kenny Pickett, Mac Jones, Geno Smith, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts and Davis Mills.