Earlier this summer, the league's owners passed a bylaw that will have a significant impact on the upcoming season. The bylaw will permiton game days that will not count against the team's 46-man active roster.
This was a significant move by the NFL's owners. By passing this bylaw, the owners significantly reduced the chances of a repeat of last year's NFC Championship Game, when injuries at quarterback forced the 49ers to put Christian McCaffrey under center for a chunk of the team's 31-7 loss to the Eagles.
The new bylaw will impact several NFL teams and players in 2023, though we obviously don't yet know which ones. A little more than a week into the preseason, here's a look at each team's backup/third quarterback situation, and what the battle for those spots (if there is one) looks like.
Cowboys: Dallas shook things up when they traded a fourth-round pick to the 49ers to acquire former first-round pick Trey Lance. The Cowboys then waived Will Grier (more on him later) but retained fellow veteran backup Cooper Rush.
Giants: New York once again has Tyrod Taylor as Daniel Jones' backup. The only other quarterback the giants had on the roster this summer was undrafted free agent Tommy DeVito, who was waived despite having a solid camp.
Eagles: Philadelphia signed Marcus Mariota to back up Jalen Hurts, which makes sense given the two players' style of play. The Eagles also claimed Ian Book off waivers from the Saints, and drafted former Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee in the sixth round. McKee is still on the roster after beating out Book.
Commanders: Washington has Sam Howell in line to start, with Jacoby Brissett as his backup. Brissett has proven himself a capable fill-in starter over the years, and if Howell doesn't live up to expectations, he can probably steer the ship pretty well.
Bears: Currently sitting behind Justin Fields on the depth chart is undrafted free agent Tyson Bagent, who tore it up at Division II Shepherd University and in 2022 broke the record for career touchdown passes across all NCAA divisions. The Bears are reportedly looking to add another quarterback to the mix.
Lions: Detroit drafted Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker to serve as Jared Goff's backup and/or the team's quarterback of the future, but Hooker is coming off a torn ACL suffered last season and remains on the Non-Football Injury list. The Lions also recently signed Teddy Bridgewater, perhaps indicating that Hooker won't be ready for this season.
Packers: Teams with young starters will undoubtedly benefit by having an emergency quarterback at their disposal. In the Packers' case, they have two young quarterbacks in succession in starter Jordan Love and rookie backup Sean Clifford. The emergency quarterback gives Green Bay a possible third option in Alex McGough, who recently enjoyed a standout season with the USFL's Birmingham Stallions that included league and title game MVP honors.
Vikings: The Vikings shook up their quarterback room behind Kirk Cousins this offseason. They moved on from Kellen Mond and signed Nick Mullens, who had a degree of success playing in a similar offensive system to the one run by Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell when he was with the San Francisco 49ers and Kyle Shanahan. Minnesota also drafted BYU's Jaren Hall in the fifth round.
Falcons: Desmond Ridder is now the entrenched starter after supplanting Marcus Mariota last season. Logan Woodside, who has experience in Arthur Smith's system from their time together with the Titans, recently beat out former Commanders starter Taylor Heinicke for a spot on the Falcons' 53-man roster.
Panthers: Carolina made pretty dramatic changes to its quarterback room this offseason. The Panthers traded up from No. 9 to the No. 1 overall pick, where they selected Bryce Young. They chose to sign Andy Dalton in free agency to be Young's backup and mentor. Second-year QB Matt Corral remains on the roster after winning his position battle against Jake Luton.
Saints: The Saints' quarterback depth chart is pretty clear: Derek Carr will start and be backed up by Jameis Winston. Fourth-round pick Jake Haener played well enough this summer to keep his spot on the active roster.
Cardinals: Arizona appears to be angling for the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft, which would put them in position to draft USC quarterback Caleb Williams. With Kyler Murray still recovering from last year's ACL injury, the Cardinals are prepared to start the season with either rookie fifth-round pick Clayton Tune or recently acquired Josh Dobbs as their Week 1 starter.
Rams: How bad was the Rams' 2022 season? Baker Mayfield's thrilling win on "Thursday Night Football," days after he was signed by the team, was the highlight during Los Angeles' failed title defense. An emergency quarterback may benefit the Rams in the event that Matthew Stafford misses more time in 2023 after a neck injury prematurely ended his 2022 season after just nine games. Stafford is apparently healthy, but we won't see him during the preseason because the Rams don't really play their starters. Former Georgia QB Stetson Bennett won the backup job over Brett Rypien and undrafted free agent Dresser Winn.
Seahawks: We have much more clarity on Seattle's quarterback situation than we did at this time last year. Geno Smith will start, and Drew Lock will back him up. The Seahawks also had undrafted free agent Holton Ahlers in camp, but he was unable to crack Seattle's initial 53-man roster.
49ers: The NFL's new bylaw can basically be called "The 49er Rule" given it was implemented less than five months after the 49ers ran out of quarterbacks against the Eagles. Brock Purdy, who sustained his elbow injury in that game, is healthy again and will be the 49ers' Week 1 starter. Backing him up are Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen after San Francisco traded Lance to Dallas.
Bills: Buffalo may be more inclined to carry a third quarterback this season given the team's experience with Josh Allen's elbow injury last year, but with only Kyle Allen and Matt Barkley behind him on the depth chart, it may not matter all that much.
Dolphins: Like Stafford, Tua Tagovailoa missed significant time last season due to injury. While Miami surely hopes that his injury issues are behind him, having an emergency quarterback certainly doesn't hurt. With Bridgewater no longer in town, it's now Mike White behind Tua, with Skylar Thompson currently serving as the third quarterback.
Patriots: New England is obviously in the market for backup quarterbacks, as there is currently no one behind Mac Jones on the depth chart after the Patriots Bailey Zappe, former Ravens backup Trace McSorley and undrafted free agent Malik Cunningham.
Jets: There is (for now) much less drama in the Jets' quarterback room than there was last year. Aaron Rodgers is the starter and has enthusiastically taken Zach Wilson under his wing. Third stringer Tim Boyle was not retained on the Jets' initial 53-man roster.
Ravens: Baltimore is running back the same quarterback room they had a year ago with Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley. The Ravens are in the market for a third quarterback are waiving veteran Josh Johnson.
Bengals: Joe Burrow is entrenched as the stater, but given his current injury situation, the Bengals are making sure that they have adequate depth behind him. The team retained Jake Browning (who won his battle against Trevor Siemian) and recently signed Will Grier to the practice squad.
Browns: Deshaun Watson and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson currently make up the Browns' quarterback room after the team waived Kellen Mond and traded Josh Dobbs to Arizona. Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski said that Cleveland is in the process of finding its third quarterback.
Steelers: Pittsburgh kept its quarterback room in tact with Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph. Pickett is entering his first full season as a starter. Trubisky signed an extension this offseason, while Rudolph signed a one-year deal after exploring free agency for the first time.
Texans: No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud will start the year as Houston's QB1. Deposed starter Davis Mills is the backup, while Case Keenum is now around to provide depth and perhaps be the emergency passer.
Colts: Indianapolis sat put in the draft and landed former Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. New head coach Shane Steichen brought Gardner Minshew over from Philadelphia with him, and while there had been some questions about who will start under center, the Colts will go with Richardson with Minshew stationed behind him. Former 2021 sixth-round pick Sam Ehlinger is still on board as well.
Titans: Ryan Tannehill is still going to start, and it appears that Malik Willis has won his battle against rookie Will Levis to be the No. 2 quarterback in Nashville. All three quarterbacks were retained on the team's first 53-man roster.
Chiefs: Kansas City has largely rolled with just one veteran backup behind Patrick Mahomes, and this year it looks like it'll be Blaine Gabbert taking over that role from Chad Henne. Kansas City waived Shane Buechele despite a solid preseason from the former Texans quarterback
Raiders: Las Vegas signed Jimmy Garoppolo to replace Derek Carr, and former Patriots backup Brian Hoyer to replace departed backup Stidham. The Raiders also drafted fourth-round pick Aidan O'Connell, who was able to retain his spot on the active roster.