Career Total Adjusted Yards Above Replacement

charlie frye
A replacement level career.

Yesterday, I discussed two different ways to use Total Adjusted Yards and its derivatives to calculate career value above replacement for each season. The explanation of the methodology is somewhat tedious, so I won’t besiege your senses with it again today. If you’re interested, the full breakdown is available in yesterday’s linked post.

Today, I’m going to use the same model to find career value above replacement. There are two ways to do this: I can find each player’s weighted value per play and multiply it by his career volume, or I can simply add each individual season’s final results together. Aside from the occasional rounding fluke in Excel, these two methods produce the same results, so I decided to go with the latter, easier option.

Keep in mind, once again, that when I say “career” here, I really mean “career since 1992 (because my data doesn’t go back further than that).” This means that early legends like Sid Luckman, Sonny Jurgensen, and Terry Bradshaw are not included in the list. It also means that luminaries whose careers straddled 1992 will have some (Dan Marino, John Elway) or most (Joe Montana) of their value ignored.

With that in mind, let’s check out the list.

Total Adjusted Yards Above Replacement

This table shows the replacement level stats for every quarterback with at least 750 plays since 1992 (146 players in all). Read it thus: Peyton Manning has 9914 career plays and has produced 97322 Total Adjusted Yards and 82298 New Total Adjusted Yards. That’s 9.82 TAY/P and 8.30 NTAYP. With the replacement level baseline set at 75% of league average, he has 40831 TAY and 35881 New TAY above replacement. With the replacement level baseline set at one standard deviation below league average, he has 38191 TAY and 35202 New TAY above replacement.

Peyton Manning991497322822989.828.3040831358813819135202
Tom Brady850379779658899.387.7530097250622729224068
Drew Brees859980395661609.357.6929646244762699823661
Brett Favre1121090224732418.056.5328792225652720323072
Ben Roethlisberger607055875464409.217.6519579166741766416049
Aaron Rodgers467546235383899.898.2117802151051602114343
Philip Rivers583754180440549.287.5518975151881683114341
Steve Young372236329304919.768.1916743143041604914302
Steve McNair539444460380898.247.0615182139311433414065
Carson Palmer583950762424448.697.2716054139521435713492
Donovan McNabb630851029420538.096.6715521128361464813135
Tony Romo470644343366009.427.7816154135111455812909
Mark Brunell551543182367737.836.6713360121711250312303
Kurt Warner444439054318188.797.1614314114581363211624
Matt Ryan490943989368538.967.5113922122421193411314
Eli Manning665253841445088.096.6913990118151194811188
Jeff Garcia426536198302578.497.0912750109201207911038
Drew Bledsoe752653556443607.125.8912645105561172910980
Trent Green419435928296078.577.0612916105691236510811
Troy Aikman406233415281768.236.9411945104471130610533
Matt Hasselbeck594146784386147.876.5012519104321136410447
Vinny Testaverde542741469341257.646.291221999301151110220
Dan Marino389132242269838.296.931163299611103210054
Michael Vick430834838301398.097.009736949888519429
Rich Gannon413433097274038.016.63110599189103879257
John Elway376230285253498.056.7410309884097028918
Daunte Culpepper397932016267108.056.719976851294748744
Kerry Collins692048314396306.985.7310025803792168482
Matt Schaub354731677259498.937.3210485859195728393
Brad Johnson481836142295097.506.1210076800992298040
Jay Cutler488039912327068.186.7010337847387667948
Jake Plummer500136205300187.246.008883741883847819
Marc Bulger348827697229617.946.587915667675937007
Chad Pennington274923407194678.517.087818662475906908
Cam Newton314428077239008.937.608524786768166894
Chris Chandler405629509244847.286.047880661672716727
David Garrard277122905195738.277.066769637464986607
Warren Moon351526188217977.456.207439629769256417
Jeff George355426450218807.446.167502622269756330
Joe Flacco450035999292308.006.508435666068135988
Matthew Stafford403433976273848.426.799030692170895913
Aaron Brooks351825891217047.366.176500568160555871
Jeff Blake389228065230367.215.927070571664355771
Neil O'Donnell336824599204467.306.076678562762185770
Russell Wilson224721422180989.538.057382657860075763
Jon Kitna502234592284646.895.676755554160125710
Jake Delhomme319824566200167.686.266369504261285388
Doug Flutie215117209147318.006.855749528253595258
Randall Cunningham250619085161107.626.435778511354625227
Jim Harbaugh349224454203397.005.825915502554645186
Steve Beuerlein318223030189697.245.966010489956015049
Kordell Stewart307721324184246.935.994853482143764879
Elvis Grbac273720536167977.506.145957476154664760
Gus Frerotte347924917202967.165.835917462353954755
Stan Humphries260419308160477.416.165481463450604676
Scott Mitchell267319207164577.196.164889464344374671
Brian Griese317623380188997.365.955902446055084651
Jim Kelly248718398153827.406.185199449148014529
Ryan Fitzpatrick399830568250027.656.256055489346454350
Jeff Hostetler228316926143287.416.284780430943884318
Andy Dalton282723830194928.436.896243505847534230
Jim Everett262719137157137.285.985156417847224208
Andrew Luck237820386170218.577.165560486042144073
Alex Smith426332255258997.576.086430473247884029
Jason Campbell285922101177497.736.215177390446263913
Kyle Orton295122711183117.706.205118392244903865
Erik Kramer215615969132557.416.154440372541313809
Jay Fiedler203815055125207.396.143990337936573406
Byron Leftwich180513362112517.406.233179284930343035
Colin Kaepernick176414885126688.447.183853363427982996
Josh Freeman231917764146157.666.303645305129972855
Bobby Hebert16471213798817.376.003555279232882823
Charlie Batch190313566111047.135.833226256529432620
Ryan Tannehill255520104166187.876.504062345125862599
Dave Krieg201113973113036.955.623264246029782533
Vince Young162212132101747.486.272704246024372508
Boomer Esiason234816174127756.895.443656242533012498
Matt Cassel295221350171517.235.813478252327822410
Joe Montana890755562688.497.042789233026252322
Robert Griffin13901159994778.346.823006243222662000
Trent Dilfer366422627182226.184.972712176322421972
Steve Bono14951041385466.975.722347189421151928
Mike Tomczak1335939577107.045.782359191421411927
Derek Anderson16701186798647.115.912037181517791888
Kirk Cousins1013905473628.947.272641208819621693
Shaun Hill13221022781687.746.182266166020251671
Rob Johnson1086767064727.065.961825163816611666
Brian Hoyer1098919877428.387.052265205715891662
Tony Banks282517419140196.174.962351156519351655
Craig Erickson1251860971116.885.681913157917151600
Chad Henne218215664126367.185.792414181217301552
Nick Foles13721140790528.316.602815199420031527
Mark Sanchez253917806144937.015.712228174114911504
Sam Bradford250418383146387.345.852860187719041489
Rodney Peete201712646103396.275.131768133815571486
Kent Graham1560975781886.255.251487135812881431
Wade Wilson909637853087.025.841600134815031415
John Friesz938676355457.215.911745140115901414
Ty Detmer1085756661596.975.681840143816091407
Mark Rypien1320872770236.615.321801129116501375
Josh McCown230115542127466.755.541854146411691287
Joey Harrington275917402137936.315.00186594616611268
Chris Miller1287852469296.625.381597121214261262
Rex Grossman16861146892736.805.501611118013281223
Damon Huard1079755061127.005.661517115013621206
Tarvaris Jackson1275914974337.185.831560120612891194
David Carr278917301137966.204.95154676814161157
Tommy Maddox1352880872116.515.331437112712301156
Quincy Carter1177756363586.435.40114210649111036
Jake Locker852664255297.806.4913571190955972
Billy Joe Tolliver1189740160926.225.121073863947938
Tim Rattay805549645506.835.65939773954935
Jim Miller1140747260076.555.2713139241093904
Shaun King912591349116.485.38972824893902
Seneca Wallace897627051606.995.75983835877892
Trent Edwards1060736958636.955.5311337551047873
Tim Couch19951208897216.064.871309827968828
Rick Mirer247814349117875.794.76997769619821
Dave Brown20071196997075.964.841105753789785
Teddy Bridgewater1007805664018.006.3616241112967736
Shane Matthews908596347446.575.221064699935726
Matt Moore868605550276.985.79832755622712
Bubby Brister989612549456.195.00852578752654
Colt McCoy1008716258147.115.77967745657631
Patrick Ramsey1018645751756.345.08763460705585
Derek Carr1268937476697.396.0512561001455541
Brandon Weeden1069787262847.365.881211797699535
Jay Schroeder753453437666.025.00573492489534
Blake Bortles1282941076907.346.001196939379474
Kevin Kolb866608148037.025.55811483606444
Kelly Holcomb997623749166.264.93736369585411
Christian Ponder1256868769676.925.55924584410338
Frank Reich823457938045.564.6218818460200
J.P. Losman1143689154436.034.7638794253185
Geno Smith1044722659036.925.6571458574181
Kyle Boller17631024582375.814.67182-7294177
A.J. Feeley832500839886.024.79189-8214172
Todd Collins839481237895.744.522683313970
Charlie Frye813461536795.684.52-5-112-91-47
Chris Weinke803425333925.304.22-88-184-294-245
David Klingler879450335215.124.01-172-350-276-300
Bruce Gradkowski825458435535.564.31-227-379-313-319
JaMarcus Russell780421432405.404.15-405-537-424-417
Danny Kanell1060528341554.983.92-397-552-491-454
Blaine Gabbert1247729556355.854.52-508-790-1047-1036
Ryan Leaf779297022283.812.86-1257-1279-1293-1180

As you may have expected, quarterbacks who played at a high level for an extended period of time rate at the top of the list. That’s obvious. You’ll be hard pressed to find any decent statistical analysis that doesn’t put Manning on top. If you don’t think he belongs there for other reasons, I hear you, but there’s no denying his statistical dominance.

The same can be said for Tom Brady and Drew Brees. They didn’t dominate the stat sheets as consistently as Manning did, but they were always near the top of the league and stayed there or a very long time. In fact, since they both broke out around the 2006 season, their output has been every bit as good as Manning’s.

When I looked at career value over average, Brett Favre didn’t fare as well as you may expect.1 However, when we lower the baseline to replacement level, Favre jumps to fourth. I think this probably aligns more closely with how the average fan views him. He had a handful of truly remarkable seasons, but he generally just played pretty well for a very long time.

Aaron Rodgers and Steve Young are in the lower-volume-ultra-high-efficiency category. They both rank in the top eight (by the last column), despite having far fewer action plays than any of their peers. Both men had advantage of learning behind Hall of Fame quarterbacks and not having a decline phase factored into their stats. Young got injured before seeing a significant downturn in his production, and Rodgers just (probably) hasn’t reached that point in his career yet.2

The famed class of 2004 offers some possible surprises. Philip Rivers is often seen as the successor to Dan Fouts – a QB who puts up gaudy stats but can’t win the big one – while Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning are the gritty guys who win through sheer tyranny of will. Eli’s place on the list jibes with that view, as he’s stuck in between Matt Ryan and Jeff Garcia despite having a much greater volume of plays with which to accrue value. The rankings of Roethlisberger and Rivers are where the surprise lies. While the former isn’t always seen as a guy with impressive stat lines (at least until 2014), he has been an efficient passer for the majority of his likely Hall of Fame career.

There aren’t many metrics that pain Steve McNair‘s career in a Canton-bound light, but New TAY above replacement comes close. Far from just a mobile quarterback with Joe Greene‘s mentality, Air McNair produced at a prolific rate. He made throw with high degrees of difficulty and gained a significant chunk of his passing yards before his receivers ever touched the ball.

I’ll leave further observation to the readers. What stands out to you?


  1. He rated ninth, just behind Tony Romo and ahead of Philip Rivers.
  2. Young also benefits tremendously from the 1992 cutoff, as his time in Tampa Bay really brings down his value. At the time he retired, Young owned the highest passer rating in history (96.8). However, if you ignore his time with the Bucs, his career passer rating was an incredible 101.4.