Ranking every Cincinnati Bengals starting QB since 2000

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) - Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) - Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Since the year 2000, the Cincinnati Bengals have had 12 different quarterbacks start for the franchise. Who has impressed the most during that time? Let’s rank them all. 

When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2000, we entered the new millennium. While the 1999 NFL season was still going on, the Cincinnati Bengals played one game before the playoffs started.

The following season, they took the field in the first week of the 2000 regular season with their 1999 first-round pick, Akili Smith, ready to lead the team to victory. He was the first of 12 different starting quarterbacks to take the field for the stripes since the turn of the new millennium.

With Smith’s injury issues, Scott Mitchell saw playing time during that 2000 season as well. Starting in 2001, Jon Kitna played 46 games with Smith and Gus Frerotte sprinkled in there as well. That continued through 2004 when Carson Palmer took over as the starter.

Palmer was the starter for the next six years but did miss time in 2008, which paved the way for Ryan Fitzpatrick to add the Bengals to his lengthy list of teams he’s started for.

Cincinnati went from franchise quarterback to franchise quarterback when Palmer was traded to the Raiders and then started Andy Dalton. The same happened in 2020 when the team drafted Joe Burrow No. 1 overall. During Dalton’s reign in the Queen City, A.J. McCarron, Jeff Driskel, and Ryan Finley got in on the action whenever Dalton had to miss time. For Burrow, we saw either Finley or Brandon Allen.

Now that you know of all of the quarterbacks we’ve seen under center since the 2000 season, let’s rank them all!

*Note: Jeff Blake was not included on this list even though he did technically start for the Bengals in 2000. It was during the 1999 season, however, so I left him off. 

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference