Madden has long been an outlier when it comes to player ratings. Other sports franchises never dared to hit the top of their ratings range. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are regularly capped at 94-95 OVR on FIFA and don't go higher than that outside of Ultimate Team. The NHL and NBA games steer clear of 99 as well even for LeBron James. Madden though, it regularly hands out a 99 OVR rating, with 7 players starting Madden 19 with the maximum rating.
However, Madden 20 looks like it might bring the NFL more in line with the rest of the sports world. A massive overhaul of player ratings has been promised, in which the tangible gap between a 90 OVR and 89 OVR player will be much bigger. This should mean that the 99 rating is much harder to earn, even for the most special and elite players in the league.
Madden ratings are a closely guarded secret, and while we got a little teaser at E3 about them, nothing concrete has been released yet. We expect them to hit in July, but that doesn't mean we can't speculate about who might be the highest rated players around the league.
This piece will look at how the quarterbacks are likely to be rated in Madden 20, and we will do so in three OVR tiers.
90+ OVR Quarterbacks
Likely quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes (KC), Tom Brady (NE), Aaron Rodgers (GB), Drew Brees (NO), Russell Wilson (SEA)
Last year both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady got a 99 OVR on launch. While Brady added to his ring collection last season, Rodgers and the Packers had a disappointing season, but I don't expect either to hold onto the max rating thanks to Brady's lack of mobility and Rodgers' poor 2018.
The only offensive player likely to receive that is the breakout start of 2018, Patrick Mahomes. The reining NFL MVP and Madden 20 cover star lit the NFL on fire last season with over 5,000 yards passing and 50 touchdowns. Even with an overhaul of the ratings, the way they have loaded up Mahomes' Superstar Abilities suggests he will be an almighty force this year, akin to Michael Vick in Madden 04. With his remarkable arm talent and ability to scramble there isn't really a hole in Mahomes' game, making a 99 rating all the more plausible.
The other two players likely to see a 90+ OVR under center are Drew Brees and Russell Wilson. Brees and the Saints had another terrific season, with the veteran completing an absurd 74.4 percent of his passes while Wilson signed the biggest contract in NFL history in the off-season after another stellar season. Both were 90+ on launch last year and there is no reason they should drop away unless Madden 20 caps Mahomes in the 94-95 range we often see Messi & Ronaldo get on FIFA.
Patrick Mahomes: 99 OVR
Tom Brady: 96 OVR
Aaron Rodgers: 93 OVR
Drew Brees: 93 OVR
Russell Wilson: 91 OVR
89-85 OVR Quarterbacks
Likely quarterbacks: Matt Ryan (ATL), Phil Rivers (LAC), Carson Wentz (PHI), Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), Andrew Luck (IND), Cam Newton (CAR), Baker Mayfield (CLE), Deshaun Watson (HOU)
This tier is full of potential Super Bowl winners and the next generation of stars. The one player likely to lead this group is former MVP Matt Ryan. Atlanta's offense has fallen away a little since their 2016 run to the Super Bowl but Ryan had a quietly brilliant season in 2018, putting up 4,924 yards, 35 touchdowns, and just 7 interceptions.
Next is Phil Rivers, the nearly-man of his generation. Once again the Chargers season came to an end against New England in the playoffs, but their veteran quarterback had another strong year and even at 37 years old is still likely to hold onto a solid rating. Another veteran likely to be in this band is the Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, who led the NFL in yards last year with 5,129.
Carson Wentz and Andrew Luck had good bounce-back years from injury and are likely to retain their respective 86 & 87 ratings from last year unless the ratings change is really severe.
One player that is at risk of slipping out of this tier is Cam Newton, who missed two games with injuries which affected his play all season. Newton was less of a threat on the ground, a big part of why he is usually rated so well, but added some accuracy thanks to more quick passes.
Two players that are likely to join this tier in Madden 20 are the young stars of Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson. Cleveland's #1 pick came in and made the franchise not only relevant but interesting. Mayfield finished his rookie season with 3,725 yards, 27 touchdowns, and some truly special moments of play. Likewise in Houston Deshaun Watson has given that franchise some hope in his first full season as a starter. Watson threw for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns despite a poor offensive line and some nagging injuries.
Matt Ryan: 89 OVR
Phil Rivers: 88 OVR
Ben Roethlisberger: 87 OVR
Andrew Luck: 87 OVR
Carson Wentz: 86 OVR
Cam Newton: 85 OVR
Baker Mayfield: 85 OVR
Deshaun Watson: 85 OVR
Likely quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford (DET), Jared Goff (LAR), Kirk Cousins (MIN), Dak Prescott (DAL), Nick Foles (JAC), Kyler Murray (ARI), Jimmy Garoppolo (SF)
This band of player are starters somewhere in Madden 20, but may not hold onto their job for very long if they are exceptionally expensive or approaching free agency. It is also likely to be home to at least one rookie that could turn their franchise around.
Matthew Stafford has long been a master of accumulating stats without making much headway in the league. In 2018 that seemed to disappear a bit as he failed to hit 4,000 yards in a full season for the first time in his career.
Jared Goff had a breakout third season as the Rams went to the Super Bowl and he threw for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns, but a shockingly poor Super Bowl performance together with the pervasive opinion that he is a system player should see his OVR limited in Madden 20.
Kirk Cousins had a solid first season in Minnesota with a career-high 30 touchdowns, but a shaky 8-7-1 record as well as a low yards/attempt (7.1) may well limit his rating too.
Dak Prescott will be an awkward one to rate for as he is solid across the board without excelling at anything in particular. He threw for just 3,885 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions in a run-first offense. He is joined in that tricky to judge category by Nick Foles and Jimmy Garoppolo. Foles was remarkable in the 2017 playoffs as he led Philadelphia to the Super Bowl but started just 5 games in 2018 and threw only 195 passes, a move to Jacksonville along with a big contract and that Super Bowl MVP award could pump up his rating, but his lack of game time could deflate it.
Jimmy Garoppolo entered Madden 19 with an 83 OVR but tore his ACL just three games and 89 passes into the 2018 season. He was looking good and there is a lot of hype around the 2019 San Francisco 49ers, but ACL injuries are often difficult for a quarterback to recover from and affect accuracy early on which could deflate his rating a little.
Matthew Stafford: 83 OVR
Jared Goff: 82 OVR
Kirk Cousins: 82 OVR
Dak Prescott: 81 OVR
Nick Foles: 81 OVR
Jimmy Garoppolo: 80 OVR
Do you agree with our predictions? How do you think the ratings overhaul will impact the quarterbacks? Let us know in the comments below!