After Carson Palmer gets traded to the Cardinals, four teams will have acquired starting/recognizable backup quarterbacks in the past week.
On Saturday the Bills signed Kevin Kolb. On Monday the Bay Area teams both got new quarterbacks on Monday when Matt Flynn was traded to the Raiders and Colt McCoy was traded to the 49ers.
With Flynn being traded to Oakland, Carson Palmer will get his wish and be traded away. Right now he’s having talks with Arizona and appears to be a Cardinal within the next few days.
None of these guys are Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but they all have a chance to prove that they deserve to start despite being thrown to the curb numerous times in their careers.
Kevin Kolb, for example, was a second round pick in 2007 by the Eagles. After trading Donovan McNabb following the 2009 season, Kolb was the opening day starter in 2010. However, he got a concussion in their first game and Michael Vick never game him a chance to take the job back.
Because Vick did so well, Kolb became expendable and was traded to Arizona. Once there, he struggled to stay on the field due to more injuries and was cut following the 2012 season.
Matt Flynn, meanwhile, rode the bench in Green Bay from 2008 through 2011. However, he made two impressive showings there, almost beating New England in primetime in 2010 and throwing for a franchise-record six touchdown passes and another franchise-record 480 yards in the 2011 season finale. That made the Seahawks jump all over him, giving him a three-year, $26 contract.
For Flynn, though, he never saw the field in Seattle because third-round pick Russell Wilson exceeded expectations and almost led the Seahawks to the NFC championship.
Colt McCoy was oft-injured in Cleveland and never had the full support of the front office, as evidenced by them selecting Brandon Weeden in the first round last year. McCoy rode the bench there, too, despite many people believing Weeden didn’t deserve to start.
Finally, Carson Palmer, the first overall pick in 2003, was on the doorstep to stardom in Cincinnati when his knee got torn up in the 2005 playoffs against the Steelers. He recovered from the injury but was never the same.
Following the 2010 season, Palmer said he’d retire if he wasn’t traded away from the Bengals. After the front office wouldn’t budge, the Raiders came out of nowhere and gave the Bengals a first- and second-round pick to acquire the then-31 year old quarterback. After two seasons without a playoff appearance, Palmer once again wants to leave his team, and following the Flynn trade, look like he’ll again get his wish.
It doesn’t sound like these guys can really make a difference, but Buffalo has been trying to find a quarterback since Jim Kelly retired in 1996. The Raiders haven’t had a formidable guy since Rich Gannon. The 49ers have Colin Kaepernick, but they know their starter can go down at any time. And the Cardinals have never had a good quarterback since moving from St. Louis, save from Kurt Warner in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
It’s tough to be an NFL player. It’s tougher to be a quarterback. But all four of these guys know they’re not slam-dunks at their new destinations. They’ve experienced plenty of valleys, just like their new teams have (except the 49ers). Opportunity awaits, though, and once the season starts, like it or not, at least three of these guys will be starting, and their expectations will be up there with the elite signal callers in the NFL.