We look at some major veteran quarterbacks who changed teams
Veteran players know what it takes to make it in the NFL. It’s not a forgiving league and doesn’t offer many chances. Quarterbacks know this more than anyone. These signal callers have changed teams this year, but they’re not just hoping to prolong their careers, they’re hungry, and they’re after a Super Bowl.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Out of all the veteran quarterbacks who in are in their first year with a new team, Cousins is easily in the best situation. The Vikings were 13-3 last season and made it to the NFC Championship game, losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Eagles. That kind of success, coupled with a fully guaranteed 3 year, $84 million deal is what lured him to Minnesota to be the signal caller for the Vikings. For years, Cousins had been single-handedly keeping a dysfunctional, inept Washington Redskins team relevant. Since being named starter for Washington in 2015, he has not missed a game and is the only active quarterback to pass for 4,000+ yards in every season that he has started. Last season he accomplished that with Jamison Crowder as his number one wide receiver, who only had 789 receiving yards. Imagine what he will do with electric playmakers Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen lining up on either side. Cousins will have two more things helping him that he never had in Washington; a defense and a running game. The Vikings had the top-ranked defense last season and that is helpful to any quarterback. It’s not easy always playing from behind with poor field position, the Vikings defense will give Cousins plenty of opportunities to put up points. Cousins won’t be asked to win every game by himself like he was in Washington. Running backs Dalvin Cook and Latavious Murray give Cousins the most well rounded offense he’s ever been a part of. The run game should keep defenses honest and take pressure off the extremely accurate Cousins, who loves to take shots downfield. Watch for Cook to have a lot of receptions as well this season, as Cousins loves to spread the ball around to different targets. Known as an accurate passer who can control the flow of the game, Cousins consistently and effectively spreads the ball around. With this loaded roster on both sides of the ball, Cousins is in line for another impressive year. He will be giving opposing defensive coordinators nightmares as they try to make a game plan on how to stop this Vikings offense. Expect the Vikings to again be Super Bowl contenders with Cousins at helm.
Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns
I’m sure many NFL fans will be rubbing their eyes and thinking, “That’s not Baker Mayfield”, when the Browns open the season. But the Browns didn’t trade a third-round pick for Tyrod Taylor and agree to pay him $15 million per year for the next two seasons just to have him hold a clipboard on the sidelines. Or did they? Nobody can be sure because nobody ever knows what the Cleveland Browns are thinking. But here’s what we do know; Tyrod Taylor has proven himself capable of winning, he led the Buffalo Bills into the playoffs last year with basically a bunch of Pee-Wee football players lining up at wide receiver. Their wide receivers were so disgraceful that running back LeSean McCoy led the team with 59 receptions. Things will look dramatically different this season in Cleveland. The Browns signed superstar speedster Jarvis Landry, who has averaged 1,000+ yards receiving in each of his 4 seasons in the league. Even more exciting than that is the return of Josh Gordon. Gordon returned to the Browns for the last 3 games of the season after sitting out 2 full seasons for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. But he quickly showed he is every bit the superstar he has always been. In those 3 games he averaged 111 ypg on a freakish 18.6 ypr. Gordon is the only player ever to record back-to-back 200 yard receiving games and a full season of him lining up at wide receiver is major game changer. Having two of the NFL’s best receivers at his disposal should benefit Tyrod Taylor and we may finally see Cleveland have a winning season and be a true contender. That’s assuming the Browns make the right choice and sit Baker Mayfield, giving him time to develop and learn under Taylor’s veteran leadership. But the Browns may not do this because, well, they are the Browns.
Case Keenum, Denver Broncos
Keenum was benched by the L.A. Rams in 2016 after 10 games into the regular season for Jared Goff. Then, in 2017, after losing Sam Bradford to a knee injury, Keenum stepped into the starting role and the results were captivating. After winning 12 regular season games, Keenum led the Vikings to the NFC Championship game, where they ultimately lost to the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. But Keenum’s stellar play earned him a 2 year, $36 million dollar deal with the Denver Broncos, where he is the unquestionable starter. Keenum has great pocket awareness and has the ability to shuffle his feet for those extra couple seconds needed to find a receiver downfield. He never looked flustered and showed aggressiveness when looking for open targets. His receivers repaid his confidence in them, making huge plays on 3rd down regularly. With targets like Damarious Randall and Emmanuel Sanders, Keenum should be able to find that comfort again. Denver has a great defense and should be giving Keenum and the offense great field position all year. With Keenum leading this team, we should be expecting the Denver Broncos to return to their status as contenders.