Which Free Agent NFL QB Will be Most Successful With His New Team?
NFL Free Agency: Which QB Will be Most Successful With His New Team?
The annual NFL quarterback carousel wasn't nearly as flamboyant this year, but there are some big names in new places and several of them will likely start for their new teams in Week 1. By now, everyone knows that Carson Palmer has been traded to the Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders replaced him by dealing for Seattle Seahawks backup passer Matt Flynn. Then you've got Alex Smith now with the Kansas City Chiefs and Kevin Kolb with the Buffalo Bills. But the questions on everyone's mind still remain unanswered: will these players start in Week 1 and if so, will they be effective?
Well, there are two former No. 1 overall picks among the four big names who are moving and there are some lesser-known passers who might surprise everyone by winning the starting job with their respective new teams. Of course, predicting the success of any quarterback in the NFL, regardless of whether he's just coming out of the draft or he's a 19-year veteran, is nearly impossible. Nonetheless, we will do our best to tell you which of the quarterbacks with new teams will sink and which ones will swim. Well, it might be more of a doggy paddle, but you get the idea.
So let's dive in, shall we? Please feel free to share your opinions on each passer and how he'll do with his new team by leaving a comment below!
Kevin Kolb, Buffalo Bills
Kolb's tenure with the Cardinals was less than spectacular and although that's partially because he spent so much time on the sidelines with injuries, he wasn't the player Arizona thought it had when it deal Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the signal-caller. Sure, Kolb had a couple of decent games with the Eagles before landing his first starting job, but that clearly didn't translate to success with the Cardinals.
Now the Bills will take their chance with Kolb, who signed with the team quickly after being released by Arizona. Buffalo is in a similar situation as the Cardinals after releasing Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was once thought to be the future of the Bills' franchise. Kolb has a few weapons with which to work in Buffalo, but don't expect any Pro Bowl appearances or playoff berths during his time there.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Now this one might be a different story. Smith was uprooted in San Francisco at the worst possible time and now the former No. 1 overall pick finds himself as the main man in Kansas City. Smith is in the ideal situation as new Chiefs coach Andy Reid runs a variable of the West Coast offense, in which Smith excelled while with the 49ers. Add in the fact KC re-signed Dwayne Bowe and Smith has a nice little offense with which to work in 2013.
Furthermore, the Chiefs have a dynamite pair of running backs in Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis to keep the pressure off Smith. Another key weapon is utility man Dexter McCluster, who can pretty much play any skill position on the field. Reid loves those types of players and having McCluster run some trick plays and line up all over the field will keep opposing defenses honest, which will also prevent Smith from getting overwhelmed. Plan on the Chiefs making the playoffs at least once in the Reid-Smith era.
Matt Flynn, Oakland Raiders
Palmer made it appear as though a quarterback can succeed in Oakland, but Flynn is about to find out just how hard it is. Of course, that's assuming the Raiders don't draft a passer who turns out to be a franchise quarterback like the Seahawks did with Russell Wilson last year. That's the reason Flynn is now in Oakland after all.
With Darrius Heyward-Bey now gone, Flynn will have to rely heavily on Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, who could each excel tremendously with the right man under center. Flynn did show flashes of brilliance in very limited work with the Packers before heading to Seattle, so if he be that type of passer consistently, he might just find some success in Oakland.
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
Now for the hard one. Palmer's time in Oakland was up before the season ended and while he was expecting to get cut, the former No. 1 overall pick said he wanted to not only play, but start for a contender. Well, he ended up getting traded to a team that doesn't exactly fit that description. Still, Palmer now has a major weapon in Larry Fitzgerald and a coach in Bruce Arians who will give him every opportunity to succeed as an NFL quarterback.
The only problem is Fitzgerald gets literally all the attention from opposing defenses and the Cardinals' running game has been less than stellar in recent years. Still, Palmer is by far the best passer Arizona has had in the past half-decade (how sad is that?), so it's all on him to prove he's not just a has-been.
That's all the big names, but there are still a couple of quarterbacks with new teams that are worth noting. Colt McCoy's prayers were answered a day after Easter when he was traded to the 49ers. Although he'll be backing up Colin Kaepernick, that's a much better gig than getting his head busted as the Browns' starter. And who knows? He might get a ring without having to do much.
Although Palmer is the money-maker in Arizona, new Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton isn't going to just allow the elder passer to take the job without a battle. Stanton had a few great games as a backup for the Lions and if Palmer struggles, Stanton might just be able to hook up with Fitzgerald often enough to earn the starting job.
Other notables who are likely to be nothing more than backups are Ryan Fitzpatrick with the Titans, Matt Hasselbeck with the Colts, Jason Campbel with the Browns and Matt Cassel with the Vikings.