Quarterbacks being traded and released in the NFL is nothing new. Sometimes QBs are released due to their contracts ending or the team and player feeling like it’s the right time to move on. This was how Tom Brady left the New England Patriots after 20 seasons to move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
We also see quarterbacks traded regularly, with one such example happening this week, with Matt Ryan leaving the Atlanta Falcons to move to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a third-round 2022 NFL draft selection.
Some quarterback transactions don’t work for either team. Take the Oakland Raiders trading away a first- and second-round draft pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for Carson Palmer in 2011, only for Palmer to go 4-11 during an injury-plagued two years in Oakland before he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in 2013.
Despite this, many quarterbacks find a new gear and excel in new surroundings when they move franchises, and we are here to talk through five QBs who bounced back after switching teams.
Five times NFL quarterbacks bounced back after being traded or released
#5 – Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith with the Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers first overall in the 2005 NFL draft and remained their starter until 2012 when Colin Kaepernick lit up the league as Smith dealt with a concussion. The 49ers would make it to the Super Bowl, and coach Jim Harbaugh announced Kaepernick was the Niners’ new starter at quarterback.
Smith was then traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in February 2013. Coincidentally, this was during the same offseason that head coach Andy Reid would arrive in Kansas City. Smith would shine, making the only three Pro Bowls of his career, leading the league in passer rating with 104.7 in 2017, and he took the Chiefs to three playoff appearances in four years as a starter.
Smith would also be crucial for the development of Patrick Mahomes, who was drafted in 2017 and would sit and learn behind Smith for a season before becoming the starter at quarterback.
After his breakout season in 2018, Patrick Mahomes is on track to be in the NFL MVP conversation.
He credits Alex Smith for helping him get there go.si.com/QXMtrP5
After his breakout season in 2018, Patrick Mahomes is on track to be in the NFL MVP conversation. He credits Alex Smith for helping him get there go.si.com/QXMtrP5
#4 – Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams