The best free-agent quarterbacks available for the 2016 NFL season included Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford, Brock Osweiler, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Robert Griffin III and Brian Hoyer. Depending on what happens with Fitzpatrick, the Osweiler, RGIII and Hoyer are the only ones to change teams. While the jury might still be out on the young Osweiler, it’s doubtful there’s a Hall-of-Famer in the bunch.
In 2015, the top free agent quarterbacks were Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett and Mark Sanchez, as well as Hoyer again.
I bring all of that up to point out the fact that teams generally don’t let a decent-to-good quarterback find their way to free agency. Rarely do you ever hear of a great, five-star, free-agent quarterback.
5. Peyton Manning, Cut By Indianapolis Colts
However, Peyton Manning led the Denver Broncos to the franchise’s third Super Bowl win last year. It was only a few years ago that the Colts chose not to bring back an injured/aging Manning, allowing him to move to another team in his twilight seasons. Of course, the Colts drafted Andrew Luck the next season, setting their franchise up for more Super Bowl runs in the next decade-plus.
That’s what this article is about – those quarterbacks that are released by one team, only to find great success – as a starter – with another team. (I’m not talking about backups that get a ring because of what the starter did ahead of him.)
This article is NOT about free-agent quarterbacks that find success elsewhere, since there are several of those, from Trent Dilfer to Vinny Testaverde to Doug Williams to Steve Young – and several other hugely successful players after they left the Buccaneers! (Young was actually traded, but still!)
We’re talking about players CUT from one team, sent packing because they just were told they just weren’t good enough – only to find out they were plenty good enough on another team!
After Manning, 4 More QBs Cut By One Team Only to Dominate On Another
For most of these, it’s a matter of bad player management, as the abilities of these guys were completely underestimated. There are some, though, that brought the pink papers on themselves.
I’m sure there are plenty of other great quarterbacks that were cut by one team, only to be great somewhere else, but these were the handful that came to mind for me.