Retread has been defined as to go back over. On most occasions the retread quarterback is a football player whom teams already know what he can and cannot do but expects a better result from the experienced signal caller. Throughout the history of the NFL teams have put faith in players such as Matt Flynn and Matt Schaub to help their team get over the hump despite the obvious signs that their quarterbacks play has been declining. The most successful quarterbacks in the NFL usually stay on one team throughout their entire career.
Not every good quarterback has only played on one team, and there have been many examples where a quarterback continues his success or revives his career with a new team. Some quarterbacks get replaced by a younger player who a franchise feels is ready to lead the team in a new direction. The older experienced player then joins a new team and has a successful end to his livelihood. There is the even rarer case of a journeyman type who has played for multiple teams, and these struggling athletes are given one final chance to make something of their time in the NFL.
Here are 15 Quarterbacks Who Found New Life on Other Teams.
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15 Carson Palmer
Carson Palmer is currently the quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, and has had an impressive renaissance of his career while in Arizona. He began his career with the Cincinnati Bengals after being drafted number one overall in the 2003 NFL draft. He sat out his first year in the NFL, but after his first year he led the Bengals to the playoffs a few times. The team failed to win a playoff game and eventually he was traded to the Oakland Raiders. His time in Oakland was putrid, and the Cardinals were the only team left willing to give Palmer a chance at a starting job after Kurt Warner’s retirement. Palmer has not disappointed while in Arizona throwing for over 4,500 yards and leading his team to the NFC championship game in 2015.
14 Brad Johnson
Brad Johnson had never been labeled as a great quarterback during his career when it began with the Minnesota Vikings in 1992, but he was serviceable. He did not start for the majority of the time he was with the Vikings. He received his first real shot at being the face of the franchise for the Washington Redskins in 1999, but after a great 1999 NFL season and horrendous 2000 NFL season, Johnson was not brought back. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up Johnson from 2001 through 2004. Behind a great defense, Johnson led his team to a surprising Super Bowl victory in 2003, and during that run to the Super Bowl he made the Pro Bowl and led the NFL with a 92.9 passer rating.
13 Rich Gannon
Rich Gannon had been a spot starter early on in his career with the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs from 1987 through 1998, but the Oakland Raiders made him their starting signal caller from 1999 until his career ended in 2004. Gannon had not been thought of as a MVP caliber player during his time in the NFL. In 2002 he produced numbers that left many befuddled when he threw for 4,689 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions. His numbers the previous three seasons had also been pretty good when he threw for an average of over 3,500 yards in those seasons combined, and in 2002 he was able to lead his team to the Super Bowl and was named the NFL MVP. Sadly, his career went downhill from that season, but it was still an impressive resurgence in Oakland.
12 Trent Dilfer
Trent Dilfer had somewhat of a mediocre career in the NFL, but he was able to win a Lombardi Trophy with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. He spent the early years of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being drafted sixth overall in the 1994 NFL draft. In his first full season as a starter he only threw for 4 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, and the Bucs team as a whole was not very good. In 1997 the team around him got better with the arrivals of Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott. Dilfer was named to the Pro Bowl in 1997, but after 1999 the Bucs did not bring back Dilfer. This led to him being a game manager for the Baltimore Ravens when they went on to win the Super Bowl in 2000, and he ended up playing until 2007.
11 Brett Farve
Brett Farve is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever sport an NFL jersey, but he achieved success with more than just one franchise. He started off with the Atlanta Falcons but barely played in his one year on the team. He became a legendary figure in his next stop with the Green Bay Packers, and even delivered a Super Bowl for the team in 1996. The first team all pro included Farve three total times while he was in Green Bay. Farve announced his retirement in 2007, but then came back with the New York Jets in 2008.
After one season with the Jets he joined his former employer's archrival the Minnesota Vikings. In 2009 Farve led the Vikings to the NFC championship game only to lose to the New Orleans Saints. For his career he threw for nearly 72,000 yards, 508 touchdowns, and 336 interceptions.
10 Randall Cunningham
Randall Cunningham was best known for his flashes as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. He was one of the best athletes the NFL had ever seen, and also had one of the strongest arms that anyone had ever seen at the time. Injuries forced him to reconsider his profession, and this led to him not being in football during the 1996 NFL season. The Minnesota Vikings brought in Cunningham for three starts in 1997. The team fully committed to him during the 1998 NFL season, and the Vikings made it all the way to the NFC championship game before losing to the Atlanta Falcons. In 1998, Cunningham threw for 3,704 yards, 34 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions. After 1998, three teams had the honor of employing Cunningham mostly as a spot starter until his retirement after the 2001 NFL season.
9 Warren Moon
Warren Moon is hailed by many as the best African American quarterback to ever play in the NFL, but his football journey did not begin at the highest level. After finishing up his collegiate career at the University of Washington, Moon joined the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. The Eskimos under Moon’s tutelage won five straight CFL titles, and this led to the Houston Oilers bringing in Moon to help them attain similar success. Moon flourished with the Oilers winning the MVP award in 1990. After his long run of success with the Oilers, Moon started for the Minnesota Vikings from 1994 through 1996 and the Seattle Seahawks for the 1997 and 1998 NFL seasons and played at an average level with both organizations. His career ended as a backup for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1999 and 2000, and in 2006 he was enshrined into the Hall of Fame.
8 Drew Bledsoe
Drew Bledsoe was the first overall pick in the 1993 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. The Patriots had been a struggling franchise in recent memory before Bledsoe joined the team, but the young signal caller was able to lead the Patriots to the playoffs six times from 1993 through 2001. He lost his job to Tom Brady in 2001 after suffering a brutal chest injury. From 2002 to 2004 he was a member of the Buffalo Bills, and in 2002 he had one of the best seasons of his career by throwing 4,359 yards and 24 touchdowns. After his time with the Bills he reunited with Bill Parcels in Dallas for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Bledsoe struggled with the Cowboys and his career came to an end after the 2006 season.
7 Michael Vick
Michael Vick’s career in football seemed to be over after he was incarcerated for dog fighting. He had been the face of the Atlanta Falcons, and had been rewarded with a $100 million contract from the team for his superb play. In 2006, his last season with the Falcons, he rushed for over 1,000 yards becoming the first quarterback to be a 1,000 yard rusher. He led the Falcons to the NFC Championship game in 2004.
After he served his time in jail, the Eagles gave Vick another chance, and although they didn’t plan on him being the starter, he replaced Kevin Kolb after his injury in 2010. Vick finished second in the MVP race in 2010, and led the Eagles to the playoffs after many thought they would finish last in their division. After his five year stint with the Eagles, Vick also played for the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. He's still searching for his next team.
6 Joe Montana
Joe Montana is the most recognizable player in the San Francisco 49ers history. He made it to four Super Bowls and won all four of them while winning the Super Bowl MVP award three times, and in many eyes is seen as the greatest quarterback in NFL history. He spent 14 seasons with the 49ers franchise, and when Steve Young became a viable replacement for Montana, the team traded him away to the Kansas City Chiefs.
In 1993, Montana led the Chiefs to the AFC championship game where they lost to the Buffalo Bills, in midst of their AFC dynasty. The Pro Bowl selection in 1993 would be Montana’s final time being selected for the NFL all-star game. The Chiefs again made the playoffs in 1994, and after 1994 Montana retired. It was good to see Montana leave the game while still playing at a high level.
5 Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick is the picture perfect example of a journeyman quarterback in the NFL. Throughout his tenure in the NFL he has started for six different teams around the league, a feat that not many could have projected after Fitzpatrick came out of Harvard. He received a nice contract to play for the Buffalo Bills where he started four seasons. He was unable to have much success with the Bills, but was given another chance with the Titans and then the Texans.
The Jets brought Fitzpatrick in to be Geno Smith’s backup for 2015. Smith injured his jaw in a locker room scuffle, and when Fitzpatrick replaced him he asserted himself into the starting role by throwing for nearly 4,000 yards, 31 touchdowns, and only 15 interceptions.
4 Drew Brees
Drew Brees spent the first five years of his career with the San Diego Chargers, and in his second season in the NFL he was given the reigns to the starting quarterback position. Brees excelled with the Chargers and completed well over 60 percent of his passes while in the Chargers organization. The Chargers moved on from Brees after he had major shoulder surgery, and the only team that was willing to give him a chance was the New Orleans Saints. The New Orleans area had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. They needed a spark from their football team and they got one in Brees. Drew Brees led the Saints to an unexpected 10-6 record in 2006, and the team's play on the football field was great relief to the citizens of New Orleans. Brees has since won a Super Bowl with the Saints in 2009 and was recently given a long term contract.
3 Kurt Warner
By now everyone knows that Kurt Warner was bagging groceries before he was given his shot with the St. Louis Rams. He engineered the greatest show on turf in 1999, and the team rallied around Warner to win the Super Bowl that year. After 2003, Warner joined the New York Giants but struggled in his lone season with the team.
The Cardinals brought Warner in hoping that he could be a great mentor for young Matt Leinart. Little did they know Warner would replace the ineffective Leinart, and Warner would lead the Arizona Cardinals in 2008 to the Super Bowl. The Cardinals would fall to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the big game, but Warner undoubtedly established an amazing legacy in Arizona. Warner played one more season for the Arizona Cardinals before he called it a career. After his declining play in St. Louis and New York, it was nice to see Warner end his career on a high note.
2 Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning was one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL, and few prepared for any given game the way that Manning did. During his career, critics began to realize Manning struggled in the playoffs when games mattered the most. Manning finally broke through when his team defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, and he would win four MVP awards as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
Manning had to have multiple surgeries on his neck, and after acquiring the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Colts released Manning. The Denver Broncos signed Manning and he would not let the team down. In 2013 Manning won his fifth MVP award, and the Broncos reached two Super Bowls. Manning’s final game came in Super Bowl 50 when the Broncos defeated Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
1 Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford has just recently been traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Minnesota Vikings, and the Vikings are in hopes that Bradford can play well enough to carry them to a Super Bowl in Teddy Bridgewater’s absence. Bradford was drafted first overall by the St. Louis Rams in 2010. A slew of injuries derailed his chances of finding success with the Rams, and he was surprisingly traded away to the Philadelphia Eagles. Bradford had an up and down year with the Eagles. The team did not perform up to its standards, but Bradford played well in the latter half of the season. For his career Bradford has thrown for 15,076 yards, 80 touchdowns, and 52 interceptions.
The Minnesota Vikings gave up a lot to get Bradford, and in his first game with the team he played great throwing for 286 yards and two touchdowns. He has since been very solid with the Vikings and with Teddy Bridgewater's injury being so serious, Bradford has a serious chance to finally establish himself as a solid NFL quarterback.
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