NFL Teams with the Most Starting QBs in the Last Decade
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Case KeenumJason Miller/Getty Images
Stability at quarterback does not guarantee long-term success, but it’s not a coincidence that the strongest NFL franchises tend to avoid a revolving door at the position.
During the last decade, six teams have started at least 12 different players under center.
The results, as you can imagine, are generally underwhelming. Four of those organizations have combined for nine playoff appearances and just three postseason victories since the 2013 season.
Yes, both the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams have won a Super Bowl. Great! But the Broncos have searched for an answer to the post-Peyton Manning era, and the Rams had a nightmare four-year stretch before Sean McVay’s arrival in 2017 (and an outlier in 2022).
One quick thing: Shoutout to Case Keenum, who’s managed to start for five of these six franchises.
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Justin FieldsQuinn Harris/Getty Images
Total Starters: 13
On the bright side, the Chicago Bears may have found a long-term answer in Justin Fields. No matter how he develops, though, the lack of a franchise quarterback has haunted the Bears for decades.
Jay Cutler accounted for 46 starts from 2013-16, a stretch that also included Josh McCown, Jimmy Clausen, Matt Barkley and Brian Hoyer popping into the lineup.
The story took a strange twist in 2017 when Chicago paid big money to sign Mike Glennon yet also drafted Mitch Trubisky. The latter replaced Glennon after four games and ultimately opened 50 himself with Chase Daniel as a spot-starter, but Trubisky’s tenure ended with a bizarre 2020 season alongside Nick Foles.
Although the Bears drafted Fields in 2021, they initially leaned on Andy Dalton. Fields sat twice in 2022 due to injury, allowing Trevor Siemian and Nathan Peterman to snag a start apiece.
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Deshaun WatsonJustin K. Aller/Getty Images
Total Starters: 17
If you’ve followed the NFL for awhile, you’re probably well-versed in the Cleveland Browns’ dreaded quarterback history.
Mercifully, perhaps, we’re only talking about the last 10 years.
Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer shared the position in 2013, followed by Hoyer, Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw in 2014. The shuffle continued with Josh McCown, Manziel and Austin Davis in 2015 and McCown, Cody Kessler and Robert Griffin III in 2016. Cleveland’s winless season in 2017 had DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan.
Tyrod Taylor began the 2018 season as the starter until Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in the draft, brought a bit of stability. Case Keenum and Nick Mullens only started in 2021 as injury/COVID replacements.
During the ensuing offseason, the Browns traded for Deshaun Watson. But while he served an 11-game suspension, Jacoby Brissett took the reins and led the offense.
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Russell WilsonJustin Edmonds/Getty Images
Total Starters: 13
Broncos Country, you’ve had too many riders.
Peyton Manning, who obliterated records in 2013, held the QB1 role through 2015. Brock Osweiler also replaced an injured Manning during that Super Bowl-winning 2015 campaign, which catapulted Osweiler to a huge contract in free agency with the Houston Texans.
Denver hoped 2016 first-rounder Paxton Lynch would become the answer to Manning’s retirement, but that didn’t pan out.
Instead, the Broncos shuffled through Lynch, Trevor Siemian, Osweiler again, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock, Brandon Allen, Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien. Kendall Hinton didn’t technically start but served as the emergency quarterback in a COVID-affected 2020 game against the New Orleans Saints, so he’s also included.
Teddy Bridgewater started most of 2021, although Lock finished the season before Denver shipped him to the Seattle Seahawks as part of a trade to acquire Russell Wilson.
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Davis MillsWesley Hitt/Getty Images
Total Starters: 14
Matt Schaub played his final season on the Texans in 2013, ending his seven-year run while splitting the position with Case Keenum.
The next season, Ryan Fitzpatrick primarily held the job with Keenum and Ryan Mallett each opening two games. Houston won consecutive AFC South titles in 2015 and 2016 despite all of Brian Hoyer, Mallett, T.J. Yates, Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage starting.
Deshaun Watson, a first-round selection in 2017, became the obvious answer but missed most of his rookie year because of a knee injury. Watson returned in 2018 and started every game through 2020 except for A.J. McCarron in a relatively meaningless 2019 finale.
Watson didn’t play in 2021 amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault. Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills shared QB duties that season, then Mills opened 15 games with Kyle Allen starting two in 2017.
Jeff Driskel technically started once in 2022, but it was a gadget play so he’s not a part of the count. Consider it the anti-Hinton exclusion—or, hey, bump the Texans’ number to 15.
In short: Save them, C.J. Stroud.
Los Angeles Rams
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Matthew StaffordJason Allen/ISI Photos/Getty Images
Total Starters: 12
I’m sure there’s an inspirational quote to the effect of embracing your hardships in the past to appreciate success in the future.
And, friends, the franchise has survived a few brutal years.
In the last three seasons of the St. Louis Rams, they had Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis, Shaun Hill, Nick Foles and Case Keenum. The return of the Los Angeles Rams in 2016 included Keenum and Jared Goff, who lost all seven of his starts.
Jeff Fisher’s dismissal led to Sean McVay’s arrival, and he promptly elevated Goff’s performance. Sean Mannion started the 2017 finale, and John Wolford did the same in 2020.
Los Angeles sent Goff to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Matthew Stafford in 2021, and he guided them to a Super Bowl victory that season. But a slew of injuries in 2022 resulted in the Rams turning to Wolford, Bryce Perkins and Baker Mayfield as Stafford’s replacements.
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Sam HowellJess Rapfogel/Getty Images
Total Starters: 14
Rounding out the list is the Washington Commanders, another franchise with a checkered decade and bit of budding optimism.
Sam Howell, a fifth-round selection in 2022, started the final game of his rookie year and enters 2023 as the presumed QB1. Perhaps he’ll establish himself as a long-term option.
But it’s been quite a journey to this point.
Robert Griffin III never regained his rookie year, pre-ACL injury form but opened 20 games in 2013 and 2014 with Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy handling the rest. Cousins started every game from 2015-17 before joining the Minnesota Vikings in free agency and sparking a disaster.
Since then, Washington has meandered through a rough half-decade. Alex Smith, McCoy, Josh Johnson and Mark Sanchez each had the reins in 2018, followed by Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins and McCoy in 2019. Smith returned from his gruesome injury in 2020, but Haskins and Kyle Allen opened six and four games, respectively.
Ryan Fitzpatrick endured a season-ending hip injury in the 2021 opener, leading to 15 games of Taylor Heinicke and a spot-start from Garrett Gilbert. And then 2022 brought the failed Carson Wentz experiment.
Washington is desperate for Howell to steady the position.
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