NEW QBS ON CONTENDING TEAMS
The job Kirk Cousins accepted this spring — as the new starting quarterback for a team that came within at least a game of the Super Bowl the previous year — is one that's rarely been offered in the 21st-century NFL. In fact, only three other teams since 2000 have made offseason switches to new quarterbacks the year after going to their conference championship game or further. Here's a look at how those teams fared:
Previous year Won Super Bowl XXXV
Previous QB: Trent Dilfer
New QB: Elvis Grbac
How they did: Grbac threw for only 15 touchdowns against 18 interceptions, and after giving up only 165 points the previous year, the Ravens gave up 265 in 2001 — enough of a drop for them to finish 10-6 and lose to the Steelers in the AFC divisional playoffs after a wild-card victory over the Dolphins.
Previous year Lost NFC Championship Game
Previous QB: Brett Favre
New QB: Aaron Rodgers
How they did: After Favre's divorce from the Packers consumed the NFL news cycle for much of the summer, Rodgers threw for 4,038 yards and 28 touchdowns in his first season as the starter, and the Packers fought their way into a three-team NFC North race with the Vikings and Bears. But they lost seven of their final 10 games, falling five times by four points or fewer on their way to a 6-10 season.
Won Super Bowl 50
Previous QB: Peyton Manning
New QB: Trevor Siemian
How they did: Siemian directed two fourth-quarter scoring drives in Denver's 21-20 win in a Super Bowl rematch with the Panthers to open the season, and the Broncos cruised into a Week 11 bye with a 7-3 record. A three-game losing streak in which they scored only 23 points doomed their playoff chances, and the Broncos missed the postseason at 9-7.