Kevin Kolb / Donovan McNabb
Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb were Eagles teammates two seasons ago, now they join new teams for the 2011 season. Of course, McNabb will be joining his third team in three seasons. Interestingly, the last person to start Week 1 for a new team in three consecutive seasons was Brett Favre, who opened for the Vikings last year.
John Elway was the first overall selection of the Baltimore Colts in 1983, but then after threatening to play baseball, forced a trade to the Broncos. In a move I like to believe helped push the Colts out of Baltimore. Elway was NFL MVP in 1987, retired as the all-time leader in quarterback wins at the time (148) and led the Broncos to five Super Bowls, winning the final two. Elway was selected MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII -- his curtain call. Some consider Elway the greatest quarterback in NFL history -- just nobody from Baltimore.
Did you know that Brett Favre failed his physical when he was traded from the Falcons to the Packers, but it was overruled by Packers GM Ron Wolf, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel? Favre is the only player in NFL history to throw for more than 70,000 yards and 500 touchdowns along with numerous other records. He leads the NFL with 186 wins, was a three-time MVP and led his team to a win in Super Bowl XXXI. He finished his Packers career by being traded to the Jets in 2008.
Philip Rivers / Eli Manning
The 2004 NFL Draft was highlighted (or marred based on your perspective) by a blockbuster trade that moved Philip Rivers to Chargers, and landed Eli Manning in New York after San Diego made him the first overall pick in the draft. But who got the best of this deal? The Chargers clearly got the better quarterback, but Manning did deliver a Super Bowl title.
Bobby Layne never lost a game, he just ran out of time, according to teammate Doak Walker. Layne led the Lions to championships in 1952 and 1953, and was injured during Detroit's 1957 championship run. He was selected to the Hall of Fame in 1967. Layne was acquired by the New York Bulldogs (after he was originally traded to New York from the Bears) and flourished. Layne was traded to the Steelers in 1958 and was believed to have put a curse on the Lions which would prevent them from winning for 50 years. So good news, Detroit, that should have ended a couple of years ago.
Joe Montana -- arguably the best quarterback in NFL history -- led the 49ers to four championships during his time in San Francisco. So how was he repaid after being injured in 1990? He spent 1992 on the bench, watching Steve Young lose the 1992 NFC Championship Game. Montana was traded to the Chiefs in 1993 and led Kansas City to a pair of playoff appearances before eventually retiring. A great "N IF L" question might be to ponder what could have happened if Montana had started over Young in the 1992 NFC Championship Game.
Backing up Favre in Green Bay was one of the NFL's premier apprenticeships for the past two decades. A large number of successful quarterbacks started as backups -- just ask Aaron Rodgers. One of the first was Mark Brunell, who backed up Favre for two seasons (1993-94) before getting dealt to the expansion Jaguars in 1995. He was eventually traded to the Redskins in 2004.
Matt Hasselbeck started his career on the Packers' practice squad in 1998, and then became Favre's backup in 1999 until he was traded to Seattle in 2001 to play for former Packers coach Mike Holmgren -- who obviously knew what he was getting. Hasselbeck challenged Trent Dilfer early in his Seahawks career, but became the team's starter in 2003 to great success which included an NFC championship.
Norm Van Brocklin
Van Brocklin himself knew what it was like being traded during the prime of his career. Van Brocklin led the Los Angeles Rams to its only NFL championship in 1951. Van Brocklin was traded to the Eagles in 1958, the highlight being a win over Lombardi's Packers in the 1960 NFL Championship Game -- the only championship loss for Lombardi's Packers.
Jay Cutler / Kyle Orton
The Bears figured to get the better of this deal by acquiring Jay Cutler, but Kyle Orton has put up solid numbers during his stay in Denver. Of course, Orton has been linked in trade rumors to the Dolphins, so he could be on the move again.
Steve Young started his career with the Los Angeles Express of the USFL before finally joining the Buccaneers in 1985 (Tampa Bay held his NFL rights). Young struggled in Tampa Bay for two years before finally being shipped to the 49ers. Young sat behind Montana before helping to engineer the legend's removal from San Francisco. During his run as a starter, Young was a two-time league MVP and MVP of the 49ers' victory in Super Bowl XXIX. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
Jurgensen backed up Norm Van Brocklin early in his career before becoming the Eagles starter in 1961. He was solid that season, but struggled in 1963, prompting the Eagles to trade him to the Redskins the following year. In all, Jurgensen was a five-time Pro Bowl quarterback and selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. The great Vince Lombardi called him the best quarterback he had ever seen.
The "Mad Scrambler" butted heads with coach Norm Van Brocklin after a successful first stint with the Vikings before being traded to the Giants, who were awful at the time. Tarkenton was traded back to the Vikings and he led the Vikings to three Super Bowls after returning in 1972. A nine-time Pro Bowler, he was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
Matt Schaub got an NFL audition as a backup in Atlanta to Michael Vick. Schaub was impressive enough to garner interest from the league, eventually landing in Houston in 2007. Since that time, Schaub has become one of the most prolific passers in the NFL, racking up yardage as he led the league with 4,770 passing yards in 2009.