Pick Six  

 

Was Montana the most successful castoff in NFL history?

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The franchise tag was created years ago to allow teams to keep big-name players with the organizations that made them famous. Now fast-forward to 2012, when the Jaguars are using the franchise tag to hang on to kicker Josh Scobee.

So maybe it's not a perfect system, especially considering that sometimes, your favorite franchise player moves on. (Ten years after he last played for San Diego, I still have a Rodney Harrison Chargers jersey.) A long-time hero moving to a new team in the later stages of his career can go horribly wrong (think Emmitt Smith with the Cardinals, Cris Carter with the Dolphins, or Johnny Unitas with the Chargers, for you old-schoolers). But sometimes, it can be incredibly right. So with a guy like Peyton Manning possibly on the move, here are six examples of would-be franchise players who thrived after relocating.

But first, a quick note about our criteria: The players must have spent at least a decade with their previous team, eliminating guys like Deion Sanders and Reggie White. So don't get all busy in the comments section asking where these guys are. Trust me, I'll be watching.

And without further ado ...

  • Shannon Sharpe

    Sharpe gets the edge over fellow elite tight end Tony Gonzalez here because even though the former Chief broke all of Sharpe's records, Gonzalez has yet to win a Super Bowl, the main reason he wanted to go to Atlanta. Sharpe, on the other hand, did that as a member of the Ravens. His huge touchdown against the Raiders in the AFC Championship Game was key to their successful postseason.

  • Brett Favre

    Favre retired from the Packers, but after a much-publicized period of contemplation, returned and was traded to the Jets. Favre had a good season for the Jets, was injured, and then retired again before he was lured back to lead the Vikings to the 2009 NFC Championship Game.

  • Jerry Rice

    Rice battled back from a knee injury in 1997 to play three solid seasons for the 49ers before joining the Raiders in 2001. He went on to put up back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons, even scoring a touchdown for the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

  • Joe Montana

    Montana led the Chiefs to two playoff appearances after being traded to Kansas City in 1993. Montana famously out-dueled John Elway in a classic Monday-night game in 1994, the same season that he also beat Steve Young and the 49ers. The Chiefs have not won a playoff game since Montana left.

  • Randall Cunningham

    Cunningham retired from the NFL after the 1995 but joined the Vikings in 1997 and appeared in five games. He then put together an MVP season in 1998, leading the Vikings to a 15-1 record and helping to set an NFL record with 556 points.

  • Marcus Allen

    The running back was ostracized by the Raiders, and when he joined the rival Chiefs, he wanted to make his former team pay. Pay they did, with Allen scoring 44 touchdowns in his five seasons with the Chiefs. Especially in his early years with the Chiefs, Allen seemed to famously stick it to the Raiders with big performances against them.

 

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