I remember a time not so long ago when there were Seahawks fans who were upset that the team didn’t acquire quarterback Kevin Kolb. Instead, Kolb was dealt to the Arizona Cardinals for a 2012 second round pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. (Holy shit, trade values have changed so much in the last few years alone.) Kolb started nine games for the Cardinals in 2011, throwing nine touchdowns and eight interceptions while Arizona went 3-6 in those games. The next season, they had four different starting QBs — Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley, Brian Hoyer — and went 5-11.
If only they had kept that second round pick, maybe the Cardinals could have chosen Russell Wilson ahead of Seattle doing so.
It was in that 2012 season that the Seahawks started the third round rookie in Week 1, Wilson having beaten out free agent signee Matt Flynn for the job. The Cards started four QBs in 2012, then acquired Carson Palmer, who started 60 games for them in five seasons, but still missed significant time along the way. Arizona has also had to start Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert along the way, and when Palmer retired this past offseason, they signed Sam Bradford as a “reliable” veteran option who could keep the job warm for a year or two. Or so they thought — for some unknown reason given Bradford’s entire career history.
Head coach Steve Wilks announced that rookie Josh Rosen will be starting for the Cardinals in Week 4 when Wilson and the Seahawks come to town. Rosen will be the ninth quarterback to start for Arizona since Wilson’s debut at the start of 2012, and he will be the 23rd quarterback in the NFC West — besides Wilson — to make a start over that period of time. That’s a stretch of 99 straight starts for Wilson (not including postseason) as the other three teams undergo constant transition.
This data courtesy of Wilson superfan Sam HawkBadger:
While it seemed like there would be some sort of stability at the position around the division this year, the Cardinals have already named the rookie backup as the starter while the San Francisco 49ers got the unfortunate news that Jimmy Garoppolo will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. That probably means that C.J. Beathard will be the starter in Week 4, keeping the number of 49ers QBs to start since 2012 at six, but Beathard has not played like a guy who can hold the job for long and San Francisco is working out other options.
The LA Rams have started eight different quarterbacks since 2012, but are plenty satisfied right now with Jared Goff, the number one overall pick in 2016.
Of course, some of these starters overlap with different teams and there are less than 23 human beings on the list: Bradford has started for both the Rams and Cardinals; Gabbert has started for the Cardinals and 49ers; Hoyer has started for the Cardinals and 49ers; Austin Davis only started for the Rams, but I’ll mention that he was Wilson’s backup in 2017.
Colin Kaepernick remains a free agent.