The outlook and expectations for all 15 (!) new Week 1 QB starters

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Why Luck, Tannehill and Keenum are poised for big seasons (1:34)

The NFL Live crew examines why Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill and Case Keenum will have the biggest impact of QBs in new situations this season. (1:34)

Hey, who's the new guy? In Week 1 in the NFL, there was a pretty good chance it was the starting quarterback.

A total of 15 NFL teams had different Week 1 starting quarterbacks this year than they had in 2017. How unusual is that? Only once in the Super Bowl era has that number been higher -- in 1999, when 16 teams had different Week 1 starters than they had in 1998.

Amazingly, of this year's 15 new starters, only one was a rookie -- the Jets' Sam Darnold. The turnover at quarterback over the past 12 months has been historic even for a league that lives with constant churn at the position, and history tells us things are likely to remain unsettled in many of these places.

So we thought we'd take a look at the 15 new Week 1 quarterback starters and their situations, just to see how this all happened and how likely each new guy will stick.


Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

How he got here: After Washington moved on to Alex Smith, Cousins made it to the free-agent market and signed a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract with the Vikings.

Expectations: HIGH. The Vikings have their sights set on this year's Super Bowl, and they and their fans are hoping Cousins was the missing piece. He's got as much pressure on him as any quarterback in the entire league.

Job security outlook: Guaranteed means guaranteed. As long as Cousins stays healthy, it's impossible to imagine a scenario in which he gets benched. And even if they hypothetically wanted to get rid of him, who's going to trade for that contract?


Sam Darnold, New York Jets

How he got here: The Jets traded three second-round picks to the Colts to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 in the draft and selected the former USC quarterback. He then beat out 2017 starter Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater (who got traded) for the starting job in camp.

Expectations: HIGH. The Jets have been looking for a franchise quarterback since Joe Namath left town. Fans are desperate for Darnold to live up to his draft position and Monday's dazzling debut (16-for-21, 198 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT).

Job security outlook: They could always go back to McCown, but the veteran backup seems to relish the mentor role. Darnold would have to struggle mightily to see the bench this year.


Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

How he got here: The 49ers traded a second-round pick to the Patriots for Garoppolo at last year's trade deadline. After a month spent learning the offense, he became the starter in early December and opened eyes around the league by leading the Niners to a 5-0 record in their final five games.

Expectations: HIGH. Going 5-0 in December can't help but raise expectations for the following season, and the Niners hope and believe Garoppolo is the long-term answer for them at the position. A tough opening loss to the Vikings and their tough defense puts a bit of a damper on things, but the expectation is that he will bounce back.

Job security outlook: The Niners signed Garoppolo to a five-year, $137.5 million contract this offseason, guaranteeing $48.7 million, including $7.5 million of his $17.2 million 2019 salary. They theoretically could cut him after this season, but they'll have paid him almost $50 million for just one year's work. This job is his for at least two years, and -- they hope -- much longer.


Case Keenum, Denver Broncos

How he got here: After a year of lost QB play bouncing from Trevor Siemian to Paxton Lynch to Brock Osweiler, the Broncos signed Keenum to a two-year, $36 million free-agent contract with $25 million guaranteed.

Expectations: HIGH. By comparison to what came before, and based on his surprise breakout 2017 season as a Viking, Keenum is seen by Broncos coaches and fans as some sort of low-key savior.

Job security outlook: Guaranteeing $25 million means he's the guy for this year, at least. Only $7 million of his $18 million 2019 salary is guaranteed, so if he's a flop in 2018, the Broncos can move on. At this point, though, only Chad Kelly is a candidate to be the long-term solution.


Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

How he got here: Luck missed the entire 2017 season while recovering from shoulder surgery but is healthy now and took the job back from last year's fill-in, Jacoby Brissett.

Expectations: HIGH. Luck was one of the best quarterbacks in the league during the healthy early portion of his career. The Colts believe their offensive line is better than any he has ever had before.

Job security outlook: Brissett is no threat, and Luck is signed through 2021.


Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

How he got here: The Chiefs pulled off a tough trick with Mahomes, actually sitting him for the entire season after drafting him in the first round in 2017. That was because of how well Alex Smith played and how much they won (especially early). But they traded away Smith in the offseason because they felt Mahomes was ready, and they installed him as the starter to begin the offseason.

Expectations: HIGH. The Chiefs and their fans aren't interested in a take-a-step-back season, and Mahomes' dazzling arm strength and athletic ability lend themselves to the highest of short- and long-term expectations.

Job security outlook: As long as Mahomes plays well, the job is his. But again, the Chiefs are interested in contending. If Mahomes struggles terribly, as some young quarterbacks are prone to do, he could end up having to take a seat behind Chad Henne for a week or so. No sign of that at this point, but you never know.


Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears

How he got here: The Bears' 2017 first-round pick became their starting quarterback in Week 5, after Mike Glennon was unable to hold onto the job.

Expectations: HIGH. The Bears traded up from No. 3 to No. 2 in the 2017 draft to make sure they got Trubisky, so the pressure is on him to be the long-term answer for the franchise. And the addition of Matt Nagy as head coach has expectations high for what Trubisky can accomplish as early as this year.

Job security outlook: Same with any highly drafted, highly regarded young quarterback. He's going to get every chance to hold onto the job, and the coaching staff will be patient with youthful mistakes and growing pains. But there's always a slim chance a young player could struggle badly enough to get benched for a game or two for backup Chase Daniel.


Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

How he got here: Watson became the Texans' starter during their Week 1 game last year, supplanting Tom Savage, and held the job until his season-ending knee injury in November.

Expectations: HIGH. The 2017 first-round pick was the talk of the league during his dazzling, pre-injury stretch last year. From Weeks 3 to 8, only Aaron Rodgers had a higher passer rating than Watson, who led the league with 19 touchdown passes in that time.

Job security outlook: Second year of a rookie deal, Watson is the guy for now and for the future.


Alex Smith, Washington

How he got here: Having decided not to re-sign Kirk Cousins or franchise him for a third year in a row, Washington traded for Smith the week of the Super Bowl and signed him to the long-term deal they never wanted to give Cousins.

Expectations: MEDIUM-HIGH. Smith is coming off his best year, and there are some in and around Washington who believe he could be an upgrade over Cousins. But the fans there are used to disappointment, and if Smith doesn't deliver, they'll wish they'd signed Cousins when they had the chance.

Job security outlook: It's only Colt McCoy behind him, and Smith's deal came with $55 million in full guarantees, including all of his $15 million 2019 salary.


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Jets ecstatic with Darnold's debut

ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini explains how the locker room reacted to Sam Darnold's debut in their win against the Lions.

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

How he got here: Tannehill has been in Miami since 2012, when he was the Dolphins' first-round pick. But he tore an ACL in training camp in 2017, and the team signed Jay Cutler out of retirement to start for them last year.

Expectations: MEDIUM. A career passer rating of 86.5. A QBR over 50.0 in only one of his five NFL seasons. Coach Adam Gase is high on Tannehill's potential, but Dolphins fans still want him to prove it.

Job security outlook: Short term, Tannehill is safe. Brock Osweiler is no real threat to usurp him. And they didn't draft a replacement. But if Tannehill flops this year, Gase could be in trouble and the team can get out of the QB's contract and save big.


Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns

How he got here: The Browns acquired Taylor in a trade with Buffalo and anointed him the starter even after selecting Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Expectations: MEDIUM. The Browns believe in Taylor, but fans are skeptical based on his past performance and the egg he laid in Sunday's opener.

Job security outlook: Hue Jackson insists he's not interested in making a change anytime soon, but we know how this goes, and we don't know how long Jackson is going to be in charge of the decision. Looking beyond 2018, the best case for Taylor is that he plays well and cashes in as a free agent next spring. Mayfield is the future in Cleveland.


Sam Bradford, Arizona Cardinals

How he got here: After a season lost to a knee injury in Minnesota, Bradford became a free agent and signed a two-year, $40 million contract with the Cardinals.

Expectations: LOW. By this point in his career, Bradford is known as a quarterback who struggles to stay healthy. If he does stay healthy, he'll be more than serviceable and potentially very good. But the group Arizona has around him is a rebuilding group, and anything Bradford does to help elevate it will be a bonus.

Job security outlook: Bradford's contract came with $15 million in guarantees, which means they'll have no problem cutting him after this season if they decide to. And after selecting Josh Rosen in the first round of this year's draft, Arizona is clearly looking at Rosen as the future of the franchise.


Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

How he got here: The well-traveled veteran backup has assumed the role of starting quarterback while Jameis Winston serves a three-game suspension under the personal conduct policy to start the season.

Expectations: LOW. Honestly, Fitzpatrick has already surpassed expectations with a stunning performance in Sunday's season-opening victory over the Saints. In their most honest moments, Bucs fans were probably expecting to go 0-3 while Winston was out. Anything Fitzpatrick does in his next two games is gravy.

Job security outlook: Obviously, the overwhelming likelihood is that Winston gets the job back after his suspension, especially since they have a long-term decision to make on him next offseason. But if Fitzpatrick plays two more games like his first and the Bucs are 3-0, they're going to be tempted to not make any changes.


Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

How he got here: Foles ascended to the starter's job in December after Carson Wentz tore his ACL, and he handled it as well as any backup ever has, leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl title and being named the game's MVP. He began this season as the starter because Wentz's recovery is not yet complete.

Expectations: LOW. The Eagles showed in their opener that they can win even when Foles isn't playing at his best, and let's be honest -- he's playing with house money here, right? Gonna be a long time before Foles has to buy his own meals in Philadelphia.

Job security outlook: Once Wentz is medically cleared, the job is his again, and Foles understands that.


Nathan Peterman, Buffalo Bills

How he got here: The Bills traded Tyrod Taylor and signed AJ McCarron in the offseason, drafted Josh Allen in April and traded McCarron at the end of camp. Peterman is the last man standing, and the team decided Allen wasn't ready to start the opener.

Expectations: LOW. You throw five interceptions in the first half of your first start, as Peterman did last year, no one expects much of anything.

Job security outlook: He already got benched for Allen in Week 1 and might not start this week.