Case Keenum’s NFL career timeline, from undrafted to Minneapolis Miracle to Browns starting QB
Case is on the case on Thursday night.
Case Keenum, the veteran NFL quarterback, is getting his next opportunity to start in the league when he takes snaps vs. the Broncos on “Thursday Night Football,” relieving an injured Baker Mayfield.
Keenum has made quite the NFL career for himself after a prolific college tenure as quarterback of the Houston Cougars, and Keenum enters Thursday’s game with 75 passing touchdowns as an NFL starter. That’s actually a pretty impressive number given how well-traveled he is.
The NCAA’s all-time leader in touchdown passes, Keenum is playing for his fifth team in six seasons after a hot-potato start to his NFL journey. Now, he gets another primetime shot to prove himself in front of the masses on “TNF.”
Here’s how Keenum went from undrafted to starting for his sixth NFL team:
April 28, 2012: After going undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft, the NCAA’s all-time passing touchdown leader signs with the Texans. He doesn’t make the active roster for the season; instead, Keenum is stashed on the team’s practice squad for the duration of 2012.
Sept. 5, 2013: After making it through the 2013 season on the Texans’ practice squad, Keenum makes the 53-man roster, being named QB3 behind starter Matt Schaub and QB2 T.J. Yates.
Oct. 20, 2013: Something of a surprise: With Schaub dealing with an injury, Keenum gets the nod to start instead of QB2 Yates, who had started a playoff game for the Texans in the prior season. In the first start of his career, Keenum throws his first touchdown pass, a 29-yarder to Deandre Hopkins, in a loss to the Chiefs. Keenum leads the Texans to … zero wins in eight starts, with Schaub returning in Week 16. He’s inactive for the remaining two games of the season.
Aug. 31, 2014: For the first time in his life, Case Keenum will play for a team that’s not located in the Lone Star State: The Texans release Keenum to make room for Ryan Mallett.
Sept. 1, 2014: The St. Louis Rams sign Keenum to their practice squad, and he would be released and re-signed to the practice squad in October.
Dec. 15, 2014: The prodigal son returns. Keenum returns to Houston after the Texans sign him off St. Louis’ practice squad.
Dec. 21, 2014: An early Christmas present for Keenum and the Texans: Filling in for an injured Ryan Fitzpatrick, Keenum wins his first NFL start, a 25-13 win over the Ravens. A Keenum-led Texans squad would finish out the season with a win over Jacksonville in Week 17.
March 11, 2015: Hot potato: Keenum heads back to take snaps for the Rams, backing up the recently acquired Nick Foles
Nov. 16, 2015: Keenum is named the starter for the Rams after St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher benches Foles. Keenum would lead the Rams to three straight wins, including the final home game in St. Louis Rams history, a 31-23 win over the Buccaneers.
March 21, 2016: Rams GM Les Snead announces that Keenum will be Los Angeles’ starting quarterback entering the 2016 season.
April 28, 2016: With the No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams select quarterback Jared Goff. Goff would eventually take over for Keenum, but
Nov. 15, 2016: Coming off a 9-6 win over the Jets, Keenum is benched in favor of Jared Goff. He would play in one final game with the Rams, relieving Goff in a 34-2 loss to the Seahawks.
March 31, 2017: Keenum signs a one-year deal with the Vikings. He’ll be backing up quarterback Sam Bradford, who was acquired by the Vikings in 2016.
Sept. 17, 2017: With Sam Bradford shelved with a knee issue, Keenum gets the start vs. the Steelers. Keenum would remain the starter for the Vikings for the duration of the 2017 season.
Jan. 1, 2018: Do you believe in miracles?
Trailing 24-23 with just 10 seconds left in an NFC divisional-round matchup with the Saints, Keenum connects with wideout Stefon Diggs, who would find the end zone with time expiring. The touchdown gives the Vikings the 29-24 win, and a date with the Eagles in the NFC championship game.
Dubbed the “Minneapolis Miracle,” the win is the biggest in recent history for the Vikings, and it was steered by Keenum.
Case Keenum and Kevin Stefanski have had some success in the past.
How will Browns (-3) do on TNF? pic.twitter.com/MC6dfDiFZu
Keenum’s ascent was also driven by quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski, who would later be elevated to offensive coordinator after the firing of John DeFilippo in 2018.
March 14, 2018: A few months after being ousted in the playoffs by the eventual world champion Eagles, Keenum parlays his great season into a two-year, $36 million contract with the Broncos.
Keenum has a solid but unspectacular season with Denver, throwing 18 touchdowns to 15 interceptions over 16 games as Denver’s starter.
March 7, 2019: Just under a year after Keenum signed a two-year deal with the Broncos, he’s traded to Washington for a sixth-round pick. Keenum appears in 10 games for Washington, and would again be benched in favor of a first-round quarterback, this time Dwayne Haskins.
March 24, 2020: Keenum lands with his fifth team in as many seasons, this time signing a three-year, $18 million contract with the Browns. He’s reunited with Stefanski, who took the Browns head coaching gig in January.
“Case has been a backup in this league, he’s been a starter in this league. He understands as a backup how it’s your job to support the starter and be ready to play at a moment’s notice,” Kevin Stefanski said regarding the signing. “Bottom line is we’re adding a really smart, tough football player in that room.”
Oct. 21, 2021: Keenum gets his first start since 2019, replacing Baker Mayfield in a matchup vs. one of his former teams, the Denver Broncos.