Yet another Tuesday; that means the idiot is running loose on Arrowhead Pride for the 4th time in as many weeks. Last week's Brodie Croyle piece sent me off on the tangent of going over the possibilities available to our beloved Chiefs for a back up signal caller. Those thoughts led to the inevitable breakdown of quarterbacks that may be on the move in 2011. After a week spent looking at all the usual suspects, and a couple of dark horses, I have come to the conclusion that 2011 could see more quarterbacks shifting around the league than the NFL has ever seen.
As I spun through the names and turned over the rosters of the 2011 carousel the picture didn’t become much clearer. Now that I’ve finished and gotten ready to put pen to paper my stomach is churning, my brain is pin wheeling and the handle I thought I had on the leagues quarterback situation has broken off from centrifugal force. Hopefully by the time you finish reading this piece you’ll have at least an idea about the possibilities the Chiefs have should they end their relationship with the collection of broken parts they call the backup quarterback. But if you’re anything like me you’ll be left with more questions than answers.
The 2011 NFL draft ended with six quarterbacks chosen in the first two rounds, and a lot of speculation that almost every one of them was a reach at their draft position that will need some time to develop. I believe that all the anointed QB’s will be best served with a year or 2 on the bench, but it’s not likely to happen that way. At the least, the teams drafting those QB’s are going to want a veteran around to teach them the ropes or compete for the starting job. In my very best attempt to develop a QB picture in your mind that’s at least as clear as mud we’ll start off looking at those 6 teams.
The Panthers went out on a limb and snapped up a 1 year college wonder with some off field and attitude issues with the number 1 overall pick in the draft. Ron Rivera has moved on from San Diego to coach the Panthers and could take Rivers’ backup Billy Volek with him to compete with Cam Newton for a starting job. Volek may also move to Carolina as a back up to Cam Newton if the Panthers feel they need to get their rookie on the field right away to sell more tickets. That move would almost certainly end the tenure of Matt Moore in Carolina. Moore has been connected with the Titans as a possible replacement for Vince Young, while Young’s name has been tossed around both to compete in Oakland or as a possible replacement for both Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman who are both likely to be shipped out of Washington. Another possibility, although a bit of a reach, to spend a couple seasons in front of Newton is Carson Palmer who badly wants out of Cincinnati.
With the 8th pick in the draft Jake Locker joined the Titans. Vince Young will most likely be shown the exit from Tennessee. As stated above, Young could be picked up in Washington by an owner that’s no stranger to gambling big money on questionable players with off field baggage. However, don’t put it past Al Davis to add Young and his big arm to compete with Jason Campbell, who I’ve never felt was the guy Davis wanted to lead his team. A veteran like Marc Bulger could very well find his way onto Tennessee’s roster ahead of Jake Locker to put a 2 year cap on his career before handing over the reins. Matt Moore is another name that would fit well with the Titans as starting competition and/or backup insurance to Jake Locker. Kerry Collins is a free agent who I don’t expect to return to the Titans for the 2011 season. There may not be much of a market for Collins as a starter anywhere in the league, but teams like the Chiefs or Broncos might look to him to add veteran leadership to the 2nd QB position.
The Jag’s submitted the #10 pick in the first round for Blaine Gabbert’s services at QB. David Garrard will likely hold on to the starters role in Jacksonville and help train Gabbert for the future, but if Garrard doesn’t keep his starter’s job there are quite a few teams that will gladly make a trade to add him as a backup to their current starter.
Minnesota looks to have finally thrown in the towel on Tavaris Jackson. Selecting Christian Ponder with the 12th pick was the first step in moving on from Jackson. Minnesota was happy to replace Jackson with an aging Favre, even in a year where Favre had to be coerced off his farm and drug back to his team. Texted pictures of Brett’s willy got more attention than his on field production in 2010, and yet the Vikings still placed him ahead of Jackson in the rotation. Jackson has started and won games for the Vikings, and that alone will give him a good shot at landing a backup role with another team in 2011. But until some of the bigger names come off the free agency board it’s tough to speculate where he might land. J.P. Lossman, Trent Edwards or even Jake Delhomme could be added to the Vikings as a backup. I believe there’s a good chance that the Vikings may have Ponder penciled in as the starter by week 4 of the season, if not before. But there’s also a chance that Donovan McNabb may land in Minnesota as the starter for a year ahead of Ponder.
Carson Palmer wants out. Palmer already stated that he doesn’t need the money and that if Brown refuses to trade or release him he plans on retiring. We all know how stubborn of an owner Brown can be. Brown usually gets his way in personnel decisions. Brown would like to see Carson remain the starter for the Bengals for a year or 2 to act as a mentor to Cincinnati’s shiny new 2nd round QB, Andy Dalton. I just don’t see that happening. Sure, Brown could force Palmer to retire or ride the bench, but in the end Palmer has trade value. Carson could shake up the QB rosters of several different teams in the league. I could see him starting for Arizona if the Redskins win the Kevin Kolb lottery, or replacing Matt Hasselbeck in Seattle. Cleveland may be looking for a mentor to Colt McCoy, and Palmer would fill the role nicely. Miami is losing faith in Chad Henne as a starter and might also enjoy someone with Carson’s experience and ability. If McNabb is looking for somewhere he can start to land for a couple more years Cincinnati would make sense. We already know McNabb can handle the cold after all his years in Philly. Then again, maybe the Bengals will decide to start Andy Dalton and look to an experienced back up for guidance. That could put Jackson, Charlie Batch, Seneca Wallace, Kerry Collins, or even Bruce Gradkowski in the conversation. Finally, Rex Grossman is likely to be released in Washington along with McNabb. Grossman may be the 1 year band-aid solution leading into Dalton’s days as the new QB for the Bengals.
The 49ers bring up the rear at the 4th pick in the second round. They added Colin Kaepernick to the team. I expect Colin to sit on the bench for at least a season behind Alex Smith. I haven’t heard any rumblings of major moves to take place at the 49ers QB position, but there’s always an outside chance that a Kyle Orton or a Derek Anderson may come free with Tim Tebow taking over a starters role and Arizona hoping to add Kevin Kolb or Donovan McNabb, or even Matt Hasselbeck. Smith has not impressed many people in San Francisco and his days are numbered. They might be shorter than we all think if an experienced QB can be lured to mentor Kaepernick.
Do all those names and possibilities have your head locked into a perpetual merry go round motion? Well, hold on to your chair and try to keep your lunch firmly in your stomach because we’ve only scratched the surface of the 2011 rotating QB scenarios. There are several teams that did not draft a high round QB that very well may make some changes at the signal caller’s position before the trade deadline brings the rotation to a halt.
Everyone is aware that the retiring of Kurt Warner has absolutely crushed the Cardinals’ offence. Arizona released Matt Leinhart and went with Derek Anderson as the starter. After Anderson’s explosion in the press when asked about his laughing on the sideline, any little bit of respect he had as the starter evaporated. What a difference a season makes. With Boldin traded to the Ravens and Warner retiring the Cardinals turned in the score card with the worst passing offense in 2010. Derek Anderson will not be the 2011 starter. Arizona passed up the chance to draft Blaine Gabbert and has every intention of pursuing a starter once free agency begins. Kevin Kolb, Carson Palmer, Mark Bulger, and even Kyle Orton have all been linked to the Cardinals. I believe that Arizona wants Kolb as their QB of the immediate future, but they will have to compete with the Redskins in a bidding war for that honor. Max Hall will probably stay on with the team as a developmental guy, which still leaves a veteran backup position open. I won’t be surprised if Arizona adds Bulger as a back up and still trades draft picks for Kolb or Palmer. I also wouldn’t rule out Matt Hasselbeck joining the team if the Cards can’t convince Kolb to take the job.
The Redskins will likely part ways with not only McNabb, but also Grossman. They have already been looking at Kolb, as well as Vince Young. Washington may double dip into the QB pool with a backup such as Anderson or Wallace depending on what happens in Cleveland. If they can’t secure either of those guys don’t count out Palmer. Matt Moore is also not outside the realm of possibility as a backup for the Redskins.
Could Tavaris Jackson end up in Buffalo if Chan Gailey decided to move away from the pistol offense? Kerry Collins might end up backing up Tebow for Denver. Would Marc Bulger make sense starting in Tennessee for a year? How does the thought of Matt Hasselbeck starting for Miami strike you? Does Trent Edwards hang around to play 2nd fiddle in Buffalo? If Colt McCoy is handed the starters role in Cleveland, do both Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme stay on in 2nd and 3rd roles? Does that leave Cleveland short on a future QB prospect? Is Charlie Whitehurst the solution in Seattle if Hasselbeck leaves? Or will we see Rex Grossman tossing passes in the rainy city? Is there a team that was impressed enough with Charlie Batch’s filling in for suspended Roethlisberger to try and lure him away as a starter or a back up?
This wouldn’t’ be a Tuesday post with a bit of idiocy so let me get to that now. Peyton Manning still doesn’t have a new contract signed. He’s had 2 neck surgeries in the past 16 months, and he’s still not ready to play. If you owned the Colts, would you be willing to give Manning the long term deal worth $100 million or more that Manning wants? How much of that are you willing to guarantee given his medical status? Does his neck injury scare you enough to limit his contract to a shorter term? Would that be a deal breaker for Peyton? I wonder if Peyton would enjoy finishing up his career in sunny Florida or Arizona.
For a couple years we all heard the flip flopping statements that Favre made to the press about his retirement. He was up front and open in the media about his decisions, even as he changed them monthly, except for last year. I read a story about Brett turning in his retirement papers, again. However, I haven’t seen hide nor hair of Favre officially announcing his latest retirement to the media. After the debacle of his final year in Minnesota, wouldn’t it be nice to see Favre come back to football for one last astonishing, amazing, astronomical year? I hear San Francisco is looking for a mentor to Kaepernick. C’mon Brett, you know you want one last chance to send text messages to PR and sales staff members. This time you’d be in a warm sunny state and wouldn’t have to try to explain the ‘shrinkage’ due to the weather in Minnesota.
Once free agency finally opens QB’s are going to circle the skies above NFL stadiums like vultures over a rotting corpse. There are only a few names that will bring high draft picks and big salaries in compensation. Make no mistake, there will be several ‘also rans’ making the rounds of NFL offices to discuss a new landing spot. Exactly who’s available will rely heavily upon the holes left behind by the first few deals.
I don’t think the Chiefs will be in a panic mode to get a new backup. I also don’t think the Chiefs are willing to trade away 4th round or higher draft picks in compensation. If I’m right about what the team is willing to give up for a 2nd string QB we’re likely to be limited to names like Edwards, Wallace, Anderson, Lossman, Moore, Collins, Delhomme, Jackson, and Bulger. Personally, I think any of those players are worth more than Croyle. I also believe that if the Chiefs don’t resign Croyle, his career in the NFL is over. I can’t put my finger on one single team that would be better off dumping their current backup QB in favor of Croyle that isn’t also a team so desperate for a QB they they’ll pay draft picks for someone better than Croyle. This off season the QB’s are going to circle from one team to another all around the league. As fans of the Chiefs, all we can hope is that whoever lands in KC cures the motion sickness.