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It seems like 2011 was the year of the backup quarterback.
Every week, all around the league, somebody was showing us the value of a solid backup quarterback, for better or worse.
Vince Young tanked in relief for Michael Vick in Philadelphia.
The Bears choked on their own bile with Caleb Hanie at the helm.
I don't even know who played for the Chiefs when Matt Cassel went down.
And then there's the Indianapolis Colts, whose entire 2011 campaign should be a cautionary tale to anyone looking to ignore the value of a backup quarterback.
Meanwhile, T.J. Yates led the Texans to their first ever playoff berth (and win), Matt Flynn exploded when his number was called and Tim Tebow...did whatever Tim Tebow does.
In fact, one of the only teams that didn't call on more than one starting quarterback during the season was the Lions. But from seasons past, we know Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton are more than capable of (at least) game managing when the situation arises.
There are a lot of teams out there in need of a new starting quarterback, and I don't think either Hill or Stanton fit that bill. But after seeing the difference between a team with a solid backup quarterback and a team with a clipboard-holding ball-thrower, I have a feeling the backup quarterback market will heat up a little this year.
Which brings me to Hill. Hill and Stanton are both free agents this year, but there's a key difference between them. Stanton hasn't played football for a team outside Michigan since his sophomore year of high school, and he doesn't appear willing to try.
Hill, on the other hand, is most likely going to go where the money is good.
Translation: Hill and Stanton hit free agency. Hill finds a lucrative deal elsewhere, Stanton turns his offers down to come back to Detroit like a boomerang.
And if the past is any indication, he'll still be the third-string quarterback.