8 Possible Quarterback Scenarios for the Washington Redskins in 2012
Quarterbacks are dominating the league in recent times. It seems like if teams want a chance at a S Bowl, they need a great signal-caller to get them there. Don’t believe me? Look at the last four Super Bowls: Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger vs. Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning vs. Drew Brees, and Kurt Warner vs. Ben Roethlisberger.
The Washington Redskins have started 13 different quarterbacks since 2000. Only one of those quarterbacks, Jason Campbell, started 16 games in consecutive years. It’s safe to say the Redskins have a bit of a quarterback problem on their hands.
Last year, John Beck and Rex Grossman battled it out for the starting spot. On almost any other team, that would have been the battle for the number two or three spot on the depth chart.
So what do the Redskins do this year at the quarterback position? I take an in-depth look at the eight guys who have the best chance of being behind center for the Washington Redskins in 2012.
1. Matt Flynn
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Though he has only started two games in his four-year NFL career, Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn has emerged as this year’s top free agent quarterback. It’s hard to argue with that when you see his numbers through those two games: 731 yards, nine touchdowns, four interceptions and a quarterback rating of 109.5.
There are a couple reasons why I think signing Flynn would be good for the Redskins.
Flynn is an unrestricted free agent this year. This means that the Redskins wouldn’t have to give the Packers any compensation. They would simply have to pay Flynn a salary.
I could see Flynn expecting a contract similar to the one Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb received (five years, $63 million). Some people may be worried about such an unproven player receiving that large of a deal. I think the Redskins could make it work.
Fans were outraged when the Redskins signed Donovan McNabb to a five-year extension worth $78 million. But, what most fans didn’t realize was that McNabb was only guaranteed $3.5 million of that contract. The Redskins were able to trade McNabb to the Vikings, while only paying 4 percent of his contract.
In the recent past, Washington has been able to structure their contracts in a way that it is very little risk financial risk. If Flynn agrees to accept that type of contract, the Redskins would be in great shape.
The signing of Flynn would also mean that the Redskins would not have to part ways with any of their draft picks. This means they could acquire talent to put around Flynn and build a better team.
The Redskins will have to compete with Miami to sign Flynn, but I believe this is the best move the Washington Redskins could make this offseason.
2. Robert Griffin III
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It has been rumored that the Redskins are attempting to trade up in the draft to get the playmaker out of Baylor. Currently, the Redskins have the sixth pick in this April’s draft. The assumption is that if a team wants to draft Griffin, it will have to trade up to the second overall pick.
This would be a very costly move for the Redskins (or whoever makes the trade). The asking price is said to be a first- and third-round pick from this year’s draft, and a first-rounder from next year as well. That’s asking a lot from a team who has a lot of holes to fill.
Robert Griffin III was the most exciting player in college football last season. He not only showed off his athleticism, but he showed that he was a great passer as well.
Griffin’s playmaking ability would be welcomed to a Redskins team that has lacked an explosive offensive player for quite some time now. RG3 has one of the “highest ceilings” of anyone in this year’s draft.
But is he worth the hefty price tag?
At Baylor, Griffin ran a spread style offense, which usually hurts players when it comes to translating to the NFL. Griffin’s athleticism, arm strength and above average accuracy should help bridge his transition from college to the pros.
Griffin’s most important task at the scouting combine is to prove that his skills learned in Baylor’s offense, which didn’t even include a playbook until this season, can translate to the next level.
If the Redskins choose to go after Griffin, they will have to be active in free agency to acquire the depth and talent that is needed on this team. Drafting Griffin would be the riskiest of all the options, but it would also have the most reward a long with it.
3. Peyton Manning
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Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. Under normal circumstances, teams would be drooling over the thought of having Manning on their team. But the extent of his neck injury is causing teams to really think twice about signing the future hall-of-famer.
Manning, as always, is handling the entire situation with class. He has openly stated that he would sign a contract with little, or no, guaranteed money. He knows that there is a chance he may not be able to play football again, and doesn’t want to hurt the team that signs him.
On the other hand, Manning would bring a new set of problems to D.C. Manning does not fit the West Coast style offense run in Washington. The Skins would likely have to completely makeover their offense to cater to Manning’s skill set.
This option could work, but for how long? The best-case scenario, as I see it, is that Manning is in the league for three to four more seasons. Then what? The Redskins would be in the same situation they are in now.
If the Redskins signed Manning, they would have to commit to winning now. They would have to be huge spenders in free agency and build the team around a 36-year-old (at the start of the season) quarterback.
The other problem with this situation is that Manning is currently under contract with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts would need to release Manning before any of this is possible.
4. Ryan Tannehill
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Tannehill is far less expensive than Robert Griffin III. He is also far less physically gifted than Robert Griffin III. The Redskins would be able to draft him at their current pick (sixth) or possibly trade back in the draft and still get him.
Todd McShay, ESPN NFL draft expert, has the Texas A&M signal-caller as his third-rated quarterback, behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. On the segment “Draft Lab – Quarterbacks” on ESPN, McShay listed Tennehill as the quarterback with the most risk in this year’s draft.
“That’s what makes me nervous: 20 games he played at the quarterback position, 31 at wide receiver. So, to me, little bit of a risk there talking about in the first half of the first round with Ryan Tannehill,” said McShay.
Tannehill’s lack of experience at the quarterback position would mean that he most likely wouldn’t start this season. The Redskins would still need to sign a veteran to start in the immediate future.
Right now it seems as though Tannehill is the third-rated quarterback in this year’s draft by default. There are two “elite” quarterback prospects in the draft (Luck and Griffin), and then a bunch of average guys.
Tannehill needs to separate himself at the scouting combine as the legitimate No. 3 quarterback prospect. If he is able to do this, the Redskins should give him a shot.
5. Rex Grossman
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Rex Grossman played in 13 games for the Redskins in 2011. He outperformed John Beck and played hard all season. But this is a result driven league, and his 4:5 touchdown to interception ratio just isn’t going to cut it.
Grossman is a gamer. His competitiveness rubs off on his teammates and motivates them to play harder. What has plagued “Sexy Rexy” over is career is his below average arm strength and poor decision-making.
Grossman was definitely more exciting to watch than John Beck. Beck was responsible for breaking Art Monk’s record for receptions in a game by throwing 14 check-down passes to running back Roy Helu Jr., because he was afraid of throwing the ball downfield. Rex, on the other hand, has no problem throwing the ball down the field. He just doesn’t have the physical ability to be a successful starter.
I do think the Redskins need to re-sign Rex Grossman. Not as their starter, but as a backup. His familiarity with the offense would make coaches comfortable playing him if the starter goes down due to injury.
6. Brian Hoyer
Hoyer is considered by some to be a “poor man’s” Matt Flynn. Hoyer has been Tom Brady’s backup in New England for the last three seasons. He has never started a regular season game and has made very few appearances. In his regular season career, Hoyer has completed 26-42 passes for 264 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Most of the hype surrounding Hoyer comes from his play in preseason. During his three years of preseason with the Patriots, Hoyer completed 60.1 percent of his passes for 1,121 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
Normally people don’t pay attention to player’s preseason stats, but Hoyer’s case is different. Tom Brady doesn’t play in a lot of preseason games, so Hoyer plays the majority of the game. He played a lot of opposing team’s first-string defenses and was able to perform well. He played consistently well throughout his preseason career in New England.
I haven’t seen enough of Hoyer to openly endorse the Redskins signing him, but for the right price it couldn’t hurt.
7. David Garrard
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The quarterback that everyone seems to have forgotten about is David Garrard. He was cut from Jacksonville in 2011 and sat out the entire season with a back injury.
According to ESPN Chicago’s Michael Wright, Garrard will be 100 percent healthy by the end of March. He would be ready before any team begins to practice and before the NFL draft.
If healthy, I think David Garrard would be a great fit in Washington as a short-term solution.
The 6’1”, 236-pound signal-caller has a strong arm and good mobility. These attributes fit perfectly into Kyle Shanahan’s offensive schemes, which feature a lot of roll-out plays and deep crossing patterns.
Garrard is also used to directing a run-heavy offense. The Jaguars featured a running back in Maurice Jones-Drew that required a good bit of attention on offense. This shows that Garrard is comfortable to being “second fiddle” to a running game.
Garrard’s injury and absence from the NFL in 2011 should drive his asking price way down. This decision would give the Redskins the option of investing in a first-round quarterback, like Ryan Tannehill, to learn behind David Garrard.
This is an option that no one is talking about that I feel deserves some serious consideration.
8. Kyle Orton
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Orton threw for decent stats in Denver, but when the game was on the line, Orton was rarely able to lead his team to victory.
His career record is 35-34, with 21 of those victories coming in his three years playing for the Bears. You could make the argument that the Bear’s defense was the primary reason for the team’s success.
If there’s one positive you can take out of the 2011 season for Orton, it’s that he was the only quarterback to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the regular season.
Signing Orton as the team’s starter would anger an already furious Washington Redskins’ fanbase.