NFL: Ideal Scenarios in 2013 for Top Backup Quarterbacks

Greg MaiolaSenior Analyst IIDecember 19, 2012

NFL: Ideal Scenarios in 2013 for Top Backup Quarterbacks

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    The NFL is clearly a quarterback dominated league. The teams with the best records also have the elite quarterbacks, and that is no coincidence.

    The last team to truly thrive, and that means win a Super Bowl, with an average QB was Tampa Bay with Trent Dilfer in 2002. And if you're math is correct, you should realize that was a full decade ago.

    For the teams without franchise quarterbacks or studs at the position, investing a high draft pick and spending top dollar on an unproven player is a dangerous game. Just ask the Oakland Raiders how Jamarcus Russel worked out. Or Ryan Leaf in San Diego. Or Tim Couch in Cleveland. Or David Carr in Houston. Or Joey Harrington in Detroit. I think the point is very clear.

    Rather than teams going all in for a player who has proven nothing as a professional, teams would be better suited acquiring a quality backup and building around them. Luckily for the mediocre teams in the NFL, there are a few backups worth building around.

    This list looks at the top backup quarterbacks and which situation would be ideal for both team and player in 2013. These backups are more than capable and simply need an opportunity to succeed.

    Here are the ideal scenarios for the top backup quarterbacks in 2013.

Michael Vick to the New York Jets

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    It's not easy being green. However, for Michael Vick, a trade to a lighter shade of green might actually work.

    Mark Sanchez is quickly losing his title as a starting NFL quarterback and has had far too many lousy outings to please New York Jet coaches. Sanchez, the 5th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, is now being benched for Greg McElroy, the 208th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft and former third-string quarterback.

    While the Jets are financially committed to Sanchez, he needs time to work on cutting down turnovers and being a consistent player, but the Jets don't have time to wait.

    It is all but final that the Vick era is over in Philadelphia and that the job is Nick Foles' for years to come. For a team looking for a decent quarterback and for a player looking for one last starting gig, a trade could work.

    Assuming Rex Ryan remains coach in 2013, he would be able to take advantage of Vick's talents. Vick has developed as a pocket passer and is still one of the most electric quarterbacks on the ground. His rushing ability is ideal in Ryan's ground and pound approach, but Vick can also stand in the pocket and deliver a pass with a player up in his face.

    Vick has the experience to help keep the Jets in playoff contention without starting from scratch in 2013. The Jets have a decent offensive line and Vick shoulsn't be dropped close to what he was with the Eagles in 2012.

    Vick would have a solid supporting cast on offense and offer an element that Sanchez cannot. His experience and leadership will be valuable to New York and a change of scenery might benefit Vick far more than getting another shot with the Eagles.

Kirk Cousins to the Oakland Raiders

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    With the 2012 NFL Draft class being deemed as perhaps the best crop of quarterbacks ever, yes, superior to the 1983 class, the Washington Redskins could not help themselves. Though they already landed some guy named Robert Griffin III, the Redskins snagged Kirk Cousins in the fourth round.

    Cosuins showed the NFL world what he could do when he stepped into a game against Baltimore late in the fourth quarter. delivered a touchdown and won the game in overtime. The next week he started against Cleveland and put Washington in the division lead. Not only was the rookie put into a situation to win a game, he was in a position to keep a franchise's playoff dreams alive, and he delivered.

    Now that RG3 is healthy, Cousins returns to the bench. However, he is likely to be heavily targeted in the off-season in trade talks. This is good for Cousins, as he will get a chance to start, and because Washington will be able to regain some of the high draft picks it gave up for RG3 in the first place.

    A trade to the Oakland Raiders seems like a good fit at this time. The franchise has longed for a franchise quarterbacks since the days of Rich Gannon. Carson Palmer was acquired at the 2011 trade deadline and hasn't done much for Oakland than throw for a good chunk of yardage. Cousins has the potential to turn the franchise around.

    Darren McFadden is a tremendous running back who will team up with Marcel Reece to establish the ground attack. This will be great for Cousins and the play-action, in which Cousins has a group of deep-threats to throw to. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford figure to be the top wide-outs heading into 2013 and the Raiders will look to add some more depth to the position.

    The Raiders need a franchise QB and Cousins needs a place to be successful. A trade to the Raiders will allow for Cousins to take the reigns at quarterback and be the leader the franchise has been looking for since Gannon left. Remember, Oakland was 8-8 in 2011 and has talent there. Cousins can simply put them over the top.

Alex Smith to the Buffalo Bills

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    The Buffalo Bills are clearly in need of a quarterback and Alex Smith is clearly in need of a place to call home.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick is an erratic passer who is as inconsistent and streaky as they come in this league. The Bills cannot win with that, and they are starting to figure it out.

    Smith led the 49ers within a score of the Super Bowl last year and lost his job due to the emergence of Collin Kapernick. However, Smith has thrown enough passes to lead the league in completion percentage in 2012.

    If Smith were to go to Buffalo, he would be far more than a game manager. The ground game is top-tier with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson and there is talent around Smith. Stevie Johnson is one of the better receivers in the NFL and is on pace to be the only Bill in franchise history with three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. Scott Chandler is a big target at the tight end position and is a great third down and red-zone threat. The Bills also have a decent player in Donald Jones and will be in the market for a receiver in 2013.

    Smith has proven success in this league and completes passes at the 65%-70% range, something Fitzpatrick hasn't come close to on a consistent level.

    A trade for Smith would keep the Bills in a "win now" mindset and would minimize any possible rebuilding. The pieces are there on both sides of the football for Buffalo to be successful and quarterback play might be the difference in 2013. At this point, Smith is superior to any of the college prospects and deserves another shot to start in this league, not to mention he is an upgrade over Fitz.

Tim Tebow to the Jacksonville Jaguars

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    It doesn't matter how big of a Tim Tebow lover or hater you may be, it is a universal truth that the New York Jets screwed Tebow over in 2012. The kid took a 1-4 Denver Broncos team to the divisional round of the playoffs, where they lost to the eventualy AFC Champion. Love him or hate him, his 2011 triumphs and successes earned Tebow some sort of role in 2012, but he was nothing more than a bench warmer.

    Other than the special wildcat package for Tebow that never developed, he got passed over by Greg McElroy to start against the San Diego Chargers after Mark Sanchez got benched. For the sake of saving his career, Tebow needs to run out of new York as fast as he can.

    And sometimes, there is no place like home.

    Tebow would benefit from returning to his roots in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars aren't safe with Blaine Gabbert leading their team and Chad Henne has been ice cold since his red hot start in Jacksonville.

    The Jaguars might be willing to build around Tebow's strengths and abilities. They have a fierce running back in Maurice Jones-Drew, which added with Tebow's running, would make Jacksonville and elite rushing team. The spread-option could work in Jacksonville if they commit to it and Tebow's ability to keep defenses off-balance would help him thrive as a quarterback.

    Tebow is definately deserving of another NFL shot and his integrity alone should earn him a NFL role. Jacksonville has poor qarterbacking play and could allow for Tebow to come in and compete for the opportunity. He would help draw fans and be a major attraction when Jacksonville plays its London games in the upcoming years.

    If Tebow goes to a situation where the head coach wants him, he will be successful. And everything in Jacksonville is seeming to look like the right fit for Tebow to continue his career.

Matt Flynn to the Arizona Cardinals

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    Right now, Matt Flynn is nothing but a one-game wonder, a player who tore it up in his monster game in Week 17 of the 2011 season. That performance helped earn him a free-agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks, but the emergence of rookie Russell Wilson earned Wilson the job.

    Flynn didn't sign his contract to be a backup and cannot be happy on the bench. The Arizona Cardinals can't be happy with their quarterbacking play either, as John Skelton and Ryan Lindley have stunk it up the last 10 weeks or so.

    A deal landing Flynn in Arizona would work for both parties, even though the Cardinals and Seahawks are division rivals.

    Arizona has Larry Fitzgerald at receiver, one of the most physically gifted receivers to ever step foot on an NFL field. They also have rookie Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts at receiver, making the position very talented. Similar to the threats that Flynn had in that Week 17 game that earned him his fame.

    The Seahawks are always stocking up on talent in the off-season and added another quarterback to their depth chart wouldn't be much of a surprise. This could make Flynn expedable.

    The Cardinals need a quarterback to get them back on the path Kurt Warner led them on and Flynn needs to prove that he can be a starting quarterback in this league. A marriage between this club and player could really work for both sides, though Seattle might make Arizona pay high for stealing a division rival.