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Are Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell More Attractive to Teams Than Tim Tebow?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans watches during a game against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on September 26, 2010 in East Rutherford, NJ.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Zach KruseSenior Analyst IDecember 12, 2016

Of the quarterbacks that represent very little NFL value but still attract hoards of attention, Vince Young, JaMarcus Russell and Tim Tebow currently reign supreme. 

But will any of the three headline-dominating quarterbacks attract NFL attention this offseason?

Young, a former No. 3 overall pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2006, hasn't appeared in a regular-season NFL game since the middle of the 2011 season. A flameout with the Buffalo Bills during the 2012 preseason meant a year out of football for Young.

However, according to Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, Young will work out for NFL teams at the University of Texas' Pro Day this month, with hopes of revitalizing an otherwise lost football career. 

Russell, who still remains one of the biggest draft busts of all time, is attempting a comeback of his own.

Despite not playing since 2009, Russell is currently working out with former players such as quarterback Jeff Garcia and receiver Michael Clayton in an effort to find an NFL home for the 2013 season. Bleacher Report has documented that comeback attempt. 

And then there's Tebow, whose first season with the New York Jets was mostly a runaway disaster. The gadget quarterback played in 12 games but threw just eight passes and ran 32 times for 102 yards and no touchdowns.

His main responsibilities for the Jets were focused much more on special teams—where Tebow was the punt protector—than as a real option on offense. 

To be fair, Tebow spent last season on an NFL roster, and for the time being, remains on one. 

According to Mike Garafolo of USA Today, Tebow is "unlikely" to be either released before the start of the new league year or traded once the calendar hits March 12. 

However, Garafolo also opines that it's equally unlikely that Tebow is on the Jets' roster as we near the start of next season. 

If all three are exposed to the open market this offseason, is there a more attractive option for NFL teams?

Young is arguably the best athlete of the the group, and there could be interest from clubs in Young running an offense similar to the one employed by Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III. In theory, at least, Young could have value as a read-option threat in the right situation. 

Russell is far-and-away the best pure passer of the group, and he'd still probably have one of the top deep arms in the game if he re-entered the NFL tomorrow. He can make all the throws. And more than likely, there is still untapped quarterback potential somewhere inside Russell's massive frame (6'6"). 

Tebow's skill set is harder to nail down, but there's no doubt that he'd put in the work at whatever he was asked to do. In Denver, Tebow helped galvanize a team headed to a disappointing season. Also, the potential of him finally dropping the quarterback experiment and making a real NFL career out of a H-back role is inviting. 

Yet, with the positives come countless hurdles.

Young was jettisoned from Tennessee in large part because of maturity issues, and in consecutive stops in Philadelphia and Buffalo, he disappointed.

In 2011, Young played in six games and made three starts, but he threw just four touchdowns against nine interceptions, completed 57.9 percent of his passes and finished with an ugly passer rating of 60.8. 

The next preseason, Young completed less than 50 percent of his passes and tossed two picks before the Bills cut him loose. He hasn't played since, and may not again if he can't turn around severe deficiencies throwing the football. 

In Oakland, Russell's problem was never with his arm. Instead, decisions made between the ears turned the LSU star from No. 1 overall pick into epic draft bust. 

Over three seasons, Russell completed just 52.1 percent of his passes while throwing five more interceptions (23) than touchdowns (18). The Raiders finished an awful 7-18 in games he started. 

In 2009, his final NFL season, the Raiders went just 2-7 in Russell starts. He finished that season with a passer rating of 50.0 thanks mostly to a 3-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio. 

Out of the game three years and still battling weight and conditioning issues, Russell would have to make a Hollywood-style comeback to return to the NFL and contribute. 

Tebow's situation is just as difficult.

While he might get part of this offseason to prove to Jets general manager John Idzik that he can contribute something to the Jets roster, his chances of having to find employment at some point before the 2013 season remain very high.

Tebow's struggles as a passer are the reason why he'd be looking for work. Over three seasons, Tebow has completed just 47.9 percent of his passes, and the Jets obviously saw so little from Tebow as a passer last season that he failed to jump either Mark Sanchez or Greg McElroy to start a game. 

ESPN's Rich Cimini reported Thursday that the Jets are still actively shopping Tebow, but NFL team aren't biting. An NFL personnel director told Cimini that it's unlikely a team will be willing to give any compensation to the Jets for Tebow. 

"I don't see anyone trading for Tebow," the personnel director said. "If the Jets get compensation, that's impressive." 

From a purely football standpoint, it's difficult to say either Young or Russell represent more attractive options than Tebow, who has at least played in the NFL in the last year. 

But the rampant circus that surrounds Tebow at all times will be hard for any of the 32 NFL teams to stomach, and the risks of having a polarizing player on the roster can sometimes outweigh any tangible football value. 

The wild card here has to be Russell, but his selection would be based on getting his weight and athleticism back to 2007 levels. If he's in the 270-pound range and his 40 times check out, it's not difficult to envision an NFL team willing to bring a more focused, determined Russell into camp to see if the big arm can translate. 

Remember, Russell was the draft's top pick in 2007 because of his big arm and the natural ability to throw the football. Young and Tebow are both limited passers who need to be placed into very defined and limited roles.

If a team can get Russell right between the ears, there's still potential for a starting-caliber quarterback. It's worth wondering if Young and Tebow will ever be anything more than gadget players. 

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