Football Mythbusters: What Now for Titans, Young?

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Football Mythbusters: What Now for Titans, Young?
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
MYTH: Vince Young still has a future in Tennessee.

FACT: There is a very slim chance he plays one snap of regular-season football with the Titans ever again.

Young made all of the right moves during the offseason—until now. 

He said he was fine with being a backup and learning from Kerry Collins, yet he was still ready to play when he was needed. He showed up for all of the voluntary team activities, and even participated in a celebrity basketball game for charity.

Sure, he was onstage at a rap concert and “made it rain”—it looked more like a slight drizzle. He pulled a few bills out of his pocket and dropped them into the front row of the crowd. 

It is 100 percent ridiculous that people consider this an issue and are seriously comparing it to Pacman Jones coming into the club with a trashbag full of 80,000 one-dollar bills.

I, like a fairly decent-sized minority of NFL fans, believed the Titans were set at quarterback.  Kerry Collins was signed to a two-year deal, which gave Vince Young two years to further learn the Titans’ fairly new offense (this is only OC Mike Heimerdinger’s second year back with the Titans). 

I believed that at the end of those two years, or maybe even earlier if Collins faltered, Vince Young would be ready to step in and play. Unfortunately, Young might be a little TOO ready to do so.

He told WMAR, a radio station in Baltimore, that "I definitely want to get back out there playing ball and picking up where I left off, winning games, and having a good time with my teammates and with the fans.  At the same time, if the guys don't want me to be in there, it's time for me to make a career change for myself.”

This statement isn’t very different from those made by Kerry Collins, when he said he was only interested in returning to the Titans as a starter, and was willing to retire if no starting opportunities presented themselves.

“I’ve played so much in my career, and I’ve been a starter for so long. I feel like I’m a starter in this league…But if it comes down it, becoming a backup is something I’m not interested in right now.”

The major difference was that Collins was a free agent, and Young is still under contract.  Collins could have gone to any team willing to sign him, but Vince Young has to be traded.  And in the NFL trade market, perception is reality.

Due to a few overblown incidents, Vince Young’s reputation is shot.  So assuming that only teams who desperately need a quarterback will take him, where will he go?

Starting with the likeliest (in my opinion, anyway), here are some of the most probable landing spots.

 

Washington Redskins

Reasons it could happen: They’ve already tried to trade for a new quarterback twice this offseason. Is the third time the charm? 

Also, current Redskins starter Jason Campbell is very humble about the Redskins’ attempts to improve their QB corps. His attitude would fit in well in Tennessee, where he can back up Kerry Collins for two years and then be the Titans’ quarterback of the future.

Reasons it might not happen: Who’s to say Jason Campbell will be as humble if the Redskins end up trying and failing to replace him a third time? The Redskins might not be willing to take that risk.

 

Minnesota Vikings

Reasons it could happen: They’ve demonstrated an overt interest in getting better at quarterback.  Many people, myself included, believe the Vikings are a quarterback away from being perennial Super Bowl contenders. 

Adrian Peterson can also carry most of the offensive load, giving Young more room for error as he grows into a new offense. They’re experimenting with a wildcat package, where Young would fit in even better than Percy Harvin. Harvin could still be an excellent slot WR, or could fit into a smash-and-dash role with Adrian Peterson.

Reasons it might not happen: The only player they have that the Titans might want is Chester Taylor, and that’s a stretch because the Titans already have a crowded backfield. As far as draft picks go, the Titans aren’t going to get as high of a pick as they’d like, due to Young’s reputation in the media.

 

Seattle Seahawks

Reasons it could happen: Jim Mora is the new head coach in Seattle. He used to coach Michael Vick in Atlanta, and is therefore accustomed to coaching a running QB.

Matt Hasselbeck, age 34, had a horrible 2008 season, throwing five TDs and 10 INTs.

Sending Vince Young to Seattle would give Jim Mora a QB who he would best know how to utilize, without the threat of protests from PETA.

Reasons it might not happen: Do the Titans really want Hasselbeck?

 

Cleveland Browns,  San Francisco 49ers, or Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I’m not sold on any of these three locations, but their names will be brought up, so I’ll address them.

Reasons it could happen: Each team has a QB “controversy,” in the sense that they have two or more QBs who could start next year. Therefore, they might be willing to bring in Vince Young.

Reasons it might not happen: None of those three teams are willing to name an unequivocal starter at QB, and that might not go over too well with Young.

Also, I don’t see the Titans investing in Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Byron Leftwich, Luke McCown, Shaun Hill, or Alex Smith as their quarterback of the future.

There are two more radical solutions that the Titans might want to look into. The first solution is declaring an open QB competition. 

Make it fair, with both Collins and Young receiving 50 percent of the starters’ snaps, and during the preseason, trade away the loser of the QB battle. 

Either way, they’re depleting their depth at QB, though.

Instead of a trade, the Titans should look to maintain the status quo.  One way that nobody’s thought of doing this is by offering Young a seven-year contract extension. 

If they structure it so he is less of a salary cap burden—yet gets more money long-term—it shows him that he truly is their quarterback of the future. Then he can learn from the bench until the Titans are ready for him to start. 

This would have to be considered the most desirable solution for both the Titans and their currently angry quarterback.

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