Going into an NFL season with an unsettled quarterback situation is a scary proposition. This could cause some notable moves before Week 1.
It is hard to imagine a player switching teams, learning a playbook and being able to become a starter before the start of the season. However, a number of teams are in desperate need of depth at the position and might be willing to pay top dollar for a quality contributor in a trade.
With a number of young quarterbacks potentially on the market as well, a trade could be a useful move to prepare for the future.
While it will be difficult to complete any of these moves, here is the latest info on players possibly heading elsewhere in the coming weeks.
Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles
A few months ago, nobody wanted Mark Sanchez anywhere near his team. After a solid preseason, though, he is considered a potential savior for squads in need.
While Nick Foles is the clear starter in Philadelphia, Sanchez has looked good in relief over the past three weeks. He has totaled 281 yards on 25-of-31 passing with two touchdowns and just one interception.
When St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford went down with a torn ACL, there was immediately talk about the team trading for a rejuvenated Sanchez. The fact he played for offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer with the New York Jets makes this an obvious match.
However, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports Sanchez has no interest in making this move:
Albert Breer of NFL Network reports the Rams are more likely to stay put, noting they already had a chance of signing Sanchez:
1) The Rams brass did talk through Sunday about options at QB. It appears at this point the idea is to stay patient and give Hill his shot.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 25, 2014
2) When the Rams signed Hill, Mark Sanchez was still on the market. Price was similar. $1.75M for Hill. $2.25M for Sanchez.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 25, 2014
St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher believes Shaun Hill has the ability to help the team win, via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:
Shaun has a great feeling for the offense right now, and we’re gonna move forward with him. We’re not gonna change anything. He knows the system. Everybody knows, we’re gonna run the football first. And we’re gonna do that, and we gotta do that well, and we gotta do that to start the season. And then everything else will come off that.
It seems apparent that while Sanchez could still potentially be traded, it will not be to the Rams.
Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III remains the starter in Washington, but there is no question he has been outplayed by his backup in the preseason:
FYI: In the NFL preseason, Robert Griffin III's passer rating is 46.0 while backup Kirk Cousins is 101.6.— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) August 25, 2014
Of course, Kirk Cousins has faced mostly backups himself and struggled when he played last season. However, people seem to forget this and call for him to be the starter, like former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, via SportsCenter:
Mark Maske of The Washington Post notes the team will certainly be cautious about trading him:
Would Redskins now take 3rd-rounder for Cousins? It's not clear. One source expressed doubt they'd trade him at all with Griffin struggling.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) August 25, 2014
A third-round pick is useful, but it might not be enough to justify getting rid of the necessary safety net if Griffin continues to struggle.
That being said, Cousins only managed a 58.4 quarterback rating in five games last season. If the Redskins can get any value for a player who has not been that productive in the NFL, this might be a good chance to do it.
Ryan Mallett, New England Patriots
While the first two players on this list might not be traded due to the value they represent on their current teams as backups, the New England Patriots might consider Ryan Mallett to be expendable.
The difference is the strong play of rookie Jimmy Garoppolo. The second-round pick has posted a 129.8 quarterback rating in the preseason, the best among all passers with at least 30 attempts.
As a result, Mallett appears to be available for potential trades, as noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
Keeping him out of a preseason game is a good indication the organization does not want him getting hurt and ruining a deal.
Meanwhile, Tom Curran of CSN New England told Pro Football Talk that Mallett could even be cut before the end of the preseason:
On PFT Live, @tomecurran says he thinks Patriots QB Ryan Mallett will be cut if he's not traded.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 25, 2014
Ben Volin of The Boston Globe provides a look at the financials involved in this decision:
Mallett will cost $160,969 against the #Patriots cap if they trade or cut him, but team will save $776,976— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 25, 2014
There are scouts who believe in Mallett's ability thanks to his size at 6'6" and strong arm. However, he has only thrown four passes in the NFL in his career, completing one and throwing one interception.
It is one thing to bet on potential, but another team would be taking a huge risk to give up draft picks for such an unproven player.
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