Seven days have now passed since Donovan McNabb became a Washington Redskin and Jason Campbell became a backup quarterback.
But with just 10 days left until the 2010 NFL Draft begins, there is still plenty of time for Campbell to potentially procure a starting job.
Mike Shanahan met with Campbell last Monday afternoon to discuss his future, and it’s no secret that with the former first-round pick in the final year of his contract, he's likely on the trading block.
The National Football Post has speculated that it would take in the neighborhood of a fourth-rounder to get the job done, and with the Redskins losing their third-round pick (thanks to their selection of Jeremy Jarmon in the 2009 Supplemental Draft), their desire to get a deal done could be intensified in the next 10-12 days.
Campbell still has plenty of upside—his completion percentage, yardage and touchdown totals, and QB rating have gone up every year since he took over as the full-time starter in 2007—and had an impressive 3,618 yards and 20 touchdowns in a dismal 4-12 campaign last year.
Last week, my esteemed FC colleague Daniel Wolf lent his thoughts to the Campbell debate by speculating on seven teams who may want to acquire him (you can read that piece here).
This week, I’m going to take a different approach and give you five that could be dark horse candidates to acquire the 28-year-old signal caller between now and April 24.
They may not be sexy and they may not be obvious, but they have the means and enough of a need to take a chance on Jason Campbell.
So far, many consider Jason Campbell to be just another great SEC quarterback who has been, on the whole, a disappointment in the pros. Again, numbers aside, I don’t believe that’s the case, but c’est la vie.
Point is, if that club did truly exist, JaMarcus Russell would be the President, CEO, and poster boy.
The Raiders’ QB situation is, at best, mediocre. Russell is a bust waiting to be 100% confirmed, Charlie Frye and Bruce Gradkowski are decent backups but not much else, and if J.P. Losman is still collecting a paycheck, he should probably send whichever deity he prays to a nice Holiday card.
The Redskins were worse than the Raiders record-wise in 2009…but Campbell had more yards and touchdown passes, a better rating, and less interceptions than the Silver & Black’s three-headed QB monster.
Russell may have a great arm and Gradkowski may have great intangibles, but Campbell is, on the whole, a better signal caller than either of them.
For their fourth-rounder (No. 106 overall) and maybe No. 251 in the seventh, Al Davis can get a quarterback who is more than a scrap heap revival and see if Campbell can pull the Silver & Black out of the soup of mediocrity.
Mike Holmgren jettisoned both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, a first-round pick and a recent Pro Bowler…for Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace?
I’m not sure if that’s an upgrade or desperation to the point of panic in erasing everything and starting over, and even ol' Jakey seems a bit perplexed there on the left.
Wallace is decent, and his numbers in his only season as an extended starter projected out to 3000 yards and 20 TD. But Seneca only has 20 career starts under his belt in eight seasons, and is also a free agent at the end of the year.
As for Delhomme, well, he’s had a very good career—but he’s now 35, and proved in 2009 that his abysmal performance in the previous year's playoffs was more of a trend then an aberration. He had 18 picks and a rating under 60 in 11 games last year, and the Panthers were a better team without him in the lineup.
Plus, Holmgren has said that he wanted a veteran leader…but didn’t necessarily say “veteran starting quarterback.”
Campbell has experience working with limited offensive options (see also: most of 2009), and is the kind of gritty player Mike Holmgren likes. His acquisition would mean that Delhomme could be a backup/security blanket, while Wallace can play more of a “Slash” type role a la Josh Cribbs.
They also have the picks to make it work, with three selections each in both the third and fifth rounds. That selection could easily land them a guy who, for now, would still be the best quarterback on their roster.
Stranger things have happened.
But with the spectre of Ben Roethlisberger's recent (alleged) indiscretion hanging over the franchise, they may have a big need real soon.
Regardless of what the Georgia District Attorneys announce on Monday afternoon, the NFL disciplinary committee is likely to take action on Roethlisberger for whatever happened in that Georgia bar last month.
Big Ben is scheduled to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell sometime this week, and the boss has already expressed concern that Roethlisberger continues to get himself into hot water.
In Goodell speak, that's almost code for "he's getting suspended."
If that's the case, the Steelers would be left with either 35-year-old injury risk Charlie Batch or third-year man Dennis Dixon (and his 27 career passing attempts as their starter).
As far as anyone knows, Roethlisberger is still the guy in the Steel City; until he's too old or broken down to keep his job, he's the starting quarterback.
But if he has to sit out any length of time (up to perhaps the whole season), the Steelers are, in a word, pretty screwed—especially since they just traded their top receiver, Santonio Holmes, to the Jets.
Still, if they brought in Campbell, Pittsburgh still has enough weapons to where he can come in, manage the season, win 8-10 games, and propel them to the playoffs.
And hey, even if Big Ben comes out unscathed, Campbell would still be a better insurance policy than Batch or Dixon.
Pittsburgh has the ammo to make this idea a reality—counting the fifth-rounder they got from New York for Holmes, the Steelers have a three, a four, and a quartet of fives in the upcoming draft.
The snafu here, of course, is BRETT FAVRE.
Obviously, if Favre were to return, Campbell would be a benchwarmer.
But what if he doesn’t?
Brad Childress has said that they will give Favre all the time he needs/wants to make a decision on his future, but you have to think they’d like to have a backup plan in place (or at least a better one than the Tarvaris Jackson/Sage Rosenfels combo they had last year) as soon as possible.
Jackson is/was a restricted free agent with a third-round tender, so he’s not going to cost much if they simply cut him and keep Rosenfels as a third-stringer behind Favre and Campbell.
So even if they acquired Campbell to sit on the bench this year, they'd still have an upgrade on the bench and perhaps more leverage to potentially sign him to an extension if need be.
There won’t be a “franchise” guy available at No. 30 (unless you’re really high on Colt McCoy), and likely wouldn’t be one in the high slot they’re looking at in the 2011 draft if Favre returns and has another season like 2009.
So why not? They may not have as much ammo as Cleveland or Pittsburgh (a compensatory fifth-rounder is their only “extra” pick), but would they consider it worth their fourth-rounder just in case?
And finally, perhaps the darkest horse of all.
Both Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson are under contract through 2011. But then again, they still are Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson.
And in his career, Campbell has more experience and numbers roughly equal to both of theirs combined.
That sounds like an exaggeration, but in doing the math, you’ll find that Campbell has about 100 less yards passing yards and only five less touchdowns than that duo. Yeah yeah, he was always a starter and they weren’t, but still, he’s got the cred.
In Leinart’s case, the Cards thought it was a gift that he dropped to them at No. 10 in 2006. He even started most of the 2006 season, finishing with 2547 yards and 11 TD—and 12 picks.
Then he broke his collarbone early in 2007, Kurt Warner took over, and the rest is history. You don’t mess with a good thing, sure, but Leinart blew his chance to reclaim the job in training camp in 2008 and then struggled badly when he was in there the last two years—so while he is the “starter” for now, that’s always a tenuous spot for him.
As for Anderson, he had that one great Pro Bowl season in 2007—throwing for 3757 yards and 29 TD after taking over for Charlie Frye—but outside of that, he’s been average at best and abysmal most of the rest of the time.
He was mediocre while being yo-yoed in and out of the starting lineup in 2008, and was even worse in the same scenario as 2009. Sure, the Browns had very little weaponry on offense, but that’s not much of an excuse for his 10 picks in eight games.
So yeah, Jason Campbell could easily step right in for one or both of them and compete for the starting job.
Arizona has a pair of third-round picks and a pair of underperforming signal callers, and Leinart has a front-loaded, escalator-ridden contract. If they’re not satisfied, Campbell could be an option.