On Friday, the New Orleans Saints signed former third overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, Joey Harrington. A former Oregon Ducks Quarterback, professionally Harrington played for the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, and with Saints' division rival Atlanta Falcons.
Granted, the 29-year-old is a younger upgrade to backup quarterback Mark Brunell, 38, but not over Brunell’s years of experience and leadership.
It is uncertain as to why the signing of Harrington was made, with the Saints already having two quarterbacks on the roster. Unfortunately, the signing has lead to recently acquired Defensive Tackle Alvin McKinley’s release from the team, despite the Saints already being thin at the defensive line just two weeks into the season.
Harrington may be the project at quarterback that Head Coach Sean Payton had been looking for, but not when he is the same age as Drew Brees, the franchise quarterback.
The question is: why now? Harrington may have some upside and will probably be groomed to be Brees’ back-up for next season, with this year probably being Brunell’s last. But with injuries to the defensive line, especially at Defensive Tackle, it leaves the question if signing another quarterback is the best idea this early in the season. Yes, adding a new player to an already potent offense is always nice, but not when the new player will be your third string quarterback.
The Saints defense is already giving up nearly 150 yards per game on the ground—26th in the NFL and the signing of McKinley last week was supposed to help sure up the run defense. Wouldn’t helping out a defense that is hemorrhaging over 400 yards per game, 29th in NFL, be a better route to take rather than making sure Brees has two quality back-ups?
The Saints should have signed another defensive player, who can put some pressure on the opposition as well as cover the run and passing game, especially going into a game against the Denver Broncos, a squad that ranks first in offense in the NFL.
Why not sign a player like former Pro-Bowler and LSU Tiger Anthony McFarland? Although he is coming off of surgery on his patella tendon, he could still be a force against the run and the pass.
The signing looks like the wrong move, especially with other areas of concern still left so early in the season. Harrington may prove to be a valuable commodity as Brees’ back-up, but at the current moment it just looks like bad roster management.