NFL Free Agency: 5 Teams That Still Haven't Settled on a Starting QB Post-Draft
I think in any offseason, there are a predictable number of teams that have real quarterback needs. The normal procedure would be to get a guy in free agency, and if you didn't strike it rich there, get the guy to lead your team into the future during the NFL Draft.
You can probably still hear the wheels of the NFL Party Bus screeching to a halt from your computer chair. The players – the guys driving the bus – are in the NFL's version of the drunken tank for a financial DUI; while we – the car – are sitting in the city impound lot running up a ludicrous tab as we wait for the results of the bail hearing, which could also result in a plea bargain – both good things for us.
It's not a good thing for most franchises, however. Teams are already way behind schedule when it comes to the install phase of a new offense, defense, or both. Teams are also on the hook for the roster voids they did not fill during the draft – the draft, the NFL's version of furlough for good behavior.
Some teams are thin with bodies and experience at the games most important position. As they wait for Robin Hood's arrow to pierce the executioners noose on the season, all options are on hold.
Enough with the metaphors. There are teams in serious – and I mean SERIOUS - trouble.
While rumors of the Kevin Kolb Derby swirl madly about, the fact remains that he is a Philadelphia Eagle. Of course, we would be fools to believe general managers and front office personnel do not have a deal in place in principle. The deal probably is and has been for weeks. Problem with that, nothing can be made official until the two sides – players and owners – come to terms with hashing out the future.
Isn't it also possible - if this theoretical deal I am alleging is actually in place - that the Eagles brain trust of Andy Reid and Howie Roseman could get an offer they couldn't refuse from another franchise and completely stiff the team they had verbally entered into agreement with? Oh, how the NFL world turns.
Hopefully, you're not a fan of one of these next five teams.
Marc Serota/Getty Images
Let me start by saying this: I believe in Ryan Fitzpatrick as a starting quarterback.
The Ivy League grad is a sufficient leader and a strong, solid presence. He will never get the notoriety necessary for a long, successful career in the league as a starter unfortunately.
The Bills were expected to draft a quarterback this year. They were linked to both of the top prospects at one time or another and were considered in the running for one of the top second tier QB's in round two.
Two picks came and two picks went. No quarterback. Unless the grand scheme is to fail miserably this season and win the Andrew Luck lottery for next, the fact that Buffalo does not have the heir to the Jim Kelly's throne on the roster makes them unsettled at the position even if Ryan Fitzpatrick starts all 16 games in 2011.
One likely scenario for the Bills is to bring in a veteran free agent to compete for the job and at worst, solidify the backup position.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
A 4-12 seasons, accentuated by the former head coach, Josh McDaniel, getting rid of all the talent and drafting a very questionable quarterback in his 2nd and last draft is a witch's brew for QB tumult.
Over the past two seasons, Kyle Orton has only thrown for 7,400 yards, 41 TD's, and 21 interceptions. The offense averaged 21.5 points a game. Terrible, right? Then, he was benched in favor of rookie Tim Tebow – a project in the opinion of most experts. And, oh yeah, former first rounder Brady Quinn is carrying the clipboard.
Orton did not play bad football. The defense was another story – over 390 yards and 29.5 points a game were both league worst's. The blame had to fall somewhere, and Orton was the scapegoat.
Now, the Broncos are in the midst of a quarterback controversy that will not end well and with the possibility of someone having to leave town.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Worst playoff team from the worst division in all of football. Yet, they beat the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints on Wild Card Weekend. Go figure.
To say Matt Hasselbeck played poorly is an understatement. He's a free agent this year and threw 12 touchdowns to 17 interceptions. Perhaps the punctuation on his regular season was getting hurt against Tampa Bay in week 16 and watching his back up, Charlie Whitehurst, beat the Rams in St. Louis the following week to make playoffs.
Not to be outdone, Hasselbeck started the playoff game against the Saints and threw 4 touchdowns in the victory. However, it left many asking the question, "Is Hasselbeck the guy in 2011?" after being bounced in the divisional round in Chicago by the Bears.
Not quite. He still needs to be resigned and Coach Pete Carroll made a trade last offseason to bring Whitehurst into the fold while it was looking like the end of the road for the 35 year old Matt Hasselbeck. Whitehurst's job was to get a grasp of the offense and come in if needed in spot duty, but ultimately to be ready for next season. He saw real action in five contests, but his numbers left more to be desired.
It remains to be seen if the Seahawks are completely sold on Whitehurst as the future at the position, but this should be the year they try to find out.
The Seahawks could, once again, be players in the quarterback market via trade or free agency as another option. Perhaps they have dipped into the magic hat and pulled out a rabbit to get the coveted Kevin Kolb.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Last season, Mike Shanahan made his handling of the quarterback position look like a cooking show where the chef errantly cuts all his fingers off. I keep thinking of the scene in "Weird" Al Yankovic's movie UHF, where the shop teacher accidently cuts thumb off and clumsily says, "Just call me mister butterfingers". It really was that bad.
So what do they do? Go out and draft a quarterback? That's what the smart money would have done. The 'Skins didn't do that.
Now what? Washington can't rid themselves of Donovan McNabb fast enough and the two players behind him last season, Rex Grossman (free agent) and John Beck, are awful at best.
Out of the Kolb Sweepstakes because of the interdivisional rivalry with the Eagles, the Redskins are forced to lean heavily on free agent passers.
Of the current list, only one compares to John Elway (the person many believe Shanahan is attempting to find the second coming of) – Brett Favre. But he's not coming back, at least not yet, or as far as we know. But he has that rocket arm. He's just so enticing.
Another option, but more of a long shot, could be Caleb Hanie. Hanie, a free agent, made himself serious dollars with his performance against the Packers in the NFC Championship game in January. If that was a glimpse of things to come, he could make some head coach very happy. At worst, Hanie will get looks from several teams around the league.
Washington has other issues on one of the league's worst defenses that they addressed in the draft, but until they get the right guy at the helm, wins will be scarce in 2011.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Please send Larry Fitzgerald a sympathy card to:
Attn: Larry Fitzgerald
8701 South Hardy Dr.
Tempe, AZ 85284
He needs it.
Pretend you are an NFL GM, and on your roster you have four third-string quarterbacks and explosive receivers with no one to throw them the ball. Now, it's April 28th, time for the NFL Draft. Do you: A, draft a quarterback; B, draft a quarterback with your first pick; C, draft a quarterback, at worst, in round two; D, do nothing about upgrading your QB situation.
If you said 'D, destroy any hope of', er, I mean, 'do nothing', then you are general manager of the Arizona Cardinals, Rod Graves.
Derek Anderson, Richard Bartel, Max Hall, and John Skelton combined to throw for 3,264 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also hoisting 19 interceptions. I'm not the biggest believer in single-game quarterback ratings, but for the year, a 60.5 rating is eye popping. 60.5 was also the second worst rating in the league ahead of only Carolina.
There is not a snowball's chance in hell that Arizona goes into the year with those four men on its roster and one of them as the starter. The Cards must mortgage the farm to bring in strong armed Kevin Kolb or another solid veteran quarterback once this hiatus from football is lifted.
Five wins last year for the 'Cards, and no light at the end of the tunnel. Prepare for an ugly 2011 in Arizona.