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NFL Free Agency: Donovan McNabb and 5 Quarterback Free Agents Ready to Help

Kraig LundbergAnalyst IIIJune 12, 2011

NFL Free Agency: Donovan McNabb and 5 Quarterback Free Agents Ready to Help

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    LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 12:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Washington Redskins passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers  at FedExField on December 12, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Buccaneers defeated the Redskins 17-16. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    As the NFL lockout continues, speculation continues to increase on where the top free agents will land for the upcoming season.

    A high-priority goal for many teams will be finding a veteran quarterback.  The QB frenzy early in the 2011 NFL Draft will have organizations scrambling to find a solid one- or two-year starter to fill in while their newly minted franchise rookies get their feet wet.

    Including the embattled former Eagles star Donovan McNabb, currently with the Redskins, here are five veteran gunslingers who teams will be placing atop their free agency priorities list.

    Sources: NFL.com, ESPN.com, WalterFootball.com

Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Washington Redskins looks to throw a pass against the New York Giants on December 5, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 31-7.  (
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Donovan McNabb is a former Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback that had a rocky season in his first year with the Redskins.

    After struggling down the stretch, head coach Mike Shanahan replaced him with the mercurial Rex Grossman. McNabb's relationship with Shanahan had reportedly soured prior to his benching.

    But with career numbers of 36,250 yards, a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio, and a rating of 85.7, McNabb would be an intriguing veteran pickup for any team in need of one.

    Washington's running game struggled in 2010, which could have been part of McNabb's problem.  Teams with strong running games would do themselves well to sign McNabb to a one or two year deal.

Billy Volek, San Diego Chargers

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 24:  Billy Volek #7 of the San Diego Chargers during warm up against the New England Patriots at Qualcomm Stadium on October 24, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    A long-time backup to Phillip Rivers in San Diego, Billy Volek is regarded as one of the league's best second-stringers and possibly a low-end starter.

    Already 35, Volek probably doesn't have too many years left in him, but he too would be a quality fill-in starter for a team with a rookie who is not yet ready to take the reigns.

    There is some speculation that he will follow Ron Rivera to the Panthers and start while Auburn star Cam Newton gets acclimated to the NFL, which would be a good situation for both players.

    If Carolina ends up looking elsewhere or going with Newton as the starter from day one, there will likely be a few other teams interested in Volek's temporary services.

Bruce Gradkowski, Oakland Raiders

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Bruce Gradkowski #5 of the Oakland Raiders in action against the Miami Dolphins at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 28, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    At 28 years old, Bruce Gradkowski has yet to catch on anywhere as a starter, and doesn't have very impressive numbers to date.

    But when thrust into action because of injuries or poor play from the starter, Gradkowski has performed admirably.

    While he has become one of the better back-ups in the league, he has the ability to be a temporary starter for one of those teams that isn't ready to throw their franchise rookie selection to the dogs just yet.

    And with a strong supporting cast, Gradkowski would be able to hold his own against good competition.

Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans

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    INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02:  Kerry Collins #5 of the Tennessee Titans throws a pass during NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    A true veteran, the 38-year-old Kerry Collins has been playing since 1995. He has racked up 40,441 yards, 206 touchdowns and 195 interceptions over the course of his career, while averaging a 73.9 rating.

    While that rating may not sound impressive, it's important to point out the fact that Collins earned an 82.0 rating in 2010 while throwing for 1,823 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

    Because it seems as though he is still going strong, Collins will probably receive some attention from several different organizations looking for a veteran to mentor their young rookie.

    One of those organizations is the Titans, who drafted Jake Locker out of Washington eighth overall.  They'll most definitely attempt to retain Collins in hopes that he has enough left in the tank to lead the franchise while Locker learns the ropes.

Marc Bulger, Baltimore Ravens

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    BALTIMORE - AUGUST 28:  Marc Bulger #9 of the Baltimore Ravens passes against the New York Giants in a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Giants 24-10. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Once a solid starter, Bulger was traded from the Rams when his play diminished and he fell from the graces of the St. Louis organization.

    At 34 years old, however, Bulger still might have something left to give.

    In 2006, Bulger threw for an impressive 4,301 yards, 24 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.  His previous three seasons were not much worse, as far as his quarterback rating went.

    If some team is able to offer him a good supporting cast, Bulger could make a mini-comeback of sorts and produce as a starter for a couple more years while his rookie back-up readies himself to take over.

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