Backup NFL QBs with Most Trade Value
One of the best positions to be in as an NFL player is to be a backup quarterback. There’s very little pressure on a backup quarterback since he only plays when the starter misses time due to injury or the starter struggles to perform adequately.
Since we only see brief glimpses of most backup quarterbacks, a well-performing backup can become everyone’s favorite player. This is especially true for fans of other teams that have below average starters. Why not just upgrade their own quarterback room by trading for someone else’s backup?
There’s some merit to this, as some quarterbacks have flourished after such a trade. Brett Favre, Matt Schaub and Colin Kaepernick are a few examples that instantly come to mind as former backups who have had successful NFL careers. Each had a limited resume when he was acquired.
With so many unsettled and poor quarterback situations across the league, there are six backup quarterbacks with trade value. Whether each quarterback can be a viable long-term starter is yet to be seen, but each of these players deserves a chance to prove it.
We’ll take a look at the top six backup quarterbacks that have trade value. Some quarterbacks have more value to a new team than their own, which is the biggest reason a trade happens. Let’s take a look at the backup quarterbacks with the most trade value.
6. Ryan Mallett, Houston Texans
Despite being in a quarterback battle with Brian Hoyer, the Houston Texans announced that the competition was over this week. Hoyer was named the starter, relegating Mallett to the bench. This was a controversial decision that could define the Texans’ success this year.
Mallett’s biggest claim-to-fame thus far has to do with his status as Tom Brady’s backup in New England. The reality is that means nothing in terms of his success. But there are things we’ve seen on the field that say Mallett deserved more consideration to start over Hoyer.
Mallett has a strong arm and potential to hit big plays. He’s played in just seven games, so he’s understandably raw on the field. To another team looking for a low-floor, potential high-ceiling gamble, Mallett is a solid target to look at.
Projected value: conditional sixth-round pick
5. Chase Daniel, Kansas City Chiefs
With Alex Smith cemented as the starting quarterback in Kansas City, the 28-year-old Chase Daniel is likely stuck to backup status with the Chiefs. That could be a mistake by other teams needing a quarterback, as Daniel could be a nice upgrade. Every time he’s been given a chance, he’s looked fully capable of being a competent full-time player.
Daniel has thrown the ball 75 times since 2010 in the regular season, completing 64 percent of his attempts. It’s a limited sample size, but Daniel’s preseason numbers also suggest he is an efficient and effective natural passer. His Week 2 performance featured three touchdown passes and an 81 completion percentage.
Considering Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor and Nick Foles are being considered or have already been named starters, there’s no reason that Daniel shouldn’t be as well. His skillset continues to help him play well whenever he’s had the chance. A conditional Day 3 draft pick would be a reasonable risk for a new team.
Projected value: conditional fifth-round pick
4. Shaun Hill, Minnesota Vikings
The most accomplished player on this list is the 35-year-old Shaun Hill. Hill has nine years of experience to show that he is one of the best backups in the NFL. If he were needed as a stopgap for one year, there’s no better candidate.
Hill is the ultimate low-risk, consistent performer who defines the term “game manager.” His 49 career touchdowns to 30 interceptions on 62.2 completion percentage helps illustrate that he is not a disaster when he plays. The same cannot be said for a vast majority of backups throughout the league.
Since Hill is limited with his age, the value the Vikings could get in return is difficult to gauge. But he would be an upgrade for one or two years for several franchises. Paired with a strong running game and defense, Hill could help a team reach the playoffs.
Projected value: conditional fifth-round pick
3. Derek Anderson, Carolina Panthers
The only time we’ve seen Derek Anderson in a full 16-game season was the same year he went 10-5 and reached the Pro Bowl with the Cleveland Browns. After that season, he struggled to regain that same confidence he showed in 2007 and bounced around the league with few appearances from 2011 until last year.
A solid two starts last season helped boost the 32-year-old's value. Anderson is a big-arm gunslinger who can produce impressive results. His talent is maddening, though, as he has struggled with a lot of turnovers throughout his career.
Anderson has 58 touchdowns and 55 interceptions in 45 career starts. He can be lightning in a bottle, which would be an upgrade for teams on the playoff cusp but need that extra boost.
Projected value: fifth-round pick
2. Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The second-youngest player on this list, Tampa Bay backup quarterback Mike Glennon, is no longer needed by the franchise. The minute that Jameis Winston was acquired, Glennon’s services should have been shopped around the league. At 25 years old, Glennon can offer a new franchise a young arm to develop.
Despite his 6’7”, 225-pound frame, Glennon is not a gunslinger with a big arm. Instead, he plays like a game manager, offering a more consistent approach with few big plays. His career completion percentage of 58.8 also leaves much room for improvement.
Glennon takes care of the football reasonably well, but he has lacked the on-field charisma that sold the Buccaneers on Winston in the 2015 draft. Maybe Glennon can develop that confidence and swagger elsewhere. A Day 3 pick would be a good gamble for teams like Buffalo, Cleveland and St. Louis.
Projected value: conditional fourth-round pick
1. Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans
At 24 years old, Zach Mettenberger is the youngest and most valuable backup currently in the NFL. The 2014 sixth-round pick out of LSU turned in a decent rookie season with the Tennessee Titans. This piqued interest in Mettenberger’s potential, although not enough for the team to pass on Marcus Mariota in the 2015 draft.
That was the right call by the Titans, as Mariota is much more likely to be a wildly successful starter, based off his collegiate pedigree. That doesn’t mean Mettenberger is bad, though. His big arm and ability to hit game-changing plays is still something that other teams lack.
If Mettenberger is moved, his efficiency must improve. He completed 59.8 percent of his throws and also had seven interceptions in six games. His tools and play style do help show he could be a long-term starter in the NFL.
Projected value: fourth-round pick
All stats used are from sports-reference.com.
Ian Wharton is an NFL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.