Even while locked out more than Lindsay Lohan is locked up, the NFL still continues to make headlines, especially when it comes to the open-ended question marks for numerous teams regarding the quarterback position.
With no free agency or trading of players allowed, the futures of seasoned veterans and up-and-comers such as Donovan McNabb, Carson Palmer, Vince Young, Mark Bulger and Kevin Kolb are all up in the air.
Heading into the NFL Draft, numerous teams had a significant need at the quarterback position, including the likes of the Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks.
With the Draft now in the rearview, questions were answered after a handful of teams selected QB’s in the early rounds – including the Panthers (Cam Newton), 49ers (Colin Kaepernick), Titans (Jake Locker), Vikings (Christian Ponder) and Jaguars (Blaine Gabbert).
But the new question arose as to whether any of these rookies would be thrust into an immediate starting role, if some veterans would stay put, or others would be moved.
It has been widely noted that the Cardinals will likely go the way of the veteran, while teams like the 49ers and Jags will stick with in-house signal callers, while their rookies learn on the bench.
In an effort to try and sort out all the news and rumors circulating regarding the future of a number of quarterbacks, TWHS found the following tidbits:
It started with chatter about whether Newton would be able to swipe away Jimmy Clausen’s jersey number, then moved to rumors that Brett Favre could tutor the former Auburn standout. The latest has former Panthers QB Chris Weinke coaching up Cam.
The Bills haven’t been shy in saying that Ryan Fitzpatrick is their guy, and the former Harvard QB played well enough to earn a chance to start again. But this report throws up a caution flag and warns of Fitzpatrick’s inability to handle pressure in the pocket.
Carson Palmer has taken a hard stance for months, saying he’ll retire if he’s not dealt. Inresponse, Cincinnati drafted Andy Dalton. Now, the question remains whether Dalton will see the field or not. That depends on who you ask, as Cedric Benson was quoted as saying it “wouldn’t be healthy” to bring Palmer back, while head coach Marvin Lewis hoped he would return. The latest news points to a departure, as Carson Palmer reportedly found a buyer for his home.
The Cardinals have the talent in place on offense, with exception to one glaring hole – the quarterback position. Max Hall, who saw time under center last year as a rookie, is bulking up, in hopes to get another shot. But the most likely scenario appears to be a veteran to coming in to give this team a shot in the arm. Donovan McNabb has been working out with Larry Fitzgerald, which caused a stir, but the more likely option is Kevin Kolb. Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic dove into the Kolb situation, specifically his trade value.
Besides the lockout itself, the story of the offseason has been Eagles backup QB Kevin Kolb, and not “will he be dealt”, but instead when and where. The Philadelphia Daily News reported that it will happen; citing a team source, but the destination is still unknown. Peter King (Sports Illustrated) reported days ago that the Eagles had an offer for Kolb that involved a first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but that report was adamantly denied by head coach Andy Reid. In fact, Reid says serious talks haven’t taken place regarding Kolb. Either way, numerous teams appear to be interested, and the Cardinals still appear to be the most likely landing spot.
San Francisco 49ers
All signs pointed to an offseason of major change in San Francisco, what with a former quarterback now as the new head coach (Jim Harbaugh), plus a former top pick appearing to be headed out the door (Alex Smith). The 49ers drafted a QB of the future in Colin Kaepernick, and he’ll be ready for his rookie season despite a recent surgery on his lower left leg. But the big surprise is Smith, who admitted that he was likely to stick around in San Francisco. Harbaugh recently backed that claim, telling USA Today that “we very much want Alex Smith to be a 49er”.
The Titans shocked a lot of people by taking Jake Locker with the 8th pick in the draft. Locker himself is excited, and plans to work out with teammates in the near future. But will the rookie be the starter, or will it be someone else? Vince Young is out the door, but says he’ll be ready for a new team. Kerry Collins is a pending unrestricted free agent, per FoxSports.com. One report also says the Titans are interested in Matt Hasselbeck.
The Redskins remain a question mark in the QB department, but there’s a lot of talk circulating around the position. Donovan McNabb, widely considered a trade candidate, has stated he wouldn’t rule out a return to DC. Rex Grossman was last year’s backup, but all reports instead are pointing to John Beck being the starter next season – and Beck himself thinks that it indeed will happen. Then again, both McNabb and Grossman think they are starting, too.
It was enough of a shock that the Vikings selected Christian Ponder with the 12th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft. Now, there’s a good chance that he also starts Week 1. But is this the real deal, or just a smoke screen by a Vikings team that could be seeking to deal for a veteran such as Donovan McNabb? Stay tuned.
Chad Henne’s starting job appeared on rocky ground heading into the NFL Draft, but the Dolphins never drafted a QB – and that got to one of the highly rated prospects, who vows payback. Miami still has other quarterbacks on its radar, mostly veterans, but Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says, “don’t bet against” Chad Henne being the starter.
Even though it’s been widely stated that Blaine Gabbert will be the backup for David Garrard, that didn’t stop fans from giving the Jags a significant bump in ticket sales.
The fact that the Seahawks chose to avoid taking a quarterback in the early rounds of the draft doesn’t mean that Matt Hasselbeck is guaranteed to remain in Seattle. So who will be the quarterback when football returns? That remains to be seen, but one report has the Seahawks interested in Matt Leinart, who used to play at USC under Pete Carroll.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs have Josh Freeman fully entrenched as the starting QB, so there’s no question there. However, the more intriguing tie-in is the fact that a team that won 10 games last season could potentially face rookie QB’s in six of its 16 regular season games next season.
The talk in Denver surrounds who will be the team’s starting quarterback. Of the trio of Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn, it’s Orton that has the most success and experience under center. Tebow has the name, the fame, the jersey sales and more. But both John Elway and new head coach John Fox will also consider Quinn, and he could still win the job, too.
So many questions, yet so little football – at least, for now.
While we wait, where do you think each QB will land – and who will start? Here are my picks:
Pick Your Knows – KP’s Picks:
Kevin Kolb (Traded to Cardinals), Donovan McNabb (Traded to Vikings), Matt Hasselbeck (Stays in Seattle), Cam Newton (Starts with Panthers), Kyle Orton (Traded to Dolphins), Carson Palmer (Traded to Redskins) and Tim Tebow (Starts with Broncos)