Sunday, February 16, 2014

NFL Backup Quarterbacks in 2014; Who WIll the Browns Sign?

.      Even if the Browns draft a quarterback in the first round, they will probably also bring in a veteran free agent quarterback. Brian Hoyer is probably the incumbent starter, but the rookie will get a shot, and there might be an outside shot for a veteran to seize the job like Campbell did in 2013.    But Campbell will likely be cut because he is getting close to first string money ($3.25 Million), and currently he projects to the number three qb.  Weeden will probably be cut out of spite, even though the Browns will incur a salary cap penalty due to the rules about bonus money (it costs the Browns $2 Million to cut Weeden--it does not save money to cut him, it costs money to cut him).  But I think they would rather cut him and have some other quarterback with less baggage with Cleveland fans.  At the end of this blog, I've listed the primary backups for each NFL team, followed by a list of free agent quarterbacks. 

     Note also that for the Browns, the second string guy has been called upon to start games every year since 2001.  More often than not, the third string guy has also  had to start games including both 2012 and 2013.  So it really does matter who the backup is, as well as the third string guy. 
    So who are the best  backup quarterbacks in the NFL, and how good are they?  And how about the available free agents?  I've listed the principal backups below, and under that is a list of the likely free agents available in 2014.  If you just look at the names, listed below, there are only a few guys that look like potential future stars.   Ryan Mallett, a "developmental" prospect with a big arm,  has been the understudy for Tom Brady for centuries, and some people figure he might be worth a number one draft pick by now.  Similarly, Brock Osweiler is the backup for Peyton Manning at 6'7" 242 lbs  and a rocket arm.  He might be ready now if the opportunity should arise.  
After sitting for two years watching Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler might be the backup quarterback with the most potential in the NFL 
    Otherwise, NFL backup qbs  are not exactly superstars, though some recycled veterans have had some success in the past, including Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Schaub and Kyle Orton.  I think the top 10 or so backups  are good enough to win with a good team behind them, but would probably not change the fortunes of a team like the Browns.  I would put both Campbell and Weeden in that category by the way. Unless the talent level of the team changes (say if they actually add some good players), I think that the Browns would be about  a five win team with either Campbell or Weeden.     As for the free agents, I think that we are probably talking about guys at the same talent level. Strictly backup material. 
34-year old vet Josh McCown was great subbing for Jay Cutler, but because of his age is regarded strictly as a backup. 
     Note also that there are already four recent Cleveland Browns serving as backup qbs, and probably there will soon be two more if they cut  Weeden and  Campbell:  Thad Lewis, Josh Johnson,  Colt McCoy, and  Bruce Gradkowski.  They are all pretty competent players, imho, though they are not going to be All Pro.  In any case, I'm not sure how smart it is to continually sign and cut backup quarterbacks.  It would be great if they could keep a guy around for a few years to become really familiar with the personnel and the plays. Put it this way, I would be happy to trade back Weeden and Campbell for Thad Lewis and Colt McCoy.  I don't think it would make much difference overall in quarterback play, and if anything that Browns might have been slightly better off sticking with the guys we had in 2012, rather than expending a first round pick and a big free agent contract.     
Did anyone notice that former Browns backup Thad Lewis outplayed E. J. Manuel for the Bills last year?  He was 2-3 in five starts with a qb rating about the same as Hoyer's. 
    No matter, that isn't the way things are done in Cleveland, so if Campbell and Weeden are both gone, I think I might take my chances with Chad Henne (former starter with Jacksonville and Miami) or maybe Tavaris Jackson.   A lot depends on the thinking of the free agent though.  Sometimes they figure it is better to remain unsigned until some team's starter goes down, at which point they might be willing to offer a starting job immediately.  I kind of think Mike Vick might try that this year, and thus may not sign immediately with a new team. 

     One other scary possibility is Mark Sanchez, he of the infamous Butt Fumble.  But Coach Pettine knows him from his time as the Jets Defensive Coordinator, and based on that relationship it is not crazy to think that Sanchez might be evaluated for the post.  Doubtless Sanchez got blamed for a lot of things that were really Rex Ryan's fault, and in any case he did lead two teams to the AFC Finals. 
      They would probably begin the season as the number three quarterback behind Hoyer and the rookie if we go ahead and draft one.   
Could someone like Chad Henne be signed as a number three quarterback by the Browns? 
Current NFL Backups

Ryan Mallett, NE
Brock Osweiler, Denver
Matt Barkley, Philadelphia
Josh McCown, Chicago
Kyle Orton, Dallas
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee
*Thad Lewis, Buffalo
**Jason Campbell, Cleveland
*Colt McCoy, San Francisco
Matt Schaub, Houston
Matt Hasselbeck, Indianapolis
Matt Moore, Miami
Matt Simms, NYJ or Mark Sanchez
Matt Cassel, MinnesotaTyrod Taylor, Baltimore
*Josh Johnson, Cincinnati
*Bruce Gradkowski, Pittsburgh
Ricky Stanzi, Jacksonville
Chase Daniel, KC
Matt McGloin, Oakland
Brad Sorensen, San Diego
Ryan Nassib, NYG
Kirk Cousins, Washington
Kellen Moore, Detroit
Scott Tolzien, Green Bay
Dominique Davis, Atlanta
Matt Blanchard Carolina
Ryan Griffin, New Orleans
Mike Kafka, Tampa
Drew Stanton, Arizona
Austin Davis St Louis
BJ Daniels Seattle

2014 Likely NFL QB Free agents

Mike Vick
Chad Henne
Matt Flynn
Josh Freeman
Shaun Hill
David Garrard
Charlie Whitehurst
Kellen Clemens
Luke McCown
Jimmy Clausen
Brady Quinn
Tavaris Jackson


No comments:

Post a Comment