Published: December 5th, 2008 | Tags: Derek Anderson, Donovan McNabb, Jeff Garcia, Jon Kitna, Kerry Collins, Kurt Warner, Matt Cassel, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Leinart, Michael Vick, Rex Grossman, Vince Young
No offseason in recent memory, and maybe ever, has provided the quantity of intrigue that this one will regarding quarterbacks.
A handful of high-profile quarterbacks are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents. Other well-known quarterbacks could be traded. Another talented but troubled one could be reinstated. All together, the collection of quarterbacks is going to create one of the most fascinating off-seasons in NFL history.
Check out the list of quarterbacks that could be available.
- Donovan McNabb — If traded, the Eagles would recoup at least a first-round pick and free up $9.2 million against their salary cap. Minnesota and Chicago are the most logical landing spots, though Tampa Bay always has had a fascination with McNabb and franchise quarterbacks.
- Kurt Warner — Talks between Warner and the Cardinals have not progressed at all. Arizona always could slap the $14 million franchise tag on Warner, who doesn’t want to leave. But if the Cardinals don’t take care of him, the 49ers or Rams might.
- Derek Anderson — Anderson is owed a $5 million roster bonus by the middle of March. If Cleveland is going to trade Anderson, it is going to do it before it pays him more money. If the Browns keep him, he counts $9 million against the cap. If Minnesot a can’t land McNabb, Anderson is a nice consolation prize.
- Matt Cassel — New England could franchise Cassel, but then he would be making $14 million –- as much as Tom Brady is scheduled to earn the next two seasons. Maybe Cassel can become Brett Favre‘s successor with the Jets.
- Kerry Collins — After playing the way he has played this season, Collins no longer will be content to be a backup next season. He feels as if he deserves a starting job and should be compensated for it. He is scheduled to become a free agent; he will find out just where he stands.
- Jeff Garcia — Garcia and the Buccaneers have been waiting to divorce since the off-season and will this winter, when the quarterback’s contract is up. Maybe, fittingly, he could finish his career in San Francisco.
- Michael Vick — If and when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reinstates Vick, the Falcons will be forced to release him. Vick would be the perfect Raider. Even if JaMarcus Russell improves at quarterback, maybe the Raiders could convert Vick to receiver.
- Jon Kitna — When Detroit cleans house in the off-season, Kitna will be one of the first players to go. He could be a nice stopgap quarterback for a team that drafts one of the country’s top young quarterbacks.
- Rex Grossman — Once he was good enough to help lead the Bears to the Super Bowl. But Kyle Orton has taken over the Bears starting quarterback job and forced Grossman, who will be an unrestricted free agent, to move on.
- Vince Young — Should the Titans commit to Collins, the question then becomes what the team does with Young. It says it wants him around. But it could be challenging to keep both their top quarterbacks.
- Matt Leinart — The Young/Collins story in Tennessee is eerily similar to the Leinart/Warner story in Arizona.
- Matt Hasselbeck — Seattle has begun pondering life without Hasselbeck. If the Seahawks had a successor in waiting, it might be easier to trade or release Hasselbeck. But with no viable options on the horizon, chances are Hasselbeck is back.
- Marc Bulger — Trading Bulger would be a cap-neutral move for the Rams, making it a definite possibility. But they would need to find a college signal caller to replace him.
- Alex Smith — Once the former No. 1 overall pick, Smith is not going to see the $9.5 million he was scheduled to make next season in San Francisco. The two sides might be better off divorcing.
As if that weren’t enough, there are other quarterbacks to consider. Tennessee’s Chris Simms and Detroit’s Dan Orlovsky also are scheduled to become free agents. Houston’s Sage Rosenfels and Miami’s John Beck are other pickup possibilities. And these are just the quarterbacks. There also could be anywhere from six to 10 head coaching changes.
So we are on the verge of one of the most tumultous off-seasons in NFL history.
Last off-season revolved around where Favre would land. The coming off-season will center around an enormous number of significant changes at the most high-profile position in sports. As T.O. would say about some of the very quarterbacks he has caught passes from, get your popcorn ready.