A lot of quarterback-needy teams like to bypass the draft to go with a known commodity, a veteran quarterback. That is not always the wisest decision. Here are six examples of teams that should have considered other options before going with the veteran, as we count down the top six free-agent quarterback busts in NFL history.
Also considered: Scott Mitchell is the obvious punching bag for these lists and would have been on the list prior to 2010. But Mitchell did have one 4,000-yard passing season and led the Lions to the playoffs twice. So while he never matched the hype, he does deserve a little credit. Plus Herman Moore had his best seasons with Mitchell in Detroit.
6. Jake Delhomme, Cleveland Browns, 2010
Delhomme had a good career for the Panthers but the wheels came off during the 2008 playoffs when he had a six-turnover meltdown against the Cardinals. Delhomme followed that up with the worst season of his career in 2009, but the Browns rewarded him with a two-year contract.
5. Derek Anderson, Arizona Cardinals, 2010
Why would the Cardinals take Anderson from a team that thought Delhomme was an improvement? Anderson got benched for rookie John Skelton. What, you think this is funny? This is damn serious.
But really, how bad was Matt Leinart?
4. Neil O’Donnell, New York Jets, 1996
Bill Parcells Rich Kotite (which explains a lot, sorry Bill) gave O’Donnell a five-year deal. Did he miss Super Bowl XXX? O’Donnell got hurt in his first season and started only six games. The team went 1-15 in 1997, and then he was replaced by Glenn Foley. O’Donnell was released before training camp in 1998.
3. Jeff Garcia, Cleveland Browns, 2004
Garcia signed a four-year deal with the Browns, but was released after going 3-7 in 10 starts for Cleveland. The upshot for Garcia was that he met his wife Carmella DeCesare during his short tenure in Cleveland.
2. Elvis Grbac, Baltimore Ravens, 2001
Trent Dilfer led the Ravens to a Super Bowl championship in 2000 and was rewarded with the team turning to Grbac, who was coming off a 4,000-yard season with the Chiefs. Things didn’t work out for the Ravens, as Grbac threw more interceptions (18) than touchdowns (15) and the team was bounced from the playoffs by the Steelers. Grbac retired after only one season in Baltimore.
Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make, unless you’re …
1. Dolphins don’t sign Drew Brees
As if Dolphins fans need more reason to hate Nick Saban, the team could have had Brees, but decided to trade for Daunte Culpepper instead. How’d that work out? Hey, it’s not like Brees went to on to lead his team to a Super Bowl. Oh wait. Well, it’s not like Brees won a Super Bowl in the Dolphins’ home stadium.