Regardless of who we draft, who would we want to take the reigns and help groom our future QB? It could even come down who would we want as an OC or QB coach, or maybe a mixture of all three. Here's a list of guys that will likely be looking for a new home come 2011:
Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins - After the turmoil and non-fitting situation with coach Mike Schanahan, McNabb will likely be on a new team next year. McNabb does have plenty of experience any team could benefit from. Even for being 34-years old, I feel he's still got a few good years left before he's considered as just a back up or even retiring. Was it McNabb, or the Reid/Mornhinweg-trained QB Coach James Urban, more responsible for Kevin Kolbs development? He could be a 1-2 year answer to take the reigns and help groom our young QBs?
Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles - Not sure here, but with the reemergence of Vick and the desire to start, Kolb could end up starting elsewhere next season. I don't really see the Eagles parting ways with Vick at this point. Kolb is not overly experienced, but seems to have been brought up well in Philly. Despite a shaky game @ Tennessee, he's been fairly productive when starting or filling in this season. Kolb also has youth (26 yrs) to be further developed. He could be enticing if available, but could also put us in another Matt Moore situation.
Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos - I'm not certain Orton will be a free agent come the offseason. I think a lot of it depends on who takes over the HC, GM and OC in Denver. in the past, Orton has been labeled as a "game manager," but has flourished at times in Denver with a subpar surrounding cast. At the age of 28, Orton does have plenty left in the tank. When given time Orton has made pretty decent decisions and has made guys like Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney look much improved. What could Orton do for a young QB, and what could he do with more talent than he has in Denver?
Shaun Hill, Detroit Lions - Hill has never been overly-spectacular, but at times he has shown efficiency and some smarts. Being a good backup in Detroit, Hill has kept the Lions competitive while starting for oft-injured Matthew Stafford. Hill doesn't have what I'd call a "cannon," but he clearly exceeds our current situation at starting QB. Does Hill have the necessary experience to help our youth and get us some wins?
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks - With no other great option at QB, I'm thinking Seattle may keep Hasselbeck around another year, although nothing is certain at this point. Hasselbeck hasn't been great since 2007 and has been up and down ever since. He's taken a good beating in the last few seasons and his age(35) doesn't bode well for longevity. If he was available, I see him as a "6-game starter," then taking the back up/mentor roll for a team with a young QB. If he makes a move, his next team will likely be his last.
Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota Vikings - Even though to future at QB in Minnesota is unclear, it sounds like Jackson will be looking for work after the season. Jackson is still pretty young at the age of 27. I'm not that sure if he'd be a guy Clausen and Co. could look to for guidance. His lack of experience may play a roll in where he ends up.
Troy Smith, San Francisco 49ers - The world hasn't seen much from Smith until recently. He was average in the backup roll for Alex Smith, although his mobility was one thing that helped him pull off 3 wins this year. He has since been sitting as No. 2 again to Alex Smith(who could also be looking for work next year). Many things hinge on if Singeltary and Co. stick around next year and who San Fran can swoop up in the draft.
Bruce Gradkowski, Oakland Raiders - I don't see him as being a full-fledged starter yet, but he has shown bursts of potential. If he stays or goes, he's got to try and clean up his hands a little. 19 fumbles in 32 games isn't a very kind stat, although it's better than our 12 QB fumbles in 13 games this season. If anything, Gradkowski would be an interesting backup. I don't see much more than that though.
Then, the list of potential FA guys that don't really excite me:
So much of this really depends on our coaching/coordinator changes. Our O-line will need a good shakedown if any Carolina QB is to have a chance at success. If we are talking a true veteran that can help right away, I'm looking at McNabb, Orton, Hill or maybe Kolb. Now, things may change, other guys may end up being available too. As of this moment, these are the guys I see as some options.
I do want to take this time to address some of the bad-mouthing I've done about JR this year. It was really uncalled for... I wanted something and someone to blame for our demise. And well, I was just being irrational. Sorry guys... The truth about JR is when he wants to commit to winning, he does and he wins. He went out in the 2003 offseason and spent good money on free agents that did contribute and made a difference that got us to the Superbowl. Knowing this, I am excited to see what JR does this year. We have many changes coming our way and I'm ready and waiting for them!
And Jeff Davidson still really, really sucks... :)