With training camps approaching next month, teams are readying their preparation and looking over their rosters. And obviously, there has been a ton of attention paid to quarterbacks without gigs led by Colin Kaepernick.
Also, this week, former top 10 pick Vince Young chimed in via SI.com about not being able to get back in the NFL, and specifically, singled out new Buccaneers backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, as someone that shouldn’t have a job instead of him.
Of course, Young (that’s him above trying to make the Packers in preseason in 2013) hasn’t been in an NFL training camp in four years. And, never mind that his attempt to be a backup in Canada with the Sasketchewan Roughriders ended before it ever began earlier this month with him tearing his hamstring in their training camp. But, he deserves to be on a roster more than a QB who led the Jets to a 10 win season just two years ago. Comical, right?
So, we at F.F.I. decided to do some digging and provide more evidence that for all of the blather about Kaepernick and whether he’s been “blackballed” by NFL teams, or Vince Young whining now, that there are plenty of other worthy healthy QB’s who have years left and still are out there looking for work, too.
And, not unlike Kapernick and Young they are some experienced and willing guys, who still are waiting:
Robert Griffin III- The former 2011 Heisman winner and rookie of the year in D.C. fought back from a second serious knee injury with the Skins to become the Browns opening day starter last year. He was quickly injured again and is gone from Cleveland and thus far, out of any gig. Griffin is 27, experienced and wasn’t kneeling for the national anthem in 2016, either. Yet, he waits.
Christian Ponder- A former top 10 pick in the 2011 draft himself, started two seasons for the Vikings (actually has 36 career starts), but has been a “nomad” backup QB the last two season s with Denver, Oakland and San Francisco, and hasn’t played in a regular season game in that time. Yet, he’s 29, healthy and without a gig, as well.
Johnny Manziel- For all the off the field problems, the former first round pick of the Browns has been desperately looking for an opportunity to be a backup. Manziel is facing a likely six game suspension from the NFL, if he’s signed to a roster and that is a big obstacle, also for him to get a shot. Then again, he’s only 24, he’s a former Heisman winner and you can make the same argument about his athleticism and elusiveness, as with Kaepernicks’s skills. Yet, no invite.
And finally, Jay Cutler- The embattled and maligned former eight year starter in Chicago, who was originally a starter in Denver for three years, with a total of 139 career starts. That’s the most, by far , of any QB who is still healthy and has prime years left, who’s available to a team.
And, at 34, he’s been to the Pro Bowl, played in playoff games, and obviously would be valuable to a team, as a backup. However, the main reason Cutler is without a team, is he made it clear that he wanted to start (or at least be given the even chance to start at a training camp) and no one wanted to give him that chance. Cutler took a booth analyst job with Fox Sports and is slated to call games this fall. But, it’s also well known, he’s in shape and waiting for a phone to ring in training camp, especially if injury, etc. dictates a team needs a proven veteran.
So, when Mike Glennon left the Bucs to sign in March with Chicago to replace Cutler, the Bucs had a choice(s) including those above, and picked Fitzpatrick who is also 34. One of the sensible clear arguments is Tampa Bay wanted a veteran, he’s started 116 games, who could also mentor the 23 year old Jameis Winston, too.
Btw, the Jaguars new boss, Tom Coughlin, could have gone for a new backup for Blake Bortles, especially one to compete with him. Yet, he chose to keep perennial clip board holder Chad Henne from their roster, for that role, for now.
The point of the above is this: there are only so many QB jobs in the NFL, and there are numerous guys out there who are qualified, healthy and available, still.
Welcome to the numbers game of Pro Football.