Now that the Super Bowl has come and gone and the love for Drew Brees and Sean Payton has died down, the entire National Football League can focus on what many teams have been for some time: the offseason. With only a few weeks until free agency opens up, and the draft roughly two months away, teams need to formulate a game plan for the coming months. And of course, in the NFL, it all starts with quarterbacks. My first task of the offseason was determining which franchises are in need of a change at the game’s most important position.
MAKE A CHANGE – NOW
St. Louis Rams
It’s been heavily documented that the Rams need a new signal caller, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s time to cut ties with Marc Bulger, Kyle Boller needs to go, and Keith Null is nothing special. Holding the first pick in the draft, the Rams are in prime position to grab the top QB available, assuming either Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford demonstrate enough at their respective pro-days. Most analysts believe the Rams will take one of the top defensive tackles available, but that would be a mistake. They need to grab a top flight quarterback for the future, and they need to do it now. I’ll get more into that debate as the draft nears. As for a stop gap, I’m looking to none other than Michael Vick. He’s been electric in a dome before, and he’d surely sell tickets for a franchise that’s lost over $250 million.
Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick are not going to lead this franchise back to the playoffs. I’ve seen both men play in person, and neither has inspired much confidence. The Bills should look into drafting a youngster to lead in the future, but as for the present, they need to be careful who they decide to go with. I’m not wild about the apparent desire for Vick. I don’t see his skill set translating well in Buffalo, especially when the weather turns nasty. I know Vick supporters will come back with his improbable playoff win in Green Bay, but one game aside, Vick isn’t really a harsh climate quarterback. The free-agent market isn’t exactly ripe with options, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Edwards and Fitzpatrick are still on the roster come September. But if I were running the Bills, I’d take a look at trading for Derek Anderson. He shouldn’t be in Cleveland by the end of the summer, and he’s got a pretty strong arm.
I know this won’t happen, but I’d love to see the Raiders rid themselves of JaMarcus Russell. Bruce Gradkowski will get every opportunity to win the starting job this summer, but even with him under centre, I’m not confident that the Raiders will be a competitive team. Unfortunately, Al Davis won’t spend another high pick on a draft pick (yet), so it’ll be the status quo for Oakland this fall.
Dating back to last offseason, everything the Redskins organization has done to Jason Campbell is just plain wrong. He’s been a lame duck for well over a year, and I think he’ll be tendered as a restricted free agent and forced to waste another year of his career in Washington. I hope Mike Shanahan does the right thing and let’s Campbell move on.
GIVE IT ANOTHER YEAR
I don’t understand the Browns organization and fan base. Brady Quinn was only drafted three years ago, and I don’t believe there’s enough evidence to prove that he’s a complete write off. I’d like to see him have a full season at the helm in the Dawg Pound before Cleveland makes a change. If they’re desperate to make a change, Troy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens makes sense. He should be easy to acquire, and went to nearby Ohio State.
Like Cleveland, let’s see what the Cards’ young quarterback has in the tank for a full year. I was a huge fan of Matt Leinart when he left USC, and I still believe he may be able to carve out a career in the NFL. Give him a season, and if he can’t succeed with the weapons in the desert, we’ll know he won’t make it anywhere.
Matt Moore looked pretty good down the stretch, and should be given a look for a full season in Carolina. There’s some talk that the Panthers may be interested in Donovan McNabb, but I can’t see that happening.
MAYBE A CHANGE WOULD BE GOOD
With Pete Carroll now in charge, why not start a new era in Seattle by dealing Hasselbeck? His best years are behind him, but he may still be able to help a playoff contender.
I’ve never considered David Garrard a franchise quarterback, and apparently Jack del Rio agrees with me. He recently said that he doesn’t believe Garrard is an elite quarterback. If that’s the case, why not give the coach some options at the position.
They’re the same every year. Streaky throughout the regular season, and usually heading into the playoffs as one of the league’s hotter teams. We’ve seen McNabb take them to the NFC Championship plenty of times, and even a Super Bowl appearance. But in order to take the next step, they may need a change. They have a more than adequate replacement in Kevin Kolb, so maybe it’s time to roll the dice.
Well, it’ll be interesting to see if the upcoming offseason features many moves at all, let alone at the quarterback position. The NFL is about to enter a great time of it’s calendar year, so stay tuned for what’s sure to be an interesting couple of months.
TWO POINT CONVERSION
– four years, $16 million for a kicker. Oakland is jumping the gun on the uncapped year
– expect to see the words “nose tackle” in almost every football article you read from now until the draft