Sunday, March 4, 2012

Free Agency Episode One: Gunslingers Edition

It is going to be one hell of a crazy offseason in the NFL this year.  There are so many story lines yet to be concluded.  Free agency is most likely where the most drama will occur.  Feelings get hurt.  Pride becomes an issue when picking the right deal.  Does the player want the most money, a great place to move his family, or does he want to win?  These questions will be the answers to who will go where.  In the next three articles I will go over who in my opinion will go where.  Today we are starting with the quarterbacks.  Many big story lines have everything to do with this.  Think about it this way, have you ever heard a football story take over the Super Bowl when the man it was about wasn't even participating?  Welcome to the NFL ladies and gentlemen.

Jason Campbell
It seems the whole world forgets how good this guy was to start off the year.  He had two 300 yard games in the last four he finished, in all but one game he had an over sixty percent completion percentage, and the only game he didn't he was playing the number one defense in the league.  Is anyone in the world doubting that if Jason Campbell was the starting quarterback for the Raiders all season that they would have represented them in the playoffs?  Now the Raiders aren't going to have a reunion with Campbell next year having so much invested in Carson Palmer, but even with the shoulder injury isn't someone going to take a flyer on this guy?  Where do people go when the want to have that last ditch effort to show they can still be relevant.  I will give you a clue, Trent Dilfer, Jeff Garcia, Jake Delhomme, Ty Detmer, that is right the place where quarterbacks go to die, Cleveland.  Campbell can either go there and teach RGIII to be a consummate pro, or he could start from the jump and exploit some of the talent that Colt McCoy has had trouble getting going.

Campbell's Next Home: Cleveland Browns

Kyle Orton:  This is a very interesting case.  Orton started the season as Denver's starter, will always be connected to the Tebowmania story as the guy who got benched, went passed the trading deadline still warming the bench, to ending the season beating his former team and almost costing them a playoff spot for a division rival.  Orton can be a proficient starting quarterback for the right team.  He needs a place where they believe in him and he has receivers who will catch the ball with much consistency.  Is it any wonder that Orton's fall from grace came ironically even with the fact that he lost Brandon Marshall?  Think of a place with one of the best receivers in the league.  Think of a place with great weather and a division that is begging for someone to come over and take a strangle hold for the next few years, a division that has a plethora of quarterbacks who would not make it on anyone else's roster.  Look at Arizona and tell me why this wouldn't work.  Orton will not be extremely expensive, he will get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald in space, he will push Kevin Kolb a lot better than John Skelton can (even though he wasn't terrible last year), and he will be willing to be just a player for the number one job even though he has number one stuff.  Give me a destination that works better for either side?

Orton's Next Home: Arizona Cardinals

Chad Henne- Henne had a tumultuous career so far in the NFL.  He was drafted to save the Dolphins.  He was ridiculously inconsistent and couldn't get a hold of the team and was never able to develop in such a way that the Dolphins scouts wanted from the former Michigan Wolverine.  Does he have the intangibles to be a serviceable NFL quarterback?  Yes.  Does he have the resume to make everyone belief?  I don't think so.  He needs to go somewhere where he can learn and turn it around and go back to square one.  He needs to take a back seat, but at the same time have the starting job in his grasp to keep him competitive.  He needs to push himself again, and I think Miami was not the right destination to do all those things.  I think he has all the talent to make it work in Kansas City.  If they can resign Dwayne Bowe, he has a big bodied receiver alas Brandon Marshall, he has a starter in front of him in Matt Cassel who may be slowly falling out of favor with the front office but still has a chance to take it to the next level and be a good stater in the league, which having a guy like Henne who actually has the skills to be a starter (sorry Tyler Palko, you don't cut it) will either make him work harder or cause him to crumble, either way it is something you have to see and Henne will help bring either side out.

Henne's New Home: Kansas City Chiefs 

Drew Brees: Is it possible that Drew Brees is going anywhere?  It is possible, actually.  Brees side is having a lot of trouble agreeing on a contract with the Saints.  Do the Saints want to use their franchise tag on him when they have Jahri Evans and Marques Colston leaving when they think its a lock he was coming back?  Do you see them franchising Evans and then Brees running off to San Francisco to make them a perennialBrees IS the Saints.  If it wasn't for Brees bringing football back to New Orleans, it is completely possible that this team could have been relocated.  Brees was the number one guy getting this whole state past the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.  You don't let a guy like this walk away, no matter how much it costs.

Brees' Next Home: New Orleans Saints

Vince Young: This is probably the lowest profile guy that is going to make this list.  The former third overall draft pick, Young has had a significant fall from grace.  The only thing that Young brought to the Eagles last year was a lot of interceptions and an infamously terrible nickname.  Young could be public enemy number one in Philadelphia when it comes to putting a bulls eye square on the Eagles back.  Young is definitely not coming back after the Eagles immediately signed Trent Edwards to take over the backup role.  Now the question is, who is willing to take a chance on Young?  Let me ask you this, who loves big names?  Which owner loves when his signings cause controversy?  Jerry Jones does.  Texas football fans will be willing to forgive Young for his career woes since he brought the last national title for the Longhorns, and he will be able to come home and sit behind Romo and get paid to hold that clipboard.

Young's Next Home- Dallas Cowboys

Matt Flynn- Who knew that a guy could start one game and the next off season be one of the most tout after free agents that same year.  That is the situation Flynn is in currently.  He played one game last year for the Packers, but what a game it was.  He threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns in the last game of the year against the Lions.  He has been learning behind arguably the best quarterback in the league, and it looks likely that he took as much info from Aaron Rodgers as he could get.  When looking at a quarterback with "experience" yet none of it is from a game the number one thing to look for is similarity.  Matt Cassel got to excel in Kansas City because he had similar front office and coaching pieces in place.  It didn't have to be completely new.  Look around the league and you see a certain team in south Florida just signed up a former Packers assistant to become their new head coach.  Joe Philbin's system will need a quarterback who already knows the gist.  Flynn will become the new quarterback of the Miami Dolphins, and they hope they work out like Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck, and Aaron Rodgers.

Flynn's Next Home- Miami Dolphins

Alex Smith: What a crazy ride it has been on the Alex Smith train in San Francisco.  However, the stats say he is getting better every year, although it is hard not to get better from one touchdown and eleven interceptions in his rookie season.  His TD to INT ratio throughout his career looks like this, -10 0 -2 +6 +4 +12.  Obvious progression in the former number one overall pick's career.  The question is will anyone pay the man.  It seems that only one team will see what he actually did and think he has what it takes to be the answer, and it is the same team that switched his offensive coordinator every year since his career began the San Francisco 49ers.  No one was paying attention to how well Smith played this year because they were paying more attention to the Tom Bradys, Eli Mannings, Drew Breeses, and Aaron Rodgerses, and rightfully so.  However what Smith did to come back from such disappointments and to have a great season and take this team to a number two seed and a trip to the NFC Championship.  They cannot let him go after spending so much time and money into developing him into the player he is today.  This reunion almost has to happen and I feel like Jim Harbaugh will be happy to have him back.

Smith's Next Home- San Francisco 49ers
Brian Hoyer: Another conspicuous backup to an NFL great trying to cash in on the tutelage of said great. Hoyer was behind Tom Brady for the past three years and has shown that he has the talent to make it as a starting quarterback.  He will not get a definite starting job, however.  The Patriots have Brady and used a third round pick last year on the quarterback of the future in Ryan Mallet therefore Hoyer will not be returning to New England.  He will go to a team with a young quarterback and fight to keep him on the sideline for a year.  That team plays in the nations capital.  The Redskins and Daniel Snider are going to go all in on getting the second round pick and take Robert Griffin III.  Hoyer would be great to spend a year showing him the tutelage he learned while being part of Team Tom.  The Patriots have ultimate winning ways, and Snider wants to bring in a guy who can teach the Redskins how exactly they can win.  Shanahan will also love how Hoyer will be a consummate professional and bring some class to an ultimately classless organization.

Hoyer's Next Home- Washington Redskins

Peyton Manning: Who knew that we would ever be talking about the great Peyton Manning and which team he will end up on.  The divorce between Manning and Jim Irsay and the Colts will definitely be ugly.  You will soon have that awkward moment where Peyton is not wearing Colts blue, kind of like Montana with the Cheifs, Namath with the Chargers, and Favre with the Jets and Vikings.  It just doesn't look right but it is a necessary evil in the NFL.  The question is, who is going to go after Manning?  Conventional Wisdom says that almost every team will want to have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time behind center.  There are only two teams that have all the credentials, a big play receiver, a good front office and ownership staff, a coach that will let Manning do his own thing with the offense, and a place where Peyton can continue to extend his legacy and possibly win another Super Bowl, the Arizona Cardinals and that other New York team.  Reasons why the Cardinals will not work, they have the weather, the receivers, a good front office and a winning attitude, but I don't think Manning wants to hear that he is doing it all in the NFC West.  He doesn't want to be the big fish in a little pond, he wants to show his skills up against the best, and who better to try and show up twice a year than Tom Brady.  He has his brother there to help the move become easier (people underestimate how hard it is to move your entire family across the country).  He also has a great offensive line blocking for him to keep his surgically repaired neck intact.  Peyton will get Jets fans going crazy and the Jets front office needs to make a big move to counteract the Giants Super Bowl win.  This is what both parties need to make it to the next level, there is no other team that will give a better run to get Peyton's services.

Mannning's Next Home- New York Jets 

Mark Sanchez: With Peyton Manning to the Jets, it is inevitable that Sanchez is going to be out.  There are people in the sports world who believe that Peyton's impending arrival to New York will be good for Sanchez, I however am not one of those people.  Sanchez needs to get out of New York like it's on fire.  It just hasn't worked out from day one.  If they bring in Manning he won't learn he will just lose all confidence in himself.  You need to let him get a fresh start and you can draft a quarterback for Peyton to mold.  Now that Sanchez is let go is it not obvious where he is going?  Pete Carroll wants a USC quarterback with so many in the league.  Sanchez was the last one he coached who isn't still in college and he would love to get his hands back on him with the atrocity he has a quarterback over in Seattle.  Charlie Whitehurst and Tavaris Jackson will not take you to a Super Bowl.  Sanchez will have the utmost confidence with Carroll in his ear constantly telling how great he is going to be.  This marriage just might work.

Sanchez's Next Home- Seattle Seahawks 

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