Why veteran QBs are still hot names in free agency
Every year during free agency, we tend to see veteran QBs — players who haven’t had a big impact on Sundays for a while — jump into the news. Names we haven’t seen in the box scores for years draw interest, a market is created and multiple teams start to battle for their services.
Take A.J. Feeley, for example -- a QB with starting experience, but a QB who hasn’t contributed much in terms of wins for a while. On the first day of free agency, our own Aaron Wilson was on the trail of how Feeley ended up in St. Louis with a two-year deal.
Today, the NFP’s Joe Fortenbaugh wrote about Jeff Garcia and the interest shown by the N.Y. Giants, who just lost another QB name in David Carr. Two more names right there, with plenty more to follow.
Patrick Ramsey, Rex Grossman, Todd Collins, etc. These are QBs who don’t look sexy on the roster but are or will be in high demand as the offseason progresses.
What gives? We see it every year, and we routinely see the same names — recycled over and over. The NFL — and offensive coaches in general — love veteran backups at the quarterback position. I don’t want to call it a fallback plan, but it’s more so in terms of insurance.
Think of all the great college QBs who are picked on the second day of the draft. We know them from Saturdays and bowl games, yet they vanish into thin air once they are drafted -- mostly, because they’re stuck behind a Collins or a Chad Pennington, who just resigned with the Dolphins.
Those chances never come because offensive coordinators want to sleep at night.
Are there rookies or younger QBs buried on the bottom of a depth chart who have more talent that a Feeley or a Mark Brunell? Of course, but that isn’t the objective of the front offices and coaching staffs in the league. They want a QB who has experience under center in the NFL. A player who can come in, run the game plan and not “screw it up,” as a coach has told me before. A veteran QB is reliable, knows how to move the ball and knows when and when not to take chances in critical situation on Sundays.
That’s the exact reason we always see Garcia’s name brought up at this time of year. He’s considered one of those “reliable” players, and when put in the right system, he can carry your team for a four-week period if your starter goes down with an injury.
We could look at it as NFL teams afraid to take a risk with a young guy, but when it comes to the QB position, risk is never an option in this league. Buy old, and keep it that way.
They’ve proven they can play at the NFL level and will be around for a long, long time because of it.
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