Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What It All Means

Quarterback situations are changing all over the NFL. Drew Brees is traveling to the Gulf Coast to help rebuild the New Orleans Saints and getting a boatload of money to do so. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins received a boatload of a different type when they traded for Daunte Culpepper.

What does this all mean for the teams involved? Let's see...

  • San Diego:
  • They actually get to see Phillip Rivers play. What a concept. Perhaps the 2 years off helped him get ready and wasn't a setback, but any more than that would have hurt the young QB, especially when he's compared to the other first round quarterbacks taken in the 2004 draft (with the notable exception of J.P. Losman). The fact of the matter is, it's tough to measure up to those guys if he doesn't play. It'll be funny to see if he pushes the Chargers back to the playoffs in his first year, but I don't see that happening in the very competitive AFC.

  • Saints:
  • This was probably the best move they could have made. The top of the draft is loaded with top-rated (hyped?) quarterbacks. There are a couple teams that would need a new signal-caller (Raiders? Jets? Titans?) and perhaps they're willing to trade up to the #2 pick to have their choice of Matt Leinart, Vince Young, or the rapidly rising Jay Cutler. If I'm the Saints, I'm definitely trading down in the 1st round and getting another pick along with it to help improve an already fairly solid roster, when taking into account their draft position. The Saints really aren't that awful. They had a horrible year, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that Deuce McCallister was out most of the year. The NFC isn't nearly as competitive as the AFC, so if the Saints make the right moves, it's tough to count them out in the NFC playoff race. Just look at the blueprint their working off of in the Chargers, a team that was expected to be one of the worst teams in the league but instead went 12-4 and won the AFC West.

  • Dolphins:
  • Superbowl contender? Maybe, but it's certainly no guarantee, especially if Culpepper gets hurt again. Howevever, this is a team that was already showing significant improvement by season's end, which means that at the very least they're strong wild card contenders. There's even a possibility they challenge the Patriots for the AFC East crown. The Patriots have a lot of key guys on the Free Agent list including Willie McGinest, David Givens, and Adam Vinatieri. There's mixed reaction around New England concerning the future of their clutch kicker, Given has already accepted a deal with the Titans, and the other most sought-after wideout on the market, Antwaan Randle El has already signed with the the team in the nation's capital. McGinest, thought to be a sure bet to re-up with the Patriots, has plans to visit Browns camp, and you can bet it's for a better reason than just to say "hello" to former New England coach Romeo Crennel.

  • Vikings:
  • Brad Johnson is their starting QB. Do they trade up? Do they draft a QB this year? Next? A lot of uncertainy beyond 2006 for them.

  • Raiders:
  • They don't even have a starting QB according to their own team depth chart. Are Marques Tuiasosopo, Andrew Walter and Reggie Robertson starting material? Some may take the chance and others may even feel they are of decent quality. The Raiders obviosuly don't feel that way sicne they were in the running for Culpepper, but were unwilling to trade away a 2nd round pick. Perhaps they trade up. Then again, the Raiders need a lot more than just a QB at this point and maybe that's why they weren't willing to part ways with a 2nd rounder.

  • Titans:
  • Do they guarantee their choice of one of the top QB's in the draft by trading with the Saints? Or do they take what's left after the Jets pick and hope the Saints pick a defensive powerhouse with the 2nd pick and no other teams beat them to the punch? How much pull will Norm Chow have in the decision-making process?

  • Jets:
  • Nothing really changed for them. The best thing that could happen, if they really are looking at one of the top QB options, is the Saints don't trade their pick, they select D'Brickashaw Ferguson with the 2nd pick, and then the Jets get their choice of Young, Cutler or Leinart. Worst case scenario some other team trades up and picks the QB the Jets really wanted and they're "stuck" with one of those other guys. There's obviosuly no reason they should trade up. Perhaps keeping all their picks and building around those players makes the most sense.

    In any event, a busy day for the NFL QB carousel. It's almost enough to make you forget about college basketball. Almost.

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