Many teams have their ducks in a row when it comes to the quarterback position. But not all franchises are so fortunate, as not every NFL quarterback is created equal.
Some teams are in transition, having recently drafted rookies they hope will develop into starters. Though nobody plans it out like this, sometimes out with the old and in with the new makes things awkward in the locker room.
Other teams that didn’t draft a quarterback will hold quarterback competitions with a patchwork cast of signal callers who have been recycled throughout the league like unwanted paper waste. At least they have jobs.
Then there is the perplexing question: Why is Brock Osweiler employed, while Colin Kaepernick is not?
These are among the most awkward quarterback situations as we look ahead to the 2017 NFL season.
What if the Houston Texans had drafted Derek Carr?
The Texans had the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. They passed on selecting any quarterbacks, opting to draft defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who played four games that season.
In Round 2, the Texans could have picked Derek Carr, who was selected by the Oakland Raiders just three picks later. Likely, the Texans were a bit gun-shy considering how things played out with David Carr, who the team drafted No. 1 overall in 2002.
The Raiders clearly hit the jackpot with the younger of the Carr brothers.
Thank you David Carr and the Texans for blessing the Raiders with Derek Carr in the 2nd round.
— AJ (@ayjay671) April 28, 2017
What is done is done. But the fact remains that the Texans have been on a quarterback roller coaster since the franchise entered the league. And between 2014 and now, fans have watched Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage under center.
Most recently DeShaun Watson joined the team’s roster after the Texans traded up to select him at No. 12 overall. Current starter Savage is probably feeling the heat. The team has shown confidence in him on one hand yet turned around and slapped him in the face with the other.
Watson will compete with Savage for that starting job right out of the gate. While the team isn’t necessarily putting a ton of pressure on Watson up front, it obviously also isn’t all in on Savage, either.
Talk about what could be a tense vibe on the field coming soon. None of this would be happening if Carr was with the team.
Kansas City Chiefs put Alex Smith on notice
The 2017 NFL Draft was an active one, consisting of many thrilling trades. A trade that quarterback Alex Smith probably did not expect was his team jumping into the top-10 to nab Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes.
Smith will be on the field in 2017 in the starring role. But he is signed with the Chiefs only through the 2018 season. It is obvious that Andy Reid and Co. are preparing for football life beyond him, a veteran at the age of 33.
If the Chiefs for some reason do not make the playoffs or cannot push past the wildcard round, the team might just let Mahomes give it a go in 2018.
Either way, Smith just got scooted a little closer to the door. The playing styles of these quarterbacks are vastly different, and soon the Chiefs will want to test out the big play arm of Mahomes once he studies up and learns Andy Reid’s offense.
Oh, and by the way, Smith has seen this movie before. It’s essentially him versus Colin Kaepernick, all over again. Awkward.
Chicago Bears throw fidelity out the window after adulterous stunt
Perhaps the Bears are creating quarterback drama on purpose to mask the fact that their team has finished fourth in the NFC North three years in a row.
Mike Glennon be like… pic.twitter.com/aM3J7L3F86
— TotalProSports (@TotalProSports) April 28, 2017
The latest drama around the Bears locker room puts the newly signed Mike Glennon in close quarters with rookie Mitch Trubisky. A young quarterback that the Bears gave up quite a bit for to move up one spot with the San Francisco 49ers and draft second overall.
This story can be looked at a different way, however. Glennon will receive a guaranteed $18.5 million in 2017 whether he starts one game or all 16. That is a pretty sweet chunk of change for a guy who sports a 5-13 career record and attempted only 11 passes in 2016.
Lastly, we must remember that Mark Sanchez is still in the mix. The Bears even gave him former quarterback Jay Cutler’s No. 6 jersey. If Glennon gets injured and Trubisky is not ready to play, Bears fans will be forced to see another No. 6 attempting not to throw pick-sixes.
The unwanted big-name quarterbacks
Let’s talk about the elephants in the room. Over the past couple of months, teams in need of quarterbacks have been dumpster diving rather than giving a glance at some of the big-name free agent quarterbacks.
Perhaps the biggest snub of all is that of quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Will he ever play again? His protest of the National Anthem in 2016 made headlines. For this and some other outlandish actions, NFL teams are staying far away. One executive actually called Kap an “embarrassment to football.”
— TheRockin45s (@hankporter) September 5, 2016
We understand the why about Kaepernick, regardless of what some might think.
What is going on with Robert Griffin III? The former Heisman winning quarterback and second overall pick from 2012 has not been in headlines for ages.
The Browns released him after one injury-filled season. Teams would rather take a shot at guys like Brian Hoyer, who was signed by the San Francisco 49ers, than trust the wheels of a constantly injured RGIII.
At that same time, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler saw their NFL careers were in limbo. There was plenty of talk connecting Romo to the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, but nothing happened.
Cutler most recently landed a job with Fox after reportedly drawing “zero interest” from any teams. Both quarterbacks interestingly enough will be faced with commentating for their former teams in just a few months.
Awkward, or not?
Vikings continue to buy time with Sam Bradford while Teddy Bridgewater’s future is in limbo
Minnesota’s starting quarterback Sam Bradford is signed only through the 2017 season.
Bradford said recently he doesn’t think that his agent or the Vikings have been in discussions about a contract extension, either.
“Honestly, I try not to think about it too much just because I don’t have a whole lot of control over it,” Bradford said, via Matt Vensel of the Star-Tribune. “I come in here every day, trying to get better and be the best teammate and best quarterback I can be. And I think that’s all I can really do.”
If Bradford doesn’t knock it out of the park in 2017, the Vikings might decide to move on.
Meanwhile, the team declined the fifth-year option on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. As of now, Bridgewater is expected to miss the entire 2017 season while he recovers from a ghastly knee injury he suffered before the 2016 season. But despite the Vikings declining Bridgewater’s fifth-year option, head coach Mike Zimmer said he is “more optimistic now than ever” about Bridgewater returning and playing.
This sentiment doesn’t exactly support the idea that the Vikings would keep Bradford on board down the road.
Backup Case Keenum is hardly an enticing option at quarterback if the team departs with Bradford and Bridgewater is not healthy to play next year.
Things are status quo for now, but a toxic fog of awkwardness looms.
Cleveland Browns feature quite the interesting quarterback group
The Browns’ continual search for a trusty signal caller is exhausting. Fortunately, Cleveland had a smart draft. The team managed to land DeShone Kizer in Round 2 after selecting this year’s No. 1 overall draft prospect, defensive end Myles Garrett. That was some A-plus work there.
But these moves did not come too far down the road from the Browns trading for Brock Osweiler. Is the team going to actually pay him $16 million to hold a clipboard?
The Browns have said that Osweiler would compete for the starting job with second-year Cody Kessler, who is currently the leader in the clubhouse. All at the same time, Cleveland is pumping the brakes on Kizer while saying they won’t hold him back, either.
The Browns’ quarterback situation remains chaotic, as usual.
Congrats to new Browns QB DeShone Kizer! You have joined an exclusive club. pic.twitter.com/JRoA25wMgV
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) April 29, 2017
The names continue to change each each season, but so far we haven’t seen anything change when it’s all said and done.
New York Jets, NFL’s biggest QB dumpster fire
Yes. Once again, the Jets will hold a quarterback competition, this time between veteran Josh McCown and youngsters Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty.
“It’s a full competition between the three of us,” McCown said, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. “I think all three of us will approach it as trying to be the guy. I think that’s good for our team. It’s healthy for our team for all of us to compete as hard as we can.”
Josh McCown competing against Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty to start. How is this even a thing? No. 32. pic.twitter.com/3RsICwHvVb
— FantasyFootballChick (@liveocgirl) May 3, 2017
Get the popcorn ready. This should make for some must-see action. Or not.
It would be surprising if McCown was not the man under center for Week 1. He is (by far) the most experienced, though he did sport a 1-10 record his last two years in Cleveland.
Beyond McCown, things get pretty scary. Hackenberg was reportedly criticized quite badly by a member of the Jets’ coaching staff. Petty threw seven interceptions compared to three touchdowns in four games in 2016.
It is no surprise that NFL Network’s Elliott Harrison features preseason rankings with the Jets sitting at No. 32.