Best landing spots for broken NFL quarterbacks

By Rachel Wold
Ed Szczepanski, USA Today Sports

Halfway through the NFL season, it is blatantly clear that some quarterbacks are just broken.

One is performing nowhere near to respectable standards for his team, which is losing on a continual basis this season thanks in large part to his pathetic performances.

Worse yet are former stars who now sit as lowly backups, wasting away on the pine while their current teams are losing more games than they are winning.

Clearly, a change of scenery is needed. With that stated, let’s explore a couple of potential landing spots for these broken quarterbacks.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

The Lions are in desperation mode and have fired their president, general manager and offensive coordinator all in the last week.

Now, it appears that even Stafford’s job might not be secure after the end of 2015.

If the Lions keep losing and decide to cut ties with Stafford, or put him on the trading block in 2016, then he would certainly be one of the more enticing quarterback options for a team in need. There are a couple of teams that could benefit from bringing him aboard.

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1. Houston Texans

The Texans, at some point, need to address their long-term quarterback situation if they ever want to become a contender in the near future to make to the playoffs in the AFC South.

While Stafford is struggling with the Lions, he is much better of a quarterback overall than Brian Hoyer. So why not strike up a trade and see if the Texans would ship defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and a draft pick off to Detroit in exchange for Stafford?

The Lions could definitely benefit from Clowney after letting Ndamukong Suh walk last season. Pairing him with Ezekiel Ansah would be ideal. And the Texans win by getting a long-term upgrade at the quarterback position.

2. Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning, at 39 years old, could very well be playing his final career season. All the Broncos have waiting in the wings is backup Brock Oswelier who has only attempted 30 passes in NFL regular season games — across 13 games — and would essentially be a rookie starting next year for Denver.

Even if Manning played out the 2016 final year of his contract, how much of a luxury would it be to have Stafford being groomed in the background to be the eventual starter for the team. At only 27 years old, he has a lot of good years remaining, and it would be pretty awesome watching him slinging the rock to Demaryius Thomas.

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

Kaepernick has been struggling big time for the 49ers and has only scored in four of the team’s eight games. He was just dealt the ultimate time-out by getting benched for former Jacksonville bust, Blaine Gabbert.

If that doesn’t cast a cloud of doom on Kap’s future with the 49ers then nothing does. Surely, Kaepernick at 28, is not done in the NFL, though, and could play for a team in need of an upgrade. The following two seem like the best fits.

1. New York Jets

The Jets are not in the most secure of positions with an aging and oft-injured Ryan Fitzpatrick and an underwhelming Geno Smith at the quarterback spot. And, Bryce Petty is nowhere near to being ready as the team’s starter.

Assuming the 49ers release Kaepernick after the season, then the New York Jets would be smart to pick him up. As it stands, Kap is defeated and there is quite the disconnect between him and his teammates. Emotionally, it would be hard for him to turn things around with the 49ers if the team surprisingly kept him on board.

But on a new team — one that hasn’t seen a playoff since 2010 — Kaepernick might be a breath of fresh air. The Jets offense is just starting to thrive with the addition of Brandon Marshall, and Kaepernick did once lead his team to a Super Bowl, we must not forget.

A new scene could be just what the doctor ordered to jump start his career in 2016.

2. Cleveland Browns

If anything, Kaepernick to the Browns would make the team one of the most popular and drama-filled teams in the NFL.

The Browns are in flux with only two wins for the season, led by veteran Josh McCown. The other option is the unpredictable Johnny Manziel. Kaepernick, with a Super Bowl appearance in pocket, couldn’t make matters much worse in Cleveland next year.

The Browns haven’t seen a playoff game since 2002 and haven’t been in a Super Bowl since 1965, so what’s to lose? Clearly, the team isn’t sold on their first-round draft pick calling the signals because Manziel only gets the nod to start when McCown is injured. Kap is tough, healthy and fabulous on his feet, and he is easily an upgrade.

Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

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The former first-round draft pick from 2012 had a star rookie season, leading the team to nine wins and the playoffs. He now sits as a third-string quarterback. How terribly sad that situation is.

Therefore, if Washington isn’t going to use RGIII, it might as well trade him in exchange for some draft picks or a player who actually benefits them. Or, because his fifth-year option isn’t guaranteed, Washington could just cut him after the season and be done with him.

The following two teams would be great fits for both sides.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Entering the 2012 draft, head coach Andy Reid had his eye on RGIII when he coached the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I met with the Eagles and coach Reid told me they were very interested in me and you never know what can happen,” Griffin III said via philly.com. “I really enjoyed my meeting with them. But obviously things didn’t work out and I’m here with the Redskins. I’m proud to be here.”

So much for being proud about his status now. The former Heisman trophy winner shouldn’t be wasting away, and the Chiefs, who have Alex Smith playing at a mediocre level, could be a potential fit for RGIII. The main thing the Chiefs struggle with is Smith’s inability to complete long passes.

With the Chiefs sitting at only three wins for the season, there is clearly room for improvement, and that could start with Reid coaching the quarterback he once showed a great interest in.

2. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are below .500, and Sam Bradford often looks like a deer caught in the headlights when he finds himself under pressure.

This is where RGIII, who isn’t afraid to put his legs to use, comes in. Bradford is hurting the Eagles offense because he isn’t mobile after two major knee injuries. Under pressure he is rushing passes or getting sacked far too often. Overall, Bradford currently has the fourth-worst quarterback rating in the NFL and has a 9:10 touchdown to interception ratio.

He definitely isn’t evolving into the star that Chip Kelly had hoped for.

After this season, RGIII is likely done in Washington, and Bradford, who is claiming that his long-term deal must have gotten lost in the mail, is currently signed for only one year in Philadelphia.