The NFL’s quarterback landscape has seen considerable changes since the lockout ended.
Kevin Kolb, Cardinals
Arizona traded away 2008 first-round pick (No. 16 overall) and 25-year-old Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie along with its 2012 second-round pick to acquire the young gun with seven career starts under his belt.
Since being selected out of Houston with the No. 36 overall pick in 2007, Kolb has completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 2,082 yards, 11 TDs and 14 INTs for a 73.2 passer rating, while posting a 3–4 record as a starter with the Eagles. That was enough for the Cards, who immediately offered a five-year, $64 million deal with $21 million guaranteed to Mike Vick’s backup.
The last Vick backup to be traded and signed it worked out well. Matt Schaub had completed 52.2 percent of his passes for 1,033 yards, six TDs and six INTs, carrying an 0–2 record as a starter, when he was traded from the Falcons to the Texans when he was traded for two second-round picks and a two-slot swap (from No. 10 to 8) of first-rounders. Schaub then signed a six-year, $48 million deal and was handed the keys to the franchise.
This was by far the boldest (and most expensive) quarterback move of the offseason. The future of coach Ken Whisenhunt, the entire Cardinals organization and Larry Fitzgerald fantasy owners rides on the right arm of the 26-year-old Kolb.
Donovan McNabb, Vikings
A move that had been years in the making finally happened once McNabb’s old Eagles offensive coordinator, Brad Childress, was no longer the Vikings head coach. But the new boss in Minnesota, Leslie Frazier, was on Philly’s staff as a defensive backs coach from 1999-2002, so he and McNabb know what to expect from each other.
After watching an over-the-hill Brett Favre struggle last season, many Vikes fans have to be concerned that the 34-year-old McNabb — who was benched in favor of Rex Grossman last year in Washington — is running on fumes, after completing 58.3 percent of his passes for 3,377 yards, 14 TDs and 15 INTs for a 77.1 passer and 5–8 record as a starter.
Regardless, McNabb should provide a good example for rookie Christian Ponder, while allowing the No. 12 overall pick time to learn and work his way into the starting job.
Matt Hasselbeck, Titans
The second high-profile quarterback moving from Seattle to Nashville, the soon-to-be 36-year-old former Seahawk Hasselbeck follows No. 8 overall pick and former UW star Jake Locker to the Titans.
The bald man from the soup commercials had his worst season as a pro last year, completing 59.9 percent of his passes for 3,001 yards, 12 TDs and 17 INTs for a 73.2 rating. But Hasselbeck could be primed to succeed in Music City. He has already worked with Tennessee GM (and former Seattle exec.) Mike Reinfeldt, has been friends with new coordinator Chris Palmer since the mid-1980s and is cool with Locker from their days in the Pacific Northwest.
Oh, and Hasselbeck hasn’t shared a backfield with a playmaker like Chris Johnson since Shaun Alexander was in his MVP heyday.
Vince Young, Eagles
The No. 3 overall pick of the Titans in 2006 will be backing up the No. 1 overall pick of the Falcons in 2001; V.Y. hopes to follow Michael Vick’s road to redemption with the Eagles. And there is reason to think the 28-year-old can bounce back in Philly.
Young has completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 8,098 yards, 42 TDs and 42 INTs for a 75.7 passer rating, along with 1,380 rush yards and 12 rush TDs, while posting a 30–17 record as a starter. But over his past 16 starts, V.Y. has a 10–6 record, completing 58.9 percent of his passes for 2,745 yards, 18 TDs and eight INTs, along with 343 rush yards and one TD on the ground.
With quarterback gurus Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg teaching, and Vick mentoring, Young will have every opportunity to take the next step in his maturation as both a quarterback and man.
Tarvaris Jackson, Seahawks
Look out, “Clipboard Jesus” Charlie Whitehurst, the Hawks have brought in Jackson to challenge for the starting job. The “12th Man” fans can’t be too happy, but Jackson has potential — not to mention more experience than Whitehurst, whose eight games, two starts and 99 career pass attempts don’t inspire confidence.
Jackson has completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 3,984 yards, 24 TDs and 22 INTs for a 76.6 passer rating. The Alabama State product has a 10–11 record as a starter, but did go 8–4 en route to leading the Vikings to the playoffs back in 2007.
Kyle Orton, Dolphins or Broncos?
King Neck Beard has been taking first-team snaps for the Broncos and is almost certainly a better option — in 2011, at least — than Tim Tebow. The Dolphins make sense, but Dan Marino’s old team hasn’t made a splash in the QB market yet.
Carson Palmer, Bengals or Retire?
Bungles owner Mike Brown claims, “Carson signed a contract. He made a commitment. He gave his word.” As a result, Cincy would rather let Palmer retire than give in and trade him to another team. A classic Bengals debacle.
Brett Favre, To Be or Not To Be?
It’s looking more and more like the only passes Favre will throw this year will be in Wrangler backyard football games. But there’s always a chance the 41-year-old with 508 TD passes, three MVPs and a Super Bowl ring makes one last stop before Canton, right?