Depth at quarterback is a rarity in the 21st-centruy NFL. The days of Steve Young coming off of the bench for an injured Joe Montana are gone. Once a backup quarterback establishes himself, he is lost to free agency as he becomes a luxury his team cannot afford – a casualty of the salary cap.
With the emergence of Robert Griffin and Russell Wilson, the Redskins and Seahawks each find themselves with a rare luxury in today’s NFL – having quality backup quarterbacks heading into a draft that is lacking in NFL-ready signal callers. With so many teams around the league in need of an upgrade at the most vital position in sports, the Redskins and Seahawks each find themselves with an ace up their respective sleeves.
With the Jaguars, Raiders, Chiefs, Eagles, and Cardinals among those that may be in the market for a new arm, and a limited talent pool available in the 2013 draft, look for a lot of interest in Kirk Cousins and Matt Flynn. With a lack of available talent combined with the “win-now” mentality of today’s NFL, Washington and Seattle have the option of parlaying their quarterback depth into additional draft picks to build for the future, or immediately upgrading areas of need through trades.Robert Griffin’s playing style combined with his 6 ft. 2”, 217-lb frame have some concerned about his ability to stay healthy. Cousins’ performance in his absence has many who doubted the Redskins’ decision to draft two rookie quarterbacks in the same class eating their words. Washington may well decide to keep Cousins as an insurance policy as a result of the reckless abandon in which Griffin plays the game, but have the luxury of entertaining offers for other teams who come knocking on the door desperately looking for a quarterback. With so many coaches and general managers on a short leash in today’s “win-now” NFL, teams who feel that they are simply a quarterback away from a playoff-birth can be exploited for draft picks, and Cousins’ 101.6 quarterback rating and impressive command of Mike Shanahan’s offense in limited action has raised eyebrows across the league.
Matt Flynn hasn’t done much but stand on the sideline and count his money while Russell Wilson lead the Seahawks into the post season. An expensive backup that will have his share of suitors during the off-season could be all of the motivation that Seattle needs to address current holes on the roster to set themselves up for 2013. While his body of work has been limited, Flynn has been lauded for possessing the necessary intangibles to succeed in the NFL – strong leadership skills, command of the huddle, and the ability to stay calm under pressure. His arm strength is much improved and he has had the luxury of learning behind one of the league’s elite in Aaron Rodgers. Many feel Flynn is tailor-made for the prototypical West Coast Offense.
Whether either team decides to pull the trigger on a deal, or enjoy the rare luxury of quarterback depth in today’s NFL, one thing is certain – offers will be made, giving both the Redskins and Seahawks plenty of options heading into the 2013 draft, and teams that are desperate for a quarterback can be generous, even desperate. Ask the Cincinnati Bengals what depth at the position can do for a football team, after they received a first and conditional second round draft pick for Carson Palmer from a Raiders’ team desperate to get over the hump.