Evan Silva

Offseason Low Down

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The 2011 Quarterback Market

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

3. Carson Palmer, Bengals

Scouting Report: Palmer is a different player than the quarterback who came out of USC in 2003. The 31-year-old's mobility has been all but eliminated since a 2006 ACL and MCL tear with meniscus damage, and Palmer's arm strength was adversely affected by ligament and tendon tears in his right (throwing) elbow in 2008. Palmer's passes tend to flutter, especially in the intermediate to deep range. He's had two winning seasons in his career. Palmer's talent is now more that of a top-20 quarterback than top-10, and ideally he would be protected by a top-notch line plus running game. He has four years and $54.5 million left on a contract signed in 2005.

Availability: Depends on who you ask. If it's Bengals owner Mike Brown -- a reliable source -- Palmer isn't going anywhere. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and most league observers believe Palmer will sit out the 2011 season after threatening to retire if his trade demand isn't honored. We'll optimistically project Palmer to get his wish and land with old college coach Pete Carroll. It's probably in Cincinnati's best interest, too, as they could acquire an early- to mid-round pick in exchange.

Prediction: Seahawks via trade.

4. Matt Flynn, Packers

Scouting Report: Flynn was essentially Colt McCoy coming out of LSU: Weak arm, fairly athletic, and a "winner." He's started one NFL game, completing 64.9 percent of 37 attempts for 251 yards, three scores, and a pick in last year's 31-27 Week 15 loss to New England. In that game, Flynn displayed impressive poise and accuracy. In three preseasons, Flynn has gone 83-of-135 (61.5%) for 855 yards (6.33 YPA), five touchdowns, and two interceptions. He's got limited tools, but we suspect Flynn would be a better starter than at least a few teams have in place.

Availability: Flynn is due $555,000 in the last year of his deal. The Packers need to either sign him to an affordable extension or trade Flynn while they still can. Flynn has shown that he can keep Green Bay competitive if Aaron Rodgers misses time, so GM Ted Thompson probably prefers the former. Still, he may be hard pressed to turn down a third-round pick if offered.

Prediction: Stays with Packers.

5. Brian Hoyer, Patriots

Scouting Report: Undrafted out of Michigan State in 2009, Hoyer was a middle of the road college quarterback before landing in Foxboro and handily beating out the likes of Matt Gutierrez, Andrew Walter, Kevin O'Connell, and Jonathan Crompton to be Tom Brady's top backup. Hoyer has drawn impressive reviews in practice. In preseason games, he's completed 61-of-101 passes (60.4%) with a sterling 8.17 YPA and 4:1 TD-to-INT ratio. Hoyer threw a 42-yard touchdown missile to Brandon Tate toward the end of the Patriots' Week 17 win over the Dolphins last year.

Availability: Hoyer was included on this list because he's been the subject of some trade buzz, but we aren't buying it. The Pats have him under control through 2012 with a $480,000 base salary this year and restricted free agency next year. While aggressive coach Bill Belichick is always willing to listen to trade offers, we wouldn't look for Hoyer to be dealt before next spring.

Prediction: Stays with Patriots.

More Quarterback Trade Candidates: Jon Kitna, Josh Johnson, Jimmy Clausen.

Release Candidates

1. Vince Young, Titans

Scouting Report: Young's ability to move an offense and win games is not in doubt. He's 30-17 lifetime, only 28 years old, and has rare mobility at the position. Young is a game-breaking athlete with a 20:10 TD-to-INT ratio as a passer over the last two seasons, superb 7.55 YPA, and yards-per-carry average of over 5.0. Mental toughness is not V.Y.'s strong suit, however, and he let his team down last year by admonishing Jeff Fisher in the locker room after a Week 11 loss. This led to a permanent benching, and arguably his coach's ouster in Tennessee. Perhaps a change of scenery is the answer for Young. The Titans have already drafted his replacement.

Availability: Young is due $12.75 million in 2011, and the rest of the NFL is aware of his situation. He will be cut before a $4.25 million roster bonus comes due. At that point, V.Y. will be the top unrestricted free agent quarterback available on the open market. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has shown an affinity for rehab projects, and his team has a glaring quarterback need.

Prediction: Released, signs with Redskins.

2. David Garrard, Jaguars

Scouting Report: Garrard proponents point to last year's 90.8 rating that ranked 13th in the NFL, besting Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, and Kyle Orton. A closer look reveals an extremely streaky game-to-game passer, who tended to beat up on lesser opponents. For instance, Garrard combined for nine touchdowns and no interceptions against the 25th, 26th, and 32nd ranked pass defenses. Garrard's physical tools are not in question, but the only thing consistent about his performances is inconsistency. He's also 33, so to expect improvement is unrealistic at this stage.

Availability: We don't think Garrard will be cut, but it became a possibility when the Jags traded up for Blaine Gabbert at the No. 10 pick. Top-ten QBs rarely ride the pine, and Garrard's $7.975 million salary is too hefty for a backup. The Jaguars also have Luke McCown in reserve. If Gabbert outplays Garrard in the preseason, Jack Del Rio will have a tough decision to make.

Prediction: Stays with Jaguars, loses job by Week 5.

3. Donovan McNabb, Redskins

Scouting Report: McNabb entered the league in 1999 as an elite running quarterback, developed under Andy Reid into a six-time Pro Bowl passer, and bottomed out on the bench in Washington last season. Now going on 35, it's reasonable to wonder if McNabb has much left. Never an especially accurate thrower, McNabb's completion rates have dipped in four straight years, and his conditioning became an issue under Mike Shanahan in D.C. McNabb is likely to enter the 2011 quarterback market without many suitors. He's never been outside a West Coast offense, is in obvious physical decline, and will be viewed as no more than a one-year stopgap.

Availability: The phony six-year contract McNabb signed last November contains a $10 million option bonus for 2011 that won't be paid by the Redskins or any other team. He will be released into unrestricted free agency once transactions are allowed. While the Vikings are rumored to have interest, we suspect they moved on from that idea after drafting Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick. McNabb must latch on with a team running the West Coast offense.

Prediction: Released, signs with Bengals.

More Quarterback Release Candidates: Derek Anderson, Jake Delhomme, Charlie Batch, David Carr.

Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva

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