So, right up until Roger Goodell went completely Wyatt Earp on Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints, the biggest story of the NFL offseason has been the Quarterback Shuffle.
The Washington Redskins shipped three 1st round drafts picks and a 2nd round pick to the Rams for the 2nd pick in the upcoming draft, and the right to hop over the Cleveland Browns and draft Baylor QB and Heisman winner Robert Griffin III.
The Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning, arguably the greatest signal caller of his generation, even arguably the GOAT (that’s sports shorthand for Greatest Of All Time) so they could draft Stanford quarterback (and projected Hall of Famer and curer of cancer) Andrew Luck.
Manning’s arrival on the free agent market set off a frenzy. He worked out for the Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers, and was also linked to the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals before deciding to sign with the Denver Broncos.
These guys are all big names. They will arrive at their new teams and assume their respective thrones as franchise QBs. They dominate the headlines. But in their wake, there is a litany of players left to negotiate the treacherous waters of the “business side of the NFL.” (This is a euphemism for “you just don’t cut it, pal.”)
Curtis Painter started at QB for the majority of Indianapolis’ 2011 season. Come 2012? Stapled to the bench, watching prodigy Andrew Luck lead the charge.
Matt Moore started 12 games for Miami in ’11, completing just over 60% of his passes. This past offseason, he watched his team’s front office make a major push for Manning and had to look at a billboard for manningtomiami.com.
After the Dolphins whiffed on Manning, they made another play for Packers backup QB Matt Flynn. Flynn also spurned the Dolphins and signed with Seattle. The Dolphins now may or may not be combing the market.. for relationship counselors.
Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams made no secret his pursuit of Manning. He also put on the full-court press, also to no avail. Probably didn’t make incumbent QBs Matt Hasselback and Jake Locker feel cherished.
Tim Tebow’s heroics in Denver, including rescuing the team from a 1-4 start, delivering a playoff win over Pittsburgh, and turning water to wine weren’t enough to keep
Mr. Ed John Elway from coveting (get it, coveting?) Manning. Now Tebow is done in Mile High, shipped out on the first train leaving town before the ink dried on Manning’s contract.
Tangentally, am I the only one who thinks John Elway displays all the worst qualities of a little league parent? The disappointment and embarassment he wore on his
muzzle face was uncomfortably ever-present when Tebow was around. Then the Golden Boy shows up and Elway is all, “I want to make Peyton Manning the greatest QB of all time.” But Elway is a whole other blog post. I digress.
After bankrupting their draft pick cupboard for Griffin, (and people mocked the Raiders for giving up a 1st and 2nd round pick for Carson Palmer?) Washington won’t have much use for incumbent Rex Grossman. Poor little feller. That’s business.
The Cleveland Browns were never in serious contention for Manning, but they were expected to select Griffin with the 4th pick until the Redskins stepped in. Now they are said to be kicking the tires on Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill. Sorry, former franchise QB Colt McCoy. The beat goes on.
These guys aren’t mentioned in the press. They aren’t talked about on the NFL network. They’re just.. placeholders. They were good enough to start, until something better came along. In the end, they’ll be footnotes, lost in the annals of the NFL. For all these teams, the grass is greener on the other side of the QB market.
But for just one, single, solitary blog post in the infinite expanse of the web and the world, you are all, special, unique flowers. Your mothers still love you, whether you’re a starting quarterback or not. Good luck next season, nobodies!