Piggybacking on the QB poll from yesterday, I wanted to take a stab at predicting where each of the major QB players in free agency will wind up. Jason La Canfora, a respected and typically pretty accurate reporter for NFL.com recently weighed in on this. He said:
If I'm handicapping the quarterback derby, I'd give Kevin Kolb to the Seahawks, Marc Bulger to the Cardinals, Donovan McNabb to the Vikings, Alex Smith to the 49ers and Matt Hasselbeck to the Dolphins. Still wonder if Vince Young makes sense for the Redskins as a developmental guy to go with John Beck, who is a developmental guy himself at this point. Rex Grossman could find himself back in that mix as well once McNabb is traded or released.
Most of those choices make sense and I really won't venture far from that, but I'm not completely sold on Hasselbeck to the Dolphins. I'm leaning more towards seeing Matt in a Titans uniform next season. Tennessee still wants a veteran to mentor Jake Locker for a year or two and Matt Hasselbeck might be the best option for a run-first team with a solid line and a few good receiver targets so that's where I'd place him. Matt's a high-character guy, a solid professional and is the antithesis of Vince Young and his immature antics and fits the profile that Bud Adams and Mike Munchak will be looking for as a bridge to Jake Locker starting. Furthermore they have shown they don't mind running with older veteran quarterbacks like Kerry Collins and those two in Tennessee could really impart some wisdom on young Jake Locker. Now, that being said, I could see a situation where Tennessee doesn't want to pay Matt and Jake the money they'll command, and they go with a cheaper option - whereas Matt could end up in Miami, Minnesota mentoring Christian Ponder, or even Cleveland - reunited with Mike Holmgren and Seneca Wallace.
I'd say the Marc Bulger to the Cardinals prediction makes a ton of sense because he's a much cheaper option than Kevin Kolb and still gets the Larry FItzgerald stamp of approval. I'd be pretty surprised if this doesn't happen, to be honest. The Cardinals went without drafting a QB as well so they'll be looking for a veteran QB to bridge the gap until John Skelton is really to take the reins. I believe they think he can be the future there but with Ken Whisenhunt in a bit of a make-or-break situation according to some people, they'll use a veteran this year rather than hope Skelton can get his act together this year.
I'm on board with the Vince Young to the Redskins train because Young seems to fit the profile of a Shanahan QB in his versatility and ability to run. Washington missed out on Locker for a second straight year but Vince Young has a similar skillset and would come relatively cheap. The Redskins are a run-heavy ZBS team that's been stockpiling running backs, including my personal favorite Roy Helu Jr, and Young could be a good option to run their offense if John Beck doesn't win the job. The other place I could see Young landing is possibly in Baltimore, taking the place of departing Marc Bulger as Joe Flacco's backup. The Ravens will need a quality backup until Tyrod Taylor gets up to speed and on a veteran heavy team with a take-no-shit coach like John Harbaugh Young could work out. If the Ravens would take a guy like Taylor, Young has a similar skillset and might be an option.
As for McNabb, I can see him ending up with the Vikings but wouldn't be surprised to see his name thrown into the hat in Miami either. Miami has invested heavily in their receiver corps and will want a strong armed guy to throw to them. McNabb is a reasonably athletic, veteran QB that could offer depth behind Chad Henne or even come in and start for the Dolphins. Miami were rumored to be after Ryan Mallett, another strong armed QB but instead invested in their offensive line, run game, and receiver corps in the draft so they'll need someone to distribute the ball. Where they'll find their QB remains to be seen but I have to think a cheap option like McNabb is still on the table.
As for the Alex Smith to the 49ers thought, I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen, but would hope for more of the same in terms of production. I have to believe Harbaugh will get better production from Smith than Mike Singletary was able to do, but it's still a gamble. I honestly don't see any other team taking Smith with the starting job in mind other than San Francisco so Smith will have to weigh his options: go back to a team whose fan base booed him viciously or try and catch on as a backup somewhere else.
As for Kevin Kolb, he's definitely the wild card. I could see him going to the Cardinals, the Seahawks, the Dolphins, and now even the Browns are in the picture per Rob Staton. I'm thinking if his demand is this high that hopefully the Hawks will stay out of the bidding war (like they ultimately did with Brandon Marshall, thankfully). With so many teams vying for his services, the price is likely to balloon and Kolb is still an unproven and probably overrated commodity. Because the Seahawks apparently have options A, B, C and even D I would tend to believe they won't give up too much but that remains to be seen. I'd prefer we bide our time a bit and not spend too much on Kolb as I'm not super sold on him, but we'll see how PC & JS feel about it.
The other QB that La Canfora didn't mention is Matt Leinart: Because Houston drafted developmental project TJ Yates in this years draft, it looks like Leinart may be on the outs in Houston. This isn't confidence inducing considering they didn't see enough in him to place him past 3rd on the depth chart, but he's still a option for teams like Minnesota, Tennessee, Seattle or any other team looking for a stopgap measure and hoping to strike gold.
Ok, that's all the rambling I'll do for today. Maybe.