Monday, December 19, 2005

The Jets QB Situation II: The Others
By Ben Valentine

So on the day after Brooks Bollinger showed himself to be potentially an NFL backup with by far the best game of the year, I find it fitting to continue on with the second and final part of the discussion Bryan and I had on the Jets 2006 quarterback situation. As we last left the discussion , Bryan and I had laid out our own personal solutions for the problem and discussed the possibilities of a free agent veteran being brought in. This week we begin with a quarterback who will have the national stage on January 4th, 2006 in Pasadena, California; a QB who amazingly enough has fallen into the shadow of both his teammate and counterpart in that national Championship game. I am of course referring to 2004 Heisman winner and USC star Matt Leinart.

Bryan: Okay, let's say the Jets cannot realistically select Bush. Should they take Leinart? If so, in my opinion, Pennington should be cut, and a cheap free agent of the Collins mold (perhaps someone even cheaper than that) signed.

Ben: I would take Leinart. I hate cutting Pennington because of the cap hit, but it would have to be done.

Bryan: I would too. As we've stated previously, there's nothing more valuable than a franchise quarterback. With Pennington, they're going to have to pay him even more if he stays on. Drafting Leinart means that Pennington is gone, in my estimation.

Ben: You're probably right. You can’t have two QBs making that much money on the cap. But remember the Jets will try to win next year as Herm and Bradway will be on the hot seat.

Bryan: Absolutely. Next season is critical.

Ben: That’s why I don’t see a way the Jets take Leinart. They will want to spend their first pick on a player/players who will help them next year.

He can dominate college defenses but the NFL is a different animal.

Bryan: Agreed. Let's throw out a few other names, for the sake of fairness, and we can each offer a quick thought.

Vince Young -- Probably won't come out, and he's too much of an unknown quantity.

Ben: I think Young will come out But he's too much risk for the Jets to take. Talk about a project. He’s certainly not ready to play next year. I don't know much about other QBs in the draft but what do you think about Brady Quinn?

Bryan: Boy, he's really impressed me this year. But, I think his success may largely be a consequence of the genius that is Charlie Weis.

Ben: I'm more leery of the joke schedule ND has played this year.

Bryan: True and it may be a moot issue, because he'll likely be drafted in the late stages of the first round, where New York won't be selecting.

Ben: I think that could depend on if Young comes out. If he stays in, Quinn would be a high first rounder. Young comes out, Quinn falls.

Bryan: True. Either way, Quinn is interesting but his situation probably can't be reconciled with that of the Jets.

Matt Schaub is one guy who I like a lot, but I can't imagine the Falcons parting with him without ample recompense, considering the endless injury risk named Mike Vick.

Ben: Memories of Doug Johnson come to mind. However, I think he'd be more easily attainable for that reason.

Bryan: Well, anything associated with Doug Johnson, must, by definition, be pernicious to any teams chances.

Ben: The Falcons could have probably had a second round pick for Johnson a few years ago but demanded a king’s ransom.

Bryan: Good point. Schaub would make sense in the second scenario you outlined, only if the Jets were surprisingly optimistic about Pennington's recovery.

Ben: A couple of other names to throw out there: Aaron Brooks; He's done in New Orleans.

Bryan: Aaron Brooks is no longer valuable in fantasy football; that should tell the whole story. He used to be inconsistent but would put up impressive statistics. Now, he's finally gained consistency; unfortunately, it's of the wrong mold.

Ben: I'm not a Brooks fan at all. I don't believe in dome QBs playing outside anyway and nothing irritates me more than QBs who can't make good decisions.

Bryan: I concur. It's irritating in a seriously-itchy-sweater-but-I-have-to-wear-it-because-Mom-bought-it kind of way.

Ben: Another QB who should be on the market: Patrick Ramsey, though I have no idea if it will be via trade or if he gets released. He's a younger version of the Collins/Testaverde mold.

Bryan: Really? I think that may be generous. I was thinking that I may be the younger model of the Ramsey mold, and I've never played organizational football.

Ben: Well, the hope with him would be he finally does get his head on straight; a change of scenery, getting out of Gibbs' offense.

Bryan: Boy, Ramsey has been given every opportunity in the NFL to succeed. He's actually been a part of three different offenses and hasn't succeeded in any of them.

Ben: That's true. But you wanted a guy who could throw the deep out and he can.

Bryan: Yeah, and kill the concession guy in the third row. Ramsey's maddeningly inconsistent, and in the end, just seems like too much of a project.

Ben: I also tend to think the Redskins are trying to overvalue him.

Bryan: Definitely. Hey, what about Phillip Rivers, if the Chargers were to follow your recommendation and trade him?

Ben: I didn't love Rivers coming out of college But for a third round pick, I'd trade for him. The plus with him is that he's young and could be plugged in right away. The Jets also wouldn't be responsible for his bonus, so the cap hit would be reasonable.

Bryan: Intuitively, I think the Chargers would want more than that.

Ben: I don't think you can get more than a third rounder for a guy who hasn't played more than a few garbage time snaps in the NFL. If you want to say a third and another pick, maybe. But I just don't see a team giving up a second rounder or higher.

Bryan: That San Diego situation is sticky in a plethora of aspects, no matter what. It will be interesting to see if the Jets can somehow exploit it.

Ben: Here's a name which has to be mentioned but t-minus four seconds until you laugh and shoot it down... Joey Harrington.

Bryan: Here's a thought I recently had on Harrington: You're familiar with the so-called "Madden Curse," which dooms players who make the game's cover, right? Well, chew on this: What would happen if EA decided to put Harrington on the cover?I can envision three possibilities:
1) Harrington would be sacked at some point by an Urlacher/Lewis type next season, and his right leg would fall off. Just literally be disconnected from his body.
2) In some strange "reverse jinx," Joey Harrington leads his new team to the Super Bowl.
3) The world just explodes. Existence ends. God cannot compute.
I'm betting on the third. And frankly, I would love to see all this happen with the boy they call "Joey" in the Jets' green and white.

Ben: If the world can survive the Red Sox and White Sox winning it all in back to back years, it can survive Joey on the cover of Madden. Now Joey leading the Jets to a Super Bowl might just cause Armageddon.

One final guy who could, under the right circumstances, be on the market… David Carr, since nobody has any idea what Houston will do. He's someone I would definitely be interested in.

Bryan: My gut tells me that he could flourish in the right situation. But I'm not sure I would ever want to take that chance. Because it is just that: a risk.

Ben: Well unfortunately every option is a risk

Bryan: And then have the Jets draft a third option?

Ben: Well I think regardless of what the Jets do they will draft a QB somewhere; the question is do we see it in the second/third round... or later on, like a second day QB who they know is a real project.

Nobody wants to see this guy in Jets' green next year.

Bryan: It probably hinges primarily on the level of the free agent or trade acquisition brought in.

Ben: Agreed.

Bryan: I would feel relatively comfortable with Brees, Kitna, and even Volek.

Ben: So, as we wrap this up... as I've now tied up my phone line for two hours... Your gut feeling, who do the Jets end up with?

Bryan: Yeah, this was a lengthy - but stimulating, conversation!
Boy. Well, my answer is multi-faceted, so as to account for several possibilities:

Ben: Or in layman's terms... hedging your bets.

Bryan: Precisely!
1) Bush is gone. Leinart falls to the Jets. In this circumstance, I do think they'll cut bait with Chad, and draft Leinart.
2) Leinart falls to the Titans. I think Billy Volek becomes very likely here.
3) Anything else. Here, I pine for Brees and Kitna. But Collins is probably the most realistic addition.
How about your verdict?

Ben: My feelings on what could happen... in the order of likelihood
1) They go the veteran route and draft their QB in the second/third round. Collins is probably the guy here.
2) Leinart falls to the Titans and Volek is traded to the Jets.
3) Chargers trade someone.
4) David Garrard plays well the rest of the way, the Jags feel his value won't get higher, and the Jets make a move for him.
5) Leinart gets taken by the Jets. I feel this one is the least likely scenario because of the need for the regime to win next year.

Bryan: You don't think Leinart would be ready to play next year?

Ben: Rookie QBs don't play well in this league; Ben Roethlisberger is the exception rather than the rule.

Bryan: To be fair, it's sometimes difficult to determine if guys like Carson Palmer, and even Pennington, would have been successful right away. But it's a valid point, regardless.

Ben: NFL defenses are a lot harder to read than college ones. It’s a step up and there's a lot of pressure. Look at Eli Manning. He's considered to be a good second year QB and he's mediocre.

Bryan: Statistically, maybe, but he's already got that Elway-like poise.

Ben: Overrated... he's been tremendously lucky this year. He's fumbled a bunch of times that the Giants have recovered and with his completion percentage so low, he should be throwing more INTs. Good QB down the road, not yet.

Bryan: I just don't believe that. You've got to look beyond the numbers in the case of Manning. However, let's agree to disagree.

Ben: So, one final question. Is Chad Pennington done?

Bryan: That's impossible for me to know. No quarterback has ever undergone two shoulder surgeries before. My instinct is that he will eventually play again, but never at any level palatable to real success on the field. Eventually the Jets will be forced to make the impossible decision and cut him. And it's heart-breaking for me. I've adored Pennington from Day 1. Unfortunately, such is the cold treatment that is the NFL.

Ben: I have to agree. I've been a big fan of Chad also from day 1. I remember calling for him to start over Vinny, though that might be because of my passionate dislike of Mr. Testaverde. Of course, that support from me has doomed him to failure in my team's uniform, as it has Santana Moss, Alexei Kovalev and an untold number of Mets prospects. He should be happy he got by with just a shoulder injury. I was a huge fan of Drazen Petrovic back in the early nineties.

Bryan: Let me guess, you were all about Nirvana, too.

Ben: No actually but I was a big fan of Queen and Freddie Mercury.

Bryan: Remind me not to avail your loyalty to any of my favorite athletes. Or bands. Or anything. Alright, Ben, it's been a pleasure hashing this out. Now, we must inform Terry Bradway as to our respective decisions on the issue at hand.

Ben: Yes, of course I'd like to submit this as proof that I have a better idea of what's going on in the NFL than Matt Millen. But I'll settle for the Jets actually solving this QB situation once and for all. It has been over 30 some odd years since they had a signal franchise caller.

Bryan: Ben, my little cousin has a better idea of what's going on in the NFL than Matt Millen. And she hasn't been born yet.


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