2012’s Brewing Quarterback Controversies

Whether it’s Favre and Rodgers or Montana and Young everybody loves a good quarterback controversy and next season will be packed to the brim. Mark Payne delves into the dark and murky world of holdouts and infighting as we look to uncover next years biggest stories.

1) Drew Brees – Saints

Now Drew Brees is a man who appears settled in a successful franchise and is well on his way to breaking Dan Marino’s long standing passing record but he crucially, like Vick, hasn’t signed a contract for next season and will have  a difficult offseason ahead. Rumour has it that he will refuse to sign a franchise tag if the Saints offer him one and will therefore be locked out of the training facility and refused access to the Saints coaches until a new deal is signed. The Saints need to be careful not to place everything on Brees though. If the contract value is too high, the salary cap will limit the quality of the teammates available to Brees and damage the team’s future.

2) Carson Palmer – Jason Campbell

The Oakland Raiders currently have two top level quarterback’s in their locker room. Campbell is the man who took the Raiders to the brink of the playoffs while Palmer, their expensive trade acquisition, has restored hope of a postseason berth after a rocky start. The problem is for 2012 neither is secured. Given that the Raiders gave up a lot of picks to secure Palmer and that with his wages there is little room to manoeuvre there is a growing school of thought that suggests Campbell may be on his way out of the bay. With Kyle Boller and Terrelle Pryor already on board as back up QB’s if Palmer leads the Raiders to a decent postseason campaign there will be some tough decisions to be made. Will the Raiders stay loyal to Campbell or will they ignore Palmer’s potted history of histrionics and make him their starter?

3) Matt Hasselbeck – Jake Locker

Matt Hass has had a career year, he’s pushing the Titans to the brink of the playoffs without much in the way of support from Chris Johnson, so why is he on the list? Put simply, he is not the future of the franchise. Hasselbeck was intended to keep the Titans relevant while Locker developed behind the scenes. However, the brief flashes we’ve been offered of Locker suggest that his successor is more than ready to face a shot at the big time. Doubts about his arm strength have been quelled with some long bombs down the field, he is a mobile quarterback capable of picking up first downs  with his feet and equally proficient at passing on the run. I’d expect another training camp shootout between these two. If the Titans go with Hasselbeck we’ll be offered close ups of Locker clipboard and headset in hand waiting for his opportunity. If Locker is chosen to start I’d expect Hasselbeck to be traded to a side in need of an experienced quarterback.

4) Kyle Orton –  Matt Cassel

While most eyes focussed on the misfiring Packers offence, those who honed in on Orton’s performance against Green Bay will have been rewarded. He united an offence that this year has looked disjointed and at times fractious. He hit ten different receivers for a total of 299 yards with 74% of his passes landing on the money. In contrast, the Chiefs offence under Cassel have looked like a unit devoid of confidence. In a Monday Night Football clash against the Chargers earlier in the year Cassel’s passes drew glares from receivers before Dwayne Bowe pulled his arms back in the two minute offence to give up a game winning pick. Cassel has potential but his finest hour came for the Patriots in 2008. If Orton continues to play like he is then Cassel will almost certainly be looking elsewhere to play.

5) Peyton Manning – Andrew Luck

The obvious call. The number one overall pick, two time Heisman finalist and college stud versus the four time league MVP and future hall of famer. In all honesty this is one that will settle itself fairly quickly. If Manning is fit he’ll play, if he isn’t Luck will start and Manning will make way. I can’t say the dramatic trade and lingering petty handbags that people are expecting. Both men are winners but they are also level headed professionals. Luck will be guided in to the Colts dressing room and introduced to the players by Manning and he’ll be their franchise quarterback someday. This one won’t end in tears.

6) Matt Moore – Chad Henne

Henne’s 2011 campaign was symptomatic of his entire career in Miami. Brilliant at first before inconsistency and injury spoiled his value. Henne racked up 416 yards against the patriots but failed to beat the Brady inspired Pat’s or any of the next three opponents before injury did for his season. Just as Dolphins fans waved the coffin of their 2011 season through the curtains of the crematorium, it was miraculously revived by Matt Moore. Expectations were low when former Panther was announced as the starter following Henne’s separated shoulder but he then led the Dolphins to five wins from seven and has given the team hope. With a new coach on the horizon Henne, no 2012 contract and injury rehabilitation to go through Henne may be done in Miami

7) Kevin Kolb – John Skelton

This quarterback battle is probably the least glamorous on the list and it is equally likely that a third, more fashionable quarterback will enter the battle but these two will still be in a battle for the backup job. Kevin Kolb was one of the stars of the 2010 free agency but has failed to deliver this season. He also had the misfortune to pick up a nagging injury that gave John Skelton an opportunity at his job. Injuries can make or break your reputation in the NFL. Peyton Manning and Nick Mangold saw their stock rise as injuries to them harmed their team, unfortunately for Kolb, when John Skelton stepped in the Cardinals started winning. Furthermore, Skelton would cost $6million less than Kolb in 2012. Both will have to prove themselves as legitimate starters in the NFL but the Cardinals will probably give Kolb the training camp period to prove he is more worthy of holding the clipboard and wearing a baseball cap on the sidelines than Skelton.


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