NFL Quarterback Carousel and Futures Odds Effects
by Trevor Whenham - 3/22/2012
You certainly can’t complain that the NFL Offseason has been boring — at least not when it comes to the quarterback position. At least seven teams have had some degree of drama or activity around their most important position. Five of those seven teams have gotten better in my eyes. Only one has significantly affected their future odds as a result of the moves. Let’s take a look:
They are obviously the big winners here. It doesn’t matter how skeptical you are of the future of Peyton Manning — it was the biggest free agent chase in years, and the Broncos came out on top.
The best part of this deal is that there is no real downside. Even if he doesn’t end up returning to form he’ll more than make up for the money he makes in terms of ticket and merchandise sales, excitement, and press coverage. He’s the best advertising the team could have bought.
There’s at least a decent chance he’ll be good, too — or at least better than what they had. From John Elway’s perspective, though, the best part of this deal is that this was literally the only way he could have gotten rid of Tim Tebow — a QB he clearly didn’t want anything to do with — without creating a massive controversy. It was brilliantly played.
While I’m reasonably optimistic about the Broncos and Manning the response of the betting public has been nothing short of ridiculous. Before the signing the Broncos were in the middle-of-the-pack in the league in the Super Bowl futures pools. Now they have dropped down to 12/1 at Bovada, and lower at other places. They are the third choice to win it all behind only Green Bay and New England. Absolutely ridiculous.
Matt Flynn was set up to be the consolation prize for whoever didn’t get Manning, but Seattle snuck in and stole him away. I like the signing.
After guys like Matt Cassel and Kevin Kolb have underwhelmed after showing such promise as backups I’m skeptical about what Flynn is really going to accomplish. Seattle really has nothing to lose at QB, though, and despite the competition for Flynn they managed not to overpay too significantly for him.
It’s a risk, but not a horrendous one. If it works out then it will look very good for them.
San Francisco 49ers
It was probably worth the risk going for Manning, but since they didn’t land him the Niners should thank their lucky stars that they didn’t end up with a total disaster on their hands. Miami tried awfully hard to sign Alex Smith, but cooler heads prevailed, and everyone realized that the team was better off with Smith than anyone else, and that Smith was going to be more successful in San Francisco than anywhere else.
San Francisco is a serious contender with Smith, and if there are no hurt feelings then Smith should be better than ever. It certainly won’t hurt that Smith not only has coaching stability for the first time in his career, but he also has one of the best receiving corps in the league around him thanks to the addition of Mario Manningham and the gamble on Randy Moss.
New York Jets
It’s been a long time since the Jets have done a deal that I like, and that streak continues. First, they gave Mark Sanchez a totally unnecessary and highly questionable extension. Then they brought in Drew Stanton. Then they made a big deal to bring in Tebow.
The plan on the surface seems to be to use the former Broncos QB as a wildcat change of pace. It’s going to end badly, though.
The second Sanchez falters, which is totally inevitable because Sanchez just isn’t very good, the pressure will be on to give Tebow a chance at starter. When you put the most controversial media magnet in the league in the biggest media market in the world and expect the guy to play a supporting role it’s going to end very badly.
It’s a matter of’ if,’ not ‘when,’ this blows up in my eyes.
I’d feel better if they were trying to make this work on pretty much any team other than the Jets — they showed last year that they don’t exactly have the happiest, most cohesive locker room, or the most stable, rational coach.
You strike out on Manning, Flynn, and Smith, so you settle for … David Garrard?!? A guy who didn’t play last year and Matt Moore — hardly a one-two punch to be feared. This has been a truly awful offseason for a pretty awful team.
The Bears obviously have their starter, but Jay Cutler is far from the most durable player in the league. Last year Cutler’s injured thumb led to the very unfortunate Caleb Hanie era. Needless to say, that ended badly.
They know that they can’t afford to go through that again, so the Bears quietly brought Jason Campbell in as their backup. Campbell could start in some situations, so he is a more than capable understudy, and he unquestionably makes the Bears better at a very reasonable price.
Like the Bears, Dallas has a talented-but-fragile starter. Like the Bears, they brought in a backup who could start elsewhere to solidify their situation and provide security.
Kyle Orton was in a rough situation in Denver, and was probably no worse than the third or fourth best guy available this offseason. I really like this move.
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