While Hue Jackson is adamant that Jason Campbell is the unquestioned starter in 2011, a lot of questions still remain about who his back-up is going to be. In the limited time that Kyle Boller was on the field in 2010 he didn’t show any signs of not being the same ol’ Kyle Boller who has been subpar his entire career. I would have to think that Bruce Gradkowski has made his last pass as a Raiders’ quarterback since he wasn’t offered a contract from the Raiders during the brief time when they were able to offer him one. And since the Raiders didn’t take a quarterback in the draft, they will eventually have to fill that second or third string quarterback roster spot. Many people think that they will pick up a free agent, but is there potential out there for a trade for one of the NFL’s available list of veterans?
I’ll start by looking at Donovan McNabb, since he’s the group elder. McNabb is getting to that stage in his career where he will make the perfect back-up for a team like the Raiders, reminiscent of Warren Moon. A guy with his career winding down who can still give it a good go for a team from time to time. In Oakland McNabb might even be able to get a Super Bowl ring if the Raiders are headed where some people think they are.
McNabb has a lot of tread on the tires for a guy who's only 34. That happens when you go to five NFC Championships and a Super Bowl in your first ten years. The leadership that a McNabb could provide on a young offense in combination with Jason Campbell and Richard Seymour on defense could put the Raiders over the top in terms of veteran leadership. The only problem could occur if McNabb can’t swallow his pride and be a meaningful back-up. But he’s not the type to let drama like that affect him.
Moving slightly west of McNabb’s current locale you’ll find the disgruntled veteran quarterback, and former USC Heisman trophy winner, the Bengals’ Carson Palmer. In my opinion, Palmer lost a lot of his gusto when he went down with a knee injury in a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Palmer is a bit of a different story than McNabb. While McNabb is in the twilight of his career, Palmer is smack in the middle of what should be his prime time. Unfortunately, he plays for the Bengals, a team that has spent many of its years in the NFL’s basement.
Palmer is a guy the Raiders could look at if they wanted almost the same thing they already have with Jason Campbell. I honestly can’t see this move being plausible for the value attached to Palmer by the Bengals organization. It would surely take a high draft pick, possibly as high as a first round pick as opposed to getting Campbell for a fourth in 2012. Palmer was talked about as an elite quarterback just a few years ago. But on the other hand, he does have a history with Hue Jackson, and there’s a chance that his teammate, Chad Ochocinco, could end up playing in Oakland as well.
One guy who I really wanted the Raiders to trade up for and take in the draft a few years ago was Texas Longhorns’ quarterback, Vince Young. After watching Young singlehandedly (well almost) come from behind against USC in the National Championship, I was hooked on Young. So far in his short career with the Tennessee Titans, he has proven that he is indeed a winner at the next level as well as going 30-17 so far in his career as a starter. Last year, his decision to walk out on Head Coach Jeff Fisher ultimately cost both guys their job, though Fisher by his own choice. Yet the Titans still hold the rights to Young’s contract, and since he was drafted third overall just five years ago, the asking price will be high. On the other hand, the Titans have made it public knowledge that they will not be moving forward with Young on their roster which could and should ultimately drive down the asking price.
Young is not perfect by any means. Unlike McNabb, drama seems to follow this man. In that sense, it could be devastating to the Raiders to take a guy who could disrupt the locker room. Not only that, but Young is not very efficient as a passer, it’s more his versatility that makes him dangerous. If the Raiders go this route, they could end up with a high money player and a headache. There was once a time when I thought Young was perfect for the Raiders, but that time is gone now.
Moving north from Nashville, the guy who caused McNabb a lot of grief at the end of his Eagles days, Kevin Kolb, is preparing to hit the open market. Whether or not Andy Reid is going to want him to make his departure so early in his career is a different story. Kolb is a guy who Reid fell in love with so much so that he gave up his top pick in the draft, 33rd overall, and ultimately his sidekick quarterback, Donovan McNabb. But now the Eagles, or the other birds, are set to explore their options with Michael Vick, and Kevin Kolb has made it clear that he wants to be a starter somewhere.
However, unless your name is Jay Cutler, you are probably not going to be given the quarterback job for most teams. If Kolb came out to Oakland this year, I think it would be almost a foregone conclusion that the Raiders will move away from Campbell in 2011. Kolb would most likely command at least original round value for a draft pick or a highly rated player in return. To me, Kolb is still too unproven to be given the Raiders' quarterback job. I think there are going to be other teams that will be willing to give up more for Kolb. The Arizona Cardinals come to mind right off the top of my head.
Of the top available quarterbacks via trade this year I think Donovan McNabb makes the most sense for the Raiders. But I could also see them making a play for USC product Carson Palmer. If Palmer is willing to sit out in Cincinnati and retire, perhaps he’d be content to come back to California and ride the pine for a year waiting to see what happens with Jason Campbell. I know one thing after writing this article: all of the guys mentioned on this page are an upgrade to Bruce Gradkowski. I like Bruce as a person, but dude’s got some major health issues.
Follow me on TWITTER @Raidersblogger # Search TFDS on FACEcrook
It would be great to have any of the QB's you have mentioned in you're article as a backup. Problem being the Raiders couldn't acquire any of them at a backup price. Unless the Raiders think Campbell is not the answer? none of these QB's will even be considered. Trading first round draft pick for a back up QB would be out of the question, unless the Raiders want Young or Kolb to be a starter in the near future.
I also think Gradkowski is done in the Silver and Black. With this said, I think the Raiders should look for the best free agent QB on the market and a reasonable price. Marc Bulger comes to mind. Bulger is one year removed from his injury, plus he is the most accurate passer out of all the free agents QB's on the open market. Very good chance Bulger could be had for 2 or 3 million a year.
I'm just trying to take a realistic approach when it comes to the Raiders looking for one more QB.
Bruce Gradkowski is definitely not the answer. Not only does he have major health issues, but he has one of the worst throwing arms I have ever seen. If Grads loses any of that mobility, his arm becomes a huge liability, and the Raiders just don't need to resign a quarterback with as many red flags as Gradkowski has.
The Raiders should definitely go out and trade for a solid backup quarterback that is capable of leading this team if Campbell goes down to injury. Right now, depth is a huge issue for quarterback, and I am definitely not sold on Kyle Boler, as he did not demonstate any quality leadership in his short playing time with the Raiders last year...
Vince Young or Carson Palmer would be excellent additions to the Raiders. I , like Bret, am a big Vince Young fan, and think he would be best suited of all quarterbacks mentioned in this article, to play for the Raiders. Reason being, MOBILITY....The Raiders are in big time rebuild mode with their offensive line, and with a developing line comes a lot of break downs. The Raiders need a guy, like Young, who can effectively scramble, and keep plays alive, wheras I see guys like Carson Palmer struggling more with the Raider oline line than Young would. Don't get me wrong though, Carson Palmer would be a great addition, and I think he would be an awesome pickup for the Raiders, but Young, to me, would have more immediate success because of his incredible ability to scramble...
@Spartacus I agreee with the assessment of VY as being the player best suited talentwise, as you, ive liked him since he entered the NFl, and he has proven himself in the league as well - but will he accept an initial backup role with Silver and Black? And do they think he has matured enough to be the type of leader that they want with this new high character approach? Im not sure they are convinced he is the answer, and adding him could cause a situation like the one last year with Grads (VY is by far a better QB, but the lingo could happen again), so unless they consider starting him or have an open competition for #1 (in which case VY as backup could be last year all over again), i dont think he is a possibility at this point..
Terrelle Pryor seems to be heading for the supplemental draft, not as good as VY, but a large potential and maybe even better athleticism and speed (4.4 forty), and in that case we might be in the run for his services - he has some personality and off field issues, but would be a backup potential QB for HJ and Saunders to work with, and compared to VY, there would be no pressure to start him the first year, which would give JC a year with no uncertainty as the unquestioned starter to see what he can become..
Still see Troy Smith (49ers) to be the most plausible signing as a backup though - he would accept being the backup and Big Al has been said to like what he brings to the table.. He is athletic but has struggled with precision, but imo there is a good chance he will move to the other side of the Bay rather than he would stay to compete against Kaep and Alex - a losing battle..