Part 1 of a 2 Part Series about the potential impact on Fantasy
Is it just me, or does it seem like there was a lot of hype about the free agent quarterbacks and traded quarterbacks that was severely unwarranted this off-season? None of the moves had any "wow" factor at all. And something that really stood out was the fact a few of the QB's who were expected to move on to challenge for starting jobs elsewhere decided it's better to be a well paid backup and collect a check for holding a clipboard. In this first part of a two part series on the off-season quarterback moves, I'm going to look at the higher profile players.
Unrestricted Free Agent
Old Team: Baltimore Ravens
New Team: Baltimore Ravens
Analysis: The Ravens did the smart thing in locking up Flacco with a 6 year, $120 million deal. It was a bit much to pay for a player who has yet to reach 3,900 passing yards or 26 passing TD's in any season, but Flacco is coming into his prime and has proven to be able to help them win both in the regular season and in the playoffs. His value on 2013 fantasy football rankings is as a high upside QB2 who could easily step into the top 10 fantasy QB's with a little bit of luck.
Old Team: San Francisco 49ers
New Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: Smith needed out of San Francisco with the emergence of Colin Kaepernick and Andy Reid needed a stabilizing force at the position in his new home of Kansas City. The Chiefs gave up a hefty price (2013 second round pick, conditional 3rd round pick in 2014) to get a QB who since being the 1st pick in the 2005 draft has yet to reach 3,200 passing yards or 20 TD's in any season. But in the last 2 seasons Smith has quietly excelled as a smart game manager who when called upon can lead his team to victory. Reid's west coast style of offense may fit Smith the best of any system he's played in to date and while I doubt if Smith will ever become a top flight fantasy QB, he could surprise with around 3,500 yards and 22-25 TD's. The Chiefs would certainly take that as it would be an improvement over what they've gotten the last 2 seasons from the QB position.
Old Team: Oakland Raiders
New Team: Arizona Cardinals
Analysis: Acquired by Arizona, along with a 2013 7th round pick from the Raiders, for a 2013 6th round pick and a conditional 2014 draft pick, the Cardinals got a steal compared to what the Chiefs handed over for Alex Smith. I've discussed Palmer before and while I believe he represents a huge upgrade over what the Cardinals have put forth at QB the last couple of seasons, I doubt Palmer is the top flight caliber QB he used to be. He also lacks the ability to avoid the rush and unless the Cardinals upgrade their offensive line, Palmer could struggle to stay healthy for the entire season. He has a high ceiling though if he can stay upright as there are weapons to throw to, and the offensive system under new coach Bruce Arians fits Palmer's abilities as a QB. Palmer threw for over 4,000 yards last season in little more than 14 games for the Raiders, and he could approach those yardage totals again if he gets protection from the OL.
Old Team: Seattle Seahawks
New Team: Oakland Raiders
Analysis: Acquired from Seattle for a 2014 5th round pick and a conditional late round pick in 2015, the Raiders knew they were going to have to move on from Carson Palmer and the new regime didn't want Terelle Pryor as the only veteran QB they had. Flynn had been signed by Seattle in the 2012 free agency period, but he failed to beat out rookie Russell Wilson. While reports say Flynn will compete with Pryor to be the starting QB, Flynn has to be considered the favorite over Pryor. Question is whether Flynn will be the favorite for long if Oakland drafts a QB in the first or second round (something they are almost assured of doing). Despite having put up some incredible stats in a couple of starts for Green Bay in 2010 and 2011, Flynn doesn't seem to inspire confidence in many NFL teams as a capable starting QB. His arm strength reportedly is average and it's believed he was more a product of the offense in Green Bay then any second coming of Aaron Rodgers. It's a good bet that Flynn will start the 2013 regular season at QB for Oakland, but if he doesn't produce numbers, and more importantly, wins, it's doubtful he finishes it. And that makes him one of the riskier bets as a backup fantasy QB in 2013.
Released by Arizona March 15th, which made him an Unrestricted Free Agent
Old Team: Arizona Cardinals
New Team: Buffalo Bills
Analysis: Kolb was brought in by Buffalo to replace released Ryan Fitzpatrick. Kolb, like Fitzpatrick has a below average arm that probably will fail when the weather gets cold in Buffalo. He should have little problem beating out Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job, but there's an excellent chance the Bills will use one of the first two picks in April's draft on a QB and Kolb will face stiffer competition there. Kolb probably will get a little veteran deference and start the season as the Bills starting QB, but like Flynn in Oakland, there's also a good chance that unless he's putting up numbers and wins, he won't finish out the season that way. Kolb is another low end backup fantasy QB who has some potential for upside, but more likely will be unable to start the entire season.
Unrestricted Free Agent
Old Team: Miami Dolphins
New Team: Miami Dolphins
Analysis: Moore was fairly well regarded as a legitimate candidate for a starting job elsewhere when free agency opened, but instead of going for that, he opted to stay in Miami and be the clear backup to Ryan Tannehill. This actually was a smart personal decision for Moore as he probably wouldn't be more than an adequate temporary starter for any NFL team. Now, instead of subjecting his body to abuse, he gets to make a few million dollars without having to take the punishment he would have received if he won a starting job somewhere else. It speaks volumes about his mind-set though that he'd rather be a clipboard holder and veteran sounding board instead of competing for a starting job. But like Clint Eastwood said in Magnum Force: "A man's got to know his limitations." Apparently, Moore does.
Unrestricted Free Agent
Old Team: Chicago Bears
New Team: Cleveland Browns
Analysis: The Browns are once again under new management with a new head coach and offensive system. The new regime doesn't appear to regard Brandon Weeden as highly as the old one, and Campbell was brought in to give Weeden veteran competition for the starting QB job. Weeden wasn't a flop last season, but neither was he as impressive as the Browns had hoped. Campbell has been an okay starting QB in the NFL, but has never been consistent and has played himself out of jobs when given opportunities. Campbell is a veteran backup QB who could fit new offensive coordinator Norv Turner's offense if he can beat out Weeden, but it's no sure thing, and no sure thing he will beat out Weeden. Even if he does, his inconsistent play is likely to leave him as a free agent fantasy QB.
Unrestricted Free Agent
Old Team: Was not on any NFL roster in 2012 after he was cut by the Dolphins before the start of the regular season.
New Team: New York Jets
Analysis: Reportedly, Garrard was leading the Dolphins starting QB race in the preseason of 2012 when he had what was believed to a routine knee scope. But he was surprisingly released by Miami soon after. Routine knee scopes don't usually take 2-3 months to recover from so something there just isn't adding up right. Perhaps the back issues that plagued Garrard in prior seasons were also an issue? But that's just speculation. Now Garrard is supposedly fully healthy and goes to the most dysfunctional franchise in the NFL, where he has a legitimate chance to win the starting job over incumbent Jet Mark Sanchez. The Jets foolishly tied up a lot of money in Sanchez before the 2012 season began and while they say money won't play a part in who starts for them in 2013, I think Garrard will have to show that he is significantly better than Sanchez to earn the starting job right away. It will be much easier for Garrard to come in and replace Sanchez after a couple of games if Sanchez flops again in 2013. Garrard has been a starting QB in better situations in the NFL and still never been more than an okay fantasy backup. Expecting him to be any more than that, even if he is the starter week 1, is unrealistic.