The National Football League is now home to beat-up rejects, old retreads, never-will-be jokers and a bunch of has-beens when it comes to the quarterback position. Is it a matter of the talent pool being weakened by salary cap maneuvers? Maybe. Is the status of being labeled a superstar no longer a requisite to being the face of an NFL franchise? Perhaps. Is this a race issue? It could be.
One thing is for sure is that playing and landing employment as a quarterback has a lot more to do with who you know than what you know. Familiarity has become a key component to earning a paycheck about as much hitting the skinny post with rapid accuracy. Backup bums Luke McCown and Tyler Thigpen can probably attest to this.
With the exception of Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco, Philip Rivers and several other signal-callers, including RGIII, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton, when you look around and scale the landscape of the NFL what you see are a bunch of recycled journeymen and bottom-tier throwers manning the most important position on the football field.
Let’s not kid ourselves. We all know who the main perpetrators are: Matt Cassel. Alex Smith. Tyler Thigpen. Matt Flynn. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Christian Ponder. Blaine Gabbert. Kevin Kolb. If you want to go further-Tim Tebow might be your man. Then there’s the lasting legacy of ineptness that McCown and Thigpen are now executing.
That doesn’t include the over-the-top idiocy of the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins to fake fans and into believing that drafting Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill, respectively, are worth the high price of admission and will be their long-term solution at quarterback.
It’s pretty idiotic to me that these teams would fork over large sums of money for these two bozos that are nothing more than cheap imitations of what a franchise quarterback is supposed to be. In two to three years from the now (maybe less), both Weeden and Tannehill will be backups or out of the league altogether.
The decision to make Weeden the defacto starter is why the Browns will always be the Browns. By making Tannehill their guy, this illustrates why the Dolphins have become a joke of a team since the bygone days of Dan Marino.
I don’t know whether to laugh or throw up from the continued incompetency and biased evaluations of NFL general managers to strike deals and place on their teams-quarterbacks with unproven skills or passers that have done next to nothing during their pro careers.
It’s hard for me to believe that Kolb, the media’s once Great Hype, can do more for a team than Vince Young, a proven winner who can’t even get a sniff of a look at a job. You remember Kolb, the laughable clown thought by media pundits to be on the level of Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick. Well, after successful failures in both Philadelphia and Arizona, Kolb just inked a two-year gig with the Buffalo Bills. Really?
In retirement, former Minnesota Vikings star quarterback Daunte Culpepper can out throw and outperform Kolb with his eyes shut on any given day. Performing well is something Kolb has not done consistently since former Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid named him the team’s starter after kicking McNabb to the curb by trading him to the Washington Redskins.
Everywhere he’s been Kolb has stunk up the joint. Yet he continues to get jobs, despite the fact that his record as a starter is nothing short of incomplete and dreadfully atrocious. Ditto for Flynn, the one-time wonder boy behind Rodgers at Green Bay.
Flynn made two starts at Green Bay and got paid, figuratively, racking up a multi-million and multi-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks last year, only to lose his throne as the starter by then rookie Russell Wilson. Since he has been discarded by the Seahawks, Flynn is now considered the frontrunner to be the starter for the Oakland Raiders, a backwater team that seem to have forgotten that ex-Ohio State star Terelle Pryor was supposed to be their franchise quarterback of the future.
This is where race enters the picture. How many black quarterbacks would be able to land high-paying, multi-million dollar deal based on a very limited body of work the way Kolb and Flynn have? Vick? No chance. RGIII? The former Heisman Trophy winner had to struggle to get his rookie contract in the right order. How about the unstoppable Newton? That’s not going to happen with cheap Carolina.
Being a black quarterback in the NFL almost always means having to being a superstar or bust. You can’t be average, though Jason Campbell and David Garrard have somehow worked out the kinks and mastered the craft. But in the bigger scheme of things you no longer need to have the best-selling jersey as an NFL quarterback to cash in on the big money.
Mediocrity has replaced star power. It appears being a middle-of-the-road signal-caller is all you need to collect a steady paycheck. And don’t let me get started on Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys one playoff win quarterback. The level of ineptitude in quarterback play has declined so much so that now that the man in the middle under center coming off 8-8 seasons like Romo gets broken off with a $108 million contract extension.
I suppose that if Romo can get that kind of money, how much is San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick worth after taking his team to the Super Bowl in just his second season in the league? How much can we expect Newton, Luck, Wilson and RGIII to get paid when their old contracts become void?
The problem with rewarding someone possessing mediocre skills with prime-time money, extraordinary talent is sure to break the bank. And the NFL had better brace itself for the day of reckoning that is sure to come.
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. Dennis has written about social justice, civil rights, education, politics, and crime. He covers the NFL, NBA, MLB, as well as other sports. Dennis earned a journalism degree with a minor in criminal justice from Howard University. The real HU!! “I’m just a guy who enjoys being a storyteller.”