As documented in my other topic where we looked at what history tells us about Peyton Manning's free agency, I wasn't a huge fan of the deal. Of course anyone would love to see a four-time MVP and Super Bowl winning QB on their team, and if we signed him I wouldn't of hated it. But I gotta say, knowing that we're out of it now, I almost breathed a sigh of relief.
Why? Well because now we can go after someone who is going to be around much longer then Peyton will.
Let's start by throwing a few obvious ones out of the window. Luck and RG3 are off the table, we all know that. So what's left after them and Peyton? More then you might think.
Matt Flynn - OK OK, so this one isn't a surprise to anyone. But here's what will surprise you. I don't want him anywhere near Miami. Seriously. Not with a 1000 foot pole. Flynn is just the next in the batch of "Best Current Backup Available QBs." Previous years the names who fell in this category were guys like Kevin Kolb, Matt Cassel, Tyler Thigpen, Brady Quinn, Marc Bulger, Matt Leinart, Derek Anderson, etc etc etc. These are all guys that one team made look great for one season, just long enough to offload them to be somebody else's problem. Here's the thing, good teams in the NFL remain good teams for one reason: Personnel Management. The great teams are good at scouting personnel, good at training the personnel they have, and they are good at knowing when it's time to get rid of someone. These same teams also understand that when you think it's time to let someone go, you don't let anyone else know it, and you polish the living crap out of them in hopes of stirring up trade value. In Flynn's case he is a Free Agent, sure, but that just means that the Packers weren't willing to pay him for one of the most important positions on the team. Remember that Aaron Rodgers was the backup in Green Bay for awhile, and they were grooming him so he would be ready, and when he was they cut ties with a Green Bay legend who still had some air in the tires (not much though :P). Aaron Rodgers never even *sniffed* free agency, because the Packers knew what they had.
"But but but..... without media darlings Luck, RG3, Flynn, or Manning, what will we do?! OMG THE SKY IS FALLING!!!"
Well, your answer isn't that far off. If the three teams still in the Manning Mix are the 49ers, Broncos, and Titans, you damn well better start rooting for it to not be the Titans. The best QB on the Titans roster right now? Matt Hasselbeck. So if the Titans get Manning, Matt Hasselbeck is released into the wild. Whoopee-freaking-doo.
However, those other two teams? Now we got something interesting.
Broncos - Tim Tebow - Despite all the grand-standing and faces he put on, John Elway hates Tim Tebow. No really, he can't stand him. He doesn't fit the mold of what Elway thinks is a QB, and Elway is not willing to hitch his GM legacy to a guy that throws a football more like he's hitting a tether-ball. The whole reason Denver is so super-hardcore in the Manning pursuit is because Manning is the one QB that he could bring in that would allow him to trade Tebow without the city going into a riot. Once Manning is there, all the Broncos fans will be saying Tebwho? And Mr. Ross, if you want to sell some tickets, you need to get this kid. Seriously. Put Tim Tebow back in Florida and every game will sell out. Instantly. Not to mention he's a kid who can win some football games. Yes yes I know his mechanics blow, and yes I know his stats don't look pretty, and yes I know that Denver's defense did a heck of a lot more for the Broncos last season then they are given credit for. But last I checked, we have a pretty darn good defense ourselves, and honestly, the one thing I thing our offense needs more then ANYTHING is just a 55 gallon drum full of give-a-s***. We have some talent on this offense, we all know that, which is what makes it so much more painful for Dolphins fans to watch the talent just wasting away. But inject a little Tebow work-ethic, drive, and "there's-no-way-I'm-losing-this-game" into our offense, and the benefits would be so much farther then just a decent QB can provide.
49ers - Alex Smith - POP QUIZ!!!!! How old is Alex Smith? ******Jeopardy music***** You, in the Davone Bess jersey, your answer is? "What is, 27" THAT'S CORRECT!!!!! 27 tends to be that perfect age for Quarterbacks, when they've been around long enough to know what the hell is going on in the NFL, but not so old that they've been beat to death. I've always believed in Alex Smith, I've foamed at the mouth for years hoping the 49ers would let him go so maybe he could do something else on another team. The kid has good arm strength, he's smart, he can move in the pocket to buy time for the play, and he even has some decent wheels when he needs to escape. Honestly he reminds me a lot of Aaron Rodgers. Just look at this past season when the 49ers FINALLY put a good O-line in front of him and put some weapons around him. I would take Alex Smith on our team in a heartbeat, and if Manning signs with the 49ers, people tend to forget that Mr. Smith is an Unrestricted Free Agent. Just sayin'
Other available QBs through Free Agency - Just so you can see the names - Charlie Batch, Kyle Boller, Mark Brunell, Kellen Clemens, Kerry Collins, Jake Delhomme, Dennis Dixon, A.J. Feeley, Jeff Garcia, Chris Greisen, Rex Grossman, Max Hall, Caleb Hanie, Shaun Hill, Brian Hoyer, Josh Johnson, Jon Kitna, Byron Leftwich, Matt Leinart, J.P. Losman, Luke McCown, Donovan McNabb, Kevin O'Connell, Curtis Painter, Brady Quinn, Charlie Whitehurst, Vince Young -- Yeah, I think that whole list is a collective, say it with me, "THANKS BUT NO THANKS!"
The Draft - Honestly, I'm not sure if I even need to spend time here. There's 500 places on the internet that can give you more detail about these guys then I can, and honestly all 500 of them are just as clueless as on of us. I can say this. I like Tannehill, kinda. I'm not sure if I "move up into the 4th spot to take him" like him though. If he falls to us at 8, I would definitely take him, but I'm not willing to throw a ton of weight at him. I like the idea of Osweiler in the 2nd but at that point are we really making a choice to win now, or are we just throwing away yet another 2nd round pick for a guy that might be good... eventually.
Conclusion - Our best hope of anything at this point, really is that Denver or San Francisco get Manning, and are willing to let go of their current young guys. Luck and RG3 are out, we don't want to try to beat out Cleveland for Tannehill (Maybe Cleveland can get Flynn and give us a slim glimmer of hope there?), and anyone beyond Tannehill is just another QB like we've already had.
Luckily if we completely screw up this year, there's a QB LOADED draft coming next year.