Do the Packers even have a backup QB option in free agency?

Here’s the deal, I like Brett Hundley. He’s a nice kid. He fits the Matt Flynn role of partner in crime for some pretty spectacular QB photobombs for the weekly captain’s picture. He’s even been seen running around in one of those inflatable T-Rex costumes.

But, and this is a huge but, he wasn’t that spectacular as the Packers’ back up QB that needed to be called into action for half of a season. A Case Keenum or Nick Foles, he was not.

No, it wasn’t entirely his fault the Packers did not have a playoff run this past season. Rodgers’ absence truly did highlight some of the most glaring errors the team had on both offense and defense. But Hundley’s deficits didn’t help matters.

So the big question arises now that the team is officially in offseason rebuild mode is this: do the Packers stick with Hundley and hope that the third time is the charm in his growth and development, or does the team start looking elsewhere for a more adept QB2?

Look to free agency, everyone says. Sign a veteran, everyone cries.

But is there one out there that is A) actually available and B) actually worth signing?

That’s where the waters get pretty murky rather quickly. Yes there are QBs hitting the market, but are they even an option?

Colin Kaepernick

Yes, he’s out there. No, he wouldn’t suck as much as people are saying he would. Of all the options out there, he is the most available (read: no one wants to touch him with a ten foot pole.) He is essentially a souped up Hundley–mobile on his feet, but more accurate with the long ball. But he is essentially football cooties right now. The powers that be in in the NFL have decided he is persona non grata. And actually, that’s a damned shame, because he’s pretty good out of the pistol and is vastly better choice as a read option QB than Hundley. But McCarthy has already passed on him and adamantly said he would not be signing him.  Talent or not, he is not an option.

Nick Foles

Just stop. He’s still under contract for right now and isn’t even a free agent. Besides, everyone and their dog wants him to hitch is wagon to their star.  The only chance the Packers (or anyone else for that matter) would have a chance at him would be to offer a really inflated trade deal that would just be embarrassing when the dust clears. He’s likely better suited for a trade where a starting position is on the line. I’m not sure the Packers would be willing to trade everything and the kitchen sink for a back up QB with Super Bowl cred.

Sam Bradford/Case Keenum/Teddy Bridgewater

Good god, only the Vikings would be so brilliant as to have all three of their QBs entering free agency simultaneously. I’ll be bluntly honest with Bridgewater. He’s the one most likely to hit the open market. He hasn’t had a meaningful snap of football in two seasons since his entire knee exploded. Potential yes, but how much has he developed in the past two years on classroom alone? Furthermore, how stable is that reconstructed knee where everything was destroyed? At least Hundley has two knees he can stand on and has seen some actual real-time game experience.

As for the other two, it could be a purple version of Thunderdome: two men enter, one man leaves. But in this case, there’s a good chance the Vikings keep both. While Bradford was brought in as the starter, he’s got the earliest expiration date. The big question is whether his knees can handle the rigors of starting 16 regular season games +/- a postseason run.  That said, it definitely lowers his stock when the Vikings sit down and decide who is their starter next year. It appears that Keenum may hold that high ground.

Keenum is simply too good of a commodity for the Vikings to let go, and I doubt he would sign with anyone to be an understudy. I fully expect the Vikings to keep him as the starter. So let’s just cross him off the list entirely.

So back to Bradford…will the Vikings fight to keep him or let him walk. He is fairly spendy as a QB2. And would he want to settle as a backup?

At this point, I wouldn’t say no to Bradford if A) he doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and B) he’s ready to transition from starter to veteran back up.

But at the end of the day, my Magic Eight Ball tells me it looks “Highly Unlikely.”

Kirk Cousins

Truly the loser on the Smith to Washington deal that stunned, well, everyone. Apparently he earned a vote of no confidence from the higher ups in DC. Sure, Washington could hedge its bets and franchise him, but do they really want to spend $34.5 to make sure the new bench warmer doesn’t go anywhere. That’s awfully rich even for Daniel Snyder’s blood. Moreover, does anyone want to offer something along that value that would mean a giant hit against the salary cap for a back up and something inflated in draft choices when they could likely pick him up a year later for less?

Cousins doesn’t want to be a back up. He wants to be a starter. Just like Bradford. Just like Keenum. And likely just like Foles.

So at the end of the day, yes there are several good QBs hitting the market. The only problem is I highly doubt any of them are actively looking to be a back up anywhere in the league. Teams that desperately need a starter are going to be offering sweeter deals to lure them to sign. But who knows, Moneyball Thompson isn’t there trying to use competitor coupons to get a bargain basement backup.

The Packers have quite the dilemma. How bad do they want to upgrade their QB2? Are they willing to stick to McCarthy’s stubborn draft and develop (hint: it hasn’t worked since 2010) and maybe find an upgrade to Hundley in the draft in April or are they willing to spend more that they are accustomed to in order to bring in quality, seasoned talent to make sure there isn’t such a dramatic drop in quality if Rodgers were to go down again?

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Kelly Hodgson is a writer for PackersTalk.com and you can listen to her as a Co-Host of Out of the Pocket. You can also follow Kelly on Twitter at @ceallaigh_k

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4 thoughts on “Do the Packers even have a backup QB option in free agency?

  1. “Truly the loser on the Smith to Washington deal that stunned”

    The opposite, actually. Smith deal was Snyder/Allen waiving the white flag and allowing Cousins his wish to enter free agency since he told them he wants to play elsewhere. Big win for Cousins.

  2. Anyone but Hundley!! He has had his chance and has shown no improvement at all. Yes some runs, but many QB’a can run some. So keeping him for a couple of runs and deer in the headlight passing game? Come on. MM showed his ego and failure as a head coach. After preseason it was very apparent who should have earned the backup QB position, and it certainly wasn’t Hundley. So the Packers, and fans, suffered greatly with Hundley and no scheme MM. I can’t believe they’re still keeping MM, and Hundley should be released. Hundley has zero trade value in my opinion. Release him! There are many average QB’s out there better then Hundley.

    1. How true. Out performed all backups and still released. Reason why MM should have been fired! Stupid MM ego backfired big time.

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