A few days ago, BTB member DawnMacelli wrote a great post about Vince Young and why a relation with the Cowboys is not the best idea. It offers good insight, and you can take a look at her article here. While Dawn is a fellow Cowboys lover, therefore making her friend and brethren, I had to take a different side than she did. I have nothing against Dawn and agree that she did a great job with her article, but I also thought that I should add my own thought to it.
“With the, uh, third choice in the 2006 NFL draft, the Tennessee Titans select Vince Young, quarterback, University of Texas.” These were the exact words that turned one-time hot sensation Vince Young from a college football superstar to a rookie looking to take the Titans to the next level. Fast forward seven years later, and Vince Young is a free agent quarterback that is broke and looking at an outside chance just to be on an NFL roster. With the Cowboys in a division that features not one but two running threats under center, could the Cowboys consider adding the washed-up veteran? Nick Eatman and Bryan Broaddus think it could be a good idea, and so do I. The Dallas Cowboys should add Vince Young not only to add a few more plays to the playbook featuring a running quarterback, but to improve the play on scout teams when they prepare to take on the double-headed players such as Robert Griffin and Michael Vick.
While the Cowboys are set at quarterback with star Tony Romo and top tier backup Kyle Orton, the Cowboys have no clear option at their third quarterback spot. It is not a huge need for Dallas, but Nick Eatman comes up with a few good reasons to have Vince Young added to the roster, and I find it hard to disagree. One of the biggest selling points he lists is the versatility Dallas can add to the offense in two point conversions or short yardage situations with a player like Vince Young to come in for a couple plays. Eatman cites the Cowboys struggles in the red zone as a prime example.
“How bad have the Cowboys been in the red zone lately? The problem has been running the ball. I’m not saying take Romo out all the time, but just the threat of having Vince out there is something else teams have to worry about,” Eatman explains.
It makes sense though. The New York Jets tried it last season with Tim Tebow. Obviously that marriage didn’t pan out, but that’s because Tim Tebow sucks and the Jets failed to use him properly. With Bill Callahan and his offensive mind calling the shots, Young could become a good weapon for Dallas. On a 3rd and goal from the 3 yard line with Young on the field, the defense would likely have a hard time deciding to defend the run or against a short pass. Young isn’t a great passer anymore, but in the right system he has the ability to hold his own on a short pass or two every game and help this offense, while confusing defenses and being able to catch them for big gains on the ground.
However, a couple trick plays isn’t all Young brings to the table. The biggest advantage Dallas would have with Young on the roster is the ability to play against a running quarterback in practice and better prepare for when they see those sorts of QB’s in real game time. Eatman clarifies that the defensive transition is a lot about these running quarterbacks that are beginning to get very annoying lately, stating
“If you think the 4-3 switch didn’t have something to do with the mobile quarterbacks they’re facing, then you’re not paying attention.”
It’s a valid point, and with some big changes for the Cowboys regarding defense these past two years, such as the new wave of read option offense and the 4-3 implementation, the Cowboys will need all the practice they can get. Looking at the free agent market, Young is one of the best quarterbacks still available, especially so considering quarterbacks that pose a threat to take off. “What better person to run the scout team than Vince Young?” Eatman asks. The answer is no one. Young would make a great player for Dallas, Kiffin, and the new defense to play against to be as ready as possible when they face the Redskins and Eagles this season.
Lastly, the Cowboys would not really be investing much into Young, and if he doesn’t work out, the project will end up costing them very little. Young is not in a good financial situation, and it’s not like he’s a hotly pursued commodity. No team is really very interested, despite his successful pro day. If he does work out, Dallas might end up with a bargain. The point is that Dallas doesn’t have much to lose with bringing in Young, who is desperate to play at all, and with over nine million dollars in cap space, it’s a move they can easily afford and luck out on if he helps this team in 2013.
Of course there are arguments against the move. Even though Dallas has lots of cap space to work with, it may be needed in the future to resign guys like Sean Lee, Tyron Smith, Bruce Carter and Dez Bryant. I agree with all of that, but Young’s cost would be very small. Eatman lays it out perfectly,
“You don’t have to pay Vince Young like he’s the No. 3 pick in the draft from 2006. You pay him like he’s a guy on the street who needs another shot and should be willing to work for it.”
That sort of money on a low risk gamble is definitely worth it, and would leave plenty of cap room in the coming years to maneuver a little here and there and still keep the players they need. There is also the concern of him not having played in a long while, and his already bad habit of making costly decisions. But an advantage the Cowboys have this year is an extra pre-season game. Romo only needs a few snaps of football that doesn’t count, and it should be the same story for Orton. With 5 games and plenty of quarterback snaps to go around, Young should have all the time he needs to get back into shape and regain some NFL form.
So should the Cowboys add Vince Young? If you ask me, the the answer would be "yes". All in all, he is a low risk player that wouldn’t cost the Cowboys much but could have valuable returns. As Bryan Broaddus puts it, “There is a reason they tried to claim Mike Kafka off waivers.” While I am not making the decisions for Dallas and they likely won’t end up giving Vince Young a star to wear, I am hopeful it happens and would not mind seeing Vince Young get a shot to play for America’s Team.