Quarterbacks are popping out everywhere!
-- The Chargers, according to ESPN's John Clayton, cannot give Drew Brees a transition tag and won't franchise him. They have until Thursday to sign him to a long-term deal or he hits the open market. The Chargers want to re-sign him and are hurriedly negotiating with his agent. Stay tuned.
-- News from Minnesota has the price tag on Duante Culpepper as a first rounder plus. This makes some sense. Even though he had a terrible '05 that ended with a severe knee injury many people considered him an MVP candidate a year ago. Consider this assessment from K.C. Joyner's Scientific Football 2005,
It wouldn't be inaccurate to say that Culpepper was the best short-pass QB in the league...the Vikings asked Culpepper to alter his game after [Randy] Moss' injury and Duante proved his skills by excelling in the revised offense. If he stays as good as he was on short passes and improves his deep passing percentages in Moss' absence, 2005 could be an MVP year for Duante.
New Vikings' HC Brad Childress runs a West Coast Offense, which should play to the strengths Joyner identifies. Yet, Culpepper is being shopped. He must have ticked off a lot of important people -- read new owner Zigi Wilf -- with his off the field shenanigans last year.
-- The Raiders may set Kerry Collins free.
-- Tampa Bay QB Brian Griese expects to be cut soon, as the team is working on an extension with the much younger and cheaper Chris Simms. The Bucs are over the cap and can't afford the luxury of two starting-caliber QBs.
-- New Detroit OC Mike Martz has warned Joey Harrington to expect a "culture shock" when Martz replaces Steve Mariucci's West-Coast system with his Don Coryell/Joe Gibbs/Norv Turner-like scheme that writer Paul Zimmerman has dubbed "the real West Coast offense," since it originated with Sid Gillman and Coryell in the '50s and '60s when Gillman coached the L.A. Rams and Coryell worked at San Diego State. Martz will be far more aggressive with his plays and play calling.
Martz has a reputation for being hard on his QBs. One reason Kurt Warner excelled so quickly after replacing Trent Green in St. Louis was because Martz would stand over his QBs shoulders in drills and blister them with criticism when they missed reads. He had a zero tolerance for mental mistakes and let his QBs know loudly. We'll see if the easy-going Harrington rises to or fails Martz' challenge.
-- In New York, Chad Pennington is allegedly "resigned" to being cut soon by the Jets, after refusing their offer to cut his base salary 87%.
With so many team shuffling QBs this offseason, does anybody think Jay Cutler will get out of the top 10? I doubt he gets past the Raiders at pick six or seven. Each conference has at least one division that's almost QB free. In the AFC East, for instance, Tom Brady is the only sure thing. The Jets and Dolphins don't have a proven guy and the Bills have their fingers crossed on J.P. Losman.
In the NFC North, only the Bears and perhaps the Vikings have stability at QB, if you consider Rex Grossman and Brad Johnson stability.