Sooner or later there will be free agency. Many of the coaches and front office people have gone over the lists and tape to the point where they are more ready for free agency than in any other year since the modern system started in 1993.
With so many teams in search for help at quarterback, the position has received the most interest as we await free agency and trades. However, the guy who seems to get the least amount of pub is Vince Young. The Titan said they will try to trade Young or release him, so it appears any club is going to have the chance to negotiate with the former first-round pick.
As one general manager said to me this week, "How can you not look at Vince Young with a 30-17 record as a starter?" I agree and when you look at the career production there are reasons a number of teams have to put Young on their radar screen.
When you think that Young's new destination could be a team in search of an immediate starter (Minnesota, Arizona), a club looking for competition (Miami, Washington, Oakland, Seattle) or an organization in need of a solid backup (Buffalo), there should be a market for the soon-to-be 28-year-old. Consider the seven teams just mentioned and that Young has an 8-2 record against that group with 11 touchdown passes and only four interceptions (never played Minnesota). He's also run 44 times for 194 yards vs. those teams.
When I told one coach Young's record against teams in search of some type of quarterback, he said, "Young has had problems, but you can't deny he wins games. And certain teams will always give a former first-round pick a second chance. Look at Rex Grossman, Jason Campbell and David Carr."
While two of those three (Campbell and Grossman) are probable starters in 2011, there was a time when their careers looked close to over. A contract with little real money invested and an incentive-laden deal takes the risk out of it for the club and puts it back on Young. Still, it's one worth taking for a smart team.
Two important dimensions to a quarterback's game are third-down passing and playing from behind. Let's compare Young in those areas to guys he might have to compete against.
First off, there are no comparisons in Minnesota or Arizona because there isn't a body of work for any of the quarterbacks on the roster. When you examine Grossman, Campbell and Chad Henne there is a reason to consider Young for a roster spot.
Young is barely mentioned with all the conversations about Kevin Kolb and his 3-4 record as a starter, but as one coach said, "Only one team can get Kolb and that leaves the rest of them wondering what to do."
Kolb is going to cost draft picks, players and a ton of money. While he might be worth it, Young isn't going to cost any compensation and he just might turn out to be worth a whole lot more.
Al Davis always seems to like a shot at former a first-round pick. Chan Gailey up doesn't need him right away in Buffalo, but is a creative coach and could develop a plan around his skills. Pete Carroll remembers how Young looked in the national title game. Miami has to sell seats and push Henne. Arizona should remember the game Young had against them when he threw for 387 yards. Maybe the Vikings get a year out of Young like they did when Randall Cunningham showed up. Ultimately, I would like to see Young wind up in Washington like Doug Williams did after five years in Tampa Bay. Mike Shanahan would be great with Young.
Young caused some of his own problems and will soon find himself looking for work. Still, I can't believe at least one team isn't looking for him.