In the midst of a lockout and continued labor strife, the NFL offseason has been in a virtual state of hibernation. But that doesn't mean we can't dream up our own version of the offseason -- it is called "fantasy" football after all, right? So when all of these labor issues are resolved and we can get back to football, here are eight suggestions for teams that would improve their quarterback situation and at the same time increase the player's fantasy value.
Kevin Kolb is traded to the Cardinals. Kolb is clearly the prized quarterback on the market, and I don't see him being a member of the Eagles very long after the lockout ends. The Cardinals are his top suitor, and his presence under center would immediately improve the value of the team's best fantasy player, Larry Fitzgerald. In six career starts where he was under center for the majority of the Eagles' snaps, Kolb averaged a solid 281.6 passing yards with a combined eight total touchdowns. While I don't see him emerging into a No. 1 fantasy option with such immense depth at quarterback, Kolb would be highly draftable as a reserve and occasional matchup-based starter in most leagues.
Donovan McNabb signs with the Vikings. Did you know that McNabb was on pace to record his first 4,000-yard passing season in 2010 before being benched? That tells me that while he might be on the downside of his career, McNabb still has the tools to fill up the stat sheets. His time in Washington is all but over, and a move to Minnesota makes sense. Not only would he be reunited with former Eagles assistant Leslie Frazier, but McNabb would also have a star in Adrian Peterson in the backfield and some talented weapons in the passing game. Furthermore, his presence would increase the value of Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin, who are both less attractive with rookie Christian Ponder at the helm.
Kyle Orton is traded to the Dolphins. Orton is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the league. He's not an elite field general, but he's an intelligent player with a nice arm who could put up some numbers with a stud wide receiver like Brandon Marshall at the helm. In 2009, Marshall posted 1,120 yards and 10 touchdowns in Denver -- with Orton under center. Compare that to the 1,014 yards and three scores he produced last season with Chad Henne at quarterback and well, the statistical difference is evident. With Orton in South Florida, Tim Tebow would also have a clear path to the top spot on the Broncos depth chart. That would just add to the depth at quarterback in 2011.
Matt Hasselbeck signs with the Titans. The Titans don't have anyone to serve as a mentor to rookie Jake Locker (Kerry Collins is a free agent), so Hasselbeck would be a nice fit. The 35-year-old quarterback is clearly on the downside of his career, but he still has enough in the tank to bridge the gap until Locker is prepared to take the reins. While Hasselbeck isn't going to ever become an elite fantasy option again, he does make Kenny Britt a more attractive breakout candidate. With Locker under center, that will be a tough sell for fantasy owners. Hasselbeck should also keep defenses at least a bit more honest, which would be a positive for running back Chris Johnson as well.
Carson Palmer is traded to the Seahawks. Palmer would have the most value if he were to remain with the Bengals, but that doesn't seem likely considering his retirement threats and deteriorated relationship with owner Mike Brown. In the event that Brown has a change of heart and decides to deal Palmer, a move to the Great Northwest would make sense. Not only is there the USC connection with coach Pete Carroll, but Palmer also fits Seattle's glaring need at the quarterback position. Though his best days are clearly in the rearview mirror, Palmer can still be a nice matchup-based starter in fantasy leagues. He would also help improve the value of every prominent member of the team's offense.
Vince Young signs with the Redskins. There have been reports that the Redskins could go with John Beck as their starting quarterback, but I don't see that happening. Maybe Beck is allowed a chance to compete for the top spot, but the team has to go out and sign a veteran this offseason. Young would be a very nice fit -- he produced good numbers under one-time Mike Shanahan assistant Mike Heimerdinger -- and there's little doubt that he'd be an upgrade over the team's current cast of characters. Shanahan, who has worked out other reclamation projects like Brian Griese and Jake Plummer, is one of the few coaches that could get some value of out Young. He'd be worth a late-round pick.
Alex Smith re-signs with the 49ers. Obviously, Smith hasn't lived up being the No. 1 overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft. But he has shown some flashes of statistical potential over the last two years. In that time, Smith has thrown a combined 32 touchdown passes in 22 games. New coach Jim Harbaugh has expressed his confidence in Smith as a starting quarterback at the NFL level, and he's a nice stopgap until rookie Colin Kaepernick is in a position to take over the offense. With a relatively favorable schedule that includes games against the Seahawks (2), Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles and Lions, Smith could be a deep-league, matchup-based starter if he remains with the Niners.
Marc Bulger signs with the Panthers. Bulger could land in Arizona if the team misses out on Kolb, otherwise he'll end up as a backup or a low-end starter on a team with little chance at a postseason berth. The Panthers, who fit the latter description, could use Bulger to help mentor Cam Newton if he doesn't start as a rookie. He could also be an option for the Bengals if Palmer is gone and the team wants to wait on rookie Andy Dalton. Regardless, Bulger isn't going to re-emerge into a legitimate fantasy option. In a best-case scenario, he'll be worth a late-round look in deep leagues if he earns a starting role with a team that has some weapons.