We're into spring, summer's just around the corner ... and numerous teams are still in the market for a quarterback. Oh, and there aren't enough quarterbacks to go around.
Which leads us to the curious case of Mike Glennon, who is one of the top 32 quarterbacks in the NFL, yet is rarely included in the conversation. Why? Well, it's interesting.
I've always been a Glennon fan. I liked him coming out of North Carolina State. Mark Dominik and Greg Schiano liked him a lot, too: The old Tampa Bay Buccaneers regime stole him in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. But then Schiano made a mistake: He played Josh Freeman to start that season. Freeman wasn't a player (having thrown 39 interceptions in the prior two seasons) or a leader (as evidenced by the acrimony that built between Freeman and the team prior to his eventual midseason release). Freeman was a bust, but Schiano and Co. started him over the rookie Glennon in the first three games of the season. The Bucs went 0-3, setting the tone for what would become Schiano and Dominik's final season in Tampa Bay.
Glennon did end up starting 13 games for Tampa that year, and he showed plenty of promise, throwing 19 touchdown passes against just nine picks despite playing behind a porous offensive line. Glennon nearly beat the eventual Super Bowl champion Seahawks in Seattle, which was unheard of in 2013.
When Dominik and Schiano got canned, Lovie Smith entered the picture. The new coach signed Josh McCown early in free agency and didn't allow Glennon to legitimately compete for the job. In a related story, the 2014 Bucs won two games. In another related story, Lovie Smith got fired after two years on the job.
Tampa now has its quarterback of the present and future in Jameis Winston. Glennon represents the ultimate insurance in the final year of his rookie contract, which is why savvy Bucs general manager Jason Licht isn't going to deal him haphazardly, if at all. But Tampa does need players. And quality quarterbacks are rare commodities. If I asked you 365 days ago if you'd rank Glennon ahead of Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Bradford, Case Keenum -- heck, even Brock Osweiler -- what would you have said?
So, this week, I started posing questions about Glennon to various power brokers across the NFL.
One NFL general manager said, "Glennon is the perfect fit for the Jets. Good arm. Good fit in [Chan] Gailey's offense. Younger and better than [Ryan] Fitzpatrick."
Another GM said, "I hope he doesn't get traded into my division."
One personnel director said, "I don't know. He couldn't play in front of Josh McCown. That's a red flag."
On Wednesday's edition of my SiriusXM Radio show, "Schein on Sports," I asked NFL on CBS lead analyst Phil Simms for his take on Glennon and why he doesn't get a shot. Phil's a Glennon fan and had a fascinating answer:
"Because he's Mike Glennon. Well, who's he? Oh, he wasn't picked in the first round, he wasn't a star -- and it goes on and on. I've said this many times about him: I thought, when he came out, he was very close to Matt Ryan. You heard his offensive coordinator, Dana Bible, say he's ahead of Matt Ryan when he got out of North Carolina State. [Bible coached Ryan at Boston College.] When you watch him, he's going to make it as a starting quarterback in the NFL when the team he is on is good enough to win enough games, and be a team that goes out there every week, and you know they can win and score and stuff and have a chance to ... And the starter gets hurt, and he comes in and does really, really well. Then somebody is going to go out and get him and make him their quarterback -- a team that is ready to go, not a startup team like San Francisco or Cleveland. But a team that goes, 'We bring him in, he's the guy -- we're ready to go win here and he could be the guy.' You gotta catch lightning in a bottle, that's what I believe. That's just how it is with guys like Mike Glennon."
So which teams make the most sense for Glennon? Let's take a look across the league ...
Los Angeles Rams: If Case Keenum is the answer, I'd love to know the question. Picking 15th later this month, Los Angeles isn't going to be able to draft Carson Wentz or Jared Goff. So unless the Rams like -- and can get -- Paxton Lynch at 15, why not go after Glennon? By the way, the Ramshave an extra second-round pick ...
New York Jets: The smart money is still on Ryan Fitzpatrick going back to New York. The market for him clearly just hasn't developed elsewhere. Fitz needs the Jets, and the Jets need him, given the rapport he has with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. I think Glennon could be better than Fitz, though he would have to develop the relationship that Fitzpatrick established with his guys in a highly productive 2015 campaign.
Dallas Cowboys: Glennon fills two voids, giving the Cowboys an experienced backup (with 18 starts under his belt) for now and a promising quarterback for the future. I wrote about the Cowboys' options with the No. 4 pick earlier this week. I'd take Wentz if he's there. If not? Gimme Ezekiel Elliott or Joey Bosa. So let's say the 'Boys do indeed go non-quarterback in Round 1. Would you rather have Glennon or Connor Cook/Christian Hackenberg backing up Tony Romo in 2016?
San Francisco 49ers: As Simms alluded, the 49ers aren't in the greatest shape when it comes to the overall roster. But this remains one of the NFL's most storied franchises, with a rich history in quarterbacking, so I must examine this possibility. Now, I've written many times that Colin Kaepernick should stay in San Francisco and play for Chip Kelly. And he should never consider giving up any money. But if Kap does fly the coop, how about Glennon?
Buffalo Bills: The Bills are working out quarterback prospects -- and they should. As GM Doug Whaley said on NFL Network on Thursday morning, "time will tell" if Tyrod Taylor is the long-term solution. What if the price for Glennon becomes a third-rounder?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: If Licht doesn't get what he wants, Glennon stays put. But Licht wasn't with the team when Glennon was drafted. What if the Bucs GM has a chance to get a solid return and invest in a player at another position? One thing to stress, though: In my opinion, Glennon is the ideal backup for Winston in 2016. The Bucs can keep him for this year -- he's a team player and offers great insurance should Winston go down -- and then Tampa can receive a compensatory pick if he leaves in free agency next offseason.
There is no doubt in my mind that Glennon can start in the NFL. And the decision makers I've spoken to, for the most part, agree. Yet for Tampa, there is internal value. The curious case of Mike Glennon continues.