The starting quarterback picture in the NFL is piecing itself together fast. The lockout's over, but owners and players are having to deal with new conditions on the fly. Teams must negotiate and rework their teams and get their game faces on soon. The season is shortened, but it could aslo be sweetened. A berth in the playoffs for some of these teams could break down to how well some of these "old" quarterbacks will perform with their new teams.
An arms race is underway in the post-lockout NFL, and quarterbacks are changing hands at the drop of a dime.
Wherever Vince Young goes at this point could be pivotal--for his career and his new team's chances to have a stellar season. Young--released Thursday from the Tennesse Titans, is one of those rare rushing and throwing quarterbacks who could change the landscape of a new team. Young could wind up as a more-than-competent backup, or he could compete for a starting position wherever he lands.
Quarterbacks are classically considered the offensive captain of the team. Yet, often a QB is only as talented as his line and his wide receivers can allow him to be. If Vince Young can go to a team with superb offensive talent, it could completely rewrite the book on his career.
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Young had a frustrating run with the Titans since being drafted by the team in 2006, though he came out with an impressive 30-18 record as a starter. A behind the lines blowout with the coach last season may have sealed Young's fate. Young's hefty $8.5 million salary set for this season didn't help either. It turned out to be way more than the Titans were willing to pay for his services.
Longtime Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck will try to move into Young's position seamlessly after signing with the Titans Wednesday. Draftee Jake Locker out of Washington will serve as Hasselbeck's understudy. Look for the team's strategy and makeup to undergo some growing pains this year, but Hasselbeck could be a perfect replacement.
Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb will also play for new teams this year. The Philadelphia Eagles unloaded Kolb to kick off the season while the Redskins dumped Donovan as one of their first major transactions of the year. Michael Vick's transformation seems to be complete, and he is slated to be the starter this year in Philly, making Kolb expendable. The Eagles pick up a second round draft pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to shore up their defense in the deal. McNabb goes to the Minnesota Vikings while the Vikings lose Sidney Rice, one of the team's most talented receivers. McNabb will have some new cogs to work with in the Vikings machine by the time the season kicks off, though. Kolb moves to Arizona, where he must prove whether his skills are for real or he's just a glorified backup who's full of hot air.
Tarvaris Jackson moves from Minnesota to Seattle. He'll have big shoes to fill with the departure of Hasselbeck.
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Carson Palmer unexpectedly retired rather than play another year with the Bengals. Rookie Andy Dalton will have to be the Bengals' best hope unless they pick up another arm to help mentor the TCU-draftee.
Tim Tebow is ready to take the reigns in Denver, so Kyle Orton's packaged and ready to be shipped out soon as well.
The free agent period really kicks into high gear Friday, so these moves barely scratch the surface of the furious action that could turn out to be the finishing touches on these quarterback moves.