clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Who is the ‘right’ backup QB for the Rams?

New, comments

Jared Goff is going to get a chance to rebound from a disappointing season, who would be the right person behind him?

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The LA Rams acquired Blake Bortles last offseason, replacing Sean Mannion and Brandon Allen with a player who was once the third overall pick, had won two playoff games just two seasons earlier, and 2,632 pass attempts with the Jacksonville Jaguars. To grade the result of that signing is damn near inconsequential because Bortles ended up throwing two passes in 2019, but he came at a cost of only $1 million.

A player who threw 35 touchdowns in 2015, went 10-6 as a starter in 2017, Bortles was among the cheapest veterans in the NFL last year and he’s currently a free agent who may never find a home again. Overreaction? Given the availability of Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Joe Flacco, and trade candidates like Jacoby Brissett, Andy Dalton, Josh Rosen, I don’t think it is crazy to say that Bortles might be headed to the XFL, if and when that starts again.

So for the Rams to only spend $1 million on him and to not have to use him — that’s pretty good. However, there’d also be plenty of value if the backup had been someone who could be developed into something more.

As LA searches for the backup QB for next season, who would be the right fit for them? Let’s weigh some options:

Blake Bortles

He was there once, he knows the playbook, the coaches, and the players. If he played for $1 million once, why not again? We know that he’s probably not drawing considerable interest around the league because he remains a free agent, and one ranked very low on the totem pole. The Rams also need a backup QB who is cheap, as they’re up against the cap.

John Wolford

The only other QB currently on the roster other than Goff. This would revert the team back to when they had Mannion as the QB2 and Allen as the QB3. Is Wofford Wolford more of a Mannion or an Allen? Is he better than both? Worse than both? This option carries a lot of unknowns. That being said, few would have wanted Gardner Minshew to be their team’s backup going into 2019 because then obviously the Jaguars would be screwed if he ever had to actually start.

Except that he was actually better than the starter and might turn into something very good, which would have been impossible to predict. You have to see these guys play to know for sure. But most of them just turn out to be bad.

Mike Glennon/Matt Moore/Josh McCown

Lumping three career backups together because they’re at three different stages: one at age 30, one at 36, another at 41. You don’t want to see any of them start for any length of time, but they’ve got experience in filling the role of a backup QB, such as preparing the starter and helping out the coaches. With the Chiefs last season, Moore had four touchdowns and no picks. With the Jets two years ago, McCown had 18 touchdowns and nine picks. He made his postseason debut for the Eagles in January, going 18-of-24 for 174 yards and no picks.

Sam Bradford

I’m just saying, he’s still out there.

Jameis Winston and players of that ilk

Even if Winston was willing to play for $5 million that would be too much for the Rams to spend on a backup QB probably. They’ve got the most expensive starter in the NFL for 2020 already. So anyone like Winston or Newton, it doesn’t feasibly make a ton of sense even though there’s going to be that thought of, “What if they’re better than Jared Goff?” Or at least, “What if they’re better than they’ve ever been before because of Sean McVay?”

I don’t see this as any sort of reality and even if it was, I don’t think that it’s an upgrade.

A Second Round Rookie

Now we’re talking about players like Jalen Hurts, Jacob Eason, Jake Fromm. All your basic J names. Remember: M names are probably guys on the Falcons, J names are maybe prospects in this draft. Drafting a QB in the second round may say nothing of the team’s affection for Goff. The New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers are two organizations that often drafted quarterbacks in the day two, mid-round range even when they felt comfortable with their All-Pro starters. A round two QB could give the Rams a quality backup with potential development, however it does preclude them from addressing needs for potential starters. It’s using your first pick on a player who may not contribute, in an ideal scenario, until 2022 or later.

I also have my own personal bias against second round quarterbacks. It’s a weird range. I think they fall into this category of “not good enough for the first round” and sometimes day three quarterbacks seem to have even more potential. Like a round two QB seems less about potential and more about a high floor, aka a backup. So I think there’s less development in round two than people realize.

A Day Three Rookie / UDFA

There’s also not a lot of potential in most day three QB picks either. For every Dak Prescott, Minshew, Tom Brady, there are many more Nathan Peterman, Brad Kaaya, Tajh Boyd, Zac Dysert, Keith Wenning, David Fales, Logan Thomas, Tyler Wilson, Greg Mcelroy, Tony Pike, T.J. Yates, Sean Renfree, and Jonathan Crompton types.

However, they are cheap, they are young, and they might make you feel a little more warm inside than Blake Bortles. Best of all, once every six years or so, day three produces a single good starting quarterback!

All-Pro QBs drafted after round three in this century? One.

Pro Bowl QBs drafted after round three in this century? Eight. Brady, Marc Bulger, Kirk Cousins, Prescott (the only multiple-time Pro Bowlers here), Matt Cassel, David Garrard, Derek Anderson, and Tyrod Taylor. And what you really have there is four starters and four backups.

(I don’t have all the data on the undrafted free agents, like Tony Romo. There’ve been quite a few undrafted free agents in NFL history though, including you and me.)

Some Other Free Agent With No Upside

Here are some available QBs: Geno Smith, Cody Kessler, Drew Stanton, Trevor Siemian, Cardale Jones, Brock Osweiler.

Poll

Ideal backup to Jared Goff next season?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Blake Bortles
    (254 votes)
  • 2%
    Early Draft Pick
    (14 votes)
  • 10%
    Late Draft Pick
    (69 votes)
  • 24%
    John Wofford
    (156 votes)
  • 4%
    Matt Moore type
    (32 votes)
  • 4%
    Joe Flacco type
    (28 votes)
  • 10%
    Sam Bradford
    (68 votes)
  • 3%
    Trevor Siemian type
    (21 votes)
642 votes total Vote Now