The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed Josh Rosen, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed Josh McCown, the Kansas City Chiefs have signed Matt Moore, the Jacksonville Jaguars have signed Mike Glennon and the Las Vegas Raiders have signed DeShone Kizer. To their practice squads.
Under the new practice squad rules, teams can add up to six players who have any amount of service time and several clubs have opted to use a spot on a veteran quarterback or a notable quarterback who would have never made it to a practice squad prior to this year. Teams are used to having fewer players on the practice squad already, so using up all the additional spots for practice wouldn’t necessarily make the most sense.
It’s also not going to be true that the extra spots make it more likely that you’ve stashed a future star. We already know how few practice squad players become NFL starters, so the fact that the pool is deeper shouldn’t mean that the players who rise to the top should necessarily be any better.
However, one thing teams are not as used to is dealing with a situation where you lose your starter or your backup days before a game because of a positive COVID-19 test result. Bringing in an outside free agent could mean waiting up to five days until that player can officially join your team. What would be even more difficult is joining a team cold off the street rather than stepping in off of the practice field and not having to move at all.
Are you likely to bet on the Jaguars to win a game because they stashed Mike Glennon? Maybe not, but if for any reason they lose starter Gardner Minshew, and are only left with sixth round rookie Jake Luton, what’s the alternative if they don’t have Glennon?
The Los Angeles Rams are set at starter with Jared Goff and they have shown optimism with the development of backup John Wolford. In the event of having to turn to a backup, what’s the Rams third option? Undrafted free agent rookie Bryce Perkins from the practice squad — a player with one weird NFL offseason to learn Sean McVay’s playbook.
The top-ranked veteran quarterback available on the market today is also one of the few who is familiar with McVay.
Blake Bortles was ranked 19th on WalterFootball’s list of 2020 free agent quarterbacks and he’s the highest-ranked on the list to remain available. Did he give up? Apparently not and Bortles sounds ready when a team calls him. Two weeks ago, McVay called it “surprising” that he wasn’t on a team.
While NFL teams explore “Quarantine QB” options, free agent Blake Bortles plans to stay patient and wait for the right opportunity to actually get on the field, per source. He’s staying in shape and throwing several times a week. An experienced vet available as injuries strike.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 3, 2020
But it could be that Bortles doesn’t see the benefit of being on a practice squad quite yet. He could see it better if he trains on his own and then inevitably when teams do need quarterbacks, some will have to look to the market instead of the practice squads. Although, they could also add him if he was on the Rams practice squad and if the team that needs him is Los Angeles, it would remove the wait time to join them midseason.
The next-highest ranked on the WalterFootball list is another former Rams QB: Sam Bradford.
Cody Kessler, Drew Stanton, Joe Webb, Brock Osweiler and Cardale Jones would be the other options right now if LA had to pull a quarterback off of the free agent market. Bortles may not be an attractive option, but consider the alternatives.
Of course, LA might also be able to just take a quarterback off of another team’s practice squad if things got dicey — someone’s Rosen or Glennon — but then the waiting period does kick in and you also have to hope that the player wants to play for your team. Taking a quarterback off of another team’s practice squad to start for you is not something I’m sure has ever happened. Lots of things that have never happened before are obviously happening now anyway.
The Rams currently have 15 players on the practice squad that we know about with one quarterback (Perkins) and barely anyone who has NFL experience. That has not been a strategy that McVay has been concerned about and at this stage of the process, we have no reason to criticize each team’s individual strategy with these new practice squad rules and conditions for the 2020 season.
McVay seemingly has room on the practice squad, Bortles has experience with the playbook, could the two sides just be waiting for the right time? I assume if they are, that time is coming soon.
Update: The Jaguars signed Glennon to the active roster on Tuesday morning