Morning, and welcome to a new week! Let’s see what this one brings.
Just last Friday, I wrote in this space about starting QBs without a job. To that, I’d like to add this: You know what packs more drama than too many quarterbacks without a job? Too many quarterbacks with a job.
Two important moves over the weekend added a whole lot more spice to the upcoming NFL season. (Yes, there will be one.)
Saturday, the Cowboys picked up Andy Dalton for a year at a below-market rate. Dalton was most recently a starter for Cincinnati, and while he’s got an 0-4 playoff record, he ranks 44th all-time in career yardage — ahead of Hall of Famers like Len Dawson, Terry Bradshaw and Ken Stabler.
However, Dallas, you may recall, already has a starting quarterback: Dak Prescott, still waiting for that long-term deal from the Cowboys.
About a thousand miles to the northeast, the Bears took the opposite tack, declining to pick up Mitchell Trubisky’s fifth-year option for the 2021 season. Given that Nick Foles is already under contract with Chicago, that means this next season, Trubisky will be playing for his job from two different directions — trying to hold off Foles, and trying to satisfy Bears management.
Add in the draft-night drama of the Packers bringing in Jordan Love to push franchise icon Aaron Rodgers, and what you’ve got is your basic Quarterback Controversy on three of the league’s marquee franchises.
(Plus, let’s not forget Cam Newton is still lurking out there, wanting a starting job. Could we add, say, New England to that list?)
QB controversies turn us all into a bunch of high schoolers, trying to divine the truth from a coach’s expression, a sideline discussion, a random tweet. Who’s got the edge, the vet or the rook? The satisfied incumbent or the hungry newcomer?
You can count on Dallas and Green Bay, at least, to show up multiple times on national TV, and that means the whole country will be rendering a verdict on every set of downs. Prescott throws a pick-six? Someone in Big D is going to be clamoring for Dalton. Rodgers squabbles with his coaching staff? Some Wisconsin sports radio caller is going to suggest giving the kid a couple reps.
QB controversies don’t resolve themselves to everyone’s satisfaction. It’s winner-take-all, zero-sum. Will in-house competition bring out the best in these quarterbacks, at least one of whom’s a guaranteed Hall of Famer? Or will it devolve into a backbiting mess where nobody’s happy and nobody’s producing?
Look, there’s no doubt it’s going to be agony for everyone involved in this: the quarterbacks, their families, their teammates, their coaches, and even a chunk of their fans. But for the rest of us? It’s going to be good old-fashioned head-to-head jousting … whenever the season begins.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him with tips and story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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