Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Whole Charlie Whitehurst Thing

I should probably start this thing off by apologizing to Chris. He sent out an email to the blogroll with a link to Don Banks discussion of the trade and I got argumentative for no particularly good reason. I agree with him completely, the price for Whitehurst, both in draft picks and in contract is a head scratcher.

I've been mulling over the whole, draft a quarterback/trade a quarterback thing for a couple of days and it's a bit of a recent dynamic that people haven't talked about much.

Peter King discussed the reasons why Donovan McNabb isn't getting much trade interest, and I think his reasoning is valid. That said, I don't understand why a team that might be a quarterback away from a serious run wouldn't think he's worth quite a bit. The 49ers, Broncos and Panthers* are 3 teams off the top of my head who appear to have everything a team needs to contend, other than their respective holes under center. How about McNabb to Fitzgerald and Breaston for a few years? If I'm Arizona I'd happily spend a 1st rounder to make that deal. They could probably offload Leinart for a 3rd to recoup some of the costs of the deal.

The only reason that Philadelphia could make this deal though is because of Kevin Kolb, and this is more the point of this post. After seeing what Whitehurst fetched, I wonder if more teams don't consider becoming quarterback factories. It seems like it would be a very lucrative trade.

In recent years the Patriots developed Matt Cassel as a 7th round pick, got some excellent service out of him and then turned him into Patrick Chung. This a few years after they developed Tom Brady which allowed them to turn Drew Bledsoe into Ty Warren who has started the last 6 years at DE.

Atlanta drafted Matt Schaub and after a few years of outstanding service as a backup to Mike Vick, turned him into 2 2nd round picks, as well as a bump in the 1st round. While the players they acquired from those picks haven't worked out too well, this is still a tremendous bounty for a guy originally drafted in the 3rd round and a guy who never started.

The Chiefs grabbed Tyler Thigpen in the 7th, got a years worth of starting QB out of him and then turned him into a mid rounder. Chicago parlayed Kyle Orton into a multiyear starter and then an important component of the Cutler deal.

We've talked about this before, if not here then elsewhere. It seems to me that a bright front office would always, Always, be developing a late round quarterback. The benefits of suceeding far outweigh the risks, particularly considering the poor performance of picks after the 3rd round anyway. From 1998 - 2007 72** quarterbacks were drafted after round 4. Of those 72, 17 became NFL starters, at least for a year. 7 became multiyear starters, and even eliminating the Tom Brady factor they represent 6 Pro Bowls and 1 Super Bowl. Add Kurt Warner, Jake Delhomme, Tony Romo, Shaun Hill and Billy Volek as undrafted quarterbacks who also came into the league in this period and we have another 6 Pro Bowls and 4 Super Bowls.

Quarterbacks are gold, and as we all know, he whose gots the gold, makes the rules. Finding these guys, drafting these guys, developing these guys have benefits that so significantly outweigh the costs that it only makes sense for more teams to be doing it.

*I'm a Matt Moore fan so maybe Carolina is all set
**some of those guys were drafted for other positions. I didn't bother to weed them out, so actually a bit less than 72.


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