It’s no secret that the Ravens are looking to bring in competition for current backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor heading into the 2014 season.
“We’ve been very happy with Tyrod, and we feel like he has a great future, but we have been a little disappointed how he’s played in games certainly,” John Harbaugh told media members at the NFL owners meetings.
“We feel like he’s a lot better than he’s showed. I know he feels that way, too. We feel like Tyrod’s best football is by far definitely in front of him, but he’s only got one year left with us, so we need to add a quarterback into the mix, whether it be offseason or in the draft.”
At the present moment, the free agent quarterback market is far from impressive.
Josh Freeman, Kevin Kolb, Colt McCoy, Matt Flynn and Rex Grossman all remain unsigned so far this offseason.
Freeman played his entire career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers until being released early last October after the team was unable to trade him. While Freeman had some success in Tampa, rumors of bad blood between he and the Bucs brass swirled. Even after being signed by Minnesota, he played in only one game the remainder of 2013.
Freeman has amassed 13,724 passing yards, 80 touchdowns and 67 interceptions in his five years in the league.
As for Kolb, he is one player the Ravens should bypass at all costs. After missing the entire 2013 season with the Buffalo Bills due to an injury he suffered in the preseason, Kolb hasn’t even been cleared medically for 2014, per ESPN Insider Adam Caplan.
After spending four years in Philadelphia and two in Arizona, Kolb’s numbers in 21 career starts certainly don’t jump off the page. Kolb has logged 5,206 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, 25 interceptions and a career completion percentage of 59.5. While his veteran presence would be welcomed inside the Ravens locker room, his health concerns combined with his pedestrian track record make him a less-than-optimal candidate.
Colt McCoy, the oft-injured former Texas Longhorn, has AFC North experience, but struggled to stay healthy during his tenure in Cleveland.
McCoy saw action in 24 career games over three years in Cleveland (21 starts), throwing for 4,388 yards, 21 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He spent all of 2013 backing up San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick after the 49ers acquired him from the Browns in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. Update: McCoy was signed by the Redskins on Thursday
Matt Flynn is another name you’re likely to hear. Flynn, a career backup quarterback, has been an up down player since entering the league in 2008.
During his first tenure in Green Bay (four years) backing up Aaron Rodgers, Flynn had just two starts (one each in 2010 and 2011); however, in those two starts the former LSU Tiger threw for 951 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions resulting in a 1-1 record. Flynn also set a Packers franchise record throwing for 480 yards and six touchdowns against Detroit.
Flynn cashed in on his success in 2011 and landed in Seattle for the 2012 season. Though signed to be the starter, Flynn ended up losing his job to Russell Wilson, and saw action in just three games. Flynn moved on from Seattle in 2013 and racked up frequent flier miles with stints in Oakland, Buffalo and Green Bay.
Rex Grossman could be an interesting prospect for the Ravens and one that could push Taylor. The 11-year veteran brings with him extensive experience, which could give him an edge over Taylor. During his NFL career, Grossman has passed for 10,232 yards, 56 touchdowns and 60 interceptions in stints with the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Washington Redskins.
Certainly, none of the above names are spectacular options. One could even argue that none are any better than Tyrod Taylor.
However, the Ravens feel they need another backup.
Here’s something to keep an eye on throughout OTAs and training camp: the Houston Texans quarterback situation.
The Texans are slated to have the number one pick in the 2014 draft and many NFL pundits have them selecting a quarterback. It is interesting to note that the Texans signed free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick this offseason to go along with T.J. Yates and Case Keenum.
In this piece on CBS Sports, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien stated that Yates, Fitzpatrick and Keenum will all compete.
“They’ve all been told basically the same thing — they’re going to be given a shot to compete. We brought Fitzy in and had a good talk with him. We told him nothing’s guaranteed, that he’s being brought in to compete, to get better every day and try to be the starting quarterback. They all have starting experience. The deal is competition.”
If the Texans opt for a quarterback with the first pick, one of the above guys will likely be released and could be a logical target for the Ravens, offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, and quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison.
Head coach John Harbaugh is leaving no stone unturned in his search to make the Ravens a better team. While Tyrod is safe for now, the writing is clearly on the wall.
Follow me on Twitter @sportguyRSR and on Facebook at Brian Bower RSR