Backup Quarterback Options That Detroit Might Consider

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After an abysmal first preseason game, the Lions may need to make changes to their QB depth

Free Agent  Quarterback Options

Matt Moore

A ten year NFL vet, Moore has actually had some stretches of really solid play. Last season, he played in four games for the Dolphins and threw for 861 yards, four touchdowns, five interceptions and a 75.6 passer rating.

This came after a much more successful 2016 campaign though, when he started three games and won two, throwing for 721 yards, eight touchdowns, three interceptions and a quarterback rating of 105.6.

Of all the options at backup quarterback, I think signing Moore is the best. Nobody will mistake him for a franchise QB, but he’s capable of coming off the bench and winning a game.

Derek Anderson

Derek Anderson is the last quarterback to lead the Browns to a winning record. That was eleven years ago. Since then, his longest stint came in Carolina, where he settled in as Cam Newton’s backup for seven years.

Anderson’s best season with the Panthers came in 2014 when he started two games, throwing for 701 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions, a 105.2 passer rating and completed an even 67% of his passes.

T.J. Yates

Like Moore, Yates has seen moderate NFL success. In his rookie year, he was forced into the starting line up for the Houston Texans and won two games, helping them to clinch a playoff birth. Then he even won a playoff game against the Bengals.

After bouncing around the NFL for a few seasons, Yates ended up back in Houston. He started three games but lost all of them and had a passer rating of just 65.8.

Trade Quarterback Options

Landry Jones

The Steelers drafted quarterbacks in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft in each of the last two years (Mason Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs). That means that longtime backup Landry Jones is likely to no longer have a role on the team.

Jones has been in Pittsburgh for five years and started as many games. He’s gone 3-2 in them, with 1310 yards, eight touchdowns, interceptions, and an 86.2 QB rating.

Jones could likely be had for a late-round draft pick, possibly even a conditional one. He is a free agent after this season, so it would be better for the Steelers to get anything for Jones rather than nothing when he leaves next offseason.

EJ Manuel

Talent has never been the issue for EJ Manuel, who was a first-round draft pick in 2013. He just simply hasn’t been able to consistently put it all together on an NFL field.

Lions fans just saw Manuel have a solid game against them last Friday, he completed four of six passes for 46 yards. Manuel is currently behind Derek Carr and Connor Cook on the Raiders depth chart, and while Manuel isn’t a starting caliber quarterback, he’s underemployed as a third-stringer.

Like Jones, Manuel is a free agent next offseason, and the Raiders would be smart to take any compensation for him now rather than let him walk after the season. Manuel could definitely be had for a conditional late round pick.

Do Nothing Options

Many, if not all of the quarterback options I’ve listed here are better than Matt Cassel or Jake Rudock. However, only marginally so. The fact is that if Matthew Stafford goes down, the Lions would be lucky to go 3-13 with any of these guys.

The Lions are familiar with Rudock, him having been on the team for each of the last two seasons. New head coach Matt Patricia is familiar with Cassel, they spent time together in New England. At the end of the day, that familiarity may be enough for one of the two to win the backup quarterback position.

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