In the world of backup quarterbacks, the names are not stunning and the hopes are not high in free agency.
The chances of pulling the next Nick Foles out of the rubble are remote at best. Nonetheless, the Titans have to find someone to back up Marcus Mariota, and Mike Vrabel said earlier this month at the NFL Combine that his preference is to have someone who has experience and has won games in the league before.
On Tuesday, the Titans kicked the tires on Blaine Gabbert, as first reported by ESPN. Gabbert, a former first-round pick of the Jaguars in 2011 (the same year the Titans took Jake Locker two picks before), hasn’t lived up to that first-round billing. But he has had some moments since he went from bust to journeyman over his NFL odyssey.
Gabbert’s career stats won’t dazzle you. He is 11-34 as a starting quarterback, has completed just 55.9 percent of his passes and has 44 touchdowns to 43 interceptions over his seven years in the league. But since being 5-22 as the Jaguars’ starter in his first three years, Gabbert has been better of late, going a modest 6-12 as a part-time starter and fill-in for the 49ers and Cardinals.
Prior to pursuing Gabbert, the Titans kicked the tires on Chad Henne, whose numbers aren’t a lot better and is five years older than the 28-year-old Gabbert. Henne instead was scooped up by the Chiefs.
Beyond Gabbert, there are several other mediocre options in the veteran QB market, including plenty of other guys, who like Gabbert, have washed out in previous stops and now find themselves hanging on as a second-string quarterback.
If Gabbert doesn’t excite you as an option, there’s always Geno Smith, Brock Osweiler, E.J. Manuel, Drew Stanton, Mark Sanchez, Derek Anderson, Ryan Mallett and Matt Moore are all there for the taking.
The pickings are slim. Most of these names are either failed high draft picks or guys on the downside of their careers, much like Matt Cassel was hanging on with the Titans the past two years.
Beyond that, the only available options would be guys like Colin Kaepernick or Johnny Manziel. But they are not really viable options at all. I can already tell you, without asking: Jon Robinson and Vrabel want nothing to do with the media circus created by a player that might not take a meaningful snap all season. They would prefer that Fox News, CNN and TMZ not assign beat writers to cover the team.
All things considered, while the possibility of Gabbert as a No. 2 QB won’t get many people excited, it appears to be as good an option as any available in the current free agent market.