There has been so much talk about the start of NFL free agency, and teams’ constant pursuit of the quarterback that can take them to the next level, that it stands to reason this will be the most interesting offseason of Matt McGloin’s career.
The former West Scranton and Penn State quarterback has spent the large part of the last four seasons as the top backup in Oakland, where he built a bit of a reputation for being among the more capable reserves in the league at the position.
As a rookie in 2013, he completed 118 of 211 passes for 1,547 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions, just months after signing in Oakland as an undrafted free agent. But in 2014, the Raiders used a second-round pick on Derek Carr, who looks like the real deal. And in 2016, they took former Michigan State standout Connor Cook in the fourth round, who started the Raiders’ Wild Card round loss to Houston in January after McGloin left the regular-season finale against Denver with a shoulder injury.
This is the business side of sports. McGloin made a pretty fair chunk of change — a bit more than $2.5 million after signing a restricted free agent deal last offseason — essentially as a just-in-case player. And a just-in-case player is all he was going to be in Oakland — last year and into the future, as long as Carr is in town. In Cook, they have a talented, younger, cheaper backup option. Makes sense for the Raiders to go that route.
It also makes sense for McGloin to pursue a chance at more playing time. Look, the days when this league was flooded with established, star quarterbacks are over. Last offseason, the Houston Texans gave the largely untested and notoriously mechanically challenged Brock Osweiler $37 million guaranteed as part of a four-year, $72 million deal. On Thursday, they traded him to the Cleveland Browns as part of a pure salary dump, and the Browns have made no secret about the fact that they don’t plan to keep Osweiler around either. Point is, teams are desperate for quarterbacks, and they’re willing to try anything, poking and hoping, as it is, that they will stumble into one.
Teams like McGloin. Sure, they probably like him more as a backup. But over the years, the “if the Raiders ever let him go, (insert team here) would be interested” talk among those who know McGloin has never slowed. And there are plenty of teams looking for quarterbacks now. So, what might be the best fit for the 27-year-old? Time will tell. But, here are some possibilities.
Where he fits
|Petty wasn’t great last season in limited action, and Hackenberg — as we know — is still rather raw. Jets likely are going to take a shot at Jay Cutler, who the Bears released Thursday. But McGloin could come in to compete for a starting job if that doesn’t work out. He’d also likely be a stronger backup right now than either Petty or Hack.|
Robert Griffin III
|Cleveland’s quarterback situation has been a mess for years, and it’s likely they’ll pursue a future starter yet again in the Draft. Word is Cleveland will try to trade Osweiler, and Hogan and Kessler weren’t standouts last season after RGIII suffered another injury. This is a spot where McGloin legitimately could compete for the starting role.|
|This is the match-made-in-heaven possibility for Penn State fans. McGloin to Houston, where he rejoins Bill O’Brien, who helped make him a record-setting QB with the Nittany Lions. Texans certainly will be in the Tony Romo sweepstakes, and that union makes sense. But that could work in McGloin’s favor. Romo hasn’t played a full season since 2014, and the Texans would need a backup who can come in and play at any moment. The trust is there between McGloin and O’Brien.|
|There hasn’t been much talk of the Rams pursuing a veteran QB in free agency, and there is a report out there that they’re close with the former Eagles backup Aaron Murray. Murray might just be a camp fill-in, though, and it might be smarter for the Rams to bring in a more tested, veteran player to push last year’s No. 1 pick, Jared Goff. While that’s certainly Goff’s starting job, he has not impressed, which could intrigue a guy like McGloin who has forced his foot into the door more than once in his career.|
|On the surface, this wouldn’t seem like an ideal fit for a guy like McGloin. But there is some thought that Teddy Bridgewater won’t be ready for 2017 after the horrific knee injury he suffered last August. The Vikings were fortunate to get through the season with Sam Bradford healthy, but they’ll likely look to add a solid backup this season. This is a team with playoff hopes, and some playing time isn’t out of the question.|
|It seems foolish to count on a quarterback who doesn’t want to play for you. And as good as Kirk Cousins is, that’s what he is right now to the Skins. Washington is trying to play tough, maintaining that it won’t deal its franchise quarterback. But these things rarely work out. Some free-agent quarterback is going to be patient enough, conceivably, to walk into a playing situation in Washington once this mess of an organization inevitably realizes now’s the time to make a move on Cousins, one way or the other. McGloin is certainly good enough to be Cousins’ backup, and he might be the favorite to start in a battle between himself, McCoy, Sudfeld and a raw rookie.|
|Clearly, this isn’t a playing time opportunity for McGloin. But it is a backup situation in which there might be a possible fit. Romo is going to be traded or released, Mark Sanchez can walk, and the Cowboys have already expressed interest in the veteran Josh McCown. McCown is a bit injury prone, and McGloin might be a younger option with some experience at the right price. He wants a shot to compete for a legit starting job, for sure. But the Cowboys can win a ring next season, and this is a franchise that’s difficult to turn down if the opportunity is there.|