If you caught yesterday’s NFL action, you saw Michael Vick struggle mightily against the Arizona defense. Vick injured his hamstring in the 3rd quarter, and was replaced by Landry Jones, who led the team to a 25-13 comeback victory. Jones’ teammates were impressed with the third-year quarterback, who threw his first 12 NFL passes.
Jones might get the start next week, as Ben Roethlisberger may require additional time to heal. If you know anything about recent NFL history, you know that a small sample size of somewhat above-average NFL quarterbacking in the face of nonexistent expectations is the formula to get a fat contract as a starter somewhere.
Josh McCown used this formula in 2013 to get a 2-year, $10 million deal with the Buccaneers. In just five starts for the Bears, McCown posted a much-ballyhooed 13-1 TD-INT ratio. One year later, McCown was 1-10 with Tampa Bay, with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. What happened to McCown? Probably nothing: he probably just got lucky in 2013 and the next year, reverted to the quarterback he’s always been.
And who can forget the Matt Flynn case study? On the strength of two starts in Green Bay–one Monday Night performance when he almost beat the Patriots, and a meaningless week 17 start, a year later, as the Packers sat Aaron Rodgers, Flynn got himself a sweet deal in Seattle.
Flynn’s contract was three years, and $26 million, with a $10 million guaranteed bonus. Flynn was supposed to start in Seattle, but was unseated by rookie Russell Wilson in training camp, and became the most expensive backup quarterback in the league. Since then, Flynn has gone to camp with about 20 more teams, even resurfacing for a few more starts in Green Bay. He is currently out of the league.
I am rooting for Landry Jones– he seems like a good dude. If he keeps starting for Pittsburgh, the chances of a Landry Jones Doomsday Organizational Scenario (LJDOS) increase steadily. Under this scenario:
- With one year left on his rookie contract, Jones becomes an attractive option to a quarterback-barren team in the offseason (And hey, you don’t have to look far for one of these)
- Said team vastly overpays, in draft capital for Jones–perhaps a second or third round pick, and gives him a long-term deal with a massive signing bonus.
- Said team holds a press conference in which Jones holds up his new jersey, answers questions, and soon-to-be former coach installs him as the starter before Jones steps onto the field.
- Some sequence of events involving poor play, injuries–either to Jones or others, and he is replaced
- Said team fires now-former head coach and releases Jones after overpaying him for 1-2 years.
- Team finds new head coach and must draft another terrible project at quarterback, this process sets organization back multiple seasons.
And hey, that’ll be tough for some team–but the news for Landry Jones is great: he will make some serious loot, and may be in for a nice soft landing as a backup somewhere for a few years.