Colt McCoy was doomed from the start in Cleveland.
That’s not an indictment on his play as much as it is on the team around him, and the division they play in. While he did have an elite left tackle and center in front of him, McCoy’s WR and RB cohorts proved to be lacking, and his defense did little to make their quarterback’s job easier.
Meanwhile, McCoy had to go out and face down James Harrison, Terrell Suggs, and Geno Atkins six times per season. The brutal schedule for AFC North quarterbacks is the reason the men with the most success in that division over the last decade – Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, and Joe Flacco – are all very large individuals (this is also why I want to see Andy Dalton survive a couple seasons before crowning him a 10-year guy for the Bengals).
So, here now stands Colt McCoy, two seasons after being drafted, with 4,309 yards, 20 passing touchdowns, and 20 interceptions to his name. Trade rumors swirl in Cleveland like the wind off Lake Erie. So which teams are the top candidates for a deal? I’ll break down the teams that should want McCoy, as well as those Colt should want. Before we start, I’ll emphasize that a trade is by no means a sure thing, but let’s go ahead and see if we can find a great match anyway.
Who Should Want Colt
Green Bay – From the Favre era to the Rodgers era, one thing has remained a constant in northern Wisconsin: pawning off backup quarterbacks for sweet draft picks. With Matt Flynn recently shipped off to Seattle as a free agent (no trade, but they’ll get a compensatory pick) the Packers now have as their backup Graham Harrell. While Harrell looked good at Texas Tech spitting out touchdowns to Michael Crabtree, his lack of tools means he’s spent the last few years going undrafted, playing in Canada, and not taking a single NFL snap. McCoy would be an upgrade behind Aaron Rodgers, and knowing the Pack, he’d probably get turned around for two third-rounders by 2014 or something.
Kansas City – With exciting stars returning from injury on both sides of the ball, Kansas City is a vogue choice as a worst-to-first team in 2012. The roster does look pretty good from top to bottom, but the Chiefs do still feature the uninspiring Matt Cassel at QB. If McCoy were to land in KC, Cassel would remain the undisputed starter, but for how long? If it appears Cassel is holding the team back, a change will be warranted, and most would rather send McCoy out there than Brady Quinn or Ricky Stanzi. It would also represent a reunion for McCoy and his collegiate running back, Jamaal Charles.
Philadelphia – If there’s anyone who appreciates the value of a good backup QB, it’s Andy Reid. With the Vince Young experiment going miserably last year, Philly goes into 2012 with Trent Edwards, Mike Kafka, and 3rd-round draft choice Nick Foles as the candidates to back up Mike Vick. All three have some amount of upside, but at the current time, none of them is the player McCoy is. Some say Andy Reid’s future could hang in the balance this season, so having a better option behind the oft-injured Vick could be worth the move. Plus, Reid’s another one of those guys who could swing a favorable trade a year or two down the line.
St. Louis – Jeff Fisher says he’s committed to Sam Bradford, and I believe him. But he missed multiple stretches due to injury last year, and was somewhat mediocre when he did play. The other options at QB in St. Louis are Tom Brandstater, Kellen Clemens, and undrafted rookie Austin Davis. If Bradford were to go down early, the Rams would likely be seeing yet another 2-14 or 3-13 season. With a bevy of young pieces on offense that need developing, those options at QB should not be acceptable.
Who Colt Should Want
Arizona – Since Kurt Warner retired, Phoenix has been the Mecca for every decent QB who wants a shot at proving he’s the real deal. But despite the presence of Larry Fitzgerald, Warner’s shoes remain unfilled. Like others before him, McCoy dreams of throwing jump balls all day and watching Fitz snare them. The problem is that Arizona already has a raging two-way QB competition, and adding a third would really only make things more confusing. Had the Cardinals lost out on Kevin Kolb last year, this would be a slam-dunk. But they didn’t, so it isn’t. Sorry Colt.
Houston – Probably the only place Colt would rather be than Arizona. A starting QB who has missed a lot of time, an elite offensive line, and a guy named Andre Johnson. Plus, he’d be playing in front of adoring Longhorns faithful. McCoy’s father famously sprinkled dirt from the Lone Star state under the hospital bed during his birth so he’d be born on Texas soil, but McCoy won’t be going back home just yet. T.J. Yates proved a lot last year, and the organization is grateful to him for it. Adding McCoy would create the biggest (only?) backup QB controversy in NFL history.
Philadelphia – I already covered the reasons Andy Reid should be eyeing McCoy, but Philly would make an excellent destination for the QB as well. Vick is almost a lock to miss time, and while WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin don’t complement McCoy’s game very well, RB LeSean McCoy and TE Brent Celek certainly do. Were McCoy to step in and league the Eagles back to the playoffs, he’d become a local folk hero a la Jeff Garcia, with a serious chance to accomplish more in the future.
St. Louis – The second team to make both lists, St. Louis would make for another great opportunity for McCoy. He wouldn’t be expected to come in and start right away, but were Sam Bradford to struggle or get injured, he’d have an open road to proving himself a franchise guy. With an elite running back and plenty of young, moldable talent, McCoy could make a real mark on this team. The even-handed Jeff Fisher is the type of coach to appreciate an undersized yet scrappy quarterback, and St. Louis is a city primed to worship any quarterback that can rope in 6 or 7 wins.
Indianapolis – Okay, I admit I only put this in here because I like the idea of Colt the Colt.
Alright sports fans, if you’ve been paying attention you’ve probably narrowed it down the two teams I think would make the best fit for Colt McCoy. While the quarterback could make a good turn for himself in Philadelphia, I think St. Louis is the trade destination that would make the most sense.
Firstly, St. Louis has a zillion picks to make use of, thanks to the Robert Griffin trade.
Secondly, they have an established but not cemented starting QB in Sam Bradford, whose play in 2012 is difficult to predict and who has had injury problems.
Thirdly, McCoy is a somewhat similar player to the aforementioned Bradford, and wouldn’t require a total revamp of the offense like he would in Philadelphia.
Lastly, playing in a warmer city with a dome is far, far removed from playing in the frozen mudpits they call stadiums in the AFC North, and it’s the type of situation for success that he should have been in from day one.
So there you go. Match made in heaven. Colt, Jeff, get to know each other.