Alex Smith's brutal leg injury suffered in the third quarter of the Redskins’ 23-21 home loss against the Texans on Sunday shook up the lineup, and opened up long-term quarterback questions.
There’s also the immediate need at backup now that Colt McCoy moved into the starter role. There’s no QB on the practice squad so scratch that possibility.
Let’s go through some potential free agent options including names reportedly working out in Ashburn Monday:
Sam Bradford – Probably the cleanest candidate among the available free agents, which also perhaps says something about the available free agents. Arizona signed Bradford to a one-year, $20 million contract during the offseason hoping the former No. 1 overall pick would serve as a bridge while 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen developed. That plan last three games as the Cardinals went 0-3. Bradford threw four interceptions and two touchdowns while posting a QB-rating under 60 in two of the three losses. However, Bradford threw for 3,000 yards as recently as 2016 and would likely be ready to play rather quickly. It’s possible he even emerges as the starter depending on how the Cult of Colt fares.
E.J. Manuel -- ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday night that veterans Manuel, Mark Sanchez and T.J. Yates would be among the quarterbacks visiting Redskins Park Monday. Manuel, a former first-round pick for the Bills, was released by the Raiders in September after playing two games for Oakland last season. The 28-year-old is only a career 58.1 percent passer, but offers mobility and starting experience. He's only played in the league since 2016 unlike Sanchez.
Paxton Lynch – The 2016 first-round selection flamed out after two seasons with the Broncos. The 6-foot-7 passer posted video game statistics at the University of Memphis, but entered the NFL with raw skills. His game didn’t develop with Denver, leading the AFC West squad to cut bait and sign free agent Case Keenum this offseason. Lynch, 24, worked out for the Redskins earlier this season and had a good workout, according to one source. If nothing else, Washington could get a look at a young passer.
Matt Moore – Longtime NFL backup spent the previous seven seasons with the Dolphins. Moore provided instant offense when called upon over the years. At 34, he might be cooling off. Moore threw for 861 yards, four touchdown and five interceptions in four games last season. Miami lost both of his starts.
Josh Johnson –Could have gone with a few randoms like Ryan Mallett or Austin Davis, but let's go truly random. Johnson last played in 2015, but has served as a backup in different spots as recently as 2017 with the Texans. The Raiders released the 32-year-old in May. He is listed as a quarterback for the San Diego Fleet in the upstart Alliance of American Football League. So, why does Johnson deserve consideration? He played for the Bengals in 2013 under an offensive coordinator named Jay Gruden.
Colin Kaepernick – If we’re talking best available quarterback, Kaepernick’s name tops this list. The irony of him replacing Smith on the active roster is evident. Kaepernick’s rise led the 49ers to benching Smith and then trading him to the Chiefs after the younger QB directed San Francisco to the 2013 Super Bowl. Kaepernick’s remaining time in the Bay Area was spotty, but he had 16 touchdown passes with only four interceptions in 2016.
He hasn’t played an NFL game since. Obviously, there are numerous factors involved with that scenario beyond talent, namely Kaepernick’s stance on police brutality nationwide turning him into a political topic. Teams across the league lack viable backup options. Some struggle with their starter. Yet Kaepernick continues waiting. The wait likely continues. All we know for sure is the Redskins need another quarterback.
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