Peter King is one of the more respected NFL writers in the country, working for Sports Illustrated for almost as long as I've been alive. Personally, I've always found his writing and his opinions to be very hit-or-miss, and yesterday he suggested something that I would firmly plant in the "miss" category. From his Monday Morning Quarterback post, he listed this under the label "Ten Things I Think:"
I think if I'm Andy Reid or Mike McCarthy, I'm calling Cleveland GM Tom Heckert and sending a 2013 sixth-rounder to Cleveland for (Browns QB Colt) McCoy. Perfect backup quarterback who, in time, might be good enough to start for your team for multiple seasons. Take out the tape of his game at Pittsburgh last season, before he got blasted by James Harrison, and tell me he doesn't have the poise, decision-making and presence to have a chance to be a good player.
Before I even start discussing this suggestion, I'll just mention that King either forgot or chose to ignore the fact that Ted Thompson runs the ship in Green Bay when it comes to player transactions. Moving on after the jump, I'll first discuss why a trade of Colt McCoy to the Packers will not happen, then I'll talk about why it should not happen.
First, backup quarterbacks are rarely traded from one team to another, especially when the team receiving the player is not going to have any chance at winning a starting job. The Tim Tebow/Drew Stanton situation was a special case this off-season, and can't really be compared here. Let's take a look at the backup QBs trades that have involved the Packers in the past two decades:
Matt Hasselbeck: traded in 2001 for an upgrade in the 1st round (17th to 10th) and a 3rd round pick. Started 12 games in 2001 for Seattle.
Mark Brunell: traded in 1995 for a 3rd and 5th round pick. Started 10 games in 1995 for Jacksonville
Brett Favre: traded to Green Bay in 1992 for a 1st-round pick. We all know how that turned out. (And if anyone tells me that he was only brought in to be Don Majkowski's backup, would you kindly find your way back to your room in the insane asylum?)
Sure, all of these trades involved picks higher than what we're discussing for McCoy. The important factor here, though, is that teams only tend to trade draft picks for quarterbacks if they're going to have an opportunity to start. If (God forbid) something were to happen to Aaron Rodgers during training camp and he were placed on Injured Reserve, the probability of this trade taking place would no longer be zero; but as it stands, this is Rodgers' team for the foreseeable future and McCoy isn't coming to Green Bay unless he gets cut outright.
Now we'll get to why this trade should not take place. Colt McCoy is talented, I will not argue that point. You don't get to be the winningest quarterback in FBS college football history (until Kellen Moore) without some level of talent. Has he showed some promise? Sure. He had moments where he looked like he could be an average NFL starter for a bad team before he got injured. Is he more talented than Graham Harrell? Possibly, at least physically. But Harrell knows the offense and has grown under the tutelage of Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers. He has been taught specifically how to operate the Packers' offense, and you will not convince me that Colt McCoy would be able to operate it after a single training camp better than Harrell, who has two years of experience. Back me up, Aaron Nagler: see this sequence for a laugh.
Factor number two is the draft pick. Let's take a look at some of Ted Thompson's 6th and 7th round draft picks:
D.J. Smith; James Starks; Brad Jones; Matt Flynn; Desmond Bishop; Mason Crosby; Johnny Jolly.
Thompson and his staff have found the following in the sixth round or later: a franchise-caliber kicker; a Pro Bowl-caliber ILB; a starting running back; multiple linebackers and defensive linemen who have had extensive playing time; and a long-time backup quarterback who is the favorite to win a starting job in his first opportunity. If you ask me if I'd rather take a chance on Thompson and company finding another key role player with a 6th-round pick next year or have a backup quarterback who doesn't yet know the team's offense and might not even see a snap all season, I'm taking the draft pick every time.
Thanks for the suggestion, Peter King, but the Packers will be just fine without Colt McCoy.