Ever been humiliated at your job?
Then you can definitely relate to Mike Glennon .
The NFL is a humbling, dog-eat-dog business, but when it comes to suffering indignities at the office, Glennon is a special case.
In Tampa, he was benched for journeyman Josh McCown, who is now playing for his eighth NFL team . He watched the Buccaneers pick Jameis Winston No. 1 overall just two years after drafting him, relegating him to clipboard duty. He had to adjust to three different head coaches and three different coordinators in four seasons.
Then, a break, it seemed. Despite attempting only 11 NFL passes since the start of the 2015 season, he somehow landed a three-year, $45 million deal that includes $19 million guaranteed from the Bears in March.
Finally, Mike Glennon was the man.
At least for seven weeks. Then he headed out to his new team’s draft night party at Soldier Field to sign some autographs, snap some photos with fans and await the pick of the defensive stud that the Bears were absolutely supposed to take at No. 3 overall. That’s when Bears general manager Ryan Pace decided to pants Glennon with the entire football world watching, inexplicably giving up three picks to move up one spot and draft Mitchell Trubisky, a one-year wonder at North Carolina.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Trubisky, the future face of the franchise, played for the most-hated rival of Glennon’s alma mater.
Yep, it’s definitely going to be a fun quarterback room this season in Chicago. It’s so bad that even Jay Cutler, of all people, offered to reach out to Glennon for a pep talk. If the two ever connected, we’re guessing the conversation probably went something like this.
Cutler: Hate the Bears now?
Cutler: Hey, who got my old parking spot?
But Glennon can take solace in this: He’s not the only quarterback who had an uncomfortable draft night or enters 2017 in an uneasy spot. Entering training camp, here are the 15 most awkward QB situations, ranked.
15. New England Patriots
The Patriots have the best QB situation in the NFL. They have the ageless Tom Brady , the greatest QB of all time, under center. They also have the NFL’s best backup in Jimmy Garoppolo , who Bill Belichick refused to trade in the offseason despite a robust market for his services.
But this situation has the potential to become the most awkward in the NFL, by a mile, if Brady struggles in 2017. Think Joe Montana in a Chiefs uniform, or Jerry Rice running routes for the Raiders and Seahawks. Think Joe Namath with the Rams or Johnny Unitas limping through a season with the Chargers. Think of the unthinkable: Belichick going full Belichick and moving on from Brady, like he has with so many other signature Pats. Our own Joel Corry explained why time and money aren’t on Belichick’s side when it comes to keeping two starting-quality QBs on his roster. And there’s no way Belichick held on to Garoppolo, passing on a ransom of draft capital, to get a measly comp pick if Brady’s backup leaves in free agency after 2017.
Will Brady ever play for another franchise other than the Patriots? No, it can’t happen. It won’t happen. Until it does happen. Brady’s boyhood idol was Montana, so he knows better than anyone that time waits for no man, not even legends.
14. New York Giants
It’s always awkward when you draft a QB to replace a legend. Just ask Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers . Eli Manning is the face of the Giants , and entrenched at QB, having never missed a start since taking over midway through his rookie season. Still, the Giants’ selection of Davis Webb in the third round makes it clear that Big Blue is preparing for life after Eli, who turned 36 in January. This, despite owner John Mara trying to pump the brakes on Webb being the “heir” to Manning’s job . Webb, who some projected as a fringe first-round prospect, gets to watch and learn for now. But if Manning struggles like he did in 2016, the awkwardness level will only rise.
13. Minnesota Vikings
Teddy Bridgewater took to the field at OTAs to throw Tuesday, though who knows if he’ll play in 2017. If he does make a full recovery from the catastrophic knee injury that led to the Vikings hastily trading away their future to the Eagles for Sam Bradford , things could get awkward in a hurry, considering how well Bridgewater is liked by his teammates and how well Bradford played last season while running for his life behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines.
12. Arizona Cardinals
Would Bruce Arians really bench Carson Palmer for Blaine Gabbert ? No, he wouldn’t. Would he? OK, it’s not totally implausible, considering Palmer’s early struggles last season and that he’s 37, which is dangerous territory for any QB. Palmer had the highest total QB ranking (QBR) in the NFL in 2015 while leading the Cardinals to the NFC title game, but he fell off a cliff in 2016, finishing 18th in QBR. Palmer, Arians and Larry Fitzgerald are all in for one last run at winning an elusive Super Bowl in the desert, but when great players suddenly get old fast, it’s always awkward.
11. Washington Redskins
Yet again, Kirk Cousins is entering a “prove-it” year in Washington, which is stupid, considering Cousins has already proved he’s worthy of a long-term deal with top-10 QB money. He has finished sixth and fifth in QB value the past two seasons, according to Football Outsiders. The only other thing that has been proven, beyond any doubt, is that the Redskins have managed to completely bungle the most important position in team sports — again.
Scot McCloughan, the respected GM the team unceremoniously fired on the first day of free agency, reportedly wanted to lock up Cousins before the 2015 season after advocating to team president Bruce Allen and owner Dan Snyder that Cousins was the team’s future under center, not Robert Griffin III . Instead, RG3 got hurt in the preseason, and Cousins completed 69.8 percent of his passes while leading Washington to a playoff berth. After failing to agree to terms that offseason, Cousins got the franchise tag for the 2016 season at $20 million. He’s now on a second tag, for $24 million, and the Redskins have until July 15 to extend him, which looks about as likely as the Redskins tagging him for a third time in 2018.
It’s all leading to Cousins playing out this season with his sights set on a monster free-agent contract next March. Jay Gruden put it best when asked about his QB situation , stating Cousins is “gonna be here this season and that’s all I care about.” Yeah, totally not awkward at all.
10. Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff is the future of the Rams , but he’s not Sean McVay’s guy. That’s always an awkward dynamic when a new coach and his staff take over. McVay certainly knows this from his years in Washington, where Jay Gruden quickly soured on Griffin. If learning a new system from a new coach who is only nine years older than you isn’t difficult enough, there’s also the organizational pressure being hoisted on Goff to win games and woo fickle L.A. fans , who only want a winner. If Goff and the Rams continue to lose this season, things are only going to get more uncomfortable for the former No. 1 pick.
9. San Francisco 49ers
John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers are basically all in on finding a QB in next year’s draft or landing Kirk Cousins in free agency. That’s obvious from the team’s offseason moves, which included signing injury-plagued journeyman Brian Hoyer to compete with Matt Barkley . The team also took Iowa’s C.J. Beathard, a Cousins clone, in the third round of the draft. Hoyer got what he wanted in free agency, which is a chance to start , but it’s not likely going to be for long, especially given his injury history. Shanahan might see Beathard as a future starter, but the more likely scenario is that all three of these QBs are just biding time as a bridge to Cousins in 2018 or one of the touted passers in the draft.
8. Buffalo Bills
Tyrod Taylor is the QB of the future of the Bills . Sort of. OK, maybe. New coach Sean McDermott told Peter King of the MMQB that the Bills’ QB of the future was already on the roster, but in the same breath he said he was eager to see how Taylor developed in his third year and then talked up Cardale Jones , T.J. Yates and new rookie Nathan Peterman.
“I’m not sure there is a team out there that has the depth that we do at the quarterback position,” McDermott said.
Fair point, but do the Bills really have their franchise QB if McDermott has yet to name Taylor his starter for 2017? New GM Brandon Beane told King that every position battle entering 2017 is open so players can “fight it out and earn the right to start .”
Yeah, you don’t hear Bill Belichick saying the same thing about Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo entering camp. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora wrote “Peterman wouldn’t be here if new coach Sean McDermott didn’t think he had something to offer.”
7. Denver Broncos
The Broncos need to have a good masseuse on hand entering training camp because there are bound to be some strained necks in the QB room. The only guy who won’t be looking over his shoulder in the NFL’s most intriguing QB battle is Chad Kelly, who managed to fall from surefire first-round pick to Mr. Irrelevant in the span of one star-crossed college season.
Incumbent starter Trevor Siemian already beat out one former first-round pick ( Mark Sanchez ) to land the starting job last season, but can he hold off Paxton Lynch , the franchise’s 2016 first-round pick, while learning a new offense under Mike McCoy? Lynch, meanwhile, has to win this job sooner than later, or he’s venturing into Matt Leinart territory. And then there’s Kelly, the big-armed nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly who might actually have the highest upside of the trio, though he’s a complete wild card given how he plummeted in the draft process.
John Elway, taking a page out of the Ron Wolf playbook, knows you can never have too many good QBs, especially in a league where demand far outpaces supply. Flipping one of his young passers to a QB-needy team down the line for draft picks is likely the end game, but in the present, this is going to be awkward because QB battles always are, especially when you have a rabid fan base that’s sick of letting a Super Bowl-ready defense go to waste.
6. New York Jets
The good news, Jets fans? Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick are gone, all but ensuring that the Jets won’t have the NFL’s most awkward QB situation for three years running. The bad news? The Jets brought in Josh McCown, which goes to show how much confidence the team’s brass has in Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty .
While the legendary Joe Namath wants the Jets to get on with it and just start Hackenberg, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, considering Hackenberg was spotted bouncing throws off the dirt in warmups , it has been said he’s “years” away from being ready , and some folks don’t think he will make it . Todd Bowles also said Hackenberg would only play if the Jets were getting “killed” and owner Woody Johnson said Hackenberg could probably hit an ocean depending on how close the ocean was . This might not be the most awkward QB situation, but it’s certainly in the running for the worst in the NFL with the Browns and 49ers, with all signs pointing to the Jets taking a QB with the top-10 pick they’re all but certain to have in 2018.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars might actually be good . No, seriously. Tom Coughlin is back running the football operation. They plucked shutdown corner A.J. Bouye from the Texans in free agency and also signed versatile pass rusher Calais Campbell and former Cowboys starting safety Barry Church . They also drafted bruising running back Leonard Fournette and road-grading tackle Cam Robinson.
Then again, they’re still starting Blake Bortles at QB.
For Bortles, it’s real simple. If he actually plays serviceable football, he has the talent around him for the Jags to win more games in 2017 than they’ve won in two seasons. If he doesn’t, well, he’s basically Blaine Gabbert all over again, and Jags fans hate Blaine Gabbert.
4. Cleveland Browns
Oh, what a difference a year makes, Brock Osweiler . Last year you had John Elway and the Super Bowl champs over a barrel in contract talks before bolting to Houston for that massive four-year, $72 million deal that included $37 million guaranteed. Now you’re in Football Siberia, playing for a doormat franchise that only traded for you to gain an extra second-round pick. The Browns would have likely made this deal for a bag of balls. You’re not Jimmy Garoppolo, the guy the Browns really wanted, and your new coach, Hue Jackson, basically only acknowledged that you exist .
“Obviously, he’s a player on our team and we’re going to treat him just like we do all of our other quarterbacks until he’s not,” Jackson said.
Yeah, sounds promising.
And you thought your one year in Houston was bad? Just wait until you get a load of Browns fans.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith already knows the Chiefs plan on dumping him . He’s the guy in the relationship who wants to make it work but knows his partner is already hot for someone else. Why else would the Chiefs trade up to draft Patrick Mahomes II, who many draftniks compared to Brett Favre, one of Andy Reid’s many QB protÃ©gÃ©s? Smith even admitted he expects it to get awkward with him and Mahomes. That’s just the nature of working with the new guy who’s been hired to take your job.
“Sometimes it can be awkward,” Smith said, via ESPN.com . “You just kind of embrace that and be real. I think everybody just appreciates that, being honest. That’s what I kind of emphasized to him, that any of that extracurricular stuff that maybe goes on elsewhere just doesn’t take place here. It’s kind of the environment we have.”
2. Houston Texans
Suffering Texans fans wanted Tony Romo . Instead they get Tom Savage and the promise of rookie Deshaun Watson. Hey, it’s better than Brock Osweiler! But still, not exactly ideal for a fan base that was ready to give Romo the key to city as soon as he got off the plane.
Savage is already playing on borrowed time after the Texans traded up to get Watson just a year after the Osweiler blunder. Not only that, but Bill O’Brien is Captain Hook when it comes to his QBs, which means Savage might not even hold onto the starting job through training camp. And since the Texans have won the division two years running despite the best efforts of their QBs to sabotage the season, patience is running short. If Savage or Watson can’t not screw up, expect things to get uncomfortable for whoever is under center.
1. Chicago Bears
It doesn’t get any more awkward than this. If there was actually a video of Glennon’s face when the Bears made the Trubisky pick, we’re pretty sure that would break the internet worse than Kim Kardashian announcing she and Tim Tebow are teaming up for a presidential run in 2020 to challenge The Rock and Tom Hanks.
In fact, there is a video. Here it is
That coach John Fox reportedly was out of the loop on Pace giving up a ransom of picks to take Trubisky and not, say, Solomon Thomas or Jamal Adams or Marshon Lattimore, only makes this whole thing more nuts.
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