In a week that saw quarterbacks like Dan Orlovsky, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chris Simms, and J.T. O’Sullivan secure gainful employment, former starters Jeff Garcia, Byron Leftwich, J.P Losman, and Rex Grossman can’t get a sniff.
So what gives?  Though each of the latter quartet remains sufficiently skilled to secure a spot on a depth chart, no one is biting.
Garcia, while long in the tooth, has played well if not spectacularly the past two seasons.  Leftwich looked good during his cameo appearances in 2008, despite that catapult-slow release.  Losman looks like Adam Sandler.  (That’s the only semi-good thing we could come up with about J.P.)  And Grossman recently helped keep Jim Rome’s legendary “Rex Streak” alive.  (DiMaggio is starting to get nervous.)
Each guy arguably is better than Wrong-Way Orlovsky, Fourth-Down Fitzpatrick, O’Crappy J.T., and the son of a Super Bowl winner who has thrown roughly as many passes as his dad in the past two years.
It makes no sense.  Then again, not much about the free-agent market is making much sense to us now.


  1. As a Titans fan, I would take Garcia or Lefty over KC….
    I dont understand the market. How can TO be on a team in no time, while these guys (most quality guys) cant get a sniff. Especially when Sage Rosenfelds seems to get the Minny job…the Jets could use a vet…Bills might take a look at some of these guys (not garcia) now that they have TO

  2. QB is not the only position that is watered down like a major league baseball starting pitcher rotation….football remains alive for 2 reasons….television and the fact our society is starved for entertainment and bored to death.

  3. You clearly didn’t watch much of Orlovsky. He looks like he could develop into a starter given time. Focusing on one error is why you are sticking the boot in, and talent evaluators are… evaluating… talent.

  4. rex grossman with a good o-line could be a decent QB, if i were the jets id rather have him than what they currently have

  5. garcia has done nothing but give one thousand percent on the field not to mention funding money for the childrens cancer center here in tampa. someone should invest in him even as a backup if he is no longer able to play 16 games or not good job jeff!!!

  6. You think T.O’s comments about Garcia are coming back to haunt him? If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat than it must be a rat. Sexual discrimination? Why would’nt a team want a gay Qb? Think about his attention to detail…off the charts! Playmate= front

  7. Great! Lefty wants a starting position but I’m betting he’d rather stay a back up in the Burgh than be a backup anywhere else.
    Enjoy that ring, Byron!

  8. Bills will not pick up one of these guys since they already signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to backup Trent Edwards.

  9. Garcia’s drawback is his age (though Collins and Warner just got paid big $$), and I still think Minnesota should have gone after him instead of Sage Rosenfels; How is Rosenfels an improvement over Tarvaris Jackson? Neither are proven passers, but at least Jackson has athleticism on his side. Losman and Grossman probably demand more (unjustified)$$ than a Fitzpatrick or Orlovsky. Not sure why Leftwich isn’t already in Chicago or w/ the Jets. He still has plenty in the tank, and as much as I liked him as Ben’s backup, I would be happy to see him starting again.

  10. Will somebody please call United Football League commissioner Michael Huyghue..All 4 of these QB’s should end up playing in the new UFL, slated to start in October with all 4 teams to be coached by former NFL head coaches.

  11. Yeah, I can’t believe the Packers haven’t snatched one of these guys up to back up Rodgers. I guess we are going to have another season of praying for Rodgers health or else seeing the grusome twosome of Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm. The Packers offseason is always so frusterating.

  12. Good article, this is puzzling unless they have high contract demands. JT actually played fairly well with the 49ers last year except for his high interceptions and fumbles (which takes his performance down from fairly well to “rather poor” but still not bad for a backup considering that poor pass blocking offensive line in SF).

  13. The more I think about EnforcerSU’s comments the more it makes sense. Garcia would be a fantastic fit and provide the Titans with a QB at least smart enough to make the right throws at the right time (who knows which geriatric has the arm strength left… well, we know Collins doesn’t).
    Seriously how many teams’ starters are worse than Jeff Garcia?!

  14. I hope Leftwich stays a Steeler as well, as many times as Ben gets hit they really need someone to come in that is an above average backup.

  15. There’s no rush for any team to sign these guys. They will likely be available in June just after teams have a chance to evaluate their QB situations in mini-camp.

  16. Garcia’s age and his record with bad teams hurts him, at least, for the moment. He’s good with a good team as he’s a competent manager of a QB. But he’s not going to carry a bad team. So the bad teams are better off looking elsewhere or using the draft.

  17. O’Crappy J.T.? I’m not defending the guy, but O’Crappy? That’s weak. Maybe that Word Press page should pop up for you occasionally. “Slow down, Flo. You’re posting too much.”

  18. leftwich isnt above average. he is a statue who telegraphs his throws if the rest of the team doesnt kick it up a notch, he would join ben on ir.
    i wouldnt bother with fat albert or grossman at all. grossman waas easily the weakest link on an otherwise good team (read: t-jack.).
    garcia’s attitude may have caught up with him. everyone may think gruden is an asshole but garcia likely wont get big $ at his age and with his arm and attitude. i thought the jets would be interested but…
    i would think losman would have gotten a sniff since he is young and isnt worn out. kind of like a not-shell-shocked grossman.

  19. That’s a good point. Why would any team commit to signing one of these guys (including O’Sullivan in that), who ostensibly are all going to at least start next season as backups, when the draft is just around the corner?
    I can understand Orlovsky, Simms and Fitzpatrick drawing interest considering that all of them should start again in their careers, but the others are basically interchangeable.

  20. I guess the Jets haven’t realized they need someone yet. Leftwich would be good for them for what they are looking for(“strong armed pocket passer”)

  21. just wait till week 2 when 5 starting qbs are out for the season, garcia will get a temporary job somewere but he’ll be looking again next week, not to many teams like to sign qbs who miss there first 3 reads then run around the pocket like a chicken with his head cut off, he does give 110 percent,and i like his attitude, im just being realistic why he doesnt have a job

  22. Sign Leftwich to another year minimum contract . Sign Charlie Batch as a offensive assistant and let him continue to coach Ben on the sideline . And after next season Dixon moves up to #2 QB and let Byron go .

  23. If Jason Campbell didnt play “just well enough” and i mean barely good enough to start but just enough then I’d really think garcia would be good in DC, true westcoast offense with westcoast headcoach, maybe not the best weapons but certainly not the worst and a great D. If only all of DC didnt want colt brennan to start at qb and we didnt already have 2 backups we value then I’d be all over garcia, I think ive given up on campbell and wouldnt mind releasing him for garcia. Campbell takes NO NO NO chances, if a man downfield even in single coverage has a guy anywhere near him and i mean within like 8 yards he will just check down, all he does is check down.
    Yah he completed a high % of passes but his passes were all like 6 yard dumps. Story of campbells career specially last year was if it was 8 yards for a first down, he would throw it 7, 5 yards for a first hed throw it 4. Garcia to DC =P

  24. I still think the bucs went overboard with all the house cleaning they have done and that includes saying they wont bring garcia back.. he doesnt have arm strength but has alot of other tools to be solid and I have alot more faith in him than I do mccown,griese,johnson,etc

  25. wow dan then you must really not follow garcia his whole game now at least is based around short passes its really uncommon to see him throw anything over 10 yards

  26. T.O.’s comments about Garcia being gay are amusing considering Garcia has a hot wife and I can’t think of a single time i’ve ever seen Owens even photograghed with a woman who wasn’t his PR person.
    Guys like Garcia and Lefty should’ve been signed way before any of those other guys who got jobs last week.

  27. Chris Simms must have Jedi mind trick powers to keep getting these contracts. Everytime I saw him I thought he sucked. Hell, even Major Applewhite was better than him at Texas. I just don’t get it. I wouldn’t even sign him to be my practice squad QB.

  28. mike: you must know why this is.
    except simms, for whom the jury may possibly still be out due to the long recovery from the spleen, the employed are backup quarterbacks who are happy with backup money and not coming on board to “compete for the starting job”.
    conversely, the unemployed are all former starters of some tenure who not only aspire to regain the starter job wherever they sign, they also want to be paid that way. Using the eagles as an example, while feeley/kolb has provided adequate backup for mcnabb, garcia would have been better than either the past two years. but andy and the administration didn’t need garcia pining for playing time and taking up 4-7M. of cap space.
    i also think that the g.m.’s of most teams understand that if their starter goes down for more than 4 games or so, their playoff chances are pretty small anyway, and spending the dough for a quality player (you get starters for that money) that will be useful whether or not the qb is injured is better use of the money.
    It seems to me that using this logic, the hires make perfect sense.
    P.S. In the case of garcia, as LenSp correctly noted above, he is only as good as his supporting cast.

  29. Losman can be a decent QB, he’s probably looking for at least an open competition situation where he has a chance to start. He got a raw deal in Buffalo – losing his job when injured by a cheap shot, change in head coach, lousy offensive scheme/coordinator, Jauron is one of the worst excuses for a head coach in the league, etc.

  30. Garcia, Leftwich, Losman will all have a team after the draft or at some point during the season.

  31. I would love to see Leftwich back in Pittsburgh as the backup. Charlie Batch is getting long in the tooth and Lefty has started to make up for his windup throws with faster decision-making. I think he may approach the Steelers about a return now that the market for a starting gig has dried up.

  32. >>> Using the eagles as an example, while feeley/kolb has provided adequate backup for mcnabb, garcia would have been better than either the past two years<<<
    You obviously didn’t see him play when the Eagles had him. He wasn’t very good (despite the media fawning) and is now two years older.

  33. Grossman sucks,Losman just has a good arm,Leftwhich is solid but would need a good o-line considering how slow he is and Garcia i would take anyday

  34. The hirings actually make perfect sense. Each of the first four – Orlovsky, Fitzpatrick, Simms, O’Sullivan – are backup-only caliber. They are paid accordingly at current backup rates. They are given no consideration as a starter, and they accept their role (while quietly harboring deluded dreams of outplaying the franchise starter in front of them). Where there are entrenched starters, hiring a backup is a quick and efficient process.
    Garcia, Leftwich, Losman and Grossman are all a cut above the four backup-only hires. Three of these four have first-round pedigrees, while Garcia is kind of an outlier. All are surely asking for more than backup money, and will sign with teams that aren’t just quickly filling the backup roster spot. Arguably there are a dozen or so teams where the starting position is occupied by a big ?. Jets, Vikings, Lions, 49ers to name a few; possibly the Bucs, Jags, Panthers. Seattle needs an heir for Hassellbeck. Chicago may need a viable option behind Orton. There’s plenty of opportunity for qb’s who haven’t yet been written off as possible starters.

  35. After watching Losman for his entire career in Buffalo, I’m really not surprised he hasn’t been signed yet. The guy got avery chance in the world to start and screwed up every time. He can’t make reads and never looks for a check down receiver, if Lee Evans wasn’t open he would take of running or take a sack. He looked like a deer in headlights in the pocket.
    As for Leftwich I really hope the Jets do sign him then maybe the Bills will actually have some sacks this year.

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