Of the many names on the list of NFC North free agents, there’s one we find more intriguing than any other.
One of five quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 1999 draft, Culpepper had the best single season of any of them, cranking out a passer rating of 110.9 in 2004.
The next year, a career with Canton potential became derailed, due to a shredded knee. The Dolphins still thought enough of him, even with three surgically repaired ligaments, to send a second-round pick to the Vikings at a time when Drew Brees was available for no compensation to the Chargers.
Since then, Culpepper has been a bright spot on bad teams. In 2006, he arguably was rushed back into action before his knee was ready, resulting eventually in a placement on injured reserve.
In 2007, he played for the Raiders. Enough said.
He then joined the Lions after spending months on the market and getting no interest, and temporarily retiring. The Lions. Again, enough said.
With a plenty of teams needing help at quarterback and not many options available in unrestricted free agency (bigger names are available via restricted free agency), it’ll be interesting to see whether anyone gives Culpepper a chance to show whether, in the right circumstance, he can recapture the magic of 2004.
We don’t know whether he can, but we’re rooting for him.