In recent years, plenty of teams haven’t kept a third quarterback on the roster. This year, there’s potential value in keeping an extra quarterback off the roster.
The issues and uncertainties arising from the coronavirus pandemic include the possibility that, out of nowhere, the starting quarterback will test positive and, in turn, be instantly quarantined. So what if, before the starting quarterback tests positive, he infects the backup quarterback?
And if there’s a third quarterback who is regularly practicing or meeting with the rest of the team, what if he’s infected, too?
Even though the players on the team who continue to test positively toward negative would still be eligible to practice and play, it would be very difficult to win without a quarterback on the roster.
So how about this idea, which is based on a question from a reader named Wayne: Every franchise would have a quarterback under contract who is kept away from the team entirely and completely until a need for his services arises.
It makes plenty of sense for every team to have, essentially, a quarantined quarterback. Someone who is part of the team but not part of the team. Someone who is generally isolated from society in the event that the worst-case scenario happens for a given team’s depth chart.
Perhaps this year the league should alter the roster rules to permit one quarterback to be hired and kept away from anyone and everyone until all quarterbacks on the roster and practice squad (however many they choose to keep) test positive. And maybe it shouldn’t even be optional; maybe the league should mandate that every team has that one extra quarterback in order to ensure that games will be not just played but watchable.
Then again, it’s unclear how watchable a game would be if quarterbacked by a player who can’t make it onto a regular roster. But any quarterback is still better than no quarterback, and one of the very real dynamics of pro football in a pandemic is that there’s a chance there will be no quarterback who tests negative for the virus.