A look at free agent QBs

With salary cap money to spend, Buffalo might upgrade at backup QB. Certainly, Alex Van Pelt contains impressive intangibles, but his physical skills aren't that strong. The NFL free agency period kicks off Friday, Feb. 28th and Buffalo might look for a second-tier free agent passer as a backup. Here's a look.

Signing a player through the free agency process is a crap-shoot, this is a definite hit and miss process. For every one player signed to a team that is extremely successful, there are two players signed that never achieve success on the same level or better than with their prior team.

This is free agency.

With free agency right around the corner, we will conduct a quick overview of free agency with thoughts on the top three to five players at each position.

First on the agenda are the quarterbacks.

1. Jake Plummer is easily the top rated free agent at the quarterback position, in a year that the class of free agents is relatively weak. Sporting better than average arm strength, mobility, and experience, Plummer has not gained the success or consistency expected when he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round of the 1997 NFL draft. Plummer has been a hot and cold prospect, at 28 years of age he is hitting his prime as an NFL player. Some of Plummer's struggles can be attributed to the organization that he has spent his entire professional career playing for, the Arizona Cardinals. Will garner serious interest in the free agent market as numerous teams seek to improve their quarterback situation. Best fit in Denver where he wouldn't be expected to be the savior, just a guy that can throw the football to a very good receiving corps that relies heavily on the rushing game to maintain offensive balance, this is an aspect of the game that Plummer rarely had as support in Arizona.

2. Jeff Blake has tasted success in the NFL. Throws the deep ball extremely well. Played in Cincinnati with some good talent in the 1990's and showed the ability to be a big-play type of quarterback. Signed a large free agent contract in New Orleans and quickly fell out of favor with New Orleans management. In the past, inconsistency and a knack of having some attitude issues had led to his demise. Is prone to mistakes, but has a solid season in 2002 with the Baltimore Ravens under the tutelage of head coach Brian Billick and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh. Blake wants to remain in Baltimore and talks with the team are progressing. Best fit in Baltimore, where he isn't expected to carry the team, just manage the game that Billick orchestrates behind a power running game.

3. Charlie Batch was ushered away in Detroit when the M and M show decided to tear apart a competitive Detroit team. Batch won't remind anyone of Joe Montana, but he has the athletic ability to avoid a pass rush, has a better than average arm, and is young. Signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2002 season, Batch may have an opportunity to compete for a starting position in the 2003 season with some team, needs reps to show a team that he can compete as a starting player, though he has been labeled as a backup type player. Somewhat inconsistent throughout his career, Batch may be a good fit with a team like the Carolina Panthers.

Wildcard…….Brian Griese is expected to be released by the Denver Broncos and will command attention in free agency, but the timing of his release will be a factor. Griese has shown the ability to achieve in the NFL. Has a better than average arm, not very mobile, and has suffered numerous injuries throughout his career. Will get a look in the 2003 season and he will be solely responsible to resurrect his once promising career.

Lane Adkins

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