What's Next: Quarterbacks

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Tough and smart, Green is the hub of the Chiefs offense. Behind Green, however, is a whirlwind of uncertainty in the rest of the quarterback unit.

This year Green will be 36 years old, and there has been no noticeable decline in his skills. Actually, it is quite the opposite; he seems to keep getting better and better. Age will eventually catch up, though, so it's time to develop his successor. In the past, the Chiefs have eschewed solid developmental prospects, choosing instead to keep the likes of Jonathan Quinn or Damon Huard, and taking gambles with players like James Kilian and Casey Clausen.

It appears that neither Huard nor longtime backup Todd Collins will return to the team. That leaves holes in the roster, particularly at the second quarterback spot. Green has been incredibly durable since arriving, but any NFL team needs a second quarterback that can step in and perform if the starter goes down. The Chiefs now need to find a reliable veteran to play behind Green.

Also, while it looks like Green can play at least two more seasons, this is the time settle on Green's understudy, while Green is still playing with the Chiefs. No one prepares for games better than Green, and his ability to break down a defense would be a great lesson for the next generation at quarterback. Beyond football, Green could teach a young quarterback how to be a leader, and those other intangibles that separate good quarterbacks from team cancers.

The Chiefs signed the incredibly talented Casey Printers from the Canadian Football League, and he could be the right developmental prospect for the Chiefs' future. Printers has a great arm, and his scrambling abilities could add a new dimension to the Chiefs' offense. Printers has been compared to a young Warren Moon by the Canadian press, and the fact that he was the CFL's Most Outstanding Player in 2004 is a huge tribute to his abilities. Still, look for the Chiefs to bring in other prospects, and a veteran to shore up the quarterback ranks.

There are some interesting players that could be in the mix, and two of the biggest names are Joey Harrington and Aaron Brooks. Harrington, once a rising star, has struggled in Detroit over the past four seasons. He's due some major coin, and all indications are the Lions will cut their losses. Harrington is big, strong quarterback who can be accurate when protected, and has the arm to challenge defenses all over the field. He does look shell shocked after taking the hits he's taken both on the field and in the media, though. With a fresh start, and the right coaching, Harrington could develop into the quarterback the Lions drafted him to be.

Brooks has been the starter in New Orleans for years, and the Saints have lost patience with him. He will be a free agent this offseason, barring an unusual change of heart by the Saints. Brooks has all the tools; he can make plays with his arm and his feet, but his leadership and decision making are question marks. He could be a viable option for the Chiefs as a backup to Green, and some work with quarterbacks coach Terry Shea could help Brooks realize his potential.

There are some talented quarterbacks that could be acquired from another team's roster, if the Chiefs are willing to deal. Matt Shaub of the Atlanta Falcons would fit well into the Chiefs' scheme, but may prove difficult to wrestle away from Atlanta. Shaub has shown talent when he gets the opportunity to play, and if the quarterback in front of him wasn't Michael Vick, Shaub would probably be the starter. Restricted free agent Chris Simms of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be a possibility, but the Chiefs may have to sign him to an earth shattering deal to keep the Bucs from matching his offer. If Kansas City feels that Simms could be the guy, it could be worth it. Simms would be an excellent pickup for the Chiefs.

Hopefully, Green stays healthy and continues to improve with age. With questions surrounding the offensive line, however, a reliable backup and a QB of the future are both necessities. Whatever happens this offseason, though, one thing is for certain: there will be a new lineup behind Green on the depth chart.


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