The Great Quarterback Gamble - Part IV

We've looked at how NFL teams have fared over the last decade when it came to drafting quarterbacks in the first round. Now, with Matt Cassel trade talk making the rounds, we'll look at how things have worked out for teams who traded for veteran quarterbacks recently.

Several NFL teams (the Chiefs included) have a history of foregoing the "draft and develop" strategy when it comes to bringing in a new quarterback, choosing instead to give up draft choices in trade for a proven veteran. This was a method used by the Chiefs more than once under Carl Peterson's watch, but contrary to what some may think, the team was not alone in this approach.

Before we look at how things turned out for the Chiefs in their trades for quarterbacks over the years, let's look at the outcome of similar trades made by other teams in recent seasons.

2002
• The Buffalo Bills acquire Drew Bledsoe from the New England Patriots for a first-round pick in the 2003 draft.


Bledsoe had gone from franchise quarterback to clipboard holder in New England following the rise of Tom Brady. Knowing his value, the Patriots (and then-Vice President of Player Personnel Scott Pioli) capitalized on the opportunity to trade Bledsoe. Shipping him to a division rival didn't seem to bother the Patriots, as they sent the quarterback to Buffalo on the second day of the 2002 NFL Draft in exchange for the Bills' first pick the following year.

The Patriots eventually sent that 2003 draft pick (#14 overall) to the Chicago Bears as a part of a trade package to move up to #13 and select defensive lineman Ty Warren. Chicago ended up with defensive end Michael Haynes, a first-round bust. Warren became an integral part of the front seven on New England's Super Bowl teams, and Bledsoe received a change of scenery in Buffalo.

What did the Bills get out of the quarterback they traded for? Not much. After making a trip to the Pro Bowl following his first season with the Bills, Bledsoe did not maintain the same level of play. Spending just three seasons in Buffalo (2002-2004), Bledsoe finished his tenure with the Bills with a 23-25 record, 55 touchdowns to 43 interceptions, and a cumulative 79.2 quarterback rating.

By 2004, the Bills were drafting another first-round quarterback (J.P. Losman), and showing Bledsoe the door.

2006
• The Miami Dolphins acquire Daunte Culpepper from the Minnesota Vikings for a second-round pick in the 2006 draft.


To say Culpepper had worn out his welcome in Minnesota would be like saying Chiefs fans were "mildly displeased" with Carl Peterson. Culpepper started awfully in 2005 (2-5 record, six touchdowns, 12 interceptions) even before he suffered a gruesome knee injury that ended his season. Making matters worse, Culpepper was among the players involved in the infamous "Love Boat" scandal. Relations between Culpepper and the Vikings continued to devolve until he demanded the team trade or release him.

Minnesota eventually complied, finding a willing trade partner in the Miami Dolphins, who had been trying to decide between trading for Culpepper or signing free agent Drew Brees. Culpepper never came close to regaining his pre-injury form, and only appeared in four games for the Dolphins. It was speculated that he returned to the field far too early without sufficiently rehabilitating his knee, but regardless of any excuse, Culpepper's tenure as a Miami Dolphin produced poor results (1-3 record, two touchdowns, three interceptions).

The Vikings selected offensive lineman Ryan Cook with the second-round pick (#51 overall) they received in return for Culpepper. Cook hasn't set the world on fire, but has started 30 of 32 games in 2007-2008 at right tackle for the Vikings. So the Dolphins basically traded away a second-round pick in return for four games of poor play from Culpepper. No one will soon be confusing that trade with the Herschel Walker deal.

2007
• The Houston Texans acquire Matt Schaub from the Atlanta Falcons for second-round picks in both the 2007 and 2008 drafts (the teams also swapped first-round spots in 2007 as part of the deal, with Atlanta moving from #10 to #8)


After showing promise in relief of Michael Vick in Atlanta, Schaub had become the popular "starting quarterback in waiting" around the NFL. Whenever a team was speculated to be contemplating a trade for a quarterback, Schaub's name was at the top of the list, but when looking at his numbers during his time with the Falcons, it may be a bit puzzling as to why. Schaub made only two starts (both losses) in three seasons with Atlanta, completing just 52.2 percent of his passes, with six touchdowns and six interceptions. Not really numbers that jump out and scream "franchise quarterback." The Texans begged to differ.

Houston had seen enough of former #1 overall pick David Carr, and were counting on Schaub to succeed where Carr had failed. In addition to the draft pick compensation the Texans were giving away, the team also signed Schaub to a six-year, $48 million contract, with approximately $20 million of it being paid out in the first three years of the deal. That's enormous money for a former backup quarterback with only two starts to his name.

Was it a good deal for the Texans? The jury is still out. Schaub has struggled with injuries in both of his seasons in Houston, making 11 starts each in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, Schaub was competent if unspectacular, going 4-7 with nine touchdowns, nine interceptions, and an 87.2 quarterback rating. The following season was a roller coaster for Schaub, as he went 6-5 with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, for a 92.7 rating. He showed clear signs of improvement in the final four games of 2008.

Atlanta moved up to Houston's spot (#8 overall) in the first round of the 2007 draft, selecting defensive lineman Jamaal Anderson, who is veering toward "bust" status, registering only two sacks in his two NFL seasons combined. In the second round, with the pick received from Houston (#39 overall), Atlanta selected offensive guard Justin Blalock, who has been a solid player, starting all 16 games for the Falcons in 2008.

Trading for a veteran quarterback has its risks, but the Chiefs have done relatively well. Next time, we'll look at the Chiefs' history of giving up draft picks for veteran quarterbacks.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories