Could Lefthander Simms Be the Right Fit?

The chatter about bringing a quarterback in from the outside has led to speculation about players like Donovan McNabb, Derek Anderson and J.P. Losman. While those players would all likely require substantial salaries and compensation to their current teams, Chris Simms could be a player that could compete with Tarvaris Jackson for a starting spot and be had for a relatively inexpensive pricetag.

There has been plenty of talk since the Vikings season came to an end a couple of weeks ago as to the direction the team will be going at the quarterback position. While the jury is still out on where Tarvaris Jackson stands, a lot of the discussion has been centered around potentially snagging another quarterback through either trade or free agency. Names like Donovan McNabb and Derek Anderson have been thrown out, but both would be expensive choices – Anderson would almost surely cost at least a first-round pick and McNabb likely wouldn't be had for anything less than a second-rounder.

That price might be too steep for the Vikings, but they may have a different option that could appease fans and keep Jackson as the starter heading into training camp – Bucs quarterback Chris Simms.

Simms is a former starter for the Buccaneers and has plenty of NFL experience. While he hasn't played in the Childress version of the West Coast Offense, his experience in Tampa's variation of the WCO isn't all that dissimilar than what he would find with Brad Childress and the Vikings.

Simms, who spent the entire 2007 season on injured reserve, has started 17 career games and thrown for more than 3,000 yards with 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. In his only season as a full-time starter, he played in 11 games, completed 191 of 313 passes for 2,035 yards with 10 TDs and seven interceptions.

He could be an ideal complement to Jackson if he struggles and, at just 27 years old, Simms has a bright future ahead of him instead of a veteran like Kelly Holcomb, who seems closer to the end of the tunnel than the front of it.

The best news is that the buzz coming out of Tampa Bay is that coach Jon Gruden is likely going to be looking to trade Simms in the offseason as the team has committed to Jeff Garcia after he led the team to the playoffs and seems set with the depth they currently have.

While Anderson or McNabb would clearly generate considerably more interest than Simms, both of them would require a premium draft pick as compensation, while Simms would likely be available for a fourth- or fifth-round pick at best.

It may not be the sexiest option for the Vikings in the offseason quarterback search, but it might be the move that makes the most sense in the short-term.

FRIDAY NOTES
* Coach Bill Belichick stood up for Randy Moss Thursday, saying his talented wide receiver has "100 percent support" from him and his teammates. Moss came under the microscope again earlier in the week amid reports that he had a restraining brought against him by a 35-year-old woman Moss had known since his college days. Moss called the attempt by the woman and her attorney to get $500,000 in exchange for their silence an extortion attempt. Court documents claim that woman injured a finger in an altercation with Moss – which seems like a lot of pain and suffering to justify asking for a half-million bucks.
* For those concerned that Leslie Frazier might bolt to the Colts if Tony Dungy opts to retire, it's not looking as though that will be the case. Colts owner Jim Irsay said Thursday that if Dungy does opt to retire now or next year, assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell will get the job – putting a quick end to such speculation.
* It's good to be Jason Garrett these days. After being offered not one, but two head coaching jobs, Garrett turned down both, a chance to be the head coach of the Ravens and the Falcons, to remain technically the No. 2 guy behind head coach Wade Phillips. There was a lot of discussion as to whether the Cowboys would fire Phillips rather than lose Garrett, but Jerry Jones backed up the Brinks truck and avoided that eventuality. Reports out of Dallas say that Garrett will be paid $3 million a year to remain as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator – approximately the same salary being paid to head coach Phillips. Not too shabby, but it begs the question why are coaches either turning down or leaving NFL head coaching jobs to take lesser ones?
* Calling last year's hideous 13-10 game between the Giants and winless Dolphins an unqualified success, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Thursday that the league will continue its annual trips abroad for a regular-season NFL game. While the global perspective on the NFL is good for the league, Vikings fans hope they're not one of the 2008 participants, because there would be a 50-50 chance that the game would count as a home game like it did for the Dolphins in 2007.
* From the "It's Good to Be Me" Department comes this: Justin Tuck may be the No. 3 defensive end for the Giants, but he didn't play like it in 2007 and won't be paid like it in the future. Tuck agreed to a five-year, $30 million contract extension Thursday that includes $16 million in guarantees and bonuses. Tuck, who was just in his third season and effectively locked into the Giants for the 2008 season, is now signed through 2013.
* Former Vikings offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Steve Loney has been hired by the Rams and coach Scott Linehan to be the team's new OL coach.
* Vikings interest in potential free agent D.J. Hackett could be ratcheted up a notch by the Seahawks themselves. Reports are saying that Deion Branch is already being considered to be put on injured reserve for the entire 2008 season, depending on how he rehabs from serious offseason surgery.


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