Kellen Clemens has been the Chargers’ backup quarterback since 2014. Will he continue to play that role in 2017?
Chargers QB Kellen Clemens is a journeyman.
Clemens came into the league in 2006 as a New York Jet. He played for New York for five years (only started nine total games) before becoming Sam Bradford’s backup in St. Louis. During his time with the Rams, he compiled a 4-8 record when filling in for an injured Bradford.
In 2014, Clemens signed a two-year, $3 million contract with the Chargers. The Chargers brought Clemens back on a one-year, $1.08 million deal this offseason.
But will he be on the active roster come Week 1? The 34-year-old Clemens has underwhelmed in past preseason performances and while the Chargers have Philip Rivers leading them, the team needs to start grooming a quarterback for the future.
And that’s why the Bolts made a trade for Cardale Jones. The 2016 fourth-round pick isn’t just a camp body, but a player general manager Tom Telesco believes could be developed into a future starter.
“Obviously we’re looking for competition at that spot,” Telesco said, via ESPN. “And with Cardale, he’s a quarterback with some developmental traits that are hard to find.”
Jones is 24 years old. Rivers’ last two backups, Charlie Whitehurst (second stint with the Bolts) and Clemens, were 30 and 31 years old, respectively, when they joined the team and earned the backup QB job (Whitehurst was drafted by the Chargers in 2006 but was the third-stringer behind Billy Volek and Rivers before being traded to Seattle in 2010). The Chargers attempted to get younger at that position when they drafted Brad Sorensen in 2013 and brought in Zach Mettenberger last year, but both players never panned out. Mike Bercovici, a 2016 undrafted free agent who is currently on the roster, will battle it out with Jones and Clemens in training camp, but he is a long shot to make the team.
All in all, Clemens did his job holding the clipboard. But now it’s time for the team to develop a younger quarterback.