Justin Herbert needs a new backup. Tyrod Taylor is scheduled to hit free agency this month and may not be back. If he accepts his role on the LA Chargers as the backup, there could be some negotiations between the two sides. However, it’s more likely that Taylor will go look for an opportunity where he can compete for the starting job.
That could mean going to Philadelphia and competing with Jalen Hurts. It could also mean signing with a team that drafts a rookie quarterback in the first round this year. With Anthony Lynn now out of Los Angeles, it’s just hard to see Taylor willing to sit behind Herbert if there are other opportunities out there.
Easton Stick is still on the roster and it’s possible the Chargers end up promoting him to the second string. Stick didn’t have a preseason in 2020 to develop his game in addition to a shortened offseason. I’m certainly not against the team using him in a Taysom Hill type of role, but a backup quarterback is too important to take a risky gamble on.
Mitchell Trubisky, Ryan Fitzpatrick, A.J. McCarron, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III, and Joe Flacco are some of the backup options that will be available. Fitzpatrick doesn’t sound like a bad idea necessarily, but like Taylor, he’ll want a spot where he can compete for the starting job. That isn’t happening in Los Angeles. The other guys on that list are either older or uninspired choices.
The name that sticks out to me when I look at the free-agent quarterbacks is Jacoby Brissett. Brissett had a solid 2019 season in the wake of Andrew Luck’s retirement. Afterward, he was ushered into a backup role when the team signed Philip Rivers at quarterback.
Brissett is just 28, quite a bit younger than every name I mentioned other than Trubisky. Brissett may not get a lot of potential starter interest from other teams. In a year where Alex Smith and Cam Newton will be fighting to keep their starting roles, the former Colt may not register a lot of interest.
A Brissett contract would probably look a lot like the Taylor contract from a few years ago. A two-year deal for a high-end backup probably gets him $12 million total. PFF’s free agency predictions actually have Brissett signing with the Chargers for two years, $14 million.
While some may view that as pricey for a backup quarterback, it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s only a few million extra than what Taylor signed for on his 2-year, $10 million dollar deal.
Out of the free agent backups that will realistically be available, Brissett also stands out as having played at a relatively high level recently compared to the rest of the group. In 2019, Brissett threw for 61% completion, 18 touchdowns, and six interceptions.
Brissett is a game manager, but he’s a good one that doesn’t turn the ball over. Newton and Smith may be the names fans covet as potential backups, yet they both threw more interceptions than touchdowns in 2020.
While other guys might have to adjust to their roles as backups after coming off of a starting job, Brissett is well-versed in every position on the depth chart. He was a third-stringer in New England and both a second/first stringer in Indianapolis. Whatever is asked of him, he’ll do it.
There are other backup quarterbacks who can fit the backup job well enough, but Brissett would be a perfect Taylor replacement.