The group of 2013 NFL free agent quarterbacks is a pretty weak group, in terms of both quality and quantity.
That’s why I was surprised to see that Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore, the presumptive top available free agent quarterback this offseason, chose not to dip his toes into the waters of the free agency pool.
Moore (#8, above) re-signed with Miami on a two-year deal Friday to remain the Dolphins’ backup quarterback behind last year’s top pick, Ryan Tannehill, mere hours before he could’ve started speaking to other teams.
At midnight Friday night/Saturday morning, Mar. 9, NFL teams are now allowed to negotiate with unrestricted free agents in a three-day period prior to the official start of free agency next Tuesday.
Teams are not allowed to ink contracts with unrestricted free agents until Mar. 12, when the new league begins, but this three-day negotiating window allows for players to truly find out what kind of interest is out there.
The New York Jets are in need of a veteran quarterback, and likely would’ve been one of a handful of teams who would’ve had some degree of interest in Matt Moore as a guy who could come in and compete for a starting job.
Evidently, Moore is comfortable being a backup in Miami, so rather than going somewhere trying to earn a starting job, competing and actually playing football, he’s complacent to just sit on the bench and collect his paycheck.
Hey, more power to him. It’s a shrewd move by the Dolphins, convincing him to stay put without testing free agency. He clearly wanted to be a Dolphin, regardless of not having an opportunity to play for them, barring injury.
Nothing would’ve prevented Moore from talking to teams over the next day or two before re-signing with the Dolphins. His agent likely could’ve used other teams’ interest as leverage, even if he didn’t leave Miami.
Nevertheless, the Jets will now kick the tires on other free agent quarterbacks before likely signing a veteran to compete for the starting job. I’ve advocated signing Jason Campbell. David Garrard is another possibility.
It’s not exactly a murderer’s row. The combined quality of signal callers in free agency and the draft is arguably the weakest crop of offseason quarterback options in recent memory. That doesn’t bode well for the Jets.
The Jets are planning to enter training camp with four or five quarterbacks, one of which is a veteran like Campbell or Garrard. Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy, Matt Simms and a rookie are some other likely candidates.
One of those candidates will not be Matt Moore, that’s something we now know for certain.
In a year where he’d likely never have higher value on the open market, forgoing free agency entirely was a very bold move for a quarterback like Moore, who will be 29 years old at the start of the regular season.
Regardless, it’s Matt Moore’s prerogative if he doesn’t want to compete for a starting job in the NFL.
Some guys don’t have the competitive fire, or are more comfortable in a mentor role, or whatever it may be. The Dolphins definitely didn’t mind bringing him back, and it was a solid move to get him back on a two-year deal.