The Minnesota Vikings have announced that they will start Josh Freeman on Monday against the New York Giants. Of course, with this announcement the Vikings have churned the waters with rumors that either Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder could be on the trade block. Would the Vikings consider trading one of their quarterbacks and if so who would be interested?
The latter part of the previous question might be the biggest hurdle to any possible deal. Neither Cassel nor Ponder scream potential franchise quarterback. Teams that are looking for help at quarterback are generally in prime position to draft one in what should be a much deeper class in 2014. Still, there are a couple of teams that might see what Ponder can offer in their system if they can get him for a low price.
The Jacksonville Jaguars might be the neediest team but does Ponder really represent a significant upgrade over Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne? Does Matt Cassel? The answer is probably no. The Jaguars are in prime position to take any quarterback they like and most of them like Teddy Bridgewater, Tajh Boyd, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley and even Stephen Morris are much better prospects than Ponder. If some third-year sophomores like Mariota, Hundley and Manziel declare for the draft this could be one of the deepest quarterback classes in recent memory.
The Arizona Cardinals have Carson Palmer but with Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley as the backups there isn’t much if Palmer gets hurt. Perhaps adding a Ponder to sit behind Palmer could be beneficial to the team long-term. This would allow Ponder to ride the bench, learn the system, work on his flaws and concentrate on his game. The problem is, the Cardinals wouldn’t want to surrender a pick high enough to satisfy the Vikings.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be in the market for a backup behind rookie Mike Glennon. Cassel might be the better fit since adding Ponder would instantly create a quarterback controversy and the Buccaneers have had enough controversy this season. Cassel would be a nice veteran presence whose addition wouldn’t attract any headlines.
The reality of the situation is that any team looking for a young quarterback will likely find a better one than Ponder in the 2014 NFL Draft and Cassel is nothing more than a backup at this point. While the rumors may churn in the water expect them to head down the drain rather than turn into reality.