(CBS) Given Jay Cutler’s injury history, more than a few Bears fans have taken a keen interest in the backup quarterback battle between Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer. Surely, some are worried as well.
But calling for the signing of another quarterback is a double-edged sword, for the list of reserve quarterbacks on the open market does little to instill hope. Take a look at five of the biggest names still looking for jobs who could get looks (from somebody) moving forward.
Certainly, if Clausen and Palmer don’t work out for Chicago, the 31-year-old Orton would seem the best fit. He was released by Dallas in June after a stand-off with the organization, as he refused to participate in the Cowboys’ offseason program. So he’s a free agent, but he’s also seriously mulling retirement. Orton has always been a quality system guy and a fairly smart decision-maker, so it would seem he could transition to Marc Trestman’s quarterback-friendly offense. He also played in Chicago from 2005-’08.
The 17th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Freeman has talent. He’s just been completely erratic recently. In four starts last season split between Tampa Bay and Minnesota, Freeman was 0-4 with a combined 42.9 completion percentage, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Drama followed Freeman around last year too, and that’s not something a Bears squad with championship intentions and a coaching staff that preaches togetherness like none other would likely want.
Kolb had a quality 2012 campaign with the Cardinals, going 3-2 in five starts and registering an 86.1 passer rating. It’s been a struggle since then, as he suffered a concussion with the Bills in the 2013 preseason and was eventually released. His time in the NFL could be done, and his reported charges of boating while intoxicated isn’t helping his future, but at 29, there’s still some hope for him.
The 36-year-old Garrard has battled numerous injuries the past several years and actually announced his retirement in May 2013 before making a comeback last fall, when he spent the season with the Jets. Only problem: He never got in a game last season and hasn’t attempted a pass in a regular-season game since 2010. Given all that, it’s hard to envision him as a better fit than Clausen or Palmer for the Bears.
Skelton recently worked out with the Dolphins before Miami signed Brady Quinn, so he’s on the hunt for a job. Still, that just goes to show how thin the reserve quarterback market is right now — Skelton is getting a workout when he hasn’t thrown an NFL pass since 2012, a season in which his touchdown-to-interception ratio was 2:9. It’s probably best to stay away from him.