An old NFL cliche is that everyone always loves the backup quarterback, and Albert Breer of the NFL Network spoke to a few team executives to see how much they love a pair of the league’s most interesting potential starting passers, Ryan Mallett and Kirk Cousins.
Mallett was drafted in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Though purely on talent he was projected as a possible first-round pick, he fell in the draft due in part to character issues surrounding him leading up to the draft. In his three seasons with the Patriots, he has yet to see any significant game action.
One AFC general manager was quoted by Breer regarding Mallett’s trade value (via Twitter):
“New England has invested a lot of time in him. If they were really high on him, they would not have drafted one this year, pending UFA or not.”
An NFC executive also made a point about how Mallett is valued among Patriots’ coaches, noting that not only did the team draft Jimmy Garoppolo, but no former Patriots’ coach expressed interest on bringing in Mallett as they switched teams (via Twitter):
“The fact that nobody Pats-related ever went after him speaks volumes. Plus, he can’t help you this year, so why not just sign him as a FA?”
Redskins’ backup Cousins has considerably more value according to the sources Breer spoke to. Cousins was drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft, as a fourth-round pick. The team chose Robert Griffin III with the second-overall selection, which slid Cousins immediately into a long term backup role.
An AFC executive prefers Cousins to Mallett because Cousins has a body of work to show for, and has another year on his contract the team would control (via Twitter):
“In my mind better than Mallett – he has a body of evidence. I think he could be a low-end starter or at very least a ‘compete with starter’ piece.”
An NFC Pro Scouting Director is also ambivalent about his ability (via Twitter):
“You could probably get as high as a conditional 3rd for him. Depends on the desperation of the club. … A low end starter. Someone that you’ll end up looking to replace. Better than Cassel and look what was given up for him.”
One NFC general manager did say he might be able to fetch the Redskins a second-round pick, but more likely a third rounder would be a higher pick (via Twitter):
“If you look at trade history, high end would be a 2nd round pick. Or realistically a 3rd.”
Yes, Cousins could grab the Redskins an extra pick, but none of the sources Breer spoke to was particularly high on either quarterback. While there is a common thought that both Cousins and Mallett could become one of the top 32 quarterbacks in the league, but they would still be the bottom rung of starters.
It is unlikely that either player gets traded in the near future, as both passers are more valuable as backups with their current teams than they are as potential starters elsewhere in the league.