The Only Way To Go With Vince Young Is Free Agency

The Only Way To Go With Vince Young Is Free Agency

Washington Football Team

The Only Way To Go With Vince Young Is Free Agency


Vince YoungI have my doubts about Vince Young to the Redskins conjecture based solely on a throwaway line in a story by a Miami sports writer. But, @BurgundyBlog warned me ” It’s a possibility bro. Might want to start warming up to it.”

Well, humph. Maybe. It is a general manager’s job to consider all the possibilities. If the Redskins’ Bruce Allen and Morocco Brown put their heads together, they should have a VY game plan to present to decider-in-chief Mike Shanahan. That plan would go something like this:

1. No Trades. The Titans have signaled their intent to dump Young. Trading for him would just be giving up Draft picks for a quarterback. We’ve had enough of that around here. Some owner might be foolish enough to trade for him, because some owners are foolish. However, Charley Casserly said as long ago as January that nobody wants Young as a starting quarterback. (h/t to Rich Tandler for digging out that nugget.)

2. Treat Vince Young as a rookie. He has behaved that way sometimes, but that’s not the point. The coaching staff at his next team must assess where his head is. Can Young stand up to the pressure of being a big-market quarterback? Of playing for a demanding coach who wants precision? We interview rookies for that, don’t we? We already know they can play. Can they fight through adversity? (Take note, Vince. There is always adversity.) Are they coachable? Will they lose their heads at the booing of the crowd? These are things a coaching staff tries to assess in rookie interviews.

Young has too many red flags about his mental make-up to wipe the slate clean. So his first test to see how willingly he goes through the process. He should want to address the issues. The experience should be a high-pressure interview by critical coaches. Does Young show any signs of cracking. (NOTE: I hated high-pressure interviews, until I learned how to handle them.) Can he adapt? Does he internalize frustration? Is he willing to compete for the starting job? Can you work with him?

There’s no disrespect towards Young intended. Prudence demands we find out if he can take working with someone like Mike Shanahan.

3. Fix the contract. That’s simply done. Sign Young as a free agent and only as a free agent.  Young’s contract calls for an $8.5 million salary and a $4.25 roster bonus in 2011. That’s similar to Donovan McNabb’s contract, except the bonus is $6 million lower. A trade brings that contract along with Young. A team might consider two contract models for Young. Both from within the division.

Michael Vick signed a two-year contract with the Eagles in 2009 that paid him $1.6 million his first year with a second year option of $5.2 million.

Terrell Owens signed a three year, $25 million contract with the Cowboys in 2006, that was a one-year contract with two consecutive option years, as the Cowboys explained at the time (though I can find no reference to it now). The structure gave Owens what he wanted in redemption and income and gave the Cowboys an easy out in case Owens caused the turmoil he was known for.

Jones was convinced that Owens grew from his experience in Philadelphia. “Whoever got (Owens) after those two experiences was going to get a more knowledgeable and experienced player.”

Vick and Owens found new teams. Somebody is going to sign Young. Both Vick and Owens were free agents when they joined their new teams. That’s the only sensible approach for dealing with Young.

Points after: For a Vince Young scouting report, look here.

My reservation about signing Young is as much about the Shanahans as about Young. If Mike and Kyle were not happy with the footwork, throwing motion and decisions of a six-time Pro Bowl Super Bowl quarterback, how will they ever be happy with Young?

As for Young, expect him to be pretty much what he has been, an exciting athletic showman who is overly dependent on his talent to get by and clueless when it does not. Young can win games. He has yet to prove that he can win titles. If/when he becomes a free agent, the Redskins and a lot of other teams should talk to him at the very least.  

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