Vince Young To The Buffalo Bills: Before You Laugh, Teams Gave Up On Jim Plunkett and Chris Chandler At The Same Age

Vince Young signed today on a one year deal with the Buffalo Bills worth a reported $2 million. He’ll enter the season as the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick. That amount of money is not very expensive for a backup quarterback in the NFL, and if Young ends up starting, it will be very cheap.

Vince Young tends to create strong reactions. He is the poster boy for the “QB wins are a bad statistic” because his teams won a lot of games when he did not necessarily play well. He also spawned the “Dream Team” moniker, and though it was fun, it was also taken way out of context and blown out of proportion.

So while his “statistics” in terms of QB wins are not indicative of his true play, his other statistics are indicative of a quarterback who is actually a much better bet going forward than public perception of the player.

Last year, I talked about the Eagles signing Young and how history was littered with guys who rebounded after being unwanted. This year, I’ll actually go further and find the guys most similar to Young, from ages 23 to 28, using league adjusted numbers. Young has thrown 1304 passes over that span, so I went through everyone since the merger who had between 800 and 1800 total pass attempts at those ages, and was active in the NFL at age 29 or later (the same age that Young turns this month). I then went through and found the most similar players, adjusting for yards per attempt, completion percentage, touchdown rate, interception percentage, sack rate, and rushing yards totals.

Here are the top ten players most similar to Vince Young from age 23 to 28.

The top four most similar players all started a Championship Game after age 28. The top three all started a Super Bowl. The top two, just like Vince Young, bounced around in their late 20’s, Plunkett in the forgotten San Francisco years before resurfacing as a backup in Oakland, who got a chance to come off the bench in 1980, Chandler with the Rams, before signing with the Oilers then the Falcons.

Over the last three years, through all the drama in Tennessee from having to re-earn his starting job to walking away from it, the Dream Team in Philadelphia and coming off the bench for Michael Vick, Vince Young has thrown 529 passes. He has thrown for 4,000 yards (7.6 YPA), 24 touchdowns, 19 interceptions, and rushed for an additional 485 yards.

In an age where teams are willing to take chances on unproven players in the draft, Vince Young seems like a reasonable and relatively low risk alternative as he is about to turn age 29. He now has a year of working with Andy Reid and playing in one of the best QB systems in the league, and this year he will have the full offseason and be a year further removed from Tennessee drama. Unlike last year, where he was behind Michael Vick, this year he could legitimately take over as a starter if Ryan Fitzpatrick struggles.

I don’t know whether Vince Young will take this time to grow, but it’s such a low risk transaction that I love the move by the Bills. At worst, you have a very competent backup who has averaged over 7.5 yards per attempt the last three years. At best, you might have the next Plunkett, Chandler, Humphries or Gannon as he enters his thirties.

[photo via US Presswire]




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