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Blogs

Sorting through the backup QBs

Posted by Darren Urban on August 27, 2009 – 11:11 am

While the talk of the backup quarterback battle seems to have subsided – while coach Ken Whisenhunt said this week he wouldn’t finalize the depth chart until after the last preseason game, it would certainly seem that Matt Leinart has fended off Brian St. Pierre – there will still be choices to be made with the No. 3 QB.

I’ve gotten questions about Tyler Palko beating out St. Pierre. I’ve gotten questions about St. Pierre’s possible move to the practice squad. And in theory, all of these things are possible.

St. Pierre is in his seventh NFL season, but because of loopholes in the rules (and showing how unique his career has been) he could still be put on the practice squad despite his ability to be an unrestricted free agent this past season. St. Pierre has five “accrued” seasons in the NFL, something he gained because he was on the roster despite being inactive almost every game. But in terms of the practice squad, a player must have been inactive for less than nine games in an accrued season – meaning St. Pierre could indeed be a candidate.

Now, that isn’t going to happen. St. Pierre’s salary for 2009 is $800,000, or a tad over $47,000 per paycheck for the season. Practice squad players get about $5,200 a week (although the option is there to pay practice squad players more). Since St. Pierre would be a free agent if he was cut (the only way to move him to the practice squad), I would guess he would try and find a job elsewhere. Even the minimum salary would be much better than practice squad pay.

Besides, he remains a veteran who has the trust of coach Ken Whisenhunt, something Palko likely has not yet earned. Palko would have to be truly impressive these next couple of preseason games. He did OK in the Steelers’ game, but again, he is going against the end of the bench defense, so it’s always harder to evaluate. Palko, of course, could be on the practice squad, but Whisenhunt isn’t a fan of having four quarterbacks around because it is hard enough getting practice reps with three guys.

 PalkoBlog


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