Free Agent Files: Chad Pennington

Posted on February 22, 2010 by Patrick Moran

Chad Pennington(We’re running a series profiling players that could fit into the Buffalo Bills’ plans leading up to the start of free agency on March 5.  Today we look at Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington)

Yeah, I know.  Chad Pennington is not a name most Buffalo Bills fans are not fond of hearing when it comes to potential starting quarterbacks in 2010.  Everyone craves Donovan McNabb, a few would like to see Michael Vick come to Orchard Park and many would be happy to hear the name Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen called out with the ninth overall pick on draft day.

But the odds of any of the aforementioned things happened are not good.  McNabb may not be traded from Philadelphia at all and if even if he does it’s not likely to be Buffalo.  The thought of basically starting over in Buffalo at this stage of his career can’t be appealing to him, besides Buddy Nix is very big on building through the draft and it would require severe draft compensation to land him.  Vick got the chance to prove precious little in Philadelphia last year and it’s not likely he’d get dealt here, especially considering Jim Kelly, a man still associated with the club and surely in Nix’s ear, is publicly against the idea.  Bradford or Clausen may not even be available when the Bills go on the draft clock and even if either are, offensive tackle has become the team’s paramount draft need.

So if the Bills go the free agent route to bring in another arm, like it or not folks, it could very well be Pennington. I reported back on February 7 that a source told me the Bills would at the very least be interested in the possibility of Pennington as a short-term starter and I’d be the least surprised person in Western New York if they eventually signed him.

Let’s get all the drawbacks out of the way.  Pennington by no means is strong armed. That always presents a problem in the cold and windy Buffalo winter. He’s also considered a conservative quarterback, something Bills fans have grown to hate in Trent Edwards.  Lastly, he’ll be 34 years old when the 2010 season gets under way and he’s injury prone at that.  Pennington is coming off a major shoulder injury that ended his season after just three games and paved the way for Chad Henne to become a star in Miami.

But for all the negative attributes, there are a few positives that shouldn’t be overlooked.  This is a man who less than two years ago was behind center and led the Dolphins in his first year there from a 1-15 laughingstock to an AFC East division title. Deep ball challenged or not he had little problem putting up a 97.5 quarterback rating while completing 68.9% of his throws for 3,653 yards to go with 19 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

It also shouldn’t be tossed aside that he’s spent his entire 10-year career in the division and knows firsthand how to get past New England, Miami and the Jets.

The urge to compare his pass selection to Edwards is great but unlike his younger counterpart, his style has led to both success and respectable numbers. He’s completed two third of his passes for his career and for all the chatter about a conservative passing attack he’s still averaged 200 passing yards per game.  Perhaps most importantly he rarely turns the ball over.  He’s thrown just nine interceptions over his last 450 pass attempts.

Beyond the numbers, Pennington-quarterbacked teams win.  Here’s a telling stat you may not know; of the five years Pennington has started at least 10 games, his teams have made the playoffs four times and his record during those seasons is 46-34.

While a move towards Pennington does nothing to solidify the future it could help bolster the present.  Ideally he could be brought in to be a one or two year starter and mentor a young draft pick like a Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow or Dan LeFevour.  Or maybe his presence helps elevate Brian Brohm or even Edwards himself.

Pennington has said he would like to return to Miami and is content to back up Henne.  It’s also been reported in the New York Post he’d consider going back to New York to play behind Mark Sanchez.  But while he hasn’t been formally linked to any Buffalo talk, the opportunity to start again would be appealing to him for sure.

When it’s all said and done a Pennington to Buffalo solution isn’t far-fetched at all. They could do far worse.

Previous Files: Jimmy Kennedy, Nick Eason, Kevin Walter

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2 Comments on Free Agent Files: Chad Pennington

  1. Web Rumblings: Buffalo Bills Links, 2/22 | Buffalo Bills Blog

    [...] NFL Draft and Free AgencyFree Agent Files: Chad Pennington : Buffalo Sports DailyBSD continues profiling potential free agents with QB Chad [...]

  2. Free Agent Files: Chad Clifton : Buffalo Sports Daily

    [...] Previous Files: Jimmy Kennedy, Nick Eason, Kevin Walter, Chad Pennington [...]

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