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Glennon in Glendale

The backup quarterback knows his place in the pecking order, but knows he can get a shot at anytime.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals-OTA Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In one of the quietest free agent signings this off-season, Cardinals’ GM Steve Keim inked QB Mike Glennon to a 2 year $8M deal. The deal was in place at the outset of free agency and was made official once the Bears released Glennon.

This signing marks the second time that Keim signed a backup QB first before acquiring a starter, as was the case in 2013 when Keim signed Drew Stanton and subsequently traded for Carson Palmer. In repeat fashion, after signing Glennon at the beginning of free agency, Keim then signed Sam Bradfprd to a 1 year deal with a 2nd year option.

Steve Keim knows Mike Glennon very well, for both men are North Carolina State alums and former players for the Wolfpack.

What some fans may not know---Mike Glennon was the highest rated QB recruit in the history of North Carolina St. football. Philip Rivers was a 3 star recruit from Alabama who was not the top QB recruit at Alabama and Auburn, which is why Rivers decided to go where he had a more favorable chance of starting.

Russell Wilson was a 2 star recruit whose only two major offers were from North Carolina State and Duke.

Mike Glennon was a 5 star recruit from Centerville, Virginia who Scout rated as the 3rd top QB prospect in the nation, following Glennon’s stellar senior season where he led Westfield H.S. to a 15-0 record and the Virginia Divsion 6 AAA State Championship. Glennon was the 2008 Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year.

At NC. St. Glennon sat a couple of years behind Wilson and then took over as the starter in 2011. In 2011 he completed 62.5% of his passes for 3,054 yards, a 31-12 TD/int ratio and a QBR of 136.4.

His senior year, Glennon threw for 4,031 at 58.5%, a 31-17 TD/int. ratio and a QBR of 130.7. His best win of the season came versus the #3 ranked Florida St. Seminoles where Glennon engineered a thrilling last minute TD drive to win the game 17-16. The most clutch plays were his conversion of a 4th and 10 with 1:14 left on the clock. And then passing the game winner on 4th and goal. Take a look:

In the weeks ahead Glennon threw for 440 yards, 4-2 TD/int versus Miami. Then 467 yards, 5-2 TD/int. versus North Carolina and finally 493 yards and 5-1 TD/int. versus Clemson.

Glennon was picked in the 3trd round (#73) of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Bucs.

His rookie year he took over the starting job midway through the season and passed for 2,608 yards at 59.4%, 19-9 TD/int. and a QBR of 83.9. The Pro Football Writers Association named him to their 2013 All-Rookie team.

In 2014, newly appointed head coach Lovie Smith tabbed Josh McCown as his starter, but maintained that Glennon was the team’s QBOF. Per reports, as many as six teams made offers to trade for Glennon. After McCown was injured, Glennon started the next several games and passes for 1.417 yards at 57.6%, a 10-6 TD/int. ratio and a QBR of 83.2., which included Glennon’s first 300+ yard passing game in a 27-24 upset of the Steelers.

In 2015, the Bucs drafted Jameis Winston and started him. Glennon was the backup and did not play.

In 2016, Glennon made the most of the one game he played when he passed for 10/11 for 75 yards and a TD versus the Falcons.

Despite the number of trade offers the Bucs received for Glennon, they never traded him. That was, in retrospect, an unfortunate outcome for both the Bucs and Glennon, as the Bucs never got anything in return for Glennon and Glennon didn’t land in a better situation---which remained the case when he signed a 3 year $45M contract with the Chicago Bears---and had to watch the Bears move up to draft QB Mitch Trubisky while Glennon was the featured guest at the Bears’ draft party.

In order to trade up just one spot from #3 to #2, the Bards gave up the 2017 #3, #67 and #11 picks plus their 2018 3rd rounder. For argument’s sake, had the Bears taken the players who were selected at those spots they would have gotten DE Solomon Thomas, RB Alvin Kamara and S Tedrick Thompson---plus they would have had their choice of QB Mason Rudolph or Kyle Lauletta with their 2018 3rd round pick---or they could have drafted QB Josh Rosen with their 1st round 2018 pick.

Thus in 2017, Mike Glennon was a lame duck. He started the first 4 games, threw for 833 yards at 66.4%, a 4-5 TD/int. ratio and a 76.9 QBR. Glennon had a miserable game on TNF versus the Packers and did not start another game.

However, to be perfectly fair, learning a new system and throwing to new receivers takes time---and much more than 4 games. For example, Carson Palmer’s stats in his first 4 games as a Cardinal were worse than Glennon’s: 87/152/57.2%/1,010 yds./4-6 TD/int./68.5 QBR. But, Palmer didn’t have a rookie QBOF to worry about.

Mike Glennon’s career stats stand at 463/770/60.6%/4,933 yds,/34-20 TD/int./83.2 QBR. Not too shabby, considering the losing teams he played for and the circumstances that he has dealt with. His career earnings, prior to his deal with the Cardinals are $19.9M. Not too shabby there, either.

To put the Cardinals’ signing of Mike Glennon in perspective, the jury is still out as to whether Glennon can emerae as a good, consistently productive starting NFL QB. But, then again, the same could be said of the EaglesNick Foles, the MVP of Super Bowl LI.

At a minimum, the Cardinals are getting one of the better backup QBs in the league at a backup’s salary. With Sam Bradford penciled in as the 2018 starter and with highly touted Josh Rosen earmarked to be the QBOF, Mike Glennon’s best value to the team will likely be in 2019, particularly if the Cardinals do not pick up Bradford’s 2019 option.

Seeing as Bradford and Rosen have had durability issues, Mike Glennon may get the chance he has been working for, and if and when he does, he hopes to respond the way Nick Foles did.

Meanwhile, Glennon has said and done all the right things in his first few months with the Cardinals. He has said that he was given no promises when he signed with the Cardinals except Steve Wilks’ promise that best 11 players will play.

Glennon said, “Obviously, I want to come in here and compete and do the best I can. I think I am in a role where I’m going to help by being a veteran Sam (Bradford) can talk to and then with a young rookie (Rosen), a guy he can talk to as well. I’ve been around two highly drafted players. Hopefully, he’ll use me as a resource.”

Glennon has high praise for Rosen. He said that he talked to Rosen briefly before the draft to see how he was dong and “they next thing you know, he’s my teammate.” Glennon went on to say about Rosen, ‘I have been really impressed by him, his approach, his intelligence and his talent level.”

A year ago, Nick Foles was saying the same things about Carson Wentz.

I wonder if Mike McCoy has already drawn up the “Glendale Special.”

These days in the NFL---it takes a team of signal callers---and it’s great to know that the Cardinals in 2018 have a very talented and dedicated group of QBs.