Even if Signed, Culpepper Won't Help the Bengals This Season

After Mort reported that Carson Palmer's season is likely over, PFT suggested that the Bengals sign Daunte Culpepper. I disagree that Culpepper would make that much of a difference, after poor stints with the Dolphins and Raiders, winning only three games in 10 starts since 2006. On the other hand, Ryan Fitzpatrick has started six games in his NFL career amassing an 0-6 record (0-3 in 2008, 0-3 in 2005) -- in the game in which he quarterbacked the Rams to a 33-27 win over the Texans, he did not start.

If the Bengals signed Culpepper, it wouldn't be long term; especially after Culpepper waffled at retiring because he couldn't compete for a starting job -- who would invest in that? As for this season, Culpepper would need weeks to prepare. It would take some time to learn the playbook, time to condition back into NFL shape, and adjust to the talent around him. After his knee was shredded, his mobility is limited; we'd be getting the quarterback from Oakland, not the Vikings.

It's not that I think Fitzpatrick is better or worse than Culpepper, but I don't see the team improving significantly with Culpepper -- especially with protection schemes that tend to breakdown all-too easily. Now if Culpepper comes in, signs for 2-3 years and accepts a back up role behind Palmer, then that would be great -- because I believe if Culpepper is given an entire off-season of camps, then he could be a decent backup; light years better than Fitzpatrick.

Ultimately Culpepper won't help the team's flawed pass protection this year. And while he's constantly under defensive pressure, his immobility and tendency to fumble could hurt the team. Like it really matters, as we learned this season: Once Palmer goes down, it really doesn't matter who the quarterback is. The season is done.

Just for the sake of knowledge, other NFL quarterback free agents are listed here (not sure how updated it is).

UPDATE: WDR makes a case for Culpepper.

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