Is Mike Glennon the luckiest or unluckiest back up QB?

Mike Glennon is a quarterback I admire. Not due to this ability but due to his journey through the NFL. For those people who haven’t heard of Mike, he is currently the back-up QB (provided Jon Gruden doesn’t trade Derek Carr away, make makes the preseason cut and can beat Nathan Peterman to the back-up role) on the 2019 LA Raiders. What I find interesting about his story is you can look at it from two angles: Mike Glennon made his money on mediocre play while being overhyped or Mike Glennon had the talent but was not given the time to show that.

Glennon was drafted in 3rd round in 2013 by Tempa Bay. At the time he was considered a hot prospect. And rightly so. He was the ranked among the best quarterbacks coming out of high school and signed with North Carolina State University. After redshirting for a year and backing up Russel Wilson for two more, he finally got the starting role for two years. His final year he threw for 4000+ yards, 31 TDs and 17 interceptions. Comparing this to Russel Wilson’s final year with NC State (3,563 yards, 28 TDs and 14 interceptions), Glennon looked very capable of making it big in the NFL. He was the third QB selected after E.J Manuel and Geno Smith. He signed a 4 year deal worth $3.1 million. In the next 4 years, Glennon played a total of 20 games for the Buccaneers, winning a total of 5 (2 games were late entries into the game due to injury). Thirteen of those games came in his rookie season where he finished with 2,608 yards, 19TDs and 9 interceptions. That season the team finished last in total yards and passing yards. He managed to hold on to the starting job for the first 5 games the following year but due to more losses, he was dropped and never started a game again for the Buccs.

So this is the point that I find bizarre. As expected the Buccaneers decide not to pick up his last year option and he becomes a free agent in 2017. Meanwhile, having come off a third consecutive losing season, the Chicago Bears cut their starting QB in Jay Cutler. They decide that their new quarterback would be Mike Glennon and gave him a 3 year 45 million deal. For a quarterback who hadn’t started in two years, it was a big gamble to pay him that amount. Even more so when you consider that the Bears didn’t see Glennon as their long term QB but rather a 1-2 year filler until Mitch Turbisky (who the Bears traded up to acquire at the number 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft) was ready to take over. That 1-2 year filler plan, however, decreased to 4 games after Glennon started the season 1-3 having thrown 4TDs and 5 Interceptions. After week 4, he didn’t play a single minute and was cut at the end of the season.

At this point teams, team are begining questioning Glennon’s ability to play in the league. He has demonstrated that he is not a starter (in the little time he had) but can he be a solid back up? Well another quarterback desperate franchise wanted to find that out. The Cardinals signed Glennon to a two year 8 million deal. Arizona went on to sign their projected starting QB in Sam Bradford and drafted John Rosen 10th overall in the 2018 draft as their future franchise QB. During preseason, Rosen beat out Glennon to the back-up position behind Bradford. Glennon made two appearance that season, both from the bench. He was released earlier this year. 

The latest stop for Glennon is Oakland/LA/Gruden’s playground. Glennon was signed by the LA Raiders (1 year 1.9 million) in March and will compete with Nathan Peterman for the back-up role. From reports, it’s a competition that Glennon is losing and we may get the chance to see if unfold in this year’s season of hard knocks.

Glennon showed potential in college like many but just couldn’t cut it in the NFL. And perhaps things could be different if he was given time by the Bears to prove his worth or by the Buccaneers tin his post rookie year. One would have to question the sanity of some of these franchises offering such money to players that haven’t met the grade yet at all. Particularly with cap space management being a key factor of a successful franchise. For Mike, he turned into a journey man for teams looking for a quick fix at QB until they can find their long-term replacement. Not what he dreamed of but there is of coarse an unside. In total Glennon started 22 games (6-16) over six seasons earning himself a total of $27,446,782. With the reputation of a league that only pays what a player is worth, Mike has done well for himself and hopefully will get the opportunity to regain a starting role once more.