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Thursday, May 1, 2014
Palmer early favorite at No. 2 QB

By Jeff Dickerson

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Quarterback Jordan Palmer's actual NFL regular-season game experience is limited to four appearances and 15 pass attempts over parts of six years, but Bears general manager Phil Emery thinks Palmer is capable of being the team's primary backup to incumbent starter Jay Cutler in 2014.

Palmer
Josh McCown's exit to Tampa Bay leaves Palmer and former practice squad member Jerrod Johnson as the only two reserve quarterbacks on the current roster with the NFL draft one week away.

"Absolutely [Palmer can be the No.2]," Emery said Thursday. "And I told him that the other day -- the same thing I told Josh: 'Glad you're here, looking forward to your contributions and we're counting on you.' And Jordan, since the time that he came last year has been nothing but a positive. He performed well in a preseason game and I understand that's the fourth preseason game, normally that's the second and thirds and the back end of the roster, but you still want people to show that they have upside and perform well. There are people that make squads in that game, so that game is important. And he did well.

"He has been a backup in the league, obviously in Cincinnati, so he knows what the weight of that position is and how to carry himself and how to contribute positively to the team in that role. And to get himself ready to go every week in case there was an injury. So yes, comfortable with him and excited to see Jerrod on the field for longer than a week or two. You know, we brought him in to take a look at him, but we had to release him because we had other needs on our practice squad at the time depending on what had happened with our 53-man roster. So I told him when we released him that we would like to bring him back and we did."

Eventually, the Bears will need to find a replacement for Cutler, whose new contract essentially locks him in for the next three seasons. But Emery was quick to caution against the idea of the Bears drafting a developmental quarterback in the mid-to-late rounds. The Bears used sixth and fifth round picks on quarterbacks Dan LeFevour [2010] and Nate Enderle [2011] and neither player panned out.

"I just did a little study. It's very interesting," Emery said. "That developmental theory doesn't hold a whole lot of water. There's entire classes of quarterbacks, since '06, I went back and looked at from Jay's on -- when people say developmental quarterbacks, OK, so who has gotten developed? There isn't a single quarterback after the third round since 2006 that has been a long-term starter. So you're either developing thirds, and most of them have been wiped out of the league. So to get a quality quarterback, you've got to draft them high. That 2012 class is a blip on the radar that's unusual, highly unusual.

"Most of the starters in this league come from the first and second round. So that's where you need to take a quarterback. So when you talk about quarterback every year, they have to be somebody that you truly believe will beat out the second and third quarterback that you perceive on your roster. And if not, history shows that you shouldn't make that pick."

If the Bears bypass a quarterback in the draft, Emery is likely to continue to explore the free-agent market. The Bears worked out several quarterbacks, including former Bucs first round selection Josh Freeman, but failed to offer any of them contracts.