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ESPN's Seth Wickersham eloquently answers the question I wasn't able to yesterday, which is why Byron Leftwich somehow remains unsigned while lesser QBs are being scooped up around the NFL. His thought:

People wonder why Byron Leftwich doesn't have a job. They point to his solid résumé: a 24-22 starting record, terrific play last season for the Pittsburgh Steelers in relief of Ben Roethlisberger and the raw talent that made him the NFL draft's seventh overall pick in 2003.

The free-agent quarterback says money isn't an issue and all he wants is "a chance to compete," which is reasonable. So why can't former Jacksonville Jaguars starter Leftwich find work, especially when teams sign or trade for C-listers like Bruce Gradkowski and Chris Simms and Dan Orlovsky?

It's easy, really: Leftwich sees himself as a starter. And as long as that's the case, he'll be a terrible backup.

To expand upon what Wickersham says, I assume it's probably the same reason that an obviously talented guy like Jeff Garcia has bounced around from Cleveland to Detroit to Philly to Tampa Bay and now to Oakland since parting ways with San Francisco after the 2003 season. The guy is a four-time Pro Bowler yet can't stick with a team. It doesn't make sense. Why? Because he never sees himself as a true #2 guy, and teams never see him as a long-term solution.

Mark my word, the same thing will happen in Oakland. Jamarcus Russell will struggle, impatient fans will start the call for the backup QB, and in will step Garcia, who will win a few games, get some people excited, and cause Russell's progress to stall in neutral. Once the season concludes, will Oakland really be a better team with a short-term fix? Probably not.

Of course, I realize that the flip-side of this argument would be the situations in Arizona and Tennessee, but I would be quick to point out that both of those situations involved quarterbacks (Kurt Warner and Kerry Collins) who had Super Bowl experience. They both clearly a notch above Garcia in terms of their NFL accomplishments. But I might add, by doing what those teams have done, how have they affected the future of their QB position as it relates to their franchise? Would you feel confident with Vince Young or Matt Leinart at this stage of the game? They've effectively gone from a possible long-term fix to a year-by-year solution. And that's always dangerous in the NFL.

The Steelers don't want a quarterback controversy or competition. That's why they passed on a guy like Daunte Culpepper, who allegedly said he wanted a shot at starting, although he denied making that statement. Last year's situation with Leftwich was a win-win: they needed an arm and he needed a home. If his re-signing was a priority for the team, it would've been done long ago and he would be having no discussions with Washington. Would the Steelers like to have both back, as they have stated? Who knows. But at least their rationale to this point makes a little more sense to me, thanks to Wickersham's insight.

Backup QBs: Learn to rewire or retire []

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