You may have head announcers or sports journalists use the term stop gap quarterback when reffering to a player, but what exaclty does this term mean?
A stop gap quarterback is a short term option at the quarterback position. This type of quarterback is not going to be your franchise guy. Instead, a stop-gap QB will fill the position for a few years until their long term option is found.
What Is The Role Of A Stopgap QB?
The role of a stop-gap quarterback is to fill the position as long as the team needs until they find their long-term option.
At least that is what the role is in most cases. But quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have made this term a little more complex as they switched teams late in their careers.
Prior to Mannings and Brady’s moves to the Broncos and Buccaneers, a stopgap qb was considered to be any short term quarterback option. These players were typically considered below average. And were typically put in place to keep the team playing at a mediocre level while they found “their guy”.
These players typically played a sort of “game manager” role at quarterback often leading to sub-par seasons.
This makes situations like Brady and Manning a little more confusing. Technically these players aren’t long term solutions but both were brought in as a final piece to win a championship.
Whether you want to consider Brady and Manning stop gap qbs is up to you but remember they are not the norm.
Your typical stop gap qb plays well enough to keep the fans interested but is very rarely the piece that is going to lead your team to a championship.
Example Of Stop Gap Qbs
To get a better understanding of this term we are going to give you some real life examples. These will cover the before and after of a stop gap qbs life cycle.
Teddy Bridgewater Carolina Panthers
After injuries began to pile up for QB Cam newton the Panthers decided to let him go prior to the 2020 NFL season.
After a few seasons backing up Drew Brees and recovering from injury Teddy Bridgewater signed a three year deal worth 63 million dollars with the Panthers.
This move is a classic example of a stop gap quarterback. The panthers had gone 5-11 in 2019 and by losing Cam Newton they were in danger of becoming much worse. Not to mention they had just hired new coach Matt Rhule.
Bridgewater was never going to lead this roster to a Superbowl but he still had a role to play. Bridgewater was meant to keep this team playing at a decent level as the new management built up their roster.
Rhule knew Teddy wasn’t their long-term solution. But was happy to pay him to be the team’s stop gap QB.
This role of a stopgap qb was great for Bridgwater as well. He was able to sign a solid contract. But more importantly, he had a chance to prove himself as a starting qb.
If Rhule was wrong about Bridgewater’s ability to be a great passer then Bridgewater would be able to sign with a new team in only a few years. This way quarterbacks can use these contracts as a sort of prove-it deal to show that they can be an effective starter in this league.
Ultimately the Panthers ended the 2020 season with a 5-11 record. Later in the offseason, the Panthers made a trade to acquire Sam Darnold. And just like that Bridgewater’s time as the Panthers starting QB is likely done.
This completes the cycle of the stop gap quarterback. As the Panthers seem to believe they have found their long term solution in Sam Darnold.