The precipitous fall of Case Keenum’s career arc continued on Thursday, with Ian Rapoport reporting that the 31-year-old is being shipped off to Washington, along with a seventh-round pick, in exchange for a sixth-round pick. Keenum’s departure means that the Joe Flacco era in Denver can officially begin without interruption. In the nation’s capital, however, things aren’t going to be quite as simple.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a player who was known for being a mediocre backup prior to his rise to prominence has had this kind of drop-off in value, but the idea of any professional having to compete with Colt McCoy for a starting job in the NFL is a bit depressing. Also, Keenum was supposed to have secured some form of job security after leading the Vikings to an 11-3 regular season record, setting career highs in touchdown passes, completion percentage and passer rating, and being at the helm of one of the greatest moments in that franchise’s history. Instead, after one season where his play crashed dramatically back down to earth, he’s now on his third team in three years.
As for Washington, this move is far from anything to get excited about. For one thing, it’s a sure sign that Alex Smith’s leg is healing about as poorly as the team expected it to. For another, things are somehow definitely going to be worse than they were last season. Though his passing yards improved, all of the good numbers (QBR, passer rating, touchdowns, completion percentage) went down and all the bad ones (interceptions, fumbles, times he was booed off the field) went up. But at least in Denver, his play could suffer a mild setback and the team would still be fine because of the talent on that fearsome Broncos defense. Washington doesn’t exactly have that kind of defensive talent on its roster—it’s not even really there on the offensive side, either—so the mistakes and poor play will only be more exploitable.
If all goes as expected, Keenum’s reward for bringing the Vikings to the precipice of their first Super Bowl in 40 years will have been getting replaced by the very definition of mediocrity in Joe Flacco, and now being sentenced to the most dysfunctional organization in professional football. Even worse is that the indignities might not even be over, as there is still a possibility that the team could trade for Cardinals flameout Josh Rosen—who would most likely be the team’s immediate starter. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Keenum got his wish to be a heroic starting NFL quarterback granted by a conniving genie and this is the part where his comeuppance is getting served.