By: Joe D.
Last week Jake Delhomme was released after a seven year career in Carolina. Many will recall that Jake Delhomme was a free agent in 2003 and his decision was between the Panthers and a quarterback starved Cowboys team lead by Bill Parcells.
In a rare turn of events, Jerry Jones held his wallet close to his heart and Delhomme signed with the Panthers as they were offering nearly a million dollars more per season. How did 1 million dollars change the course of Cowboys history? Let’s wildly speculate.
It’s irresponsible to say that one player will have comparable success with one team as another. Joe Montana would have zero Super Bowl victories if he played with Tampa Bay. Future hall of famer Steve Young couldn’t improve a team entirely bereft of talent.
I am going to presume that the Carolina teams and the Dallas teams were similar in talent and both teams were well coached. While I love Quincy Carter, I think Delhomme would have supplanted him as starter in 2003. Having said that, Delhomme didn’t start the season as he was less impressive than Rodney Peete. As for Chad Hutchinson, he would hit the road with Richmond Flowers playing two types of music – Country and Western.
Carter was cut the following year in training camp (reportedly due to him failing a drug test). It is unlikely that sitting the bench for the 2003 season would have lessoned the likelihood of him using drugs. So Carter is gone. Vinnie Testeverde is brought in to back up Delhomme, and an unknown free agent quarterback is signed to a free agent contract from Eastern Illinois. The biggest impact during this season is that the Cowboys do not trade for Drew Henson giving up a 3rd round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Maybe the Cowboys draft Justin Tuck, Nick Kaczur, or god forbid, Maurice Clarett.
The real question is, would Delhomme improve the 2004 team’s record to the point to where DeMarcus Ware doesn’t drop to them (originally picked at 11). Imagine the Cowboys without Barber and Ware.
The following year, Drew Bledsoe wouldn’t be brought in and Tony Romo takes over the backup QB duties. Three of the past 4 years (2006 to 2009), Delhomme hasn’t played all 16 games. Romo gets some playing time and history catches up with where we are today. Romo as Dallas Cowboys starting QB, and Delhomme crying in a press conference.
Throughout Delhomme’s career, I have rooted for him. He was the Cowboys QB that got away. I doubt there is much left in his tank. Maybe a team will sign him to be a veteran backup. He’s not a hall of famer, he won’t get a parade to mark his years in Carolina, but he was a capable starter who beat all the odds. That’s worth commemorating.
Topics: Barber, Bill Parcells, Bledsoe, Bucs, Carolina, Chad Hutchinson, Cowboys, Dallas, Delhomme, DeMarcus Ware, Jake, Jerry Jones, Joe Montana, Justin Tuck, Marion, Maurice Clarett, Nick Kaczur, Panthers, Quincy Carter, Richmond Flowers, Rodney Peete, Steve Young, Tampa Bay, Vinnie Testeverde