Zach Mettenberger is available and you've heard of him and you think/hope/pray he'll provide an upgrade to the quarterback depth of your team.
So goes a common and understandable reaction to the kind of micro-news we had Monday morning, when the Tennessee Titans announced they had waived Mettenberger to make roster space for an undrafted player signed off a rookie minicamp tryout.
Could the Dallas Cowboys claim him as competition for Kellen Moore and rookie Dak Prescott? What about the San Diego Chargers, whose offensive coordinator (Ken Whisenhunt) played a key role in drafting Mettenberger for the Titans in 2014?
It's almost unfair to write off a quarterback before his 25th birthday. Almost. The truth is that what you've heard about Mettenberger has very little to do with his actual performance or potential. History tells us his chances of further development are slim, and we have a pretty sizable body of work with which to judge his skill as well.
NFL teams selected 62 quarterbacks in the six drafts between 2010 and 2014. Of that total, 21 were waived before the start of their third seasons. Only one -- Brandon Weeden -- has gone on to start an NFL game with another team. (The seven-man class of 2015 remains intact with original teams.)
That doesn't tell us Mettenberger has no chance. It simply means that recent quarterbacks put in his position have almost always failed.
So should we expect something far beyond the curve here? Consider what we've seen so far.
You might have read that Mettenberger has a strong arm and stands big in the pocket. You can see that he's completed 60.3 percent of his passes and thrown 12 touchdowns against 14 interceptions in 14 appearances including 10 starts, not unreasonable numbers for a young quarterback on a bad team. You might also be willing to give him a pass for the Titans' 0-10 record in those starts, noting that wins and losses can't necessarily be pinned to a quarterback the way they are to a pitcher in baseball.
Sometimes conventional statistics can be deceiving. Mettenberger's career Total Quarterback Rating is 16.5 (on a scale of 0-100). He's been sacked 31 times and fumbled eight times in his 14 games, a big reason why he has produced the worst QBR of any quarterback with at least 10 starts since the inception of the statistic in 2006. It also ranks No. 64 among the 68 quarterbacks who have started at least one game since he was drafted in 2014.
(It's fair to point out that he tore the ACL in his left knee nine months before he reported to his first Titans training camp.)
Sometimes, it takes years for a quarterback to get enough game reps to demonstrate he isn't going to make it. Because of injuries and poor play in Tennessee, Mettenberger got his opportunity right away.
Like the rest of the NFL's 32 teams, the Titans are in no position to be parting ways with a young quarterback who inspired the slightest shred of optimism. The educated guess here is that the Titans saw all they needed to see from Mettenberger.
It's worth noting they have replaced him as Marcus Mariota's backup with Matt Cassel, who over the last two seasons has proved to be a No. 2 you hope never to play. His QBR since the start of 2014 ranks No. 60 of those 68 quarterbacks. By definition, even Cassel was an upgrade.
This isn't to crush Mettenberger on a personal level. I, for one, loved how he stood up to Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt last summer during their selfie feud. But what we have here is a quarterback in a position with almost no recent precedent for success and a body of work that ranks objectively as one of the worst in a decade. To put it nicely, the odds are against young Zach. So it goes.