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Which Eric Dungey remains a free agent: The man or the legend?

The former Syracuse quarterback remains unsigned. Orange fans are wondering why.

NCAA Football: Camping World Bowl-West Virginia vs Syracuse Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the NFL Draft last week, we knew it was a longshot that Syracuse Orange quarterback Eric Dungey would be selected, but figured he’d be a quick free agent signing immediately afterward.

Five days after the seventh round wrapped up, he remains unsigned (though he’s weighing options).

But which Eric Dungey is currently unsigned? The player we watched on the field, or the legend that’s been built up around him? The answer likely depends on who you ask.

Steve and I hit on a little bit of this during last week’s podcast, but there are clear reasons why he wasn’t picked — and they’re the same ones that led to his successful career at Syracuse. Dungey ran Dungey’s offense, not Dino Babers’s. And because he did so to great effect, we were fine with that. Scouts may not be so alright with it, however.

Orange fans can admit as much and also remain big Dungey supporters. While I agree that he’s certainly better than a lot of players that have been signed so far (hi, Jake Dolegala), though it’s debatable whether he’s a better fit for a lot of teams given his offensive approach and injury history. And if you want Dungey at his best, you probably need those things to some extent. We should get that as fans. Certainly NFL front offices get that too.

NCAA Football: Camping World Bowl-West Virginia vs Syracuse Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

And therein lies the conflict when it comes to wherever he eventually ends up. Like fans, NFL teams that show interest are finding ways to come to grips with the two sides of Dungey — man and legend — but without the orange-colored glasses we’re largely predisposed to. That means they’re probably trending more toward the former than any of us are likely capable of.

Back in 2015, Sean warned us to “beware the Eric Dungey mythos,” never thinking that would extend to the quarterback’s draft stock. Unfortunately, very few of us really bought into the idea, with him earning more defenders over the course of four years than any Orange athlete since Gerry McNamara. While that means he probably never buys a drink again in CNY, it doesn’t get you an NFL quarterback job.

For what it’s worth, I hope he does get one. However, when I hear he’s “weighing options” — a setiment that Babers also conveyed at Sunday’s alumni event out here — it feels like the QB offers are few and far between and he’s potentially being forced into a tight end/receiver role instead of the Taysom Hill situation we’d envisioned. If that’s not how he sees his career, then he should entertain whatever CFL calls painting him as a QB that may be coming in.

But wait too long and there may not be many options left on the table. Even if GMs and fans have come to grips with Dungey the man vs. Dungey the legend, the biggest hurdle of all may be for the player himself to figure out which of the two he trends toward... and then figure out where that leaves him.

Wherever it is, hopefully that’s where he’s most happy and fulfilled. Because yes, even if we’re honest about what Dungey is and isn’t as a pro prospect, the most rational fans among us are still probably more concerned about what he — like all of our favorite SU players — deserves. That’s fine, as long as it doesn’t lead to an irrational idea around what’s next.