David Garrard was the face of the Jacksonville Jaguars for four years.
In 2007, he led the Jags to their first playoff win since 1999 on a dramatic game-winning drive that included a 32-yard scramble on a 4th & 2. It's the franchise's only playoff victory in the last 12 years.
After his inspiring playoff performance, Jacksonville signed Garrard to a six-year, $60 million deal. Although he never lived up to his contract, he was voted into the Pro Bowl and registered a 15-15 record in his last two seasons despite some very weak supporting casts.
However, prior to the 2011 season, the Jags unceremoniously cut Garrard, who was slowed by a herniated disk. Head coach Jack Del Rio told ESPN:
"He just couldn't get it going...I had met with him a couple of weeks ago and brought him in and said, 'Hey, listen, you're my guy. I need you to get it going.' He was given every opportunity. He was somewhat apologetic that he wasn't able to deliver."
What Del Rio fails to mention is that the team saved nine million dollars by cutting Garrard, who would eventually be ushered out by first-round pick Blaine Gabbert.
Immediately after his release, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that five teams extended offers to Garrard, so it's clear that other NFL execs didn't believe he was done. The Dolphins were amongst those teams to court him, in fact. They offered him a contract after Chad Henne went down in Week 6, but Garrard told ESPN's Chris Mortensen:
Garrard wanted to reconcile conflicting reports that he declined the opportunity to sign with the Dolphins because of money, as well as his lack of desire to play.
"They were not willing to guarantee me the kind of money that reflects a real commitment and what I believe would protect me from being cut twice in one season," Garrard said. "That doesn't mean I'm one of those players who thinks I'm worthy of another big pay day. My thoughts are the money I did want guaranteed the rest of the year was miniscule with respect to what I accomplished over my career. It wasn't outrageous."
On the lack of desire to play, he indicated he was not prepared to embrace the Dolphins' instability after a 0-4 start without a reasonable financial commitment.
If Garrard was truly willing to play last season, then he must've felt that the Dolphins and the other teams who contacted him offered low-ball contracts. There's no doubt he'll set out to prove the Jaguars and all of the teams who underestimated him last year (including the Dolphins and Jeff Ireland) that he's got something left in the tank.