Quarterback Options for the Jacksonville Jaguars
Between Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne, the Jacksonville Jaguars struggled at the quarterback position in 2012.
Gabbert was lost for the season when he hurt his right forearm and tore the labrum in his left shoulder against the Texans in mid-November, so the team replaced him with former Miami Dolphins QB Chad Henne.
The Jaguars finished 2-14, tied for the worst record in the National Football League.
To try and change their fortune next season, the Jaguars hired former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as head coach. While in Seattle, he improved their defense each of his four seasons at the helm.
Defensively, the Jaguars have nowhere to go but up. They ranked 30th in total defense last season and tied for 18th in takeaways.
Bradley will improve the Jaguars' awful defensive position, but will also need to focus on making the offense better, starting with the quarterback.
Gabbert doesn’t seem to be the answer, he has one 300-yard passing game in his career, and is wildly inconsistent.
If Bradley does decide to take the team’s offense in another direction, there are a few quarterbacks the team can trade for or sign during the offseason.
The Jaguars will have $22 million in cap space, so finding a quarterback to at least compete with Gabbert shouldn’t be a problem.
Should they take that route, here are five quarterbacks Bradley should keep his eyes on.
Jason Campbell, QB, UFA
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The free agent pool of quarterbacks this offseason will be light. The biggest name on the list is Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks Joe Flacco. I believe his Super Bowl run will keep him Baltimore for a few more years, but that's just a hunch.
Of all the quarterbacks on the list, Campbell seems to be one of most attractive veterans. There is Rex Grossman, Tarvaris Jackson, Luke and Josh McCown, and a host of others.
I never thought that Campbell got the best deal when he was a Redskin, and his time in Oakland was marred with coaching changes and the fact that he played in Oakland.
With all of that, Campbell is still a viable quarterback option for the Jaguars.
Campbell wouldn't be the long-term preference in Jacksonville, but he would seem to be a better choice than what's currently on the roster.
I do not think the Jaguars will have a go at Campbell, but out of the free-agent quarterbacks listed, he is in the top tier of the list.
Matt Flynn, QB, Seattle Seahawks
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New Jags general manager David Caldwell is on record as saying that he wants a new quarterback to compete with Gabbert, so why not add Flynn?
He is owed a guaranteed $2 million in 2013, which isn’t a large number.
Bradley is familiar with Flynn and knows if he will fit with the Jaguars' plan going forward.
Flynn is better than any quarterback on the current roster and will cost the Jaguars a late-round pick to have him come in and compete with Gabbert.
T.J. Yates, QB, Houston Texans
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Yates plays for a division rival, so I doubt the Texans are interested in trading him to a team they face twice a year.
That notwithstanding, Yates is only 25 years old, plays behind the fragile Matt Schaub, and has a playoff win under his belt.
Last year during the Texans playoff run, Schaub was hurt and Yates led them to a playoff victory against the Bengals.
The Jaguars could use that type of tested, postseason experience.
Yates has shown flashes of brilliance, but can be a little inconsistent as most young NFL quarterbacks can be.
But even if the Texans hold reservations about giving him away to a rival, the Jaguars have enough in the cupboards to possibly entice the Texans into a deal.
Matt Moore, QB, UFA
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Moore has more career touchdowns than interceptions, has been in the league since 2007, and is not a turnover machine.
That isn't setting the bar high, but at least we know that he would be a steady hand for the Jags in 2013.
In 2011 when he was the Dolphins starter, he threw for almost 2,500 yards and 16 touchdowns on part-time duty.
Again, Caldwell wants a new quarterback in to compete with Gabbert, so adding Moore would serve to push Gabbert and give the Jaguars the best chance at winning.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Tennessee Titans
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This seems to be for contingency purposes as current Titans starter Jake Locker is recovering from shoulder surgery.
Hasselbeck’s cap number may prevent the Titans from keeping him. He counts almost $8 million against their 2013 cap number, and if the team gains confidence that Locker is their solution for the future, and that he has properly healed, it may loosen its grip on Hasselbeck.
He could also help the Jags by adding a veteran presence to their locker room, and give Gabbert a needed push.
Out of the four options, this one may be the most unlikely as Tennessee seems set on keeping him. But if they change their minds, the Jaguars should keep their options open about adding him.
Dark Horse: Ryan Mallett, QB, New England Patriots
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When he came out of Arkansas a few years ago, scouts marveled at his size and arm strength.
Maybe its time for a team to actually put that to use on the football field.
New England head coach Bill Belichick likes to build through the draft and stock picks, so if the Jaguars can put a good enough offer together on draft day or before for Mallet, Belichick may bite.
Mallett is young, only 24-years old, and seems to have more of an upside than Gabbert. He's a dark horse to join, but could wind up being the long-term option the Jaguars need.