Jets Free Agency: Grading New York's Move to Sign David Garrard

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystMarch 11, 2013

ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 27: David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ralph Wilson Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The New York Jets took steps to address one of the NFL's worst quarterback situations Monday.

I think.

No, really, they did.

Sort of.

As Rich Cimini of ESPN reported, the Jets came to terms Monday with free-agent quarterback David Garrard, who sat out the 2012 season after undergoing knee surgery and being released by the Miami Dolphins in the preseason.

The 35-year-old confirmed the news on his Twitter feed:

Garrard, who last played in 2010 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, joins a very muddied quarterback situation in New York that includes 2012 starter Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy and Tim Tebow.

A few hours before Garrard signed in New York, new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg indicated that there would be an open competition for the starting job in New York. Mornhinweg told The Associated Press via Marc Sessler of that Sanchez would appear to have "just a little bit of a leg up" on his challengers.

(Cue thousands of Jets fans simultaneously screaming "NOOOOOOO!")

Granted, the signing of a 35-year-old quarterback who hasn't played football in two years wouldn't seem to merit the popping of any champagne corks by Jets fans, but there are some shreds of optimism to be taken from this signing.

Before injuring his knee last year, Garrard was considered the favorite to be the Dolphins' opening day starter. In his last full NFL season, Garrard completed nearly 65 percent of his passes, threw eight more touchdown passes than interceptions and posted a quarterback rating of over 90.

By weight of comparison, Sanchez threw five more interceptions than touchdowns last year, his career high in completion percentage is 56.7 in 2011 and he's never posted a quarterback rating of over 80.

The biggest question mark with Garrard is whether he'll be able to stay on the field long enough to do the Jets any good.

The nine-year veteran missed the entire 2011 season, undergoing back surgery after his release by the Jaguars. That was followed up by the balky knee costing him the entire 2012 campaign.

That knee is the reason why Garrard has had a hard time finding work, according to Cimini, who quotes an AFC personnel executive as saying, "He'll look fine in drills, but I don't know if he can take a hit."

Let's be real. Garrard isn't going to solve the Jets' quarterback problems. At best, if Garrard can stay healthy, he's a short-term fix that could serve as a "bridge" quarterback to a rookie should the Jets draft a signal-caller early this year (as many expect).

However, assuming Garrard can stay healthy, he also has a very real of chance of winning the starting job given how horrifically Mark Sanchez played in 2012.

The New York Jets may not have had a ton to gain by signing David Garrard, but given the state of the team under center, they also didn't have anything to lose.

And hey, at least he's never butt-fumbled.

Grade: B-