David Garrard's time as a Jaguar is over, as it appears that the team is ready to let Blaine Gabbert be thrown to the sharks.
Now that Garrard is a free agent, what is to come of the man who has been a part of Jacksonville's organization since 2002?
At this point in his career, Garrard is likely going to return to backup—a role he played for quite a few seasons behind Byron Leftwich before getting himself out of the hold. Unfortunately for Garrard, his decent career as a Jaguar may leave him with no alternative.
With that being the case, why not have Garrard mentor the young quarterback, Andy Dalton? The Cincinnati Bengals have a supposed "veteran presence" in Bruce Gradkowski, but his credentials are nowhere near as impressive as Garrard's.
Unless you're a pretty avid football fan, you're hardly going to know who Bruce Gradkowski is. While he is a career backup quarterback, that is not a good enough status to be a mentor and to teach someone how to be a successful starter.
Enter David Garrard: For years, he too was a simple backup that would come in and take over when the often-injured Byron Leftwich went down. The difference is that when Garrard came in, he was effective.
No matter how many games in any given season, Garrard has never thrown more interceptions than touchdowns (except for his rookie season, when he had no touchdowns and one pick). There has always been a pretty good accuracy ability with him.
Garrard knows the feeling of being a backup and knows how to operate in that role. Besides, at 33 years old, that may be his best option.
Over the past five seasons, Garrard has been the primary starter for the Jaguars, despite some up-and-down times in 2006 and 2007.
Having led the Jaguars to the playoffs, it's clear that this man understands the game and knows what he has to do to win.
Andy Dalton is a rookie, and while he appears to be the best in his class so far, there's no guarantee he's going to fare well. Should Dalton begin to struggle, I would much rather see Garrard come in, as opposed to Gradkowski.
It becomes a basic battle of career journeyman vs. experienced veteran.
Give me the veteran in Garrard.
Speaking of experience, what is better than having someone who's played in the big games when they truly count? Garrard can teach Dalton (or lead the team, should it come to that) how to maintain his composure and take charge in hard times.
A veteran with playoff experience is something the young Bengals offense could certainly use. Most of the players that have experience are guys on the O-line and Cedric Benson, all of whom were part of a bad 2009 Bengals team that managed to sneak in.
Knowing how to perform as the notorious "Cardiac Cats" of 2009 is something Garrard can do. Over the years, his effectiveness has never diminished.
As of the end of the 2010 season, David Garrard's career stat line looks this way: 61.6 completion percentage, 16,003 yards, 89 touchdowns and 54 interceptions.
They aren't Hall of Fame numbers, but tell me with a straight-face that a team like Cincinnati shouldn't be impressed with an available résumé like Garrard's.
Gradkowski has only 20 touchdowns to 23 interceptions.
Cincinnati needs Garrard. Gradkowski isn't going to help Dalton or the team—he's simply never been effective enough.
You can't say the same of Garrard, who has been to the playoffs and has twice thrown for over 3,500 yards. Last season, Garrard tossed 23 touchdowns in 14 games, so he still has something left in the tank for the NFL.
Andy Dalton is going to be Cincinnati's starter for their opening weekend. Let's all go ahead and accept that.
I don't entirely blame Cincinnati for getting Gradkowski to begin with, as there weren't a lot of good mentors available during free agency period.
Now that there's one available, the opportunity needs to be seized. Carson Palmer is out the door, so Dalton is basically left to fend for himself and learn the game as he gets hit.
David Garrard, a career winner and playoff contender, is ready to be someone again. Come on, Cincinnati—make it happen!