David Garrard: 4 Most Likely Destinations for Former Jacksonville Jaguars QB
In 2007, the Jacksonville Jaguars shocked the football world by severing ties with starting quarterback Byron Leftwich nine days before the season opener. Leftwich was blindsided by the news, and coach Jack del Rio handed the job to David Garrard.
Now, in 2011, del Rio has flipped the tables on Garrard. Less than a week before the team's first game, the Jaguars have decided to replace their entrenched starting quarterback. Up until his release, Garrard had been led to believe he would be the starting quarterback.
The move leaves the Jaguars with Luke McCown keeping the quarterback spot warm for Blaine Gabbert and an extra $9 million in their pockets. Garrard, an adept game manager, is left looking for a job.
David Garrard has never been a spectacular quarterback, but if given a chance, he is more than capable of running an offense. In the Jaguars' conservative offense, Garrard threw 23 touchdowns a year ago in just 14 starts.
He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2009 and has a winning record for his career, despite playing with sub-par talent at receiver in Jacksonville.
This is a clear cost-cutting maneuver by a financially strapped small market team. Garrard did not figure into the long-term plan in Jacksonville, but the timing, as it was with Bryon Leftwich, is puzzling.
David Garrard is a proven winner in the NFL. He will not be on the market long. There are still several unsettled quarterback situations in the NFL. Look for one of them to snap up Garrard very quickly.
The Washington Redskins enter the regular season with Rex Grossman holding the starting quarterback job. John Beck will be his backup.
It is hard to believe the Redskins would not at least take a look at former Pro Bowler Garrard. Grossman has as much talent as any quarterback in the NFL, but he has never been able to put together a consistent season. Beck is relatively untested.
The Redskins will not be throwing the ball all over the field. What they need at quarterback is a game manager who will not hurt them with turnovers. David Garrard has proven he can manage an offense.
Garrard would not be ready to usurp the starting job from Grossman in Week 1, but by the middle of the season, as Grossman's interception count continues to mount, he would give coach Mike Shanahan an option with valuable experience, something John Beck cannot provide.
When the Seahawks cut Matt Hasselback and handed their starting quarterback job to Tarvaris Jackson, many questioned whether they were committing to trying to win this season or set themselves up for a run at Andrew Luck. To be fair to Pete Carroll and Seattle, there were not many options out there.
The Seahawks were not really going anywhere with an aging Matt Hasselback. They chose Jackson because he was the best option available in a very underwhelming free agent quarterback class.
Now, they may have a better option in David Garrard. The Seahawks revamped their receiving corps with Sidney Rice and Zach Miller. If they do not at least take a look at Garrard, they will be wasting their money on two of the top pass-catching targets at wide receiver and tight end.
One has to believe that if Garrard had been available at the start of the offseason, he would have drawn plenty of attention from the Seahawks. David Garrard is a proven NFL quarterback. Tarvaris Jackson is getting by on potential. Potential does not win games, experience does.
The Seahawks currently employ Carl Smith as their quarterbacks coach. In Garrard's best season, 2007, Smith had the same role with the Jaguars. Pairing these two resulted in a playoff berth once, and in the weak NFC West, it could do the same again.
It looks like Peyton Manning will be spending a little more time on the sidelines in jeans. That leaves the Colts with Kerry Collins in the starting role.
Collins is 38 years old and spent over half of the offseason retired. The Colts chose him, much like the Seahawks chose Jackson, simply because there was not much out there.
Now, they have a better option available in David Garrard. Garrard would bring a knowledge of the AFC South. No one knows when Peyton Manning will return.
With David Garrard instead of Kerry Collins replacing one of the league's best quarterbacks, the Colts would see less of a drop-off.
The Miami Dolphins are clearly not happy with Chad Henne as their starting quarterback. They attempted to trade for Kyle Orton during the preseason but came up short. Clearly, they have grown tired of Henne's inconsistent play.
Henne brings a stronger arm to the table than David Garrard, but his decision making as the Dolphins starting quarterback has left something to be desired. With more interceptions than touchdown passes, it is easy to see why the Dolphins are unhappy with Henne as their quarterback.
David Garrard could sign with the Dolphins and take over as soon as he is comfortable with the offense. The Dolphins offense would take advantage of Garrard's decision making and accuracy.
Henne has a stronger arm, but the Dolphins offense, with Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess at receiver, does not necessarily need to throw the deep ball to be successful.
The Bottom Line
What it will come down to for David Garrard, is which team will give him the best chance to start. Until yesterday, he was a starting quarterback in the NFL. Garrard will not want to go to a team where he will be forced to hold a clipboard.
At 33 years old, Garrard must still believe he has at least two or three more years as a starting quarterback in the league. The Dolphins will give him the best chance to grab a starting job this season and beyond.
Garrard could wind up with the Colts if he feels Peyton Manning is indeed going to miss extended playing time this season. On a one year deal, Garrard could set himself up for a nice payday after the season if he plays well in relief of Peyton Manning.
If the Dolphins are truly unhappy with Chad Henne, they must move quickly to get David Garrard signed and learning their playbook. Miami is the most logical choice for David Garrard and his agent. He will need to learn the playbook quickly, but in the long run this is the best move for both him and the Miami Dolphins.