After Sunday’s game the Jaguars QB situation looked horrible. David Garrard looks lost, brokenand not athletic at all. His backup, Todd Bouman (age 38) hasn’t taken a snap in a regular season game since 2005. The practice squad QB, Brett Ratliff has never played in a regular season game. This situation looks tragic in every way. I considered the Jaguars must sacrifice a very valuable draft pick to get Chad Pennigton or someone in his caliber to fix the situation and then this week started….
The Jaguars waived Ratliff and signed Keith Null. The second year player saw NFL action last year, in fact he was the starter of the St Louis Rams for 4 games. To be fair on those games he threw 3 TDs and 9 picks, but he knows how a regular season game looks. As I mentioned, he is just in the Practice Squad. (Update: The Jaguars released Null on Thursday. Although Vic Ketchman hinted that maybe he’ll return to the team in the near future…)
On the same day in Buffalo, the Bills cut Trent Edwards. He was the starter since 2007, in fact he was the starting QB on opening day. Now I don’t exactly know why Bills GM Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey let him go for free (I think he had trade value…); but they put him on waivers and on Tuesday the Jaguars claimed him. This could be more then great – in many levels.
For this season; Edwards is a legit backup QB; who can lead this team if David Garrard will continue to struggle. If he must play; he’ll have more chance to catch a spark and resurrect his NFL career. I think the Jaguars offensive line is a major upgrade over what he had in Buffalo. With the protection; running game and the multiple targets (all RBs; and TEs can catch the pass here too!) of the Jaguars are offering him a chance to get his confidence back. And from next week (He will be the 3rd QB against Indy) the Jaguars have a true Nr. 2 –again- on their roster.
But the best part is yet to come, 2011 of course. It is a done deal that the Jaguars will draft the next long-term QB somewhere in the first 1-3 rounds (But I guess it’s more accurate to say it will be the first 2 rounds). Maybe the Jaguars want to give him time to prepare himself for the NFL (although if he will be a Top 15 pick; he will hit the field sooner then later. You don’t sit a guy with a salary of 15+ million $ guaranteed too much. Not in this market). I think the big question (even right now) is who will remain with him to represent a failsafe backup to the team. And the Jaguars have right now 3 good options for that. If Gene Smith plays his cards right; the Jaguars can even get extra resources (a.k.a. extra draft picks or a player) in the next off season.
Now the team must make some “to do” moves to that until next off-season. Issue Nr. 1- they must decide what they will do with David Garrard. Option 1 is to keep him; reconstruct his contract with a huge pay cut; and have him as the mentor of the new QB for the first year. Option 2 is to part ways with him. If he returns to his mediocre playing level (I mean not playing the way he did in the last 2 weeks); he might represent value for other teams; and he can traded away for a player or a pick.
Another “to do” thing is deciding what they want to do with both Luke McCown and Trent Edwards. Both are in there last year of there current contracts. if neither of them have any big demand in the salary (and unless Trent Edwards not turning out to be what for example Jeff Garcia did a couple of years ago or now Michael Vick is doing now for the Eagles = resurrect his NFL career) then resigning any or even both of them won’t be a problem. Both McCown and Edwards representing great value as a backup QB; In my opinion both of them are Top 10 quality as a 2nd QB in the NFL! I would like to see at least 3 QB (with starter potentials) in the roster before the draft and (with the new signal caller) before training camp. If that happens Gene Smith will have a pretty good chips in both period of time for the bargaining table; and for someone who wants to rebuild this team via draft picks; that chance is almost too good no to take advantage of…