Dec 23, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 42-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Who Will Caldwell Want At Quarterback?

If Chad Henne is back for 2013….well this new era may be off to a rough start.  Source: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars look to be in the market for a quarterback in 2013.  Whether it’s because Chad Henne has proven he isn’t worth the time anymore or Blaine Gabbert has shown that he actually is a bust, it’s time for new GM Dave Caldwell to start eying potential candidates he could fit in for the Jaguars.  With the lack of strength at the position for the 2013 NFL Draft, I don’t see Caldwell looking for “the guy” this year.  But that opens it up for a whole lot of other guys who may just be looking to restart their careers in Jacksonville.  Yes, it’s premature but let’s start thinking about it now anyway.  Here’s a list of who I see as potentials (note: unless explained/cited, these are just guys I could see being looked at by the Jags):

Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers

  • Smith has played the good boy in San Francisco for too long.  Last year he finally showed he’s a legitimate quarterback and followed it up with a superb 2012 campaign….only to be benched in favor of rookie Colin Kaepernick.  Just look at how nice he is in this video while talking about the guy who replaced him.  If it were me, I’d be pissed!  Fortunately, San Fran probably won’t want to pay the $7+ million they will owe him to sit the bench for 2013, so there may be a trade in the mix.  The same site suggests that Smith and Niners OC Greg Roman could be a package deal (with a trade, unless he is released) if the Jaguars sign Roman as their head coach.  He would be an immediate upgrade over Gabbert and Henne.
  • 2012 numbers (10 games): 1737 yards,  70.2% complete, 13 TDs, 5 interceptions, 8 yards per attempt.

Can we endure another Gabbert-led season.  Source:  Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Gabbert isn’t going away after just two seasons.  The way Caldwell was talking during his press conference on Thursday, it sounds like he has some sympathy for the growing pains Gabbert is going through.  Caldwell cited Gabbert’s age (second youngest NFL QB) and suggested that he will be in the mix for the quarterback competition. Gabbert was having a better year than his rookie year (almost anything is better than his rookie year) before landing on IR after being benched in favor of Henne.  Gabbert would not be a popular continuation in the new age of Dave Caldwell here in Jacksonville, but, in theory, his ceiling is still high and he still has a lot of time to learn.  He hasn’t had a lot of help on offense, but by now everyone who likes the Jaguars is growing tired of hearing that.  He would really have to shine in the offseason to take the job.  I think he’ll still be on the roster and given a shot at minimum.
  • 2012 numbers (10 games): 1662 yards, 58.3% complete, 9TDs, 6 interceptions, 6 yards per attempt.

Jason Campbell, Chicago Bears

  • Campbell made a pretty nice $3.5 million by sitting the bench in 2012.  The Bears found out the hard way what it was like to have an inadequate backup during the 2011 and they tabbed Campbell in free agency to be the answer in case of another Jay Cutler injury problem.  Campbell started just one game for the Bears and didn’t do much to promote why he should be back next year as a backup.  Campbell was “the man” in both Washington and Oakland before landing in reserve duty for the foreseeable future. I guarantee the guy still wishes he was given a shot and he would be more than happy if the Jaguars let him be a part of the quarterback competition.  He has shown promise, but has also shown fragility and a lack of that “je ne sais quoi” that NFL franchise quarterbacks have.  I think he would be an interesting choice to bring into the mix and would at least provide a backup better than Henne.
  • 2012 numbers (one start, six appearances): 265 yards, 62.7% complete, 2 TDs, 2 interceptions, 5.2 yards per attempt.

Is Caldwell the kind of guy that would bring a “no name” like Daniel for a look?  Source:  Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Daniel, New Orleans Saints

  • I sincerely doubt the Saints let Daniel leave New Orleans without giving him a decent contract that will make him think twice.  He’ll be a free agent this offseason and has the tools and “protege of a great” status that many NFL teams like.  There’s a long time until Drew Brees retires, so I don’t think Daniel will be too depressed to leave and get paid for his potential by another team.  Daniel just finished his fourth season in the league and has only attempted nine passes.  So, what are we getting in Daniel?  We don’t really know.  But if you, like me, have liked him in the preseason (when everybody shines, of course) then he may be worth a gander.  Daniel was an UDFA out of Missouri who signed with the Redskins before being waived and put in the Saints’ practice squad in 2009 and activated for the season finale and Super Bowl run.  Does he have the skills?  Does he not have the skills?  My interest is piqued.  He can’t be much worse than Gabbert and Henne have been, so why not give it a go?
  • 2012 numbers: 10 yards, 100% complete (one pass), 0 TDs, 0 interceptions, 10 yards per attempt.

You may be thinking, “You really reached to the bottom of the barrel on this one, Luke” and you are right.  The list of potential unrestricted free agent quarterbacks for the 2013 offseason is…limited to say the least.  Here are some examples of the caliber of players not locked up past this year: Tarvaris Jackson, David Carr, Derek Anderson, Bruce Gradkowski, Byron Leftwich, Luke McCown, etc… Unless there are some mass releases of quarterbacks soon, I don’t see it as a terribly attractive field.  Even with that said, I would still cut Henne and try to find someone else.  Campbell, the question mark that is Daniel, and the inevitably-to-be-re-signed Joe Flacco are the most intriguing candidates who are currently going to hit the market – at least to me.

Any thoughts on who you would pursue?  Here’s the full list from Spotrac.com.  The list is a little slim, but it’s still really early.  There are always trades, but how much do the Jags want to give up for a stop-gap quarterback?  We’ll have to see if anybody jettisons a potentially good quarterback.

Caldwell knows the value of a good quarterback, but unless he really wants Geno Smith, can snag Alex Smith, or finds a gem in the later rounds, it may be a difficult task for the 2013 season.

- Luke N. Sims

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Tags: Alex Smith Blaine Gabbert Chase Daniel Jacksonville Jaguars Jason Campbell

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