Jabar Gaffney To the Jags? – A Few Reasons Why
By Luke Sims
Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney was released by the Washington Redskins according to Scout.com. No offense to Lee Evans, but if the Jags want more of a sure thing from their veteran wide receiver, they should go after the 31 year old Gaffney.
Gaffney came out of Florida to begin a long NFL career with the Texans, Patriots, Broncos, and Redskins. While never amassing a 1,000 yard season, his 2011 total of 947 yards is the highest of his career. He has averaged over 13 yards per reception for the past three years (the highest averages of his career excluding 2004). In 2011 Gaffney racked up just short of 60 yards per game and provided a consistent offensive force despite the carousel of terrible quarterbacks in Washington.
Blaine Gabbert is better than Rex Grossman and John Beck (combined!) at pretty much everything. His statistics are harder to swallow, but he doesn’t throw nearly as many interceptions and he has a far more commanding presence when on the field (just not in the pocket). If Gaffney can make Grossman look good for a few games, I’m certain he’ll make Gabbert look good for a full season.
Gaffney and Evans should be the comparison the Jags should make. Evans (the younger player) struggles more with injuries and has had a very noticeable decline in production lately. Evans hasn’t appeared in all 16 games the past two seasons while Gaffney has appeared in all 16 games since 2007, including starting every game last year. The last time Evans played and started all 16 games he amassed 300 less yards than Gaffney and 20 receptions less.
It would appear that Gaffney is a late bloomer while Evans is in early decline. Gaffney has increased his season yard totals by roughly 100 yards every year starting in 2008. He did his due diligence as a depth receiver for New England from 2006 through 2008 and has come back as a truly talented player that can instantly trasform a quarterback from mediocre to at least average.
At 6’1″ and 205 pounds, he presents a bigger target than the majority or receivers on the Jacksonville squad (including three inches on Evans).
The only concern I really have about Gaffney is his lack of touchdown production. Over 10 seasons he has amassed a meager 24 touchdowns. In comparison, Evans has racked up 43 in the span of eight years.
I’m not saying Evans couldn’t have a resurgence with Jacksonville, especially under his old head coach Mike Mularkey, but I think that Gaffney offers considerably bigger upside despite being an older player. If you want to move the chains passing the ball, then Gaffney is the Jaguars’ man. If you want to score passing touchdowns in the red zone (or have them punched out of the receiver’s hands) then Evans may be the Jaguars’ guy.
But when you have Maurice Jones-Drew and Greg Jones, why would you be passing in the red zone?
– Luke N. Sims