Jacksonville Jaguars: Does Toby Gerhart offer any value?


Toby Gerhart has been a disappointment since joining the Jacksonville Jaguars and, after another lackluster year, it’s time to evaluate whether the running back offers any value at all to the team.

Like veteran defensive end Chris Clemons, Toby Gerhart was brought to the Jacksonville Jaguars to be an impact starter and veteran presence for a young, struggling team.

Gerhart was supposed to come in and be the solution at running back for a Jags team that was in absolute turmoil overall and especially on offense. His 2013 season with the Minnesota Vikings, in which he averaged 7.9 yards per carry, suggested that he was ready for a starting role after living in Adrian Peterson’s shadow for most of his career.

Given the opportunity to shine in Jacksonville, Gerhart has stumbled and bumbled his way through his big free agent deal and given the Jaguars essentially nothing at the running back position.

Gerhart’s first season with the team, 2014, saw him quickly injured, struggling to establish himself as a presence as a runner. His bruising style was severely hampered and the Jags turned to dynamic offensive weapon Denard Robinson instead of the struggling Gerhart.

Ceding his starting role was only the beginning for a disappointing turn in the story of Toby Gerhart.

The Jaguars brass were committed to rebuilding the running game in 2015 and drafted T.J. Yeldon in the second round to provide a spark. Together with Gerhart and the surging Robinson, the Jags rushing attack was supposed to take a massive step forward.

The plan was to involve Gerhart in dynamic ways, feature Robinson as a possible change of pace from Yeldon, and try and develop Yeldon into a true workhorse. Only the latter of those three things became true as Gerhart failed to be dynamic and Robinson’s 2015 season is mostly remembered for ill-timed fumbles while filling in for Yeldon when he was injured.

The most dynamic thing Gerhart contributed to the Jags rushing attack in 2015 was failing to get the ball into the end zone on four straight one-yard carries. It was dynamic in that the terrible play calling (looking at you, offensive coordinator Greg Olson) was only surpassed by the complete inability of Gerhart to do what he was required to do: bully his way forward.

Gerhart finished 2015 with 40 yards on 22 attempts, averaging just 2.2 yards per carry. He never got into the end zone. Over his two years with the Jags, he’s averaged just 3.1 yards per rushing attempt.

It’s time to definitively say that Gerhart has been a free agent flop. He’s failed to deliver on his potential and he’s failed to be an effective running back option for the Jaguars.

So, what value does he offer to the Jaguars?

As noted by Mike Kaye at First Coast News, Gerhart is a relatively expensive option who is competing with younger, faster, more intriguing players like Joe Banyard, Corey Grant, and Jonas Gray to be a backup. All three of those players – especially Grant – offer more upside than Gerhart.

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Unfortunately, Toby Gerhart has been tested and he did not come out well. He has shown he no longer offers value as a starter. He no longer offers value as a backup. And now, if he continues to struggle with injuries and production problems, he may no longer offer value as a member of this franchise.

It’s time for the Jaguars to revamp the running back position and move on from Gerhart.