The Jacksonville Jaguars opted to continue down the path that led to three wins in 2016 by re-signing quarterback Chad Henne to back up Blake Bortles.
The last time Chad Henne took significant snaps for the Jacksonville Jaguars, he played so poorly that the team was forced to call up rookie quarterback Blake Bortles and see what he could do. Bortles immediately inspired the team and sparked an anemic offense to become something better.
This isn’t to say that Bortles has been perfect as a passer – 2016 showed he has a long way to go – but even as a rookie he raised all boats on offense compared to what Henne was doing. During Henne’s period as a starter the Jaguars went 5-17. That record is only slightly worse than Bortles’ 11-34.
Which is exactly why the Jaguars should have pursued an upgrade at the backup position. There aren’t many quality quarterbacks available in free agency, but many of them provide the potential to be better than what Bortles and Henne have delivered. Henne is a known entity and he isn’t better than Bortles and he hasn’t pushed Bortles to be better.
With that in mind, it’s surprising that the Jaguars would choose to stick with Henne. The duration and terms of the deal were not announced per the Jaguars team site, but it’s possible re-signing Henne helps the team avoid a bigger cap hit.
While re-signing Henne suggests the Jags didn’t see better options among the free agent pool, it may also suggest that the team is satisfied with the potential currently on the roster. Henne definitely isn’t the future, Bortles quite possibly is, but if he isn’t there is always Brandon Allen waiting in the wings. Allen is a bit of an unknown but the 2016 draft pick has the potential to be a franchise passer if given the chance.
Even with those considerations, the signing does seem like a bit of a disappointment. Bringing Henne back doesn’t address the quarterback position in a meaningful way. In fact, it simply punts the question further down the field where it will have to be addressed again later.
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That isn’t the type of leadership that fans want from executive vice president Tom Coughlin. It is, however, keeping in line with what Coughlin has delivered.
The re-signing of Henne is a continuation of keeping the same personnel that were in place when Coughlin arrived. Doug Marrone went from interim head coach to head coach. Nathaniel Hackett went from interim offensive coordinator to offensive coordinator. Todd Wash remains as defensive coordinator. There has been an influx of assistants, but much of the coaching staff remains the same. Re-signing Henne (and the more-lauded move of re-signing defensive lineman Abry Jones) shows that keeping people around also extends to the players.
Henne is a consummate professional and the Jags could always do worse, but the move signifies that the team is, for whatever reason, committing to the status quo.