Other Options This Season
The Jaguars management staff are limited on further options at the quarterback position. Two high profile names sitting in free agency still are the controversial Colin Kaepernick and injury prone Robert Griffin III. Kaepernick continues to find himself in headlines with his off the field actions beginning with last season’s kneeling during the national anthem. His role as an activist for equality has caused an uproar in the football community as the once NFC Champion quarterback continues to remain a free agent. There is denying Kaepernick is phenomenal athlete, just watch his playoff game against the Green Bay Packers in 2013 for proof. His skill at quarterback can easily be debated on as he had been inconsistent throughout his career. As for the former Heisman trophy winner Griffin, his injuries seem to have cost him his career. After a memorable rookie season in 2012, an ACL injury became a lingering concern since then. Griffin was signed by the Cleveland Browns last season in hopes that he would once again produce as he did in his rookie season, but that was halted by a week one injury.
Assuming the Jaguars avoid the controversy of Kaepernick and possible health concerns of Griffin the team could always look to trade. Several teams offer the option at trading a quarterback on their roster such as the Minnesota Vikings or Kansas City Chiefs. The Vikings have both Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater on their roster. Bradford was brought in after Bridgewater experienced a freak accident this time last year. It would be hard to say which the Vikings would be willing to trade as Bridgewater appeared to be the franchise quarterback prior to his career changing injury that still leaves a question mark on where he goes from it. As for Bradford, he was once a first round pick and is now on his third roster following an injury plagued career as well as one failing to meet expectations. On a high note Bradford is very accurate when on the field and set a NFL record last season for completion percentage in a season at 71%.
The Chiefs as mentioned above are entering the season after drafting a quarterback in the first round this year. With Patrick Mahomes II on the roster now it leaves the question on how long until he takes over for veteran quarterback Alex Smith. Smith has done just enough to lead the Chiefs to the postseason the last few seasons, but has never a quarterback to wow statistically. He manages to excel in his game manager ability, which with the switch to a run first offense in Jacksonville may be exactly what we need. Smith would also find himself surrounded by the most talent he’s been around since he led the 49ers to a NFC Championship in 2012. Smith would probably not be a long term solution, but one to get the team by for a few seasons.
The 2018 NFL Draft
The last stop regarding the Jaguars quarterback solution is the NFL Draft next offseason. When looking at this option that likely leaves Bortles or Henne as the starter for the 2017 season. If the Jaguars are able to get by with the play of either quarterback and their up and coming defense they could find themselves picking out of the top ten. This scenario could hurt the Jaguars chance at nabbing the top quarterback in the draft such as Heisman favorite Sam Darnold out of USC. Other names that stick our prior to the college season is 2016’s Heisman winner Lamar Jackson and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. One thing to keep in mind is that next year’s quarterback draft class is a loaded one so regardless of who is the Jaguars signal caller in 2017 expect to see them grab one early in 2018.