Jaguars Free Agency: Jacksonville must sign a quarterback this offseason
By David Levin
Regardless of who it is and what it takes to acquire them, the Jacksonville Jaguars must sign a veteran quarterback this offseason in free agency.
I won’t be convinced the Jacksonville Jaguars move on from the Blake Bortles era until the organization adds a veteran quarterback for the 2019 season. That’s the cynic in me as fans have seen the franchise stick with Bortles even though he has not produced on a level that is consistent with top quarterbacks in this league.
While the NFL Draft should produce at least three, possibly four first-round selections from the most important position on the field, Jacksonville must use free agency to bring in someone as a security blanket, someone who can fill the position until a rookie is set to lead this roster to victory.
That may not happen in 2019, because signing someone like Nick Foles means the franchise is comfortable with their new leader for at least two years. Signing someone like Teddy Bridgewater or Tyrod Taylor will signify a different approach as a quarterback could still be the Jaguars focus in the first round of the April draft.
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The market for NFL quarterbacks this offseason got a bit smaller when it was announced Joe Flacco will play in Denver this coming season. It also meant one more name can be crossed off Jacksonville’s list. There may be a chance someone like Ryan Tannehill or Case Keenum are part of the big picture as they are expected to be released by Miami and Denver this offseason.
"“This year, for the first time in recent memory, the NFL’s quarterback supply seems to be outpacing demand,” writes Dan Graziano of ESPN.com.“An informal survey of agents and team executives around the league found the list of teams looking for a starting quarterback to be a surprisingly short one, replete with caveats.”"
Those would be what happens “if” these players are released and “if” quarterbacks like Bridgewater do not re-sign with their current franchises. The Jaguars are still playing a “wait and see” game.
When dominoes begin to fall, where will this team sit in the pecking order? Can a deal be worked out for Foles that will not break the team in half? Does Bridgewater have the ability to play a full 16 games? Would Keenum take less money to play with his former offensive coordinator, John DiFilippo? Is there another quarterback out there we have not spoken about that this team thinks it can win with?
The mystery is just that. Fans and the media don’t know what the Jaguars will do, and that includes potentially keeping Bortles, who would cost the team $16.5 million if he were released.
"“Since free agency comes first, the Jaguars have to act by signing a quarterback who can win a starting job, or at least be the bridge until a rookie is ready to take over,” writes Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union. “There’s no slam-dunk solution, but the Jaguars boxed themselves in last year by awarding Blake Bortles a contract extension when it wasn’t necessary.”"
There are 25 days until NFL free agency really begins and the speculation already written about what the Jaguars will do has filled plenty of space on websites and newspapers nationwide. The reality is the market has too many possible options and not enough teams in need of a quarterback this offseason.
That might be a good thing for Jacksonville unless the Jaguars get shutout by other teams that need a quarterback and are more aggressive in their approach to signing one.