10 worst free agent signings in Jacksonville Jaguars franchise history

A fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
A fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /
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Jacksonville Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart (21). Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

7. Worst free agent in Jacksonville Jaguars history: Toby Gerhart, RB

The New York Giants raised eyebrows when they selected running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft because of the diminished value the position has in the league nowadays. However, it was common for clubs as recently as the mid-2000s to use a top 10 draft pick in a running back.

Back in 2005, three of the top 5 picks were running backs, Ronnie Brown (Miami Dolphins, No. 2), Cedric Benson (Chicago Bears, No. 4), and Cadillac Willaims (Tampa Bay, No. 5), they all went in the top 10. Things started to change in the late 2000s and early 2010s, when the rules were changed to make it easier to throw the ball.

In the early 2010s, paying a premium to running backs with minimum tread on the tires became a trend and the Jags gave Toby Gerhart a three-year deal worth $10.5 million with $4.5 million guaranteed. In hindsight, this was a subpar decision but there are a handful of reasons it looked good at the time.

Gerhart was a former second-round pick that didn’t see much playing time behind Adrian Peterson in the Minnesota Vikings backfield. Meanwhile, the Jaguars needed to fill the void left by Maurice Jones-Drew and Gerhart seemed like the perfect replacement. Spoiler alert: He wasn’t.

In his first season in Jacksonville, Garbert toted the rock 101 times for 306 yards. Things didn’t get better the following year. A sports hernia limited him to 44 yards on 22 carries and forced him to miss nine games. To the Jaguars’ credit, they realized they could no longer justify keeping Garbert around and released him in 2016.