4 players the Jacksonville Jaguars didn't land in free agency and are better for it

• Here are four players the Jaguars passed on in free agency and are better because of it.

Oct 22, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Robert Hunt (68)
Oct 22, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Robert Hunt (68) / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Sam Darnold, QB, 49ers

The Jaguars found out that they needed to upgrade their backup quarterback spot this offseason. Last year, they thrust Trevor Lawrence into action despite the fact that he was dealing with a myriad of ailments because they didn't trust C.J. Beathard. At least, that's how it looked from an outside perspective.

After all, the team's brass would've given Beathard a chance to play if they thought he would put them in a position to win games, right? Only when Jacksonville had no choice, did they plug him in behind center, and even then, they had him run a conservative, risk-averse game plan. Fast forward to the offseason and they had no qualms about giving up a sixth-round pick to acquire Mac Jones from the New England Patriots.

Jones gives the Jaguars a former Pro Bowl quarterback who can step up if Lawrence has to miss time. The best part? He's set to make just $2.7 million in 2024. That's a bargain price when you take into account that the best backups in the league can make as much as $10 million per year. That's precisely what the San Francisco 49ers will be paying Sam Darnold to return next season.

Darnold, like Lawrence and Jones, is a former first-round pick. However, he's nothing more than a backup at this stage of his career. While he's completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 1,440 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions, he's not the kind of player you would trust to put the team on his shoulders with the game on the line.

Working in his favor is that Darnold couldn't have landed in a better place. The 49ers offense puts their quarterbacks in a position to succeed, and the coaching staff may believe he could help them win games if Brock Purdy is unavailable. Having said that, the Jaguars are better off with the cheaper and more talented Jones, whose best days may still be ahead.