The debate will rage on through the summer as Jaguars fans argue whether incumbent David Garrard or rookie first round draft pick Blaine Gabbert should start in the fall. The majority of fans would probably say that Garrard is the favorite for the job right now and that Gabbert can spend a season or two learning from the veteran and adjusting to the NFL level. Gene Smith, Jack Del Rio and other Jaguars personnel have even said as much.
It seems unlikely, though, that the Jaguars would keep Garrard and the $8 million he’s due in 2011 just to sit on the bench if Gabbert were able to win the spot through training camp and preseason. When Gabbert wins the starting spot, Garrard is likely going to be wearing a different uniform shortly thereafter.
Why, then, wait for the inevitable and cut Garrard without receiving compensation through a trade? While certainly a risky move that would be the franchise in the hands of a rookie from the spread offense of Missouri, perhaps a certain amount of value would make the risk worthwhile.
Quarterback needy teams (QBs on roster):
Arizona Cardinals (Derek Anderson, Richard Bartel, Max Hall, John Skelton)
The Cardinals would appear to be a definite team in the market for a QB. They passed on a quarterback in the draft and Derek Anderson was downright terrible in 2010.
Buffalo Bills (Brian Brohm, Levi Brown, Ryan Fitzpatrick)
Fitzpatrick proved to be a decent starter for the Bills in 2010 so they might be an unlikely candidate to acquire an aged veteran, but I wouldn’t rule them out unless they’ve decided Fitzpatrick is their future.
Cincinnati Bengals (Andy Dalton, Dan Lefevour, Carson Palmer, Jordan Palmer)
The problems with Carson Palmer and the Bengals franchise have been well-documented. The team appears ready to move on with the drafting of Andy Dalton in the 2nd round, but whether or not they’re comfortable enough to start him right away could be a different story.
Cleveland Browns (Jarrett Brown, Jake Delhomme, Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace)
Colt McCoy surprised many by how well he played in 2010, but whether or not the team is sold on him as the long-term starter is still up in the air.
Miami Dolphins (Tom Brandstater, Chad Henne, Chad Pennington, Tyler Thigpen)
The Dolphins are a team with a lot of pieces in place that are being held back by Chad Henne. If they want to make noise in 2011 they’ll likely have to acquire a new QB to do so.
Minnesota Vikings (Rhett Bomar, Tavaris Jackson, Christian Ponder, Patrick Ramsey, Joe Webb)
The Brett Favre experiment is finally over and the Vikings are ready to move on with 12th overall selection, Christian Ponder. They, like the Bengals, might also be wary of starting a rookie right away and could be interested in acquiring a veteran to bridge the gap.
San Francisco 49ers (David Carr, Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith, Troy Smith)
Alex Smith is scheduled to hit free agency, but he might resign with the 49ers to help bridge the gap to Kaepernick. If the team is truly ready to move on from the fiasco that has been the former first overall pick, they might want to look elsewhere to fill that role.
Seattle Seahawks (Matt Hasselbeck, J.P. Losman, Charlie Whitehurst)
Matt Hasselbeck is long past his prime as a starter in the NFL and Whitehurst has never been in a starting role. The Seahawks could benefit from adding a capable starter for the next few seasons.
Tennessee Titans (Kerry Collins, Jake Locker, Brett Ratliff, Chris Simms, Rusty Smith, Vince Young)
The Titans are probably an unlikely candidate to acquire a quarterback, but Vince Young is as good as gone and the team might not be comfortable with starting Jake Locker right away. Either way, they still have Kerry Collins to fall back on.
Washington Redskins (John Beck, Rex Grossman, Donovan McNabb)
It appears from most reports that McNabb’s days in Washington are done. The team can’t be comfortable starting Rex Grossman or John Beck so the likelihood of them acquiring another quarterback would seem to be high.
With Kevin Kolb, Donovan McNabb, Kyle Orton, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith and Vince Young all possibly available through trades or free agency, teams might covet David Garrard as well. One could even argue that Garrard is better than all six of those quarterbacks and a team could be desperate enough to offer the Jaguars a high price to get him.
The Jaguars have the luxury of deciding whether or not they want to sell away their insurance policy in Garrard, so it really comes down to their confidence in Gabbert. If given the opportunity to acquire a 3rd round pick, or maybe even more, it might be hard to pass up for the Jaguars.