The Jacksonville Jaguars and new general manager Dave Caldwell are definitely in the market for a new quarterback this offseason, but the question is what they are looking for.
While the current free agent market at quarterback leaves little to be desired, the market may get a boost if the San Francisco 49ers decide to part ways with Alex Smith. Smith lost his job to Colin Kaepernick after suffering a concussion this season and it is unlikely that the 49ers will want to keep his $7.5 million contract if he is just a backup. Smith’s salary becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on the 49ers roster in April, so if they are unable to trade him and his large contract he may just be released and become a free agent.
Smith would be an upgrade for the Jaguars at quarterback over Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne, but he does not really provide the Jaguars with a long-term solution at the position. Smith is going to be 29-years old at the start of the 2013 season and there is no guarantee that he will have any sort of success outside of the Jim Harbaugh offense he ran with a level of success with the 49ers. Remember, Smith was widely considered a bust prior to the arrival of Harbaugh in San Francisco.
If Smith becomes available as a free agent, the Jaguars will certainly kick the tires. However, will Smith want to go to a situation in which he will likely be the bridge to a younger guy that the Jaguars will likely take in the draft? My guess is that after being pushed out in San Francisco, Smith will want to go to a situation where he can take over a team ready to contend for the playoffs but have a massive need at quarterback. The top two teams that come to mind are the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals.
Unlike the Chiefs and Cardinals, the Jaguars are not just a good quarterback away from being a significantly better team. So while the Jaguars could use a guy like Smith, they are better off drafting a guy who can come in and immediately compete and can grow with this team as it rebuilds.