The Jacksonville Jaguars have a tremendous need at the quarterback position, but as of now we do not know how they plan on addressing their need.
If new Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell follows the formula that was utilized in his two previous stops with the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons, they will look towards the NFL Draft to find a franchise quarterback. In his first year with the Colts in 1998, they drafted Peyton Manning and went on to have a successful decade with him at the helm. In his first year with the Falcons in 2008, they drafted Matt Ryan and appear to be on the same track that the Colts were on.
While the Jaguars are in a typically prime position in the draft to select a franchise quarterback, there are significant questions about all of the signal callers available. While the Jaguars almost certainly will use a draft pick on a quarterback this offseason, the quarterback they select might not be ready to run a professional offense. If that is the case, will the Jaguars also pursue a veteran quarterback this offseason to bridge the gap to a younger guy with more upside?
The free agent market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason leaves little to be desired, so the Jaguars will likely have to pursue a trade if they are looking for a guy to compete with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. The two names that have been linked to the Jaguars have been San Francisco 49ers backup Alex Smith and Seattle Seahawks backup Matt Flynn.
Smith may be available as a free agent if the 49ers release him, but if that is the case he will likely be highly sought after by other teams that need a quarterback. After the way he was forced out with the 49ers, it is unlikely Smith would want to be put in another situation where he could potentially lose his job to a younger quarterback with higher upside.
New Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley is in a better position than anybody to know if Flynn is a viable starting quarterback. Bradley’s defense practiced against Flynn everyday last season in Seattle, so it will be interesting if he puts in a good word for him. The biggest concern with Flynn is his big contract and what it will cost to pry him away from the Seahawks.
In the end, the Jaguars have too many needs to waste valuable assets on acquiring a veteran quarterback this offseason. I think the Jaguars pass on the veteran quarterback market this offseason in favor of bringing a guy with upside through the draft.