In a stunning move Tuesday, the Jacksonville Jaguars have informed quarterback David Garrard of his release. Luke McCown is set to start week 1, with first round pick Blaine Gabbert set to be the backup.
What makes this move really stunning is the fact that Gabbert still is not the starter, and the fact that Gabbert still is not the starter speaks volumes about how little they think of Garrard as a quarterback.
The move was probably more financially motivated than anything else; Garrard was due $8 million dollars if he made the opening day roster. Obviously, the Jaguars felt the the difference between McCown and Garrard was not large enough to justify paying Garrard that kind of money.
Unless McCown or Gabbert can produce at about the same level as Garrard has recently, this move is probably going to irritate the fan base in Jacksonville. For a team that is trying to rid its reputation of being “cheap” because its lack of a big market, this does not help their cause.
While it makes sense to dump Garrard before opening day, it does not make sense that they held on to him throughout training camp. Doing this is extremely unfair to Garrard himself – if they planned to move on from him, giving him ample time to find another landing spot and get accumulated with a new would have been the best for David, who has been nothing but a classy guy about the Gabbert situation all along. Now, whoever takes Garrard will not use him a starter for a little while, at least until he gets a grasp of a new offense.
At the end of the day, the Jaguars are going to look like they came into camp without a clear plan, and made a quick decision to save eight million bucks and throw their quarterback out on the street. The Jaguars clearly look like the bad guys here.
This is also an interesting move for Del Rio, who needs to succeed this year in order to keep his job. Getting rid of his most proved quarterback is a difficult way to go about doing that.