Is the end near with Jags?

The Jaguars landed their quarterback of the future in Byron Leftwich, and it could signal the end of Mark Brunell's career in Jacksonville. Thanks to one of the biggest blunders in NFL draft history, the Jaguars were able to secure a quarterback that they believe can take the torch from Brunell.

And maybe as soon as this season, depending on whether Brunell will be willing to renegotiate his current contract on the Jaguars' terms.

Negotiations to extend Brunell's deal beyond 2004 have stalled in recent weeks, leading to speculation that Leftwich may now take over sooner rather than later. With a first-round quarterback coming on board to compete with Brunell and David Garrard, the Jaguars' fourth-round pick last year, somebody will be the odd man out to start next season. It's also possible that Brunell, 32, could be released because the salary cap hit would be only $2 million in 2003 and another $2 million in 2004, but the Jaguars are deftly avoiding any discussion about Brunell's days being numbered.

"Mark is an outstanding quarterback in the NFL," said Harris. "We didn't make the pick [of Leftwich] with [releasing Brunell] in mind."

Del Rio didn't exactly make it sound like Brunell still had a future in Jacksonville at the end of the first draft day when he intimated that he wasn't sure if there'd be any more progress on extending his contract beyond 2004.

"That's a good question," said Del Rio. "I honestly can't give you an answer. We'll have to talk about that. We've spent time on it. We'll have to reevaluate where we're at and decide if that's the interest of this organization."

Since Brunell has the team's highest cap figure this season at $8.75 million, his days as a Jaguar may be numbered. Harris admitted that the team "has been involved in some calls about Brunell [and a possible trade]."

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