Negotiating Garrard: Part One

In the nearly 365 day work year of the NFL, with no REAL offseason, teams begin to focus on rebuilding and repairing their rosters through free agency and the draft. Now that the Jaguars are in offseason mode, the top order of business will be what they should do with quarterback David Garrard's contract. In this part 1 of 2, we discuss why we should NOT renegotiate at this time.

Since being installed as starting quarterback following the Jaguars final preseason game, all Garrard did was have arguably the best year at the quarterback position in Jaguars franchise history. Despite missing the better part of five games, Garrard completed 64% of his passes, while throwing for better than 2500 yards with a near superhuman touchdowns to interception ratio of 6:1 (18 TD's/3 INT's). Garrard was the missing piece in the Jaguars offense that led them to a franchise high in many categories, including points scored. Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio talked about the team's success-

"Obviously along the way we broke several team records including for points scored, and I talked since I got here about wanting an explosive offense. You saw signs of that this year and we believe that we're just getting started. There is a good solid foundation and with the continuity we expect to have more."

So with David Garrard putting forth a Pro Bowl type of season at the quarterback position, wouldn't it make sense to lock him up to a long term deal? The easy answer is yes, but let's look at the potential negatives of renegotiating with Garrard during this offseason.

First off, David is currently under contract, and will be for one more season. What's the rush? Garrard isn't going anywhere, and he's not the type of guy that will become a malcontent. Garrard waited patiently for his shot as a starting quarterback and he made the most of it. Why not let him wait until he becomes a free agent, and if he's still playing at a high level, do a new deal or franchise him?

Another reason why Wayne Weaver may want to think twice before opening the checkbook too wide is Garrard's body of work. It's obvious that David is a talented guy, he always has been. But this is also the same quarterback that had a career quarterback rating of less than 80 prior to the 2007 season. Basically, Garrard has been good for one year. He could return to being an average quarterback with a great athleticism next year. No one can honestly be confident that his level of play will continue to rise. In the Jaguars playoff games this year, Garrard's overall body of work included four turnovers and one game with a quarterback rating of nearly 40. Teams don't advance very far with those types of performances. Jack Del Rio was asked if re-signing Garrard to a new contract was a priority-

"No, that doesn't make it. Everybody has a wish list. David is our quarterback and we're excited about the year he had, think that he can get even better. That's kind of the business side. That'll work itself out. We'll work on that. There is a process that needs to take place, we'll go through that and the appropriate people will handle that."

David Garrard had a great 2007 season, and he is a fantastic story with all that he's had to overcome considering his Crohn's disease, patiently waiting for a shot at the starting job, and getting past his failures of 2006. The Jaguars have plenty of cap room for a possible extension, but they will likely have even more cap room next year. Entering the 2007 season, Jaguars defensive end Bobby McCray was coming off a double-digit sack season and looked to be ascending toward elite pass rusher status. McCray was just 25 years old, a restricted free agent, and was clamoring for a new deal. The Jaguars rolled the dice and let McCray play out his tender, knowing that if he played well, it would cost the team considerably more money to sign him. McCray had every opportunity for playing time and all but completely disappeared in 2007. If the team had given him his extension, they'd be stuck with an overpriced, non-productive player. Granted, McCray and Garrard are entirely different players who play different positions. But some would argue that McCray had a better body of work entering 2007 than Garrard does entering 2008. With Garrard currently being under contract, and with his rather thin body of work, wouldn't it make more sense to revisit this next year?

Go to: Negotiating Garrard: Part 2

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of, and a regular syndicated contributor to, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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