By: Ben “Moose” Gibson @midnightxmoose
The Jacksonville Jaguars have not looked like the team they used to be. The days of Leonard Fournette have come and gone, and the Jags are back to the same old bottom-dweller team. It’s safe to say they’ve bottomed out. Gardner Minshew just does not seem to have the same flash that he did when he came into the league. Jake Luton is another limited late-round rookie. Then there is Mike Glennon, who should only be seen as someone who can start a game or two. The team will most likely have a top-five draft pick next spring, with either Ohio State star Justin Fields or North Dakota State phenom Trey Lance likely remaining on the board — assuming Trevor Lawrence gets drafted first overall.
The Jaguars seem to have two options. They could use their early first-round pick to take a rookie. Justin Fields looks good, but there is the stigma that Ohio State quarterbacks of the recent years seem to almost never pan out to be great NFL players. The same can be said about Trey Lance. Coming from FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, the same college as Carson Wentz. The Eagles have shown flashes of success with Wentz but nothing substantial this season. While neither Fields nor Lance can be considered “sure things” both are extremely talented and possess the best potential of anyone on this list.
Veteran Option: Matt Stafford
But what if the Jags chase a veteran option instead? For starters, former No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford could be available following another middling season in Detroit. The Detriot Lions quarterback has had his football career dismantled by the Lions franchise, he gets next to no respect or credit for anything that he does. The best aspects of Stafford’s game are his arm strength, his leadership, and his toughness. With an absolute cannon for an arm, it’s clear that Stafford is one of the most physically gifted passers in the league, even in his early 30’s. Stafford has played through a broken back and a broken collarbone among numerous other injuries. He is tough as nails, to say the least. The only downfall is the Jaguars like to have a run-heavy approach and Stafford coming in would most likely be a playbook redesign. But maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to ask less of him in his later years.
Veteran Option: Cam Newton
An interesting option is Cam Newton who is currently on a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. Newton does not look like the quarterback that he used to be but could mold well with Jacksonville. Newton is a big quarterback at 6’6, 245 lbs. Jaguars fans may be triggered by this, as players like Blaine Gabbert (6’4), Byron Leftwich (6’5), and Blake Bortles (6’5) have burnt them in the past. Though none of those dudes played like Newton, he’s not exactly playing like himself this season. He is not afraid to take the ball himself when needed, doing the bulk of his damage with his legs nowadays. Should the Jaguars pursue Newton? It may not be the best option, but would it be safer than a rookie quarterback that leaves a lot of unknowns? Possibly. At the very least he could be cheap.
Veteran Option: Andy Dalton
People love to hate Andy Dalton. He is made out to be much worse than he actually is. Dalton’s stat line is not bad at all for his career up until today. In his nine-year NFL career, Dalton has passed for over 32,000 yards and thrown for 209 touchdowns against only 113 interceptions. Dalton has already had a three-touchdown game this season against the Minnesota Vikings. He can spread the ball around well but also knows how to be a game-manager. Dalton’s past eight seasons prior to 2020 were spent with the Cincinnati Bengals who have a relatively similar style of play to Jacksonville. If Jay Gruden is retained, this team could be a great fit for Dalton.
The Jaguars should definitely take advantage of this draft class by taking a quarterback early. Minshew Mania is dead and buried. It was at least fun while it lasted. The same can’t be said for Luton Mania.