The Jacksonville Jaguars could turn to free-agent outcast Michael Vick to solve their long-standing issues at quarterback.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport claims the Jags are interested in the 33-year-old who heads the quarterback class on this year’s free-agent market:
Among teams interested in Michael Vick, don’t rule out #Jaguars. They want to bring Chad Henne back. But would be in on Vick or Josh McCown
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2014
As Rapoport notes, Chicago Bears backup Josh McCown is also on the team’s radar. The Vick angle is sure to cause more of a stir though.
The controversial dual-threat ace would generate headlines signing with Jacksonville, and even makes some sense for a rebuilding franchise devoid of big-play potential on offense.
Vick still has a strong arm and the ability to make plays with his feet. He would be a more capable stop-gap starter than incumbent Chad Henne.
But while the Jags would benefit from Vick on some level, he is unlikely to thrive in Florida. The Jacksonville O-line is one of the most feeble in the league.
The unit surrendered 50 sacks in 2013. That won’t appeal to a player who has become as brittle and hit-shy as Vick. It is also a recipe for disaster given Vick’s recent propensity for turning the ball over that blighted his time with the Philadelphia Eagles.
McCown is the more under-the-radar move, but actually the better fit. The 34-year-old was brilliant in relief of Jay Cutler last season.
He threw for 1,829 yards and 13 touchdowns, with just one interception. That is a level of efficiency a developing Jacksonville offense needs.
McCown has played himself into a starting role, and at 34, knows the clock is ticking.
Of course, a lot will depend on the decision Jaguars general manager David Caldwell makes regarding Henne. Ryan O’Halloran of The Florida Times-Union has stressed that the Jags want to re-sign Henne, something the player would welcome.
But O’Halloran indicates Henne could still be seen as a backup even on a new deal. The streaky veteran passer shouldn’t be the team’s primary option under center.
There is also the not-so small matter of what Caldwell intends to do with the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Owner Shad Khan has indicated the Jags will target up two rookie quarterbacks, per another report from O’Halloran.
If Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley aren’t enamoured with Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, or even Derek Carr, they could opt for the sureness of a veteran.
In that scenario, McCown represents the better choice. Vick will make the highlight reel plays, but McCown will direct a West Coast-style offense, like the one favoured by Jaguars coordinator Jedd Fisch, with greater efficiency.
He would be a more proficient starter than Henne while a rookie bides his time.
But signing either Vick or McCown would go slightly against the grain of how Caldwell has been remaking this roster. Only defensive lineman Tyson Alualu remains from the 2007-10 draft classes, according to Times-Union columnist Gene Frenette.
Caldwell may want a young quarterback to lead an equally youthful team.
Either way, the Jaguars cannot enter the 2014 season with just Henne and Blaine Gabbert as their only options at quarterback.
With a team still lacking immediate playoff prospects, Caldwell should try and find his quarterback of the future in this draft, and rely on Henne or McCown for solid, experienced cover.
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