Going with Gabbert Simply Means the Jaguars Don't Have Much Choice

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistFebruary 11, 2013

Get ready for Blaine Gabbert 3.0!
Get ready for Blaine Gabbert 3.0!Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Last week a seemingly innocuous article stirred up comment a few days after it posted.

Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union talked to Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell.

The interview was mostly rote GM-speak about building through the draft, but apparently a comment by Caldwell turned heads.

Caldwell offered what appeared to be an endorsement of Blaine Gabbert. He mentioned how young Gabbert is and said:

That was his second year. What were they saying about other quarterbacks after their second year? We’re looking for improvement [in his third year]. We need to build around him. We’ll upgrade whenever we can upgrade.

On the surface, this looks like a defense of the embattled quarterback, but all it does is reveal how few options the Jaguars have at the position.

Caldwell hits the nail on the head when he asks about other quarterbacks after their second year. Gabbert is young, but lags way behind his contemporaries. Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson are all drastically superior players to Gabbert and all are in their second year or less.

The fact is that Gabbert doesn't match up to his contemporaries. The success of other young quarterbacks has shattered the myth that passers need time to develop.

Despite the second pick in the draft and plenty of cap room, however, the Jaguars don't have much opportunity to upgrade the position.

Alex Smith would be a big mistake, and none of the draftable quarterbacks appear to be worth the second overall selection.

No one wants to see a repeat performance of the Blaine Gabbert Experience, but what choice do the Jags have? It's better to ride out another year of Gabbert, accept the inevitable top-five selection that will come along with it and permanently solve the quarterback issue in 2014.

The alternative to overdraft another not-ready-for-prime-time prospect and relive the whole mess for another three years instead of just one.

Or they could overpay for an aging veteran who isn't very good and add salary-cap problems to their litany of road blocks to contention.

There's no reason at this stage of his career to believe that Gabbert is close to becoming a viable quarterback. He could have a late-career reincarnation, but the best he can hope to be is a middle-tier player later in life.

Caldwell knows that career longevity for a GM is closely tied to the success of a franchise quarterback. He's not going to stake his job on the failed draft pick of a disgraced regime.

Gabbert will likely open 2013 as the starting quarterback for the Jaguars. It's not what anyone wants, it's just short-term pain to advanced long-term glory.