The Jacksonville Jaguars have a starting quarterback for 2014.
According to CBSsports.com’s Will Brinson, the Jaguars have come to terms with Chad Henne to remain on the team’s roster in 2014.
The deal, which is reported as a two-year contract, will allow the Jaguars to bring in a quarterback and have him learn behind Henne, who started the majority of the season in 2013 for the team.
Henne threw for over 3,400 yards and 13 touchdowns last year on a team that finished the season 4-12.
Henne was regarded as one of the team’s priorities of the offseason since he already knew offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch’s game plan from the previous year.
Also, Jacksonville was only a small handful of teams would could use Henne’s services or may have been interested in him. Matt Cassel, Michael Vick and Josh McCown figured to be the more popular choices to fill needs on teams that struggled with the passing game last season.
This is the exact same scenario that CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora predicted in his recent column on the free agency landscape for quarterbacks.
“And it's a scenario that makes sense, frankly. Henne knows he has a very good chance to play in Jacksonville; at the very least he's already ahead of Blaine Gabbert on the depth chart. Worst case is he has to beat out a rookie,” Brinson explained.
The Jaguars go into free agency with the comfort of knowing they will not need to test the waters on a new leader of their system. General Manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley can use this time over the next week to find starters on the offensive line – where there are huge holes at center and guard.
The team can also use the draft as a method to find a future leader of the franchise behind center, at running back and a receiver or two for depth and more potential scoring. Bringing Henne back to be involved in the passing game and the mentoring of a younger high draft pick falls in line with what Caldwell had in mind with this team all the time.
As Brinson added, “He's comfortable in Jacksonville and Jacksonville's comfortable with him. There's a good chance Henne could've earned some coin in free agency with other teams out there needing a quarterback.
“But if someone like Jadeveon Clowney or Sammy Watkins is sitting there at No. 3, Henne gives the Jaguars the option of drafting for value and not drafting for need, assuming they don't like Blake Bortles/Teddy Bridgewater/Johnny Manziel better than those talents.”
The move all but cements Blaine Gabbert being released or traded in the offseason from the franchise.