Column: Flurry of Quarterback Moves Shows Just How Lucky the Jaguars Are in 2021

With the NFL's landscape changing by the day due to the massive unknown of quarterback movement, the Jaguars should consider themselves among the luckiest of all NFL teams for being able to bow out of the arms race.
Author:
Publish date:

The New York Jets are on the clock.

31 days from now, the Jacksonville Jaguars will celebrate the most salient moment in franchise history when they officially select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick. But for all intents and purposes, the Jaguars could have turned that card in four months ago.

So for now, the shock and awe of Lawrence's otherworldly talent coming to Jacksonville has worn off. Instead, the feeling at TIAA Bank Field should be one of immense gratitude that they will be handed Lawrence and his elite skill set in a month.

The cost of that skill set? A single 1-15 season during a year in which few thought the team would be competitive to begin with. Compare that to the going rate for quarterback solutions in today's NFL, and the Jaguars paid as of a minimal price for their hopeful franchise quarterback as one could find.

After all, the Jaguars aren't oblivious to the current climate of the NFL just because they are set to embark on their own upward trajectory. They are keen on the flurry of quarterback moves this offseason, moves that are changing the landscape of the NFL and the entire futures of franchises across the league.

From the Los Angeles Rams offering up multiple first-round picks for Matthew Stafford to the Indianapolis Colts offering a 2021 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 first or second-round pick for the NFL's worst starting quarterback in 2020 in Carson Wentz, the cost to trade for a non-elite quarterback with tools is high. There are 32 quarterback vacancies and 32 teams trying to win Super Bowls but not 32 top-tier quarterbacks, after all.

Then there is the seismic move the San Francisco 49ers made just a few days ago, essentially trading away three first-round selections to the Miami Dolphins to move from No. 12 overall to No. 3 overall in the draft order. And that haul is just to give the 49ers a chance to draft the third highest-rated quarterback in this year's draft.

The NFL is in a quarterback frenzy. There are these moves and then countless other moves that have yet to happen but are always monitoring (Russell Wilson's place in Seattle, for example).

In any other year, the Jaguars would likely have to dabble in the quarterback frenzy to find a worthwhile starter. This is the same organization that has taken desperate attempts to find that player in Blake Bortles and Nick Foles in recent years; moves for quarterbacks who clearly were not good enough, but were the best the Jaguars thought they could accomplish.

If not for owning the No. 1 pick, the Jaguars would have to be in the conversation for drafting one of the second-tier passers in this year's class, entrusting their scouting and coaching staff to identify the right fit among four non-Lawrence passers expected to be drafted in the first round.

While it may not be a fair argument, does the Jaguars' past history at the position instill any faith or benefit in the doubt in their ability to navigate the quarterback class after Lawrence? Would there not always be a concern the Jaguars would once again blow a golden opportunity because they didn't have a sure thing?

But the Jaguars don't have to concern themselves with scouting the class beyond Lawrence. They obviously have to do their due diligence, but they know who they are picking and they know it will be Lawrence.

They don't have to concern themselves with the economics of an inflated quarterback market because the hard part -- actually getting in a position to draft Lawrence -- is already done.

The Jaguars are not the poster child of the NFL for good fortune, but 2021 so far has been a clear stroke of luck for a franchise that needed it more than any other.