JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- During his season wrap-up news conference, Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said there was a possibility the team would be able to sign quarterback Chad Henne to an extension before his contract expired in March.
Talks between the sides could begin within the next few weeks.
"We’ll reach out to their people at some point in time," Caldwell said. "There’s not a glaring rush. We’ve got some more meetings to go through, some game-planning with our coaching staff and our personnel staff just to see where we’re at and put together our plan for free agency and the draft."
Henne, who signed a two-year deal worth $6.75 million with the team in 2012, started 13 games this past season and threw for 3,421 yards and 13 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. He’s the first Jaguars quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season since David Garrard in 2009.
Henne, who had nine TD passes and five interceptions in the final five games, didn’t tear it up but he did bring stability to the offense and rarely put the offense in a bad position. He also wasn’t exactly working with elite weapons, either. He lost his best receiver (Justin Blackmon) to an indefinite suspension, didn’t get much from tight end Marcedes Lewis until the last month, and then lost his second-best receiver (Cecil Shorts) for the final three weeks because of an injury.
The Jaguars are likely going to take a quarterback at some point in the upcoming draft -- it’s looking more and more like it won’t be at No. 3, though -- and Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley would like to have at least one quarterback on the roster that’s familiar with offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch’s system and who would be willing to mentor a young QB.
Henne is obviously a better option than Blaine Gabbert, the former No. 1 pick who threw one touchdown pass and seven interceptions in three starts this past season. Henne wants to be back, too.
"It was one of the most memorable seasons for me," Henne said. "The outcome obviously isn’t what we wanted, only winning four games, but the second half of the season we did get better and do some really good things.
"For me, I want to build on it. If I have the opportunity to come back and they want me back, it would be a good fit."
Henne is the Jaguars’ top priority among their current players whose contracts will expire in March. Caldwell said the front office is going to meet with the coaching staff and personnel department over the next several weeks to determine a course of action.
"We’re going to discuss a lot of that stuff in the next couple of weeks when we get nitty-gritty with our coaching staff and really reflecting over the season and every play that we watched," Caldwell said. "We had them write their reports right after the season, want them to reflect a little bit on it … and then we’ll meet with the coaching staff and personnel staff together."