- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It’s time for the Jacksonville Jaguars mailbag question of the week.
There’s no prize, other than the knowledge that your question piqued my interest the most. That should be enough, anyway.
— Matt Hypes (@mhypes55) May 22, 2015
@ESPNdirocco: Let’s get Toby Gerhart’s contract stuff out of the way first. He signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract in 2014 that included $4.5 million guaranteed, which he has already been paid. He’s due to make $2.5 million this season and $3 million plus a $500,000 roster bonus in 2016, and the Jaguars could cut him at any point and not be on the hook for any additional money.
There is a chance the Jaguars could cut Gerhart if he doesn’t perform up to expectations during training camp and the preseason, but there are several issues to consider.
The Jaguars aren’t keeping a fullback on the roster, and coach Gus Bradley has already said they want to use Gerhart as an H-back at times. Plus, he’s the team’s best short-yardage back at this point.
Rookie T.J. Yeldon will be the starter but other than a few instances teams don’t rely on one back any longer. The Jaguars will keep at least four, and possibly five, running backs. The odd man out if the Jaguars keep only four most likely would be either Storm Johnson or Bernard Pierce.
Gerhart is a solid receiver out of the backfield as well as a good blocker in pass protection, and those skills can’t be overlooked.
And then there’s what GM David Caldwell said about Gerhart at the conclusion of the 2014 season: “We weren’t disappointed in Toby. Toby had a tough year from that Philly game on in terms of being not healthy. You saw some glimpses later in the year when he was healthy of what he could do and that’s why we signed him and that’s what we hope to get out of him in the future.”
Considering all those issues, I would be surprised if Gerhart didn’t make the roster.
The running back spent 2014 banged up and underachieving, but he still has value in the passing game as a receiver and QB protector.