Tuesday, September 6, 2011
David Garrard and the NFC West
By Mike Sando
David Garrard completed 64.5 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.
One player in Seattle Seahawks history -- Matt Hasselbeck in 2005 -- met those single-season standards for completion percentage and touchdowns without exceeding 15 interceptions.
Two players in San Francisco 49ers history -- Joe Montana four times and Steve Young three -- did the same.
The 2005 Hasselbeck is gone from Seattle and is not coming back. Montana and Young have long since taken their places in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Does that mean the Seahawks and 49ers should be pushing their way to the front of the line for Garrard now that Jacksonville has released the veteran quarterback? Making the case for "yes" is much easier than taking the other side.
I'll be a little surprised if either team lands Garrard, however.
The Seahawks have held firm to their belief that Tarvaris Jackson's familiarity with their offense will help them navigate a difficult period coming out of a lockout. They likely wouldn't be willing to pay Garrard significantly more than they're paying Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst during this transition season. If they wanted a 30-something veteran behind center -- Garrard is 33 -- they would have re-signed Hasselbeck, in my view. And Garrard lacks the mobility Seattle has sought from its quarterbacks under coach Pete Carroll.
The 49ers could use a veteran backup and/or someone to compete with Alex Smith. Coach Jim Harbaugh liked Garrard coming out of college and valued him as a third-round choice at the time, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. That was a long time ago. Garrard lacks the mobility Harbaugh valued so much when targeting Colin Kaepernick in the draft this year. But if the question is whether Garrard would make the 49ers better at the position, the answer is yes.
System-wise, Garrard might fit better in Arizona, but he wouldn't get onto the field there without an injury clearing the way.
Garrard was scheduled to earn more than $8 million in salary this season. He'll earn much less with another team this season. He would offer the best value as a signing after Week 1, at which point his salary would not be guaranteed.
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc., says he's not a Garrard fan, in part because Garrard stares down receivers. But after calling Jackson the worst starter in the NFL, he thinks Seattle would be better off with Garrard. He thinks the 49ers should have some interest as well.