JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars quarterback search has taken the next step.
With Jaguars' brass gathered at the combine, the Philadelphia Eagles announced that they would not place the franchise tag on Nick Foles, meaning the former Super Bowl MVP will become a free agent next month.
The Jaguars figure to be one of the teams in the mix to sign Foles. ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted that the Jaguars are, as of now, the most likely landing spot for Foles.
A lot can change once free agency opens March 13, but for now, the Jacksonville Jaguars will head into free agency as the favorite to land Nick Foles.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 27, 2019
Because the free agency period begins more than a month before the draft, the Jaguar could well have their starting quarterback signed up before they are on the clock with the seventh pick. Still, the team must continue to analyze the quarterback prospects during their week in Indianapolis.
"You are looking for the same things. That is the leader of your team just by the nature of the position," general manager Dave Caldwell said. "Just a guy that can win. A guy that you can win with and win with consistently.”
Should the Jaguars sign Foles, they could still draft a quarterback, although the likelihood that they would use a first round pick on the position is minimal. There are too many holes that need to be filled-- most of them on the offensive side of the ball.
The more the Jaguars decision makers speak about their plans, the more it appears they will land a veteran to replace Blake Bortles as the starter.
"It is the one position that outside a title, meaning captain, it is a natural leadership position. The quarterback usually drives the boat," Jaguars' head coach Doug Marrone said. "The more experienced or the more knowledge your quarterback has and the perfect scenario for me is I like it where the quarterback knows more and everyone else has to catch up to the quarterback. I think that’s what keeps people on their toes."
Bortles has yet to be released, although that move is expected to happen this off-season. The quarterback's home in Jacksonville Beach was put on the market.
Just as Tom Coughlin did earlier this off-season, Caldwell again called Bortles the team's starter, which, technically, he is--for now.
"As we go through all the quarterbacks and a lot of questions we ask, ‘Would you rather have this player over this player and this player over this player?’ Obviously, his name is in the mix. He has to be because as of right now he’s our starting quarterback,” Caldwell said.
While at the combine the Jaguars will keep close tabs on all of the quarterbacks. Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins is expected to be the first quarterback taken. Missouri's Drew Lock and Oklahoma's Kyler Murray could also go in the top half of the first round. Other's who could be in the mix include West Virginia's Will Grier, Tyree Jackson, from Buffalo, and Duke's Daniel Jones. A total of 17 quarterback prospects accepted invitations to the combine.