The San Francisco 49ers already have Alex Smith as the starting quarterback and rookie Colin Kaepernick as the back-up. The team spent much of the lockout-shortened offseason looking for a third, veteran signal-caller to pair with these two. The goal: not to compete for the starting job but to rather compete and push Kaepernick as the back-up.
The 49ers explored options such as Daunte Culpepper (who they never signed) and Josh McCown (who they cut on Saturday). Now, another option has emerged in the form of Tuesday's shocking announcement that the Jacksonville Jaguars have released quarterback David Garrard.
Garrard, at the age of 33 and with nine years of NFL experience under his belt, is an experienced veteran that has recent NFL experience (neither Culpepper nor McCown has played an NFL game since 2009). Garrard also had one of his best seasons last year: he recorded his second-highest completion percentage figure (64.5%) and his highest touchdown total by far (23, up from his previous career-high of 18) in 2010. He would definitely challenge Kaepernick for the back-up spot.
In addition, Garrard could step in and feel relatively comfortable should something happen to Alex Smith. Why? Frank Gore. Garrard became accustomed to playing off of Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville, tossing a handful of passes to his running back every game and letting Jones-Drew wear down defenses with multiple rushes. Gore fits the exact same description and has been using the exact same style since he became the starting running back for the 49ers in 2006. Garrard has plenty of experience playing off of an elite running back, and San Francisco provides him the same set-up that he just left in Jacksonville.
Garrard's future will be determined in the next few days as he scopes out different teams. The 49ers could do themselves a big favor by being active in the hunt and wooing Garrard to the Bay Area.