But the series of events that led to Tuesday afternoon’s events actually began last October, an ocean away from Jacksonville.
Gabbert, the Jaguars’ former starting quarterback and the No. 10 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, was traded to the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday afternoon, a move that became official shortly following the beginning of the NFL 2014 league year at 4 p.m.
The Jaguars moved Gabbert for a sixth-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft and a potential conditional selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell confirmed.
Caldwell said the conditional selection will be based on playing time.
“We felt like it was a good move for both parties,” Caldwell said Tuesday afternoon.
The move gave the Jaguars 11 selections in the 2014 NFL Draft, with the team already having its normal allotment of seven selections, two additional fifth-round selections and an additional fourth-round selection.
The team has a fourth- and a fifth-round selection from the Baltimore Ravens as a result of a trade last season for left tackle Eugene Monroe. They also have a fifth-round selection from the Detroit Lions as a result of a trade for wide receiver Mike Thomas in 2012.
“Obviously, we’d like as many draft picks as we can,” Caldwell said. “This is a good draft. We feel like it’s a deep draft at different positions, so if we have 11, I think we can find 11 spots and if not, we can always use the flexibility to trade up. If you want to trade up to get a player, it gives you some flexibility, or if you want to trade back and maybe pick up some future picks for 2015.”
Caldwell said the trade had its beginnings in late October, when he and 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke talked before the team’s meeting at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
“We were talking about some things and Blaine has a lot of physical toolset and we didn’t think much of it,” Caldwell said. “Then we talked a little bit at the Combine and on Saturday, he called and made an offer. We talked about it and went back and forth and felt like it was a good move for both parties.”
The 49ers’ website quoted Baalke on the move.
“We thought highly of Blaine as an early entry into the 2011 NFL Draft,” Baalke said. “He is a high-character individual that will be given every opportunity to develop within our system and we are looking forward to working with him.”
Caldwell, who became the Jaguars’ General Manager in January 2013, said he spoke to Gabbert’s agent Monday and spoke to Gabbert Tuesday morning.
“I had a nice talk with him,” Caldwell said. “He’s been great for us. In my time here, he has been a great teammate. His teammates like him. Our coaches liked him. I liked him. I have nothing but respect for Blaine and how he went about his business and how he worked and how he competed.
“I know we’re sending him to a good situation. That’s what I told him at the end of (last season): ‘If something does come about, I’m going to try to send you to the best situation possible.’ Something did come about and it’s the best situation possible for him.”
The Jaguars on Monday finalized a two-year deal to retain quarterback
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Friday he expects Henne to start the 2014 regular-season opener.
The Jaguars are also expected to select a quarterback in the May 8-10 2014 NFL Draft, though Caldwell has said often in recent weeks they may not select one with the No. 3 overall selection in the draft. The Jaguars currently have three quarterbacks on the roster: Henne,
“When we signed Chad we made a commitment that he was going to be the starter, coming in here and building around him,” Caldwell said. “We felt like he was going to be the starter, and that there’s a possibility we will draft a young quarterback somewhere along the line and that he will come in and be the backup and learn behind Chad. That left Blaine to compete for that.
“I just felt like this was a good opportunity for us to move on and get a draft pick.”
Gabbert started 27 of 28 games played for the Jaguars, starting 14 as a rookie in 2011, 10 in 2012 and three this past season. He moved into the starting lineup in Week 3 of his rookie season.
Gabbert earned the starting quarterback role during training camp this past season, but after starting three of the first five games of the season did not play again after sustaining a hamstring injury in a Week 5 loss at St. Louis. He had started the regular-season opener, but missed the next two games with a thumb/hand injury.
He returned to health before Jaguars lost to the 49ers in London, but Henne remained the starter throughout the rest of the season.
Gabbert completed 42 of 86 passes for 481 yards and a touchdown with seven interceptions and a passer rating of 36.0 last season. He completed 414 of 777 passes for 4,357 yards and 22 touchdowns with 24 interceptions in seven seasons with the Jaguars.
“This is something that kind of came about,” Caldwell said. “We have a good relationship with San Francisco and it was a good opportunity for the Jacksonville Jaguars to increase our stock in the draft, but it was also a good opportunity for Blaine to get a fresh start out there in San Francisco. I know they’re excited about having him and I think it’s a good move for all parties involved.”
Cecil Shorts III(@CecilShortsIII) March 11, 2014