The Jaguars are talking about wanting to sign Mark Brunell to a new contract quickly. Well, they better be real quick.
This offseason could produce more movement at the quarterback position than the NFL has ever previously seen. Begin with two quarterbacks, Trent Green and Ryan Leaf, who are certain to be playing in new cities next season and are just as certain to begin a domino effect at the position throughout the league.
What about Jeff Blake, now that Aaron Brooks has become a star in New Orleans? Then there's Rob Johnson in Buffalo, where there will be a new hierarchy, and, of course, what would any offseason be without Gus Frerotte switching teams?
Don't forget about Brad Johnson in Washington, and what about Trent Dilfer in Baltimore? Is any quarterback secure in his location?
What all of this means is that Brunell's trade value, or any quarterback's trade value, can be expected to fall in a wide-open quarterback market. It's a matter of supply and demand, and much of the supply that's expected to be available involves attractive names.
Also consider the fact that the four teams who will compete in this weekend's conference title games may introduce a trend away from proven commodities at the position. For instance, Dilfer's and Kerry Collins' careers were previously dead in the water, Rich Gannon started his first playoff game this past weekend, and Daunte Culpepper is just in his second pro season, his first as a starter. When you consider what Kurt Warner accomplished a season ago, NFL teams may be reluctant to give away the farm for a Brunell or, say, a Drew Bledsoe.
That's right, Bledsoe may fit in the quarterback picture this offseason. The Patriots want to do a contract extension with Bledsoe, but the Pats are taking a tough stand in negotiations. Don't forget, coach Bill Belichick cut Bernie Kosar in Cleveland, so he wouldn't be afraid to ditch Bledsoe, who is not exactly Belichick's kind of quarterback.
Leigh Steinberg represents Brunell, Bledsoe and Green Bay's Brett Favre, who is due to have his contract re-structured this offseason. The Boston Globe reports that Steinberg wants to handle his three clients in this order: Favre, Brunell, Bledsoe.
Favre has the greatest contract value of the three, and Steinberg wants to negotiate a deal for Favre first because that would set the market value for Brunell, Bledsoe and every other quarterback who is to follow. Brunell is considered to have more value than Bledsoe, which is why Steinberg would place Brunell second in the order.
The Jaguars' attempts to get a deal done with Brunell may hinge on Favre's progress with the Packers. You might say, as the Packers go, so go the Jaguars.
Will the Packers and Favre get a deal done before the offseason quarterback merry-go-round begins? That's the key for the Jaguars. If their option to not signing Brunell is to trade Brunell, then they must get a deal done before league-wide movement at the position begins.
It's possible Brunell will never have more value in the trade market than he has right now. If the Jaguars wait too long to make a trade decision on Brunell, they could lose a lot of leverage.