Fears were that he might be a one-year wonder; that the Jaguars might have pulled the trigger on a rich, long-term contract too quickly. In the last month of this season, however, David Garrard has quieted all concerns.
In a year in which the Jaguars spent heavily on several fronts, Garrard is the one player for whom the Jaguars are getting their money's worth. Check out these stats:
Garrard has completed 91 of 140 passes for 995 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions over the last four games. All of that equates to a 97.7 passer rating during that four-game stretch and for the first time in his career Garrard has attempted 30 or more passes in a game for four consecutive games, including a career-high 42 pass attempts in the most recent game. Garrard has now attempted 150 consecutive passes without being intercepted.
Worth the money the Jaguars paid him? Every bit of it. It's a contract that makes Garrard the future of the franchise and his play so far this season confirms that fact.
"To be worth the money is when you're winning ballgames," Garrard says. "I'd rather have worse stats and be undefeated right now. You don't get to enjoy the stats."
The simple truth, however, is that if Garrard had WORSE stats, the Jaguars might not have A win.
Garrard rose to prominence last season when he threw a team-record 209 consecutive passes without being intercepted. He finished the season with a mere three interceptions.
His sudden spike in performance also spiked expectations. Critics claimed he wasn't ready for that kind of hype. Disbelievers said the Jaguars should've waited one more season before giving Garrard a big deal.
Can you imagine what it might cost the team today if it had waited?
"It really didn't put any added pressure on me," Garrard said of his new contract and the heightened expectations that accompanied it. "Yes, those things were out there, but I never thought, man, I've got to come up big this year because of the money."
Garrard's stats also include 161 yards rushing and he remains one of the NFL's most difficult quarterbacks to sack.
So what's next for the Jaguars quarterback?
"My next level is pulling out some of these two-minute drills. That's when I'll be a better quarterback," Garrard said.
It would only increase his worth.