Jaguars agree to terms with free agent G Beadles
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars wasted little time upgrading their offensive line in free agency.
They also parted ways with one of the franchise’s biggest draft busts.
Just days after cutting starting guard Uche Nwaneri for performance reasons, the Jaguars agreed to terms with former Denver Broncos guard Zane Beadles on a five-year contract worth $30 million. They also traded quarterback Blaine Gabbert to San Francisco for a sixth-round draft pick.
The team continued its offensive makeover Tuesday night by agreeing to terms with former Minnesota Vikings running back Toby Gerhart, a possible indication Jacksonville doesn’t expect free agent Maurice Jones-Drew to return.
Beadles and Gerhart were expected in Jacksonville on Wednesday, and pending physicals, expected to sign their contracts. General manager Dave Caldwell said the plan is to play Beadles at left guard next to second-year offensive tackle Luke Joeckel.
”He’s very intelligent, he’s very competitive and he’s very smart,” Caldwell said. ”He’s had a heck of a career to date. I think he’s played in every game possible in his four years in Denver. He played in the Pro Bowl in 2012. He’s a guy with a proven track record. He’s still only 27 years old. He’s very passionate about football. I think he checks the box for everything we look for in a player.”
Beadles also should fit well in Jacksonville’s zone-blocking scheme.
”We felt like he could really flourish for us and that there’s better football still in front of him,” Caldwell said.
A second-round draft pick from Utah in 2010, Beadles started 62 of 64 games for Denver the last four years. He didn’t miss a single snap last season.
Jacksonville wasn’t pleased with the performance of Nwaneri or left guard Will Rackley last season. And with longtime center Brad Meester retiring, the Jaguars entered free agency knowing they had to rebuild their interior offensive line.
Many believed the team would look to sign Cleveland center Alex Mack, but the Browns placed a transition tag on him and can match any outside offers.
”I don’t really want to get into that, but it’s a little dicey,” Caldwell said. ”We’re going to see how this initial phase goes and we’re going to re-group here tonight, tomorrow, over the weekend and see what’s still out there. We’ll be active all the way up to the draft in seeing what’s out there.”
The Jaguars also announced they had traded Gabbert, re-signed cornerback Will Blackmon to a two-year deal and scheduled a visit with free-agent linebacker Dekoda Watson.
Gabbert, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, went 5-22 as a starter, couldn’t stay healthy and was benched each of the last two years. He had 22 touchdowns and 24 interceptions, showing little progress in any offensive system.
Gabbert became expendable last week when Jacksonville re-signed Chad Henne to a two-year, $8 million deal and named him the starter. Caldwell hopes to add another quarterback in May’s draft.
”When we signed Chad, we made a commitment to give him a starting position and build around him,” Caldwell said. ”We felt like he was going to be a starter and there is a possibility we would draft a young quarterback in the draft somewhere along the line and he would come in and be the backup and learn behind Chad. That left Blaine to compete for that, and I just felt like it was a good opportunity for us to move on and possibility get a draft pick for someone who can come in and help us this year instead of a backup quarterback.”