Byron Leftwich is unlikely to help Jacksonville facilitate a trade by Saturday at 6 p.m., his agent said on Friday.
Agent Tom Condon said he’d prefer Leftwich be cut by the Jaguars, who announced Friday that the veteran quarterback would be traded or cut as one of the final roster moves to get to the 53-man limit. Condon said Leftwich has one year remaining on his contract at $5.5 million in base salary. Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio said Friday he was making David Garrard the starter over Leftwich after Garrard performed better in exhibition games.
“Frankly, I’d rather see him released,” Condon said. “That way, Byron can choose where he wants to go, find a place where he’ll be really comfortable. With only one year left on his contract, I don’t know who would want to give up a draft pick for him unless we agreed to a new deal. We’ll see, but I don’t see that happening.”
Approximately half the teams in the NFL could trade for Leftwich and fit him under the cap, but Leftwich would be hard pressed to start for any team right away and his salary would be the highest in the league for a backup. If Leftwich is cut, he automatically becomes a free agent because he has played four years.
The move to change quarterbacks was not expected at this point, but Del Rio has pondered changing quarterbacks since last season when Leftwich was injured and Garrard was forced to play. Leftwich’s lack of mobility and the fact he has never played a full season because of injury have been issues for the Jacksonville coaching staff. Many observers thought the Jaguars would part ways with Leftwich early in the offseason.
But Del Rio not only waited, he also declared in the offseason that Leftwich would be the starter, only to change his mind on the eve of the season. Del Rio and Leftwich have also been at odds since last season when they first disagreed about the severity of Leftwich’s ankle injury.
- Tom Condon