The Tennessee Titans completed their third signing of free agency this morning, inking QB Blaine Gabbert to back up Marcus Mariota.
Ever since the unmitigated disaster of Matt Cassel against the Miami Dolphins in Week 5 last season, Tennessee Titans fans have been clamoring for a new backup to QB Marcus Mariota. It took quite a while, but the Titans have finally found an upgrade, agreeing to terms with Blaine Gabbert on Tuesday morning.
Backup quarterback was a position of need heading into the offseason, and that became abundantly more clear when the Titans released Cassel a few weeks ago. After flirting with Chad Henne, the Titans settled on Gabbert, who was passed on by a former Titans regime in the 2011 NFL Draft, when Jake Locker was selected two spots ahead of him.
Gabbert ended up being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he struggled to get much of anything going for himself and for the team through his first three years. Gabbert was subsequently traded to the San Francisco 49ers to back up Colin Kaepernick. Gabbert and Kaepernick would alternated starts for periods at a time in 2015 and 2016. He finished his Niners career with a 16:13 touchdown to interception ratio, and completed career-high 63.1% and 59.6% passing accuracy marks, respectively during his last two seasons in San Francisco.
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After leaving the Niners by way of free agency, Gabbert signed a one-yeard deal with the Arizona Cardinals to sit behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton and learn from offensive guru Bruce Arians. Injuries to both Palmer and Stanton forced Gabbert into a Week 11 game against the Houston Texans, where he promptly threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns. Gabbert ended up playing in five games in 2017, beating the Titans and Jaguars and keeping the struggling Cardinals in games against the Texans and Washington Redskins.
While Gabbert’s play and numbers have left a lot to be desired since being drafted, he has carved out a role as a decent backup option. Given his fantastic athletic and rushing ability, as well as very good arm strength, Gabbert made a ton of sense as an option to be Mariota’s backup. The two are not one in the same, but they share some similarities. We’ll see if OC Matt LaFleur can work some of his QB magic on the seven-year veteran.
All we know for sure is that Gabbert can’t possibly be worse than Cassel was last season. Regardless of this signing, look for the Titans to search for a quarterback late in the draft.