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The dangers of trading for a backup quarterback

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With the emergence of Colin Kaepernick, many believe that 49ers QB Alex Smith will be on the trading block, but history suggests the Jaguars should stay away.

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

In recent weeks Alex Smith has lost his job as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and Kirk Cousins has shown some competence as a replacement to Washington Redskins starter Robert Griffin III. As is the case any time a team shows that they have more than one competent passers on their roster, fans of teams with poor play at the quarterback position get the thirst to make a trade for that player.

While it's not an impossibility that Blaine Gabbert could improve and become a solid starter for the Jaguars, the likelihood that a new general manager will want to hitch his trailer to a guy with a 5-19 record as a starter and a 70.2 passer rating seems slim. So it's not particularly surprising that many would want to tie the Jaguars to a potential trade for a guy like Smith, Cousins or Matt Flynn.

Once upon a time, the Jaguars were on the other side of the coin. Rob Johnson started just one game for the Jaguars during the 1997 season completing 20-of-24 passes for 294 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The performance that earned a 145.5 passer rating was just enough to edge the Baltimore Ravens, 28-27.

Less than six months later, Johnson was traded to the Buffalo Bills for first and fourth round selections in the 1998 NFL Draft. While the Jaguars turned the coup of picks into running backs Fred Taylor and Tavian Banks, Johnson posted an underwhelming 9-17 record in four seasons.

The Bills got burned, but they are just one of many teams that were tricked into the fool's gold of a backup quarterback trade. I'm sure the Chiefs would jump at the chance to undo their 2009 trade for Matt Cassel and the Cardinals probably wouldn't mind a 'do-over' on their trade for Kevin Kolb. But even those weren't nearly as bad as trades for guys like A.J. Feeley and Jeff Lewis.

In all actuality, the only example of a trade for a backup quarterback actually working out as planned in the last 10 years was the Texans' decision to trade for Falcons quarterback Matt Schaub. Perhaps the Jaguars can get themselves a Schaub out of a trade by going after Smith, Flynn or Cousins (assuming one, or any, are available), but history is certainly not on their side.