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Jaguars insist Garrard release was not about money

Jacksonville Jaguars v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 11: Blaine Gabbert #11, Zach Potter #88, and Luke McCown #12 of the Jacksonville Jaguars watch the action from the sidelines in the second half during a preseason game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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The Jaguars say David Garrard’s huge salary wasn’t a factor in his release. Coach Jack Del Rio simply said that Luke McCown was the best quarterback in camp.

“We’re going in as strong as we can with the best guy playing,” Del Rio said at a press conference Tuesday, calling the decision “pure football.”

That guy was taking third-team reps for a chunk of training camp, although he got more work when Garrard was hurt early in camp. Rookie Blaine Gabbert’s struggles in the preseason allowed McCown to leapfrog both players in front of him. Del Rio seemed to say that Garrard lost the job more than anything.

"[Garrard] just wasn’t able to get it going this preseason. He even admitted that when we talked today,” Del Rio said.

The Jaguars didn’t give Garrard the option to take a pay cut. Del Rio essentially rolled the dice and went all in on McCown and Gabbert.

The Jaguars have essentially admitted they made a mistake by giving Garrard huge money after the 2007 season. He got the money of a franchise quarterback and never rose above average. Now the team is starting over from scratch, with more quarterback questions to come with McCown at the helm.

“The way I look at it, our starter is our starter until he’s not,” Del Rio said. “To do it another way creates a circus atmosphere.”