Former No. 1 draft pick Tim Couch
signed a two-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday,
getting a chance to revive his career as a backup to quarterback
Couch, the top pick by Cleveland in 1999, hasn't played a down
in the NFL since the 2004 preseason.
The contract, which did not include a signing bonus, will pay
Couch the veteran minimum of $595,000 this season if he makes the
team. He would earn slightly more in 2008.
Couch could end up supplanting Quinn Gray as the team's
third-string quarterback - a move that would save the Jags about
$700,000 this season.
Gray, who has failed to move up the depth chart in four years
playing behind Leftwich and David Garrard, signed a one-year deal
worth $1.3 million in April.
But Gray has a sprained ankle and started training camp on the
physically unable to perform list. Coach Jack Del Rio said he
needed a fourth quarterback during camp. The team also has
undrafted rookie Lester Ricard.
"We plan on throwing the ball in this camp and we're a little
short at that position with Quinn down, so we've added a fourth
quarterback," Del Rio said. "At some point, Quinn will get
healthy and we'll deal with the numbers. At this point, we've added
an experienced quarterback to come in and give us an opportunity to
throw the football like we need to in this camp."
Scott Eyster from Delta State and Sam Hollenbach from Maryland
worked out alongside Couch on Sunday, and the Jaguars struck a deal
with the former Kentucky star after he passed a physical. Couch had
shoulder surgery last year.
The Jags considered signing Daunte Culpepper following his
release from Miami, but Culpepper reportedly wanted just a one-year
The team ended up with another member of the heralded 1999
quarterback draft class, which included Couch, Donovan McNabb,
Akili Smith, Culpepper and Cade McNown - all taken in the top 12
Couch's five years in Cleveland were filled with disappointment.
He was sacked often, booed regularly and plagued by elbow trouble.
He played in 62 games with the Browns, completing 59.8 percent
of his passes for 11,131 yards with 64 touchdowns and 67
After leaving Cleveland in 2004, Couch signed a one-year deal
with Green Bay to be Brett Favre's backup. The Packers didn't work
out Couch before signing him to a contract that included a $625,000
bonus, and it seemed to backfire.
Couch was bothered by a sore throwing arm, struggled to grasp
the West Coast offense and couldn't even unseat third-string
quarterback Craig Nall.
Couch completed 11 of 34 passes for 96 yards with no touchdowns
in three preseason games and was cut just before the season opener.
He worked out for Chicago and Cincinnati in 2005, but neither
team signed him. He worked out for Tennessee, Miami, Pittsburgh and
Houston last year.
"He's got an opportunity like anybody else in camp," Del Rio
said. "His first opportunity is to make the football team. We're
not setting anything out in terms of drama. You guys make it as
dramatic as you like. We've got 86 guys in camp. He's one of 86."