Jaguars Free Agency; Did they get better?

By Ben Babcock

 

Offseason Grade: B-

Answer: No

 

The Jaguars spent the 3rd most of all teams this offseason and to be honest, they really didn’t get better. First of all, they resigned Blake Bortles. I don’t care how well he played in the playoffs, he still hasn’t shown enough consistency and leadership, in my opinion, to pay him $18 million a year. Granted, $18 million a year really isn’t that much in the current QB market, but I really just don’t like Blake Bortles. If they had gone out and gotten Kirk Cousins then they’d be the best team in the AFC, if they hadn’t lost Allen Robinson. The Jaguars could’ve made some bigger moves this offseason.

The only things they did do right were getting a tight end and load up their offensive line. They replaced tight end’s Marcedes Lewis and Mychal Rivera with Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul. Seferian-Jenkins is the good signing here, Lewis is getting old and didn’t produce a whole lot. Seferian-Jenkins isn’t an elite tight end by any means either but is still strong and has years ahead of him. They really splurged on the O-line, signing OG Andrew Norwell to a 5-year, $66.5 million contract, and re-signed OG Patrick Omameh to a 3-year, $15 million contract. Norwell was probably the top offensive lineman available this free agency, and the Jaguars didn’t have a bad O-line last year, this just solidifies it. Which is smart because Blake Bortles needs all the time he can get. The one downgrade on the offense came when they lost Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. These two have been the top two receivers in Jacksonville the past few years, so losing them is big. To make things worse they went and kinda overpaid two average receivers. Resigning Marquise Lee to a 4-year, $38 million contract and Donte Moncrief to a 1-year, $9.6 million contract. Allen Robinson is making only $4 million more than what they are paying each of these two. These are both good receivers, but it’s still a big downgrade from what they had last year.

Not much action on defense though. They lost cornerback Aaron Colvin, their number three corner, but replaced him with D.J. Hayden. Then added depth at free safety and outside linebacker with Cody Davis and Lerentee McCray. The only big loss was Veteran linebacker Paul Posluszny, who has been starting for them since 2011 and retired this offseason. They still have two very strong linebackers in Telvin Smith and Myles Jack who can hold their own and lead whoever they replace Posluszny with. Nothing bad, they still have one of the top defenses in the league.

The Jaguars have the 29th pick of the draft and since they are so stacked on defense, and Blake Bortles needs as many weapons as possible, they will add to the offense. Specifically a wide receiver or tight end. And if they do take defense, it’ll be a linebacker. TE Hayden Hurst is one of the top tight ends in the draft, and if he improves as a blocker he could be very strong in years to come. Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore, and Courtland Sutton are a couple possibilities for the Jaguars at no.29. Ridley would be the more ideal of the three, but they are all strong options. After losing Robinson and Hurns I’d really be surprised if the Jaguars didn’t take a receiver in the first couple rounds. That is where they are weakest now.

The Jaguars are still a very solid team, I just think they took a small step backward overall when they had the cap space to make some better moves. Norwell was a great signing, Seferian-Jenkins was good, and the only position on defense where they could use added depth is at linebacker. I still really don’t like the resigning of Blake Bortles. They could possibly go for a replacement for him in this draft too, and start grooming a true franchise quarterback. His performance is key to their success this year. They are still the team to be in the AFC South and will be back in the playoffs next year.

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