Love it or Hate it – Free Agents


September 14, 2008 - Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images North America

When the season does start (and believe me, it will start at some point), free agency will open up to all teams. Free agency is a little bit different this year, if you didn’t already know. The 2011 NFL Draft came before Pro Free Agency and Undrafted Free Agency. How does this affect the Jaguars? Well, in the prior two years to the 2011 offseason, GM Gene would use Pro Free agency to solidify the Jags’ roster before the Draft at positions of need. This season we learned that GM Gene is most assuredly BAP, as he drafted players that weren’t the most dire need on the team and didn’t draft any players at positions devoid of talent. Today we’ll look at potential free agency targets.

GM Gene has stated that the Jags will look to sign 2-4 free agents once free agency opens up and they will fill out the rest of the roster with undrafted free agents. Here’s a position group by position group analysis of free agents that could be acquired

QB – None

RB/FB – None

TE – None

WR – The Jags have a couple speedsters on the team in Thomas and Hill. The have a big bodied receiver in Osgood. They have a possession receivers in Dillard. Shorts has yet to show his ability in the NFL. The Jags seem to be lacking a true number one (a person with size, hands and speed). If the Jags choose to break the bank, they could acquire Sidney Rice. Otherwise, don’t look for the Jags to sign a WR, they’ll probably let the players already on the roster duke it out.

OL – GM Gene has indicated that he thinks the line is pretty strong. Baldridge and Haslaam have both progressed and offer upside. The interior is older but might have some options in Estes and Vierling. Nwaneri is still relatively young and Rackley is young. The group probably sorts itself out without outside interference.

DT – None, unless Smith shows that he can’t contribute.

DE – While this might not be a strength, its also not a weakness. It is youth. The Jags played with three rookies, a former first round pick, a veteran star and a veteran journeyman last year and they did alright. The growth factor of the youth players is there and could definitely emerge this season. However, the pass rush was still one of the worst in the NFL. Look for the Jags to entertain signing another veteran FA. Charles Johnson, Mathias Kiwanuka or Ray Edwards could be major coups for the Jags.

LB – The biggest and most glaring need for the Jaguars currently. They have one starting LB (albeit a good one) in Daryl Smith. Justin Durant and Kirk Morrison are currently free agents. The speculation is that one of the two will probably be resigned, with the media leaning towards Morrison. Paul Posluszny offers a chance to significantly upgrade the interior. He’s the type of blue collared, high production guy that GM Gene loves. Barrett Ruud is also relatively young and could potentially upgrade in the interior. The linebacker talent in free agency lies at the outside position. There is a plethora of players to choose from. Thomas Howard, Quincy Black, James Anderson, Rocky McIntosh and Manny Lawson could all be potential targets. Expect the big signing to come in the group.

CB – Mathis is still serviceable, Cox is probably the best CB on the team, they have high hopes for Isaac, Wheatley could turn out to be a find. This position is loaded with players but could potentially sign another CB. Richard Marshall could be that guy. Eric Wright might be another target, but he had off the field issues before he was drafted and even now they could scare GM Gene away.

S – Safety is a known need and was addressed with a single draft pick in the 4th round, with Chris Prosinski. Prosinski has the skill set to potentially become the starting free safety for the Jags. Courtney Greene showed upside last year and could potentially be the starter for the Jaguars long term. However, the group is unproven and it needs to be upgraded. Look for Eric Weddle or Michael Huff. Look for help to be acquired at the FS position.

 

The safety and linebacker positions will see signings. The rest of the positions depend on price and availability.

  • http://titansized.com/author/jagtagonist/ Brandon Clark

    I believe Rudd would be better as an OLB, but he would be a tremendous addition.

    I’ll miss Justin Durant. Guy could’ve been SO good…..could’ve. And the worst part is that he was above average. He’ll probably flourish somewhere else like St. Louis.

    • kjones407

      It’s so funny that you say that about Durant because I just left a comment on jaguars.com in the group-by-group article about the linebackers stating the same thing. He could’ve been a really good player if he could’ve got over his injuries. I also noted on the potential of him going to another team and becoming what we always wanted him to be.

  • kjones407

    What I would like to see happen is we sign DE Ray Edwards (to replace Derrick Harvey), LB’s Paul Posluzny, Barret Ruud (to play outside as Brandon suggested) and FS Michael Huff. If they sign both Posluzny and Ruud, that would mean no more Morrison but it’s safe to say Posluzny is an upgrade over Morrison and I doubt Morrison would want to be coming off of the bench as a reserve after being a starter his entire career. While I think Prosinki will end up being a good player for us, I doubt he’s the piece we need to take the next step on defense and Huff is a veteran and can provide an instant impact. That would also move Carey back to corner and probably be the end of Considine, unless they decide to keep him for his special teams play. I would consider that as unlikely since we already have Osgood and Owens. If they can’t get all of them, I’d like to see Posluzny and Edwards be additions. If not Posluzny then at least Ruud, with Morrison coming back to play the middle with Ruud on the outside. Lastly, it would be interesting if the team pursued a corner, because I don’t know where he would fit in. With Mathis and Cox being the starters and Isaac supposedly being the new nickle back, would that make the new addition a corner for dime situations? I just don’t think there is a place for another CB in the defense at the moment unless they plan on replacing Mathis.

    A little off topic, but I can’t believe Morrison had 141 tackles last year. With that kind of production, bringing him back should be a plus for the team if they can’t find an upgrade, as he should do better being better adjusted to the system.

  • Kevin Grab

    I don’t see us signing a bigger-name DE like Ray Edwards. I think Gene Smith likes what he has right now at that position, which is a lot of youth and an outstanding veteran presence in Aaron Kampman. Harvey has underperformed as a pass-rusher, but he’s a solid LDE and plays well against the run. I still think he can be a blue-collar Paul Spicer-type end. He’s also in the final year of his rookie contract, so his salary is fairly low. If he plays well enough in camp and in the preseason I say he stays on the roster and rotates with Lane at the left end spot.

    I do think Sean Considine will more than likely be gone before the season starts just due to the numbers we have at his position (assuming we sign at least one FA safety). The point that was made by kjones about possibly keeping him around for special teams is more than valid, but you wouldn’t NOT keep Considine around just because you have Owens and Osgood. Those two guys are indeed special teams aces, but they do not do it alone and Considine’s role on special teams is not quite the same as theirs, so their presence on special teams does not automatically preclude Considine’s place on the coverage units. If Sean makes the team this year it will be as a backup safety and special teamer.

    As far as linebacker is concerned, I am not so sure that Gene is so quick to let Kirk walk out the door. I do think that at least one of the two are probably gone (that being Durant and Morrison). Ruud and Posluszny are the sexy picks, but I have a hunch that Gene Smith has his eyes on another guy or two. Not sure who, but it’s just a gut feeling based on the Gene we’ve all come to know. He grades players on their performance and not on their names. I am not trying to say that Ruud and Posluszny are not great performers and very good players, but there might be some other guys out there that are getting overlooked.

    • kjones407

      I agree with you about Edwards and the defensive end position. I doubt Gene is looking to bring in a big name such as Ray and I also think he is satisfied with the position as it stands. You’re right, Harvey is a suitable rotation at the LDE spot and is pretty good at crashing the line against the run, so I think he stays too. It was more of fanciful thinking about Edwards.

      My question for you is do you believe Gene will bring in a FA safety? And if so, who do you think he has in mind? Now that I think about it, couldn’t Considine be used in rotation at SS, even if another safety is brought in? As I mentioned, Carey could be moved back to corner. Then the rotation would be: FS – FA/Prosinski, SS – Greene/Considine. Not defense altering, but solid and would keep Considine on the team for his ST play without having a player on the team purely as a special teamer.

      Lastly, I agree with you in regards to Gene eyeing players that we have overlooked. I can’t say that I knew who Kassim Osgood was and how good he is on special teams, which shows that Gene really does his homework.

  • http://www.blackandteal.com Jason Love

    1. I agree with the Ray Edwards sentiment. I don’t think he’s gonna make the team.

    2. I think Harvey has a very good chance of making the team next year. This team is youth and its bound to grow up sooner or later.

    3. Seansidine (my favorite nickname for Considine) most likely will not be on this team. Special teams is hustle and youth. Two pro bowl talent STers is enough for this team. They will have a hard time justifying another guy thats there just for ST. Considine is not athletic enough to be a safety.

    4. Kirk is going to be here next year. That sentiment was really reinforced after Oehser’s article.

    While Smith said Morrison likely will test free agency, he said the Jaguars have told Morrison to maintain contact during that period with the idea he might return. The ongoing lockout makes that a greater possibility than it might be in a normal year, Smith said.

    “What happens with this unique year we’re in is there’s a short window to go somewhere else and learn a new system and get evaluated and have a chance to compete and make a roster,” Smith said. “To him, it might be in his best interest to stay here.”

    5. Puz is not just the sexy pick. Its the most obvious. He embodies Jaguars football. He’s Daryl Smith.

    6. Ruud on the other hand had a down season last year (in a contract year no less) and is just a good, young player. Puz is much more likely.

    7. As I see it, GM Gene will sign 2 bigger names. Resign Morrison and sign 1-2 young vets and maybe an older guy to fill the holes on the team. The salary cap is low for the Jags and with the advent on a new CBA, they will almost certainly have to sign some players of worth to reach the Minimum Cap (spending floor).

    • kjones407

      As I mentioned in response to Kevin, I’m in agreeance with both of you when it comes to Harvey. But my question to you Jason, is how long do you think Gene gives Harv to turn it around before he gives up on him? I’d like to think he would trade him and get something for him, like he did with Groves before he outright releases him. As Kevin stated, this is the last year of his rookie contract.

      I have another question for you. If Gene does get the Puz to the join team, do you still think they bring back Morrison? And if they do, who plays outside? As they both seem to be more natural fits in the middle. Last question, do you thing all of this automatically means Durant is done as a Jaguar?

      Lastly, so I don’t have to reply to you twice. Thanks for the salary numbers to all of the teams. Now it’s clear to see that the Jags have enough room salary wise to bring in some big free agents. Man is the owner of the Bucs cheap, but I can’t blame him, they’re struggling to sell tickets over there.

      • http://www.blackandteal.com Jason Love

        Good questions.

        First, I’ll direct you to the Jaguars.com article on the LB group. Its got good information.

        http://www.jaguars.com/news/article.aspx?id=10115

        I’d also like to believe that Harvey could offer some trade value. He’s a big, physical end who still hasn’t reached his maximum potential (who knows if he ever will). He definitely is better than Groves. Indeed also, this is the last year of his rookie contract. If we take that into account, the Jags could be satisfied with him as a rotational DE and actually end up offering him a contract with lower money. However, at this juncture, unless Harvey shows some sort of spark or drive, I don’t think he gets any type of contract. I do however think that as long as Harvey doesn’t regress, he sticks (especially if the Jags don’t sign any DE’s).

        If the Jags get Puz, D. Smith stays outside obviously, but you are correct to point out that there would be a problem at the other OLB spot. D. Smith can play all three spots very well and Puz is definitely a MLB. If Puz is indeed signed, I don’t think it goes to assume Morrison won’t be on the team. GM Gene has told Morrison to keep in contact with the team once FA starts, as staying with them might be his best opportunity. Some food for thought, Del Rio has stated that they cross train many of their players, especially linebackers. I don’t doubt that Morrison could play OLB, but if he can’t, I could see another LB signed or Allen taking over.

        The Jaguars.com article said Durant is not coming back.

        Also, the last quote is the most important in terms of looking for what to expect. GM Gene doesn’t BS. He said look for the Jags to sign 1-2 LBs.

        True, but I want to say the cap numbers don’t include current free agents, so that could skew the numbers some.

  • http://www.blackandteal.com Jason Love

    http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/37327/looking-at-2011-salary-cap-figures

    I’ve reordered the numbers here from lowest to high for your (the readers’) benefit.

    Tampa Bay $59.7 million
    Carolina $73 million
    Kansas City $74.7 million
    Jacksonville $78.1 million
    Philadelphia $80.8 million
    Seattle $81.1 million
    Arizona $83 million
    Oakland $85.8 million
    San Diego $85.8 million
    Cincinnati $90.7 million
    Buffalo $96.4 million
    Cleveland $99.2 million
    San Francisco $100.9 million
    Baltimore $101.3 million
    Atlanta $102.1 million
    New England $102.3 million
    St. Louis $102.4 million
    Miami $103.1 million
    Chicago $104.9 million
    New Orleans $105.2 million
    Tennessee $107.4 million
    Minnesota $108.4 million
    Detroit $113.8 million
    Washington $115.2 million
    Indianapolis $115.5 million
    Pittsburgh $116 million
    Houston $118.4 million
    Denver $125 million
    New York Giants $126.3 million
    New York Jets $128.5 million
    Green Bay $129.8 million
    Dallas $136.6 million

  • Hampton

    I came up with Seansidine!

    • Hampton

      Oh and congrats Jason to getting on the AFC South blog.

      • http://www.blackandteal.com Jason Love

        That’s Hampton. My creative advisor. Seansidine is all his.

    • kjones407

      Nice! Cool nickname, he get should get it on the back of his jersey, if they even allow that type of thing.

  • Kevin Grab

    Keep in mind that just because the Jaguars have the cap room available does not necessarily mean they will want to spend to the limits of the cap. Having the cap room and having the cash to actually spend are two separate animals. Cap money is book money. Cash is cash.

    • http://www.blackandteal.com Jason Love

      While that statement is utterly true, it is also missing a key ingredient. The cap had a minimum expenditure limit on salaries. I guarantee the new CBA will have a much higher floor and thus, the team will *have* to spend in order to even reach the cap minimum.