The Jags identified a list of priorities this offseason. On that list were CB Rashean Mathis, K Josh Scobee, S Dwight Lowery, and DE Jeremy Mincey.
The Jags franchised Scobee and worked out a one year deal laden with incentives for Rashean Mathis. But, somehow, Lowery and Jeremy Mincey slipped through their fingers.
After playing cornerback for the Jets for three seasons, Lowery made the shift to strong safety with the Jags and performed very well. His 28 tackles, one sack, two picks, and fumble recovered helped to solidify a previously porous Jaguar defensive backfield. Lowery helped to establish a dominant presence at the tail-end of deep plays, forcing teams to think twice before trying to go over the top of the (very weak) cornerbacks.
Mincey, similarly, provided a spark and good leadership for the Jaguars in 2011. After finally taking over for the beleaguered Derrick Harvey in 2011, Mincey started all 16 games, made sure the team was more effective when he was on the field, racked up eight sacks, 57 tackles, a pick, and four fumbles forced. Mincey was the major threat on the defensive line and quarterbacks began to take notice.
While a late bloomer, Mincey, in his fourth year, has proven that he’s worth a little extra money to keep around. Lowery has also been an effective performer.
So why are the Jags letting them test free agency?
Mincey is considered one of the best value players on the market and Lowery could instantly start on many teams who are starved at safety and will be unimpressed by the meager free agency market at the position and the similarly scant pickings in the draft.
For these reasons the prices for the two free agents will rise.
The Jags should realize the value of Lowery and his quick ability to adapt to their defense. He is probably worth the money to bring back, especially since the position has been especially poor since the regression and eventual trade of Reggie Nelson.
Have no fear dear readers, I have a theory!
As the Jags entered free agency they had their eyes set on a few big prizes: WR Vincent Jackson and WR Marques Colston, as well as DE Mario Williams.
With Colston never hitting the market and devotion and war chests of other teams, I expect Jackson to sign with another team. Similarly, Williams is a gamble and will probably end up with a team like the Raiders who talk big and spent big. As these players leave the market, the Jags will look to sign Mincey and Lowery.
Mincey and Lowery are worth the money, and the Jags know it. They can afford for the two players to test free agency, especially since they come from a small market team that didn’t receive a lot of press over the past year. The front office from Jacksonville know what they’re getting in the commodities of Lowery and Mincey and will pay accordingly.
Look for matches or “raises” on offers from other teams by the Jaguars.
If it doesn’t happen, I may end up as pissed as Pot Roast.
– Luke N. Sims