After a slow start to free agency on Tuesday, I had to send out a tweet basically telling Jaguar fans to calm down.
Jaguars fans need to walk away from the ledge, free agency isn’t over after 6 hours.
— Daniel Lago (@dlago89) March 14, 2012
I can understand why everyone was frustrated, and bloggers like our own Luke Sims and Alfie Crow over at Big Cat Country outlined why it seemed to be a pretty disappointing first day of free agency for Jacksonville.
But after the dust settled, the Jaguars made some key re-signings and new acquisitions, so let’s dole out some grades.
Rashean Mathis – One Year, $5 Million: Grade: A
This is an outstanding deal for the Jaguars. The base salary is only $950,000, which means if the Jaguars do end up paying Rashean $5 million, he must have had a great year. A classic low-risk, high-reward move.
Guy Whimper – Two Years, $5 Million Grade: C
I don’t think anyone was very excited about this move, but it’s defensible. Guy Whimper shouldn’t be starting on the offensive line, but he is a serviceable back-up who can be plugged into the left or right side.
Jeremy Mincey – Four Years, $27.2 Million Grade: B
This is actually a more reasonable contract than I think many people expected for Jeremy Mincey. With the way the free-agent defensive end market was thinning, I thought the Jaguars would have to overpay significantly to keep Mincey, but they managed to put a together a deal that didn’t balloon too much because of the market. The only problem here is that Mincey isn’t really a double-digit sack threat and is only solid at best. The Jaguars almost had to make this deal, otherwise the edge of the defensive line would have been very thin.
Dwight Lowery – 4 years, $13.6 Million Grade: A
The Jaguars did a fantastic job of fixing their issue at the safety position last year. Dwight Lowery was a key component for the Jaguars on defense, and they were able to retain him at a cheap price. He’s only 26 and he should still be in his prime for most of the contract.
*Josh Scobee (Franchised) Grade: A/Incomplete
Gene Smith wasn’t going to let Scobee walk away, and whatever the long-term deal ends up being, Scobee will be worth it.
William Robinson – Two Years, Minimum? Grade: B
I couldn’t find numbers for this contract, but it’s not a big deal. Robinson is likely to be buried on the depth chart.
Will Robinson is going to have a front row seat to all the Jaguar games.
Laurent Robinson – Five Years, $32.5 Million Grade: B
This is the key acquisition for the Jaguars so far this offseason, and it’s a risky one. Laurent Robinson is a young receiver (26) with a lot of upside, but has a history of injuries and therefore only produced consistently for one year. This would be an ideal signing if Robinson doesn’t have to shoulder the load as the number one receiver. It’s a pretty substantial amount of money to invest in an unproven player, but the Jaguars had to do something at receiver.
Chad Henne –Two Years, $6.75 Million Grade: A
The national media and several uninformed people around the interwebz think Henne was brought in to compete with Gabbert. Despite what Coach Mularkey said about bringing Henne in to compete (that’s really just coachspeak), Blaine Gabbert is the starter. Unless Gabbert is horrific and showing no signs of improvement, don’t expect Henne to start any games while Gabbert is healthy. What Henne provides is a proven back-up who can produce on the field and win a few games if need be.
Overall Grade (so far): B
The Jaguars did what good teams do: resign key players that have produced for you, while being very selective about overpaying for players that other teams did not want to keep. While I was really hoping the Jags could take a shot at Mario Williams, Buffalo didn’t really let anyone else in the NFL make an offer. The Jaguars are likely going to keep their eye on a few other players who are/may be available (Wimbley, Freeney, etc), so we’ll see if GM Gene can add a few more pieces before the draft.
- Daniel Lago