Free Agency has been kind to the Jaguars. The team didn’t spend a guaranteed $50 million on Mario Williams, Vincent Jackson slipped away but promises to make sure he gets paid, and large number of defensive players are returning to the 6th best defense in the league last season.
Entering free agency the Jags had a number of needs:
- Defensive End
- Wide Receiver
- Corner Depth
- Right Offensive Tackle
- Quarterback (starting caliber #2)
The Jaguars managed to address almost all of those needs during free agency. The Jags rightly resigned Jeremy Mincey and Dwight Lowery, ensuring that one edge rusher and the tail end of our defense will be stable in 2012. The recent signing of Aaron Ross, a very good cornerback that got away from New York, can play at either starting cornerback spot and can be effective in nickel and dime packages. Combined with a health Derek Cox, Rashean Mathis, and Drew Coleman the cornerbacks for the Jaguars may be some of the best in the league.
The Jags also addressed the offensive positions thus far. Sure, Guy Whimper obviously isn’t the future at right tackle but the Jags are hoping Eben Britton can return to form this year. Chad Henne was added to push Blaine Gabbert into becoming the man that we know he can be. Worst case scenario with the Henne signing: Henne takes over for Gabbert and manages to throw some good balls. Sounds like last year. But that’s worst case. And lastly, the Jaguars landed their #2 receiver for the season in Laurent Robinson. I personally think that this is a sign that the Jags will pursue Blackmon in the draft (look for Gene Smith to trade up…again) in order to get a true #1 to pair with his other receivers. I think Robinson will provide a good receiving target for Gabbert that, at a minimum, will take stress off of Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis from trying to carry the passing game.
The Jags have set themselves up into a position to go for defensive end talent and wide receiver talent throughout the draft without stress that they need someone right away and that they must become a superstar. It may not seem like it, but the Jags are already considerably better than they were last year.
On the whole, the Jags looked at almost every position that was a need coming into free agency. There wasn’t a big splash at any one position, but I think that is a sign that Smith and Mularkey are thinking they can manage a good season with the current roster.
Remember when Harbaugh took the Niners to the playoffs with essentially the same roster from the year before?
Yeah, I think we can dream big too my dear Jags fans!
- Luke N. Sims