With his selection of Luke Joeckel second overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, David Caldwell solidified the tackle position on the offensive line for the 2013 season. Unfortunately, the outlook of the offensive trenches are a question mark beyond 2013.
There were two schools of thought pre-draft when rumors were swirling about of the Jaguars’ interest in one of the tackles at number two:
1. The Jaguars already have a good left tackle in Eugene Monroe and number two overall is too high to take a right tackle.
2. Eugene Monroe is going into the final year of his contract and Joeckel could move over to the left side if and when the Jaguars part with Monroe.
After the draft, more people (myself included) started warming up to a third possibility – keeping both Monroe and Joeckel long term. As defenses start getting more creative with 3-4/4-3 hybrid fronts and the emergence of the LEO position, elite pass rushers are being used on both sides of the line more often. Having two bookend tackles is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
Welp, that settles it. Eugene Monroe was Gene Smith's only good 1st round pick. #Jaguars
— Downer Jag Fan (@DownerJagFan) April 30, 2013
With that comes the big question – when should the Jaguars extend Eugene Monroe? The assumption here is Eugene will continue the steady progression he’s made since his rookie year and will establish himself as one of the top left tackles in football. If he does, should Caldwell wait until the offseason to sign Monroe?
Waiting until the end of the regular season isn’t the worst idea, especially with the option of the franchise tag. But given the high cap hit for franchise tackles (over $9 million in 2013 for the non-exclusive tag), the Jaguars would probably be better off trying to sign Eugene long term. My guess is Caldwell will be conservative and let the season play out.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89