Nov 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (93) reacts during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars 2014 Free Agency Mock - Addressing the Pass Rush

Dec 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (93) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Bengals defeated the Ravens 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a host of needs to address this offseason and general manager David Caldwell is going to have to utilize free agency in addition to the draft in order to fill these holes. The two most obvious positions of need are quarterback and pass rusher. In Erik Lambert’s recent free agency mock, he has the Jaguars landing a player to help at one of those positions.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Cap Space:  $53 million – Target:  Michael Johnson

Another team in need of help with their pass rush, the Jacksonville Jaguars will have even more money to burn if they cut certain players.  Gus Bradley loves versatile defensive linemen, which could mean if Hardy isn’t in the picture then the Jaguars could become favorites to land Michael Johnson from the Cincinnati Bengals.  While not as productive in terms of sacks, the defensive end gets frequent pressure and also does others things well such as batting down passes and forcing fumbles.

I think the Jaguars have a realistic shot at landing Johnson because he’s not nearly as hot a name as Greg Hardy. Johnson’s price tag won’t be as high and he should fit well in the Jaguars defense. While signing Johnson shouldn’t prohibit the Jaguars from drafting Jadeveon Clowney, it should sway them towards selecting a quarterback third overall if one of their guys is available.

Another free agent who could be an intriguing fit is Brian Orakpo. Thought of mainly as a 3-4 outside linebacker, Orakpo could be a good candidate for Gus Bradley’s much talked about LEO position. He’s been very productive on a bad Redskins defense throughout his career and at only 27 years old he should be productive for several more years.

Unfortunately I don’t see David Caldwell ponying up the money necessary to lure Johnson or Orakpo to Jacksonville. The Jaguars are still probably another year away from seriously competing and Caldwell likely wants to save all that cap space for a run in 2015.

 

- Daniel Lago

Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89

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