Nov 24, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Toby Gerhart (32) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Vikings and Packers tied 26-26. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Despite an enormous amount of cap space, the Jacksonville Jaguars were not expected to be big spenders in free agency, especially with some of the more prominent names on the market. The general consensus has the Jaguars at least another year away from being serious contenders, so it doesn’t seem logical for them to invest a lot of money on impact players now.
Well David Caldwell did end up signing a pretty decent amount of free agents, but to short-term contracts that will not affect the team in a year or two. Young guys with plenty of football left in front of them like Zane Beadles and Toby Gerhart got longer, more lucrative deals, while older, stop-gap players like Chris Clemons and and Jason Babin got shorter, inexpensive contracts.
Since the free agent rush has mostly died down, Joe Soriano over at NFL Spin Zone felt it was appropriate to hand out overall grades, and he took a look at the AFC South recently. Here’s his review of the Jaguars so far:
"Jacksonville Jaguars B-The Ziggy Hood signing was a bizarre move, and the Jaguars shouldn’t have given so much to Zane Beadles, who seems to be overrated by some people. Beadles is a massive upgrade for a team that may have had the worst guards in the NFL before signing him, but I still think they could have gotten him for considerably cheaper or added a different player. Toby Gerhart is a gamble, but it’s one that ace GM David Caldwell could easily be vindicated on. Adding Chris Clemons and Red Bryant were excellent moves, and the fact that they were able to keep Jason Babin around for cheaper is another huge plus. The Jaguars defensive line is no longer a weakness, and they made three other quality signings/re-signings in Tandon Doss, Dekoda Watson, and cornerback Will Blackmon."
Joe pretty much hits the nail on the head with most of the signings. The most questionable move was Ziggy Hood, but he’s young and was presumably playing in the wrong scheme for his skill set in Pittsburgh. Beadles might have been a tad overpaid, but he is a significant upgrade, and the move isn’t prohibitive given the gobs of cap space left over. Gerhart could have a huge return on that investment if he plays how most of us expect.
The main upgrade so far has been on defense with guys like Clemons, Bryant, and Watson expected to start. It’ll be interesting to see if any of these moves affect the approach to the draft in May. Still, it’s been a pretty solid offseason so far for David Caldwell and company.
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89