With the Super Bowl firmly in the rearview mirror, the 2016 offseason can now take center stage – the combine, franchise tags, free agency, and the NFL Draft in May are all going to be focal points of discussion for the foreseeable future.
Without actual games to talk about however, we’ll be delving quite deep into the pool of offseason trope pieces.
One of those areas of interest is impending free agents. The Jaguars don’t have many unrestricted free agents worth even discussing as possible candidates to re-sign, but one player who has a chance to come back is a “fan favorite” – punter Bryan Anger. Pro Football Focus listed him as the number 5 free agent punter/kicker this offseason:
"5. Bryan Anger, P2015 team: Jacksonville JaguarsWhile he will always be remembered as the punter that was selected ahead of Russell Wilson in 2012, he’s received a top-12 grade amongst punters in three of his four seasons. In 2014, he finished second in the league in gross average (47.3 yards per punt), while in 2015, he cut his touchbacks down from the 10 he had in 2014 to four."
Luke Sims talked about Anger possibly getting a big contract early in the season, but I don’t really see the Jaguars bringing the hilariously polarizing punter back. The Jaguars have brought in punting competition every year and there was some buzz in training camp about Kasey Redfern possibly making it onto the team over Anger. Some thought Redfern outplayed Anger in camp because he was better with directional punting. Anger is known for having a big leg, but he’s struggled with hangtime and has routinely left the punt coverage team out to dry with line drive kicks.
The Jaguars do need a punter and Anger certainly isn’t a bad one, but finding a sufficiently good punter is not exactly a difficult undertaking. Most of the top punters in the league were undrafted free agents and picked up off the street. Retrospect shows just how much of a lunatic general manager Gene Smith was for drafting Anger in the 3rd round.
Unless Anger is fine with taking basically the league minimum, he won’t be a Jaguar in 2016.