It’s no secret the Jacksonville Jaguars currently have the most salary cap space in the entire NFL and that number should go up even more once the team releases some of the “dead weight” on the roster (see, Zane Beadles, Chris Clemons, and Toby Gerhart).
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With all the space they need to lure in high profile free agents, it’s in the best interest of general managerDavid Caldwell
to be aggressive in what is effectively his and head coach Gus Bradley’s “make or break” year. Jacksonville more than any other team has to overpay to bring in premium players. Consequently, the Jaguars can and should use up a big chunk of their cap space on a few players to come in and be difference makers.
Historically, teams who spend big in free agency don’t see returns commensurate with the amount they cough up. The question with the Jaguars is whether or not spending big will pay off, something Mike Sando over at ESPN considers the biggest question for the team heading into 2016:
"Jacksonville ranks 32nd in points scored, 31st in points allowed and 32nd (by far) in point differential in three seasons under coach Gus Bradley. The Jaguars aren’t going to become championship contenders overnight no matter what course they take, but with loads of salary-cap space and insufficient veteran talent on the roster, the team figures to be active in free agency. It’s a tough way to go for teams near the bottom of the standings. The teams that appear most successful in free agency — think Buffalo with Tyrod Taylor, New England with Jabaal Sheard, Pittsburgh with DeAngelo Williams or Denver with DeMarcus Ware — tend to be teams that were already good enough to maximize their investments."
While I do expect Jacksonville to bring in one, maybe two expensive players, I also think we’ll see the team bring in a handful of mid-tier and low-risk guys. An off-the-cuff example would be Olivier Vernon and Sean Smith (two expensive players), as well as Tashaun Gipson, Bruce Irvin, and William Hayes (mid-tier guys).
Regardless of how they do it, the Jaguars will have a dramatically different roster on the defensive side of the ball. They’re likely going to have to spend a lot of money to do it, but that’s the current situation they find themselves in.