The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to make offseason moves that suggest the team is ready to win now, not wait for a rebuild.
After years of a long, struggling rebuild under head coach Gus Bradley, most fans think its back to the drawing board for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
New executive vice president for football operations Tom Coughlin thinks otherwise. Or at least that’s the way his offseason moves seem to communicate.
The pursuit of left tackle Branden Albert via trade with the Miami Dolphins is the latest move to suggest that the Jags are ready and willing to invest in winning now rather than later. Shipping off a talented, young tight end like Julius Thomas for an aging left tackle is the kind of move that teams ready to open a Super Bowl window do more than teams bogged down in a rebuild.
Despite being 3-13 in 2016, the Jaguars front office clearly thinks that the key pieces – most notably quarterback Blake Bortles – are in place and simply need some support.
ESPN’s Michael DiRocco calls it the Jaguars’ “win-now mode” and it’s tough not to agree. Per DiRocco:
"Teams don’t typically trade for older players unless they believe those players are the missing piece and are trying to squeeze the last bit of productivity to make a run to the or Super Bowl."
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From 3-13 to Super Bowl contender is just a bit of a leap at this point. To think a young Jags team filled with uncertainty has the fortitude (not just the roster strength) to make such a run is a bit outside the box. Coughlin provides plenty of stability and bolsters the option, but it isn’t clear that the Jaguars could actually make such a run even with him at the helm.
It was curious to see the clear disconnect between where fans thought the team was following 2016 and where the front office thinks the team is. 2017 and beyond will prove who was more correct, but the latest potential moves continue to suggest that the Jags are charging forward, full steam ahead.