The Jacksonville Jaguars may need to get into a bidding war for Cincinannti Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler to bolster the offensive line in 2017 free agency.
Free agency is sometimes all about the money and the Jacksonville Jaguars have plenty to spend in 2017. With $73 million in cap space, fourth most in the NFL, (Per Spotrac), the Jaguars can afford to go after any player deemed a high priority.
With Tom Coughlin back in the fold in Jacksonville, rebuilding the offensive and defensive lines is a top priority. This is already taking shape by replacing Kelvin Beachum by trading for Miami Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert. Coughlin can take this a step further by adding Zeitler.
Coughlin infatuation with quality offensive linemen may only be rivaled by the University of Wisconsin’s ability to produce them. Zeitler, a Wisconsin product, has been stellar in five seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals, starting in every game he has been available (missing just eight) since they took him 27th overall in 2013.
Zeitler’s ability and durability (hasn’t missed a game since 2014) will make the 27-year old guard a highly priced player in 2017 free agency. Spotrac estimates Zeitler’s free agency market price at $11.6 million annually. That is a price few teams can afford, but it is one that Jags definitely can.
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With many offensive linemen hitting free agency in 2017, Zeitler has quickly risen to the top. The Jags may have to outbid other teams for his services. With the cap space to do so, this shouldn’t be an issue. What matters most for the Jaguars is whether they truly want to prioritize Zeitler.
With so many holes to fill on the offensive line, the Jags can turn to the 2017 NFL Draft or bring in even average players like Chance Warmack to compete for starting roles. Zeitler may seem like a luxury on the priority list, even though his value is clear.
Balancing priorities is exactly what the Jaguars brought Coughlin to Jacksonville for. Where general manager Dave Caldwell has failed, Coughlin must succeed. For too long the offensive line has been overlooked and poorly managed by Caldwell, which should make Zeitler a priority for the Jags.