For the second straight offseason, it appears the Jacksonville Jaguars have put together the best free agent haul in the NFL.
It’s becoming a bit of a trope at this point, but the Jacksonville Jaguars have come out of the 2017 free agency period looking like a vastly improved team. Exactly one year ago, the Jaguars were riding high after signing Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson, and even Chris Ivory.
This year, general manager David Caldwell (now under the eye of Tom Coughlin) continued spending the copious amount of money available to him, signing Calais Campbell, Barry Church, and A.J. Bouye. On paper, the Jaguars have arguably one of the five most talented defenses in the NFL now – whether or not that actually translates on the field is another matter that should be settled in 6 months or so.
Pete Prisco over at CBS Sports parsed through each team’s free agent moves and doled out grades. Unsurprisingly, he gave the Jaguars the highest marks after their brand-name additions:
"The Skinny: This is a team that came in with a lot of cap room, and the Jaguars decided to use it. They landed three new defensive starters in end Calais Campbell, corner A.J. Bouye and safety Barry Church. They also traded to get starting tackle Branden Albert from Miami. They spent a lot, but they could be downright nasty on defense next season. They also added some special teams help in linebacker LeRentee McCray and Audie Cole.More from Jacksonville Jaguars NewsJacksonville Jaguars RT Jawaan Taylor expected to have massive market in 2023 NFL Free AgencyRobert Tonyan could be perfect complement to Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram in 2023 NFL Free Agency5 Jacksonville Jaguars dream targets in 2023 NFL Free Agency3 potential trade partners for Jacksonville Jaguars CB Shaquill GriffinJaguars should explore trading for Michael Thomas amid Calvin Ridley suspensionGrade: A. They hate to hear it, but they won free agency again. Someday, it will translate to on-field success."
Prisco is dead on with his last sentence – it’s nice to see the team making moves to get better, but it doesn’t matter if they only manage 3 wins again.
If you want to give the franchise credit for anything, applaud them for finding the most advantageous way to structure these contracts. They spent a lot of money in 2015 for a handful of guys who didn’t pan out (Julius Thomas, Jared Odrick), but they were able to move on without consequence. Hopefully all the guys signed this offseason play out the length of the their contract, but it won’t be the end of the world if the don’t.