The Jacksonville Jaguars have upgraded the talent in several positions. The tight end gets better by signing free agent Gary Barnidge.
The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Marcedes Lewis in the first round at number 28. Lewis is entering his twelfth NFL season after signing with Jacksonville in 2006 as a rookie. Almost a lock to become the next inductee in the Pride of the Jaguars.
Michael Rivera joined the Jaguars this offseason to fill Julius Thomas’ spot. Rivera started just fifteen games in four years with Oakland. He caught 146 passes for 1413 yards with ten touchdowns while in Oakland.
Neal Sterling and Ben Koyak played well in supporting roles. They eventually had their roles increased due to injuries suffered by Thomas and Lewis. Really these two will be battling for the third tight end spot in training camp.
Signing Gary Barnidge Makes The Jaguars Offense Better At Tight End
First of all, Gary Barnidge gives Blake Bortles another offensive weapon. He caught 160 passes for 1938 yards with thirteen touchdowns in four seasons as a Cleveland Brown. At six foot five and 240 pounds, he will be able to get separation from defenders.
Next, footballoutsiders.com rated Barnidge at fifteenth in their tight end rankings. The passes thrown to him were completed at a rate of 68%. His numbers fell in 2016 from 2015 due to the quarterback carousel in Cleveland.
Third, Barnidge would be the ideal Air Coryell tight end for the Jaguars model. According to sportingcharts.com on the Air Coryell offense:
"Coryell also helped foster tight ends as receivers more than blockers, with more and more tight ends running wide receiver routes."
Finally, Barnidge is the missing ingredient for a dynamic offensive juggernaut. Jacksonville’s defense is a top ten force and the offense would be dramatically improved. Expect Jacksonville to be a player in landing Barnidge for 2017.