After years of owning the largest amount of salary cap space in the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars finally have some players to extend, starting with Brandon Linder.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been under the control of general manager David Caldwell for five offseasons now and we’ve yet to see one of his draft picks sign a long term extension.
That changed on Tuesday as the Jaguars opened up the checkbook and made Brandon Linder one of the richest offensive lineman in the NFL.
As Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union notes below, this makes Brandon Linder the highest paid center in the league.
There has been talk this offseason of the Jaguars moving Linder back to guard, and this contract would actually make Linder the third highest paid guard in the league behind Kevin Zeitler and Gabe Jackson. In effect, that would make this a pretty good deal for one of the best guards in the league.
Regardless of which spot Linder ends up playing, he is now the centerpiece of the offensive line. The Jaguars haven’t really had much stability along the offensive line over the last 5+ years, and Linder has been the only high level player in that area since the hayday of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.
With Linder’s extension out of the way, the focus now shifts to the rest of the 2014 draft class. While quarterback Blake Bortles knows this is the year that will define his NFL future (and whether or not the Jaguars actually move along with the 5th year option), Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Telvin Smith, and Aaron Colvin have all shown enough to warrant a contract extension.
Of those four, the two who would probably command the most money in the open market are Robinson and Smith. When Blake Bortles was more productive in 2015, Robinson was one of the best wide receivers in the league. He had a down year in 2016, but it might be smart for the Jaguars to buy low on him.
Smith is another matter, as he’s consistently been a high level player at a position valued less than others. He should get a contract extension, but we’ll have to wait and see how much the Jaguars want to spend at weakside linebacker.