Jacksonville Jaguars get a retroactive ‘A’ for their 2017 offseason from ESPN

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 07: Defensive end Calais Campbell
JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 07: Defensive end Calais Campbell /

As the Jacksonville Jaguars ready themselves for the AFC championship game this Sunday, it’s become quite clear their success was catalyzed by an outstanding offseason.

It’s still hard to believe, but the Jacksonville Jaguars are currently one win away from making the Super Bowl.

The Jaguars, a team that won 3 games last year, can make their first Super Bowl if they defeat the New England Patriots this weekend.

This is a historic turnaround sparked primarily by one of the best offseasons in recent memory.

The Jaguars have been spending money for years now, but they really opened up the checkbook last offseason by signing arguably three best available players at three key positions in Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye, and Barry Church. Three high end starters on a defense that was already good is a huge boost.

Offensively, they completely changed their identity by taking an elite running back in the first round of the draft (Leonard Fournette) and a promising left tackle in the second round (Cam Robinson).

Improbably, all of these moves have paid off.

Mike Sando over at ESPN went back and re-graded each team’s offseason. Unsurprisingly, he gave the Jaguars almost-perfect marks:

Jacksonville Jaguars

"Re-grade: A | Offseason grade: BOwnership’s decision to bring in Tom Coughlin helped give the Jaguars an identity. The $15 million annual price tag for Calais Campbell was sky-high for a defensive lineman, but there were no regrets after he finished tied for second in the NFL in sacks, with 14.5. Cornerback A.J. Bouye was another home run in free agency.Rookies Leonard Fournette, Cam Robinson and Keelan Cole all played at least 500 snaps, while Dede Westbrook emerged as a starter late in the season. The re-grade would be an A-plus if the Jaguars had given themselves a more efficient alternative to Blake Bortles at quarterback."

The only team with a better grade was the New Orleans Saints. That’s fine and they did add some big playmakers via the draft, but the Jaguars are playing this weekend and the Saints aren’t.

General Manager David Caldwell has taken a lot of flak for his misses in the draft and free agency, but he’s put together one of the most talented teams in the NFL and it’s finally coming together.