Jacksonville Jaguars sign Andrew Norwell, make him richest offensive lineman in the NFL

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 22: Andrew Norwell
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 22: Andrew Norwell /

In a shocking move, the Jacksonville Jaguars targeted the top of the market and nabbed the best free agent offensive lineman in Andrew Norwell.

While everyone was waiting to see if the Jacksonville Jaguars would pony up the cash to re-sign wide receiver Allen Robinson, the front office had already moved on and focused on another move.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Jaguars will sign former Carolina Panthers guard Andrew Norwell.

The Jaguars weren’t expected to break the bank this offseason after spending so much money the last two offseasons, but this is a smart move. If the Jaguars were deciding between getting one player at the top of the market or a few middling free agents, it makes more sense to go after the big fish.

Norwell was arguably the best non-quarterback free agent available this year. ESPN had him ranked number 4:

"Norwell picked a pretty good year to earn his first All-Pro honors. When you look at the five-year, $60 million deal the Browns gave to Kevin Zeitler (who has never made All-Pro or even the Pro Bowl) in 2017, you understand the value Norwell would find on the open market."

NFL.com had him ranked 6th:

"Undrafted out of Ohio State, Norwell has developed into a Pro Bowl-caliber performer in a league that finds it increasingly difficult to field a quality offensive line. With so much capital tied up in Matt Kalil and Trai Turner, the Panthers might have their hands tied with Norwell."

This moves signals quite clearly that the Jaguars are going to remain committed to what brought them success in 2017 – running the ball and playing good defense.

The Jaguars had the number 1 rushing attack statistically last year, but that’s a bit of a red herring. The total rushing numbers were inflated by two long Leonard Fournette runs and a handful of long runs on fake punts. Over the second half of the season, the Jaguars had trouble running the ball consistently and a big reason why was lackluster play along the offensive line.

Norwell presents a monumental upgrade and gives the Jaguars one of the best guard-center combos in the league as he now pairs with Brandon Linder.

The Jaguars may make a few more small moves in free agency, but this was clearly their top target and they got their guy.