The Jacksonville Jaguars paid a high price for him, but Andrew Norwell could be the most impactful free agent signing in the entire NFL.
After making huge strides in 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars are ready to compete for a Super Bowl and they are acting like it. Despite having significantly less salary cap room to work with compared to recent seasons, the Jaguars were quite active in free agency in 2018.
The biggest names among the additions is without a doubt guard Andrew Norwell. The All Pro offensive lineman is coming of a great year and will come in and upgrade an area of need significantly.
Gordon McGuinness, an ESPN contributor over from Pro Football Focus, recently categorized the recent free agent signings and he had high praise for a guy who is now the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL:
Most impactful signing for 2018
G Andrew Norwell, Jacksonville Jaguars
Norwell was the most dominant free agent on the market, and while Kirk Cousins to Minnesota was the main attraction, Norwell’s signing in Jacksonville shows just how serious the Jaguars are about pushing themselves two steps further in 2018. With Norwell yet to post a PFF season grade of lower than 82.0 in his four-year career, the Jags got someone who dominated in 2017 right as he’s entering his prime.
Most of the analysis of the Norwell signing has centered around the run game, but the former undrafted free agent is also an outstanding pass blocker.
Analysts are still quick to dismiss Blake Bortles, but the former first round pick has shown the ability to not only function but excel when he has good protection.
While Norwell is undoubtedly help Leonard Fournette find some bigger holes up front, the passing game should also get a big bump from more reliable pass protection.
If the Jaguars do end up in the Super Bowl, we’ll likely look back at the Norwell signing as a big reason why.