Jaguars Free Agency 2019: Three bold predictions

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images) /

NFL free agency begins March 13 with all 32 teams looking to improve their rosters. How will the Jacksonville Jaguars wade through the process of getting better while dealing with salary cap issues?

It’s going to be an interesting 26 days for the Jacksonville Jaguars. NFL free agency begins March 13, the team is over the salary cap for the 2019 season and the front office must decide which veterans to keep on the roster who have high-priced salaries. The front office will be busy at work, continuing to find ways to make this team more competitive after a dismal 2018.

It’s all part of this business.

There is a football side of this organization and the financial side – the two on occasion coming together in harmony to produce a roster that is fiscally sound and ready to challenge for a playoff berth. The Jaguars had that two seasons ago. This coming season, following just five wins and “earning” the seventh pick in the NFL Draft, things have changed in a hurry.

More from Jacksonville Jaguars News

The Jaguars are once again looking to build a winner and sustain success after enjoying one year (2017) at the adult table over the holidays. It can be done, but it will take shrewd decisions, restructuring of deals and the cooperation of veterans who want to win now.

I, like many, believe with good health and some changes on offense, this team can compete for the AFC South title once again in 2019.

Right now, the Jaguars are over the cap by more than $8 million, which is last in the NFL. That all can change like we discussed, which means some veterans will play elsewhere in 2019. This team goes into free agency with 19 players whose contracts will have expired. None of them are irreplaceable. The Jaguars could look completely different when they take the field for Week 1 of the NFL season.

Here are three bold predictions for the Jaguars during free agency in less than a month.

Nick Foles is not the starter in Jacksonville – The news of Nick Foles showing interest in the Jaguars and the team’s interest in him may all be speculation. We are all trying to connect dots here. While the tarot cards may read something, the front office has the final decision who they will pursue to replace Blake Bortles.

I like the idea of Foles playing in a Jaguars uniform in 2019, but at what cost? He could command in upwards of $20-25 million on the free agent market. Teams like Miami and Washington will cetrainly look at him. There could be others. For now, with the salary cap the way it stands, I canot conceive of Jacksonville paying that price and deal with the fallout of the $16.5 million in dead cap space for cutting Bortles.

The Jaguars will look at a cheaper alternative and draft a quarterback in the first or second round. Teddy Bridgewater, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick and potentially Case Keenum – who could be released in Denver – will be names to follow.

The return of Marcedes Lewis – I said these would be bold predictions. Marcedes Lewis is not getting any younger, but he could still provide some help at the tight end position. Lewis, who was drafted by the Jaguars in 2006, has publically said he wants to return and retire as a Jaguar.

Lewis was cut last offseason by the Jaguars and signed a one-year deal with the Green Bay Packers. He should test free agency and could come to Jacksonville at a reduced cost, with a low risk, high reward type of deal.

The ship more than likely has sailed on the Austin Seferian-Jenkins experiment. Tight end is a position the front office will look to improve in the Draft. Lewis was one the roster prior to 2017 when the Jaguars made the playoffs and then endured 10 seasons out of the post season. He was a respected man in the locker room and could provide leadership that might have been lacking last season.

The team re-signs A.J. Cann – This might be the most shocking of the three predictions here, but allow me to explain why I think A.J. Cann remains in a Jaguars uniform.

The offensive line was decimated by injuries last season. The right side of the line needs help. but Cann did not play as poorly as some might think. And, he was the most healthy of any of the five starters from Week 1 of the NFL season.

He also played better last season than in 2017.

Cann had a base salary of $1.9 million in 2018 and could be a cheaper investment than paying a higher priced free agent. The hope is second-year lineman Will Richardson can come in and replace Jermey Parnell, who is expected to be released, at right tackle. The Jaguars may also look to draft offensive line help in the first round in April.

That’s all predicated on signing a veteran free agent signal caller.

Next. Did the Joe Flacco trade help the Jaguars?. dark

Cann could also wind up in Miami with former offensive line coach Pat Flaherty. I would not be surprised if he is still on this roster this coming season.