When NFL free agency officially begins on Wednesday, the Jacksonville Jaguars will need to address major needs on the offensive side of the ball.
It’s all about to start. For real! The Jacksonville Jaguars and the NFL are about to begin its 2019 with a frenzy we all call free agency. There is nothing free about it. Players and agents negotiate high-priced contracts to remain with organizations or jump ship and wear different colors all in the name of the almighty dollar.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I’m like a kid in a candy store. While writing about it is exciting and nerve-racking at the same, I cannot help but hold out hope the Jaguars use the more than $30 million they have in available cap space to fill needs at quarterback, the offensive line, at wide receiver and tight end and to fortify the right side of their offensive line.
For the front office, namely Tom Coughlin, David Caldwell, and Doug Marrone, this is either the start of something big once again here in North Florida, or it could be the beginning of the end of how this team will be run a year from now.
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Winning is everything, especially when you endure a season like the Jaguars and their fans did in 2018.
Jacksonville’s most pressing need is at quarterback. Whether it is Nick Foles or Teddy Bridgewater or possibly someone else under center this season, I am taking the position out of the equation when discussing team needs.
It’s too easy to pinpoint and the talk has been center around the two quarterbacks. Frankly, I still think in the back of my mind there could be a wildcard in all of this we have not talked about yet.
Everyone stay tuned.
Monday at high noon is when it all starts. Teams, according to Tad Dickman of the Jaguars, can negotiate with players over a two-day period until 3:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday. No details can be released and nothing can be announced officially until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, but as we all know, news leaks and players are linked to teams long before everything becomes official.
The main focus for the Jaguars will be to rebuild the offense. Playmakers are needed. Speed on the outside is a must. The offensive line, aside from good health, needs help with run blocking and pass protection. And for goodness sake, please address the tight end position.
In other words, there is plenty of heavy lifting to do. Here is a look at three players the Jaguars must sign.
Tevin Coleman, Running Back – For weeks now, I have been on the Frank Gore to Jacksonville train. I may have to amend this one.
The Jaguars need a good and dependable second back behind Leonard Fournette. While Gore would be a great option, I am beginning to think that Tevin Coleman may be a better fit. As the lead back for the Falcons last season, Coleman had a chance to display his talent while Devonta Freeman was injured most of the season. He is only 25 years old and at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, he can take a beating while running through a defense.
What I like about Coleman is he is a fairly fresh running back who doesn’t have the wear and tear on his leg this from having to share time in the Atlanta backfield. Of course, he would come at a higher salary than somebody like Gore, but it might well be worth the investment.
There is no guarantee that Fournette will be able to play a full 16 games, as he has not done so in his first two seasons in the league. Coleman is a great insurance policy against injury.
Andy Levitre, Guard – Once again, the Jaguars raid the Atlanta Falcons offense to find a quality starter at right guard. Andy Levitre has played for three teams during his NFL career. Hopefully, Jacksonville is his final stop.
Levitre was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills and has also played in Tennessee. He may be a bit older at 32 and could have two or three years as a starter on this line, he does bring experience. With the addition of Andrew Norwell on the left side and another year in this offense, Jacksonville may finally have an improved offensive line.
Don’t count on it yet.
The Jaguars will lose A.J. Cann in free agency and have already released Jermey Parnell this past week. Will Richardson will get the first chance to win the right tackle job. The team may also draft an offensive lineman in the first round. Levitre is not a sexy signing, but he is a solid player who helps make the line better.
Golden Tate, Wide Receiver – He may be the most sought after wide receiver in free agency. Golden Tate figures to have plenty of suitors and now, Jalen Ramsey is politicking for the former Philadelphia Eagles star to come south.
There are plenty of layers to this. If the Jaguars sign Foles, it instantly gives the quarterback a pass catcher he is familiar with. It also gives the Jaguars another veteran in the locker room. The team should have learned a lesson from last offseason. There won’t be another one-year, $9.6 million deal offered.
Tate may be 30 years old, but he did catch 74 passes last season and still has solid speed on the outside to stretch a defense. The Jaguars passing game will need all the help it can get. New offensive coordinator John DiFilippo should implement a more passing-friendly game plan that will take advantage of Tate’s skills.