Can the Jaguars make a splash in free agency this offseason to help a fractured franchise?
They have done it before. The Jacksonville Jaguars have found missing puzzle pieces in free agency that helped the team move toward the playoffs and erase years of losing for the disgruntled franchise.
Jacksonville will enter 2020 NFL Free Agency with a limited amount of money to work with, but working out some contracts situations will help bolster the teams cap and allow them to secure free agents.
This years free agency period will not look like the offseason’s of the past, acquiring big name free agents for top-tier money. Instead, the Jaguars will look to sign players for short term deals that can address holes in need of filling.
The front office, which is now led by David Caldwell and Doug Marrone, could have some tough decisions to make regarding which players are affordable and who, although a major help to a particular position, will be passed over because of their price tag.
Here are five free agents the Jaguars should look to bring in.
Yannick Ngakoue, DE
The most obvious and glaring move for the Jaguars would be to resign Yannick Ngakoue, who is a former third round pick of the team in 2016 NFL Draft.
In four seasons with the team, Ngakoue has 37.5 sacks, 85 quarterback hits and 14 forced fumbles. Keeping Ngakoue would allow for the Jaguars to move forward with its defense having a cornerstone defensive talent in the trenches, along with budding star Josh Allen.
Signing Ngakoue could mean a contract up to or exceeding $100M, meaning Jacksonville would really have to work the salary cap before offering a deal.
The success of drafting well also comes with keeping talent in house.
Eric Ebron, TE
A big issue for the Jaguars offense was the absence of playmaking from the tight end position. Injuries to James O’Shaughnessy, Josh Oliver and Geoff Swaim were all injured, which put the team at a disadvantage and failed to provide whichever quarterback with on the field a security blanket.
Eric Ebron is a receiving tight end that will boost the Jaguars red zone efficiency, as well as being a large target to go to on crucial third down situations.
In 2018, Ebron caught 66 passes for 750 yards and three touchdowns. In 2019, 31 catches for 375 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the lower numbers for 2019, Ebron still had a better year compared to any Jaguars tight end.
Breshad Perriman, WR
Outside of DJ Chark and Dede Westbrook, the rest of the Jaguars wide receiver group remains a question mark. But there could be an option on the market that brings speed and upside at a cheaper price compared to other free agent wide receivers.
Breshad Perriman looks to be establishing himself as a consistent receiving threat following stints with the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Having Chark and Perriman on either side would bring big deep threat ability to the Jaguars’ passing game.
Joe Schobert, LB
2019 showed the weaknesses of the Jaguars defense, especially that Myles Jack is serving the team in the wrong capacity. Jack is a talent who is playing at the wrong position. But because of injuries he remained a man out of position.
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But for Jack to move to the outside where he belongs, the team will need to bring in help for the middle.
Schobert would bring a boost to the team’s run defense, and bring leadership to the Jaguars. While Jack is a team captain, many on-field temper tantrums discredited that endorsement.
Andrew Billings, DT
A major problem of the Jaguars was stopping the run, or lack thereof. The team gave up a 28th-worst 139.3 yards per game.
At 328 pounds, Billings could fill in the gap and allow for running backs to try the outside against the likes of Ngakoue (potentially), Allen and Calais Campbell.
Billings, 24, will have the opportunity to grow and learn from some of the best defensive linemen in the league, and progress in his development. He’s a project but one the team should consider.