Can the Jacksonville Jaguars use free agency to help establish growth with the roster for the 2020 NFL season?
The Jacksonville Jaguars need playmakers on offense and plenty of beef on both sides of the football. With three picks in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, there is a chance all three positions will be addressed early, if not often.
The Jaguars also have holes to fill at linebacker, at tight end and wide receiver and in the secondary. It sounds like a lot and well, it is for a team that believed it was one quarterback away from contending for a playoff berth and a possible run toward the Super Bowl just twelve months ago.
A year makes a lot of difference when it comes to the NFL. The rise and fall of franchises are much like a stock market with front offices gamble on established effort and pray for even the slightest improvement. The organization has taken more than its fair share of falls in the past 25 years. In the 26th chapter of this team’s story, hopefully, there is a brighter outcome than the past two seasons.
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These Jaguars are up against a massive wall, with the only hope of breaking through is to fix the monetary issues with its veteran players to build a stronger foundation for the future.
As players around the league become eligible for the transition and franchise tag next week, business is picking up. Players are learning their fate with their current organizations. Some veterans are hoping for the best but know the worst may be on the horizon.
The team’s front office must hit on a few of the key positions in free agency because they won’t be able to fill all their needs in the NFL Draft in late April.
It’s the one position everyone can point to and say the Jaguars have missed on players through the draft and free agency the past two seasons. This is not a deep draft for the position, but free agency could make things interesting.
I don’t see Jacksonville having a chance to snap former Carolina Panthers star Greg Olsen, but there are others to consider, including Eric Ebron, Austin Hooper, Hunter Henry, Tyler Eifert, and Jordan Reed.
I would love to see Hooper in black and teal, but the price may be too high. The same goes for Ebron, although he has been linked to the Jaguars by other publications. Henry, Eifert, and Reed all have injury concerns, but they all make sense. Eifert would be reunited with his former offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden.
Reed is a possible choice as a value pickup for the right price. He is also a former star for the Gators in Gainesville. Henry is going to get a lot of interest. I think Eifert might be the player to watch here as a low-risk player with a chance to be a star in Gruden’s system.
I agree with John Shipley of SI.com when he says the Jaguars shouldn’t spend a lot of money on the left tackle spot in free agency. But I also subscribe to the notion that finding a veteran at one of the five key positions on the roster is vital to the success of the offense.
Signing a veteran at a mid-level price is the best option while the front office may still select one in the first three rounds of the Draft. You can never have too many offensive or defensive linemen on the roster. This makes sense, just not at an astronomical price tag.
You can make the argument the Jaguars should restock three of the five slots on the offensive line, but finding a left tackle, left guard and a right guard will be never as impossible as winning the lottery. The organization should follow the Indianapolis Colts’ way of building the offensive line.
There is no guarantee the Jaguars would have a chance to select one of the top tackles in the NFL Draft with the 20th selection. Grabbing one at No. 9 seems unlikely. Someone like D.J. Humphries or Germain Ifedi may be an option at a decent price.
I may be one of the few (and the proud) who believe the wide receiver position is not a top-order slot to fill if everyone remains healthy. There is still plenty to like about the top three pass catchers on the roster in DJ Chark, Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley.
There has been plenty of talk about Jacksonville taking Jerry Jeudy with the ninth pick, but with other major holes to fill, I cannot seem to get behind it. I’d be more comfortable with Tee Higgins out of Clemson with the 20th pick. The Jaguars could also look to add speed and playmaking through free agency.
Breshad Perriman, Geronimo Allison and Nelson Agholor all make sense if they are cost-efficient and can move the chains. Allison intrigues me the most, coming from the Green Bay Packers offense. Perriman should garner a lot of attention as well. Agholor is a player who may re-sign in Philadelphia.
The Jaguars need playmakers, but may only need one more speed burner on the outside to have an aerial attack that can expose the secondary on second and third down.