Jacksonville Jaguars: Finding a solution to the tight end position
Will the Jaguars go fishing in free agency or the NFL Draft to find a suitable tight end for the offense or will the team stay with the players their current roster?
T.J. Hockenson was there for the taking. The top tight end prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft was all gifty wrapped for the Jacksonville Jaguars to grab as a late Christmas present. You could hear the fans in attendance at the Draft Party at TIAA Bank Field all excited. The team could have the pass-catching tight end it has desired for years. But something amazing happened to stop the jubilee.
Welcome to the NFL, Josh Allen.
The Jaguars have a serious issue at the tight end position – due to a lack of production and that almost everyone on the roster cannot seem to stay healthy. It’s a topic of conversation we here at Black and Teal have discussed before and was once again volleyed back and forth on Jaguars.com.
"“This area struggled in terms of production much of the season, largely because of injuries to the preseason projected top players at the spot: [James] O’Shaughnessy, [Geoff] Swaim and [Josh] Oliver,” John Oehser writes.More from Jacksonville Jaguars NewsJacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdomJaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect nowJaguars News: This division rival might be making a big moveFormer Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram officially gets the franchise tag: 3 takeaways“O’Shaughnessy caught 14 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns before a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear in Week 5. Swaim, signed as an unrestricted free agent from Dallas before the season, caught 13 passes for 65 yards while playing just six games because of injuries. Oliver, a third-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, caught two passes for 10 yards while missing 13 of 16 games because of hamstring and back injuries. Jaguars tight ends overall caught 53 passes for 459 and three touchdowns.”"
There are a lot of layers to peel back with this position given there will be a few solid free agent targets the Jaguars will need to decide on – whether there is enough salary cap room to make that happen. The tight end was supposed to be a major part of the offensive game plan last season, but Jacksonville managed just 18.8 points per game in 2019.
That’s hardly anything to write home about. In a perfect world, Austin Hooper, Hunter Henry and possibly a healthy Tyler Eifert would be on the top of general manager David Caldwell’s wish list. Even if money is moved around and deals can get done, the Jaguars still must also help a decimated defense and strengthen the offensive line.
It’s almost a no-win situation.
My thought is the situation isn’t as bad as it looks on paper if the players can stay healthy and produce. The Jaguars may still pursue a tight end in free agency (Eifert) and one in the draft after Round 3. I would love to see what O’Shaughnessy and Oliver and possibly Nick O’Leary can do in a full season together.
Swaim may be a cap casualty and there is still a need for a blocking tight end. The no-win situation could become a “wait and see” proposition if everything works out over the next three months.