If the Jacksonville Jaguars could work their roster should they try to sign either Tom Brady or Phillip Rivers? And if they can, which QB should they go for?
It’s already been a crazy NFL offseason with the Jacksonville Jaguars right in the middle of it all, preparing for free agency and the NFL Draft. The front office will have plenty of decisions to make over the next few weeks.
By making moves this week, the Jaguars are 25th in the NFL with a cap space figure of $22.865M. That’s a big improvement from hovering at the bottom of the league with little room to move unless big-name players were released or restructured.
If the Jaguars were to look at a quarterback in free agency, as they claim to be in a “win now” situation, would they try to make a huge splash to signing either Tom Brady or Philip Rivers this offseason? If so, which quarterback would be at the top of their wish list?
Obviously, they would have to be very creative in order to have a chance to sign either quarterback, and they would have to ensure they kept enough talent on the offensive line to protect him. They also will need to keep the best of their offensive weapons and try to significantly improve through the draft, and hopefully at least one free agent.
How could they pull that off?
Of course, this might be a hypothetical situation, as both Doug Marrone and David Caldwell told the media this week they were happy with the quarterbacks – Gardner Minshew and Nick Foles – on the roster. But there could be a way to make this happen.
So, who would need to be cut to make room for another large salary? First, here are the players whose dead money is too high for the Jaguars to cut them: Foles ($33.875M), Myles Jack ($22.35M), Josh Allen ($10.92M), and Andrew Norwell ($9M). Two of those players (Jack and Allen) are young and expected to form part of the defensive foundation going forward.
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There are also several players whose dead money is a significant percentage of, or more than, their cap hit, so it doesn’t make sense to cut them: Taven Bryan ($4.84M), Jawaan Taylor ($4.84M), Josh Lambo ($4.625M), Leonard Fournette ($4.47M), and A.J. Cann ($3.87M). I would put Marqise Lee in that last group also, but his injury history and the emergence of DJ Chark make it easy for the team to take the $3.5M hit in dead money.
There are three players who, if the Jags cut them, would free up the most money while the team would take a small hit in dead money. Jacksonville already released defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, saving the front office $20M ($22.5 M with $2.5M dead money). Calais Campbell would save $15M ($17.5M with $2.5M dead money), and A.J. Bouye would save $11.4M ($15.44M with $4M dead money).
That’s $46.4 that Jacksonville could clear to make a move for Brady or Rivers, give them money to keep one or two of the free agents they would otherwise have to cut, and possibly get another free agent – an offensive weapon at tight end or wide receiver.
They also have a couple of first-round picks they could use to fill the gaps they have left after free agency.
Now, which player do they target? Rivers makes the most sense. He’s younger, has looked better than Brady has the last 2-3 years, and he’d probably cost less. Rivers could possibly be a three-year contract, but Brady is probably only going to get one year. If you could get Rivers for around $15M for three years, you could keep at least one of the players with the highest salaries (Campbell, or Bouye), or you would have $22M for a couple of other free agent signings at those positions.
Of course, we haven’t addressed Yannick Ngakoue. It could take most of what is left over to sign him. And as you know, he is looking for a deal around $22M per season. Personally, I’d go with Rivers, re-sign or franchise tag Ngakoue, keep one of the two players above, get a bargain free agent, and fill in the gaps with the draft.
Of course, if they signed Brady for a $20M one-year deal, the Patriots are gonna need another signal-caller. Maybe they could get the Patriots to take Foles.