The Jacksonville Jaguars turned their attention to the offensive side of the football on Tuesday night and signed tight end Tyler Eifert from Cincinnati.
The deal is for two years, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
The need to add help at the tight end position has been something this team has needed to address as players have been decimated by injury the past two seasons. The familiarity between Eifert and new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden from their time together in Cincinnati made this a move Jaguars fans watched closely since the start of free agency.
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The issue with Eifert has not been productivity, rather his injury history. He played in 16 games for the first time in his career. If he can stay on the field, he gives the Jaguars their best player at the position since 2010 when Marcedes Lewis made the Pro Bowl.
Yes, it’s been that long. Also, since he is a big target at 6’6″ and 255 pounds, he and James O’Shaughnessy could be used in double tight end sets in the red zone. The front office also hopes last year’s third-round pick Josh Oliver can overcome injuries that took away practically his entire rookie season.
Three pass-catching tight ends would certainly help open up the passing game in Jacksonville. As a team, the Jaguars finished 16th overall in the NFL in passing in 2019.
Over the course of the first week of free agency, the Jaguars front office concentrated on bringing in defensive players to help solve the team’s issues with stopping the run and solidifying the backline. General manager David Caldwell made a huge splash by adding middle linebacker Joe Schobert and then brought in defensive back Darqueze Dennard. He followed that up by adding versatile defensive lineman Rodney Gunter from Arizona.
Jacksonville followed those moves up by signing defensive tackle Al Woods from Seattle and then Gunter’s teammate with the Cardinals, edge rusher Cassius Marsh. Marsh can also play outside linebacker.
In the team’s final move before the Eifert news, defensive back Rashaan Melvin agreed to terms with the organization.
Now that the team has added one piece to their issues on offense, will the direction of free agency shift for Caldwell and the front office? The Jaguars still have needs on the offensive line and might be in the market for a playmaker on the outside. The NFL Draft is deep at both positions.
Also, the team must decide if they will keep veteran wide receiver Marqise Lee or release him. Letting him go it leaves Jacksonville with a dead cap hit of $3.5M.