The Jacksonville Jaguars will have the chance to revamp their defensive line in free agency and due to the amount of cap space they will have at their disposal, they will be able to target a wide array of players, including defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, who is scheduled to hit the open market after spending his whole career with the New Orleans Saints.
A first-round selection in 2016, Rankins can be an asset when healthy, something he’s struggled with in the last two years, having missed ten games in that span. Moreover, he’s started just one game in the last two campaigns after starting 32 consecutive games from 2017 to 2018.
Over his five-year career, Rankins has appeared in 63 games, starting 33 and registering 116 total tackles (25 for a loss), 17.5 sacks, three passes defensed and three forced fumbles. His best year came in 2018, when he logged 40 total tackles (14 for a loss), eight sacks, one pass deflection, and one forced fumble.
If Rankins had been healthy in 2020, he would’ve likely been one of the top free agents this offseason but he isn’t and may have to agree to a short deal to prove that injuries haven’t robbed him of his effectiveness. Also, the fact plenty of NFL teams are strapped for cap space may reduce his number of potential suitors.
Rankins could provide depth to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Although Rankins’ teammate Trey Hendrickson should be at the top of the Jaguars’ free-agency targets this offseason, the Louisville product could offer some value in the open market. Unless the ‘Jags’ bid against themselves, they shouldn’t have to overpay for Rankin’s services. Pro Football Focus predicts that he will get a two-year $14.5 million deal but that may be too much for a player coming off an unproductive season. They should pursue the Louisville product in the open market if they can get them at a lower rate, let’s say a two-year $9 million contract.
Even if Rankins isn’t the player he was a few years ago, he could be solid in a complementary role in the Jaguars’ defensive line rotation. Sophomore defensive tackles DaVon Hamilton and Doug Costin displayed flashes of talent in 2020 but Jacksonville still needs to add depth to their front four and Rankins could provide it at the right price.