You may be disappointed the Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t made a splash signing in the first two days of the legal tampering period. On the other hand, they knew they had to add depth to a roster that didn’t have much in 2020 and have solidified their defensive line in back-to-back days.
One day after signing former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Roy Robertson-Harris and bringing back defensive end Dawuane Smoot, the Jaguars have agreed to a two-year $6 million deal with Tyson Alualu, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Media. Moreover, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports former Baltimore Ravens defensive end Jihad Ward will sign with Jacksonville.
A first-round selection in 2010, Alualu spent the first seven years of his career in Jacksonville before signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017. Over his 11-year career, the California standout has appeared in 172 games, with 109 starts, and has logged 398 total tackles (46 for a loss), 24.5 sacks, 14 passes defensed and four forced fumbles.
Ward was the Las Vegas Raiders’ second-round pick in 2016. He was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 but was promptly waived. He then spent time with the Indianapolis Colts before joining the Ravens in the middle of the 2019 season. The Illinois product played for Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe Cullen back in Baltimore, so their past relationship surely played a factor in his signing.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive line looks better than it did in 2020.
While none of the Jaguars’ defensive line recent additions are of the blockbuster variety, all of them could end up having an impact in 2021. Last season, Smoot had to play a bigger role than expected with defensive end Josh Allen dealing with a knee injury. Having Ward ensures the team has enough depth in case either Allen or sophomore K’Lavon Chaisson misses time.
The same is true for Alualu. Pass rush isn’t his strength, but he can clog up running games and help others make plays. The Jags’ defensive line struggled to hold their ground last season once DaVon Hamilton went down with a knee injury. Having Robertson-Harris and Alualu ensures that won’t happen again.
Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said in his most recent sit-down with the local media that the team would be looking for value in free agency. So far, that’s precisely what the team’s brass has done in the last two days.