The Jacksonville Jaguars are still on a search for their starting tight end. As the new league year began, the Jaguars traded away tight end Josh Oliver to the Baltimore Ravens, re-signed James O’Shaughnessy, and signed free agent Chris Manhertz. Before the new league year began, Jacksonville also opted to not renew Tyler Eifert’s contract option. All of this leads me to believe that Urban Meyer and Trent Baalke have a specific plan in mind for the position.
Tight ends have rapidly become a larger part of NFL offenses and are becoming more and more versatile as the years go on. The Jaguars need to find a big, athletic tight end who can serve as a run blocker and create mismatches in the passing game. At this point, it’s unlikely Jacksonville is going to find their starting guy in free agency. Two of the top tight ends the Jaguars were rumored to be in play for—Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry—both ended up signing with the New England Patriots.
Where do the Jaguars go at this point? They have two options. They can find the right tight end in the draft or can trade for someone with experience at the pro level.
Potential trades for the Jaguars…
Two tight ends with solid NFL production that the Jaguars could trade for are David Njoku of the Cleveland Browns and Evan Engram of the New York Giants. Both are in need of a fresh start and could use an Urban Meyer-led offense to revitalize their careers. A trade for Njoku is more realistic as there have been rumors of Njoku parting ways with the Browns for some time now.
While injuries have sidelined Njoku’s career the past two seasons, he still has starter potential and could use a fresh start in a place like Jacksonville. He has one year left on his contract and the Jaguars could use it as a “prove it” sort of deal.
Jaguars will likely look to the draft to address the position
There are plenty of tight end prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft worth targeting. While Kyle Pitts the consensus top player at the position, Jacksonville isn’t really in the best position to draft him. They don’t need to draft a tight end that high anyways. Prospects like Pat Freiermuth, Brevin Jordan, Hunter Long, and Kenny Yeboah, will all be available in the second round of the draft and later and all have impact potential.