Jaguars roster: Is free-agent DT Geno Atkins an option?
By now, the Jacksonville Jaguars made most of the changes they wanted to make this offseason. However, they still have $38 million in cap space if they still want to add a few players before the 2021 season starts. There aren’t many free agents still available in the open market but there are a few worth consideration, including defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
Brentley Wissman of The Draft Network believes Atkins could be a good fit in Jacksonville. He says the defensive tackle should sign with a contender but he also thinks he could have a big impact on the Jaguars’ defensive front. Wissman points out that Taven Bryan hasn’t lived up to his draft billing. Meanwhile, Atkins would help Jacksonville shore up their run defense, which ranked 31st in rushing touchdowns allowed last year.
Wissman adds that signing Atkins makes sense from a leadership standpoint, as he’s someone whose resume demands respect. Jacksonville isn’t the only potential destination for Georgia product that Wissman mentions. The Seattle Seahawks and the Minnesota Vikings are the other two. If the All-Pro wants to join a contender or isn’t interested in being part of a rebuilding project, the Jaguars may not be a good choice.
What would Geno Atkins bring to the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Adding Atkins wouldn’t be an issue from a financial standpoint. The Jaguars still have a vast amount of cap space and he would fit within their budget. On the other hand, how big would his impact in Jacksonville be? The team’s brass traded for Malcom Brown this offseason. They also drafted Jay Tufele in 2021’s draft and DaVon Hamilton should be fully healthy after suffering a knee injury last season.
Atkins was an All-Pro early in his career and made the Pro Bowl as recently as 2019. Nevertheless, he’s 33 and coming off a shoulder injury. There’s no doubt he can contribute even if he isn’t the player he previously was but would he be better than any of the options the Jaguars currently have?
Brown will likely start in Week 1 and there’s a change Hamilton will also be part of the defensive lineup too. At this point of his career, Atkins is a better player than Hamilton and Tufele but signing him could hinder the growth of the young defensive tackles.
The only way adding the veteran would make sense is if the youngsters seriously struggle or suffer an injury in training camp. Otherwise, the Jags should pass this one up. They are in the early stages of a rebuild and should focus on developing their young players.