Jacksonville Jaguars: Signing Jacob Hollister fills need for receiving TE

Buffalo Bills tight end Jacob Hollister #80, 2020 (Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)
Buffalo Bills tight end Jacob Hollister #80, 2020 (Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports) /

After releasing Ben Ellefson and Tyler Davis in the final round of cuts, the Jacksonville Jaguars had just three tight ends on their 53-man roster. Signing Jacob Hollister not only addresses the need for a fourth one but also bolsters the unit.

As of this writing, the Jaguars haven’t announced the addition of Hollister but it looks like a done deal. Tom Pelissero of NFL Media first reported the move and the team should make it official at any time soon. The Wyoming product was released by the Buffalo Bills on roster cutdown day and had several offers on the table.

Hollister signed with the Bills after spending the last two years with the Seattle Seahawks. An undrafted free agent in 2017, he signed with the New England Patriots. During his two-year stint in Foxborough, he caught just eight passes for 92 yards and mainly played on special teams.

The former Cowboy was traded to the Hawks in 2019. There, he saw his playing time on offense increase, hauling in 66 receptions for 558 yards and six touchdowns over the last two years. Hollister should see a significant amount of snaps in Jacksonville right out of the gate. He was one of four free agents the Jaguars needed to target before the start of the 2021 NFL regular season.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a better-rounded tight end room.

Earlier this season, the team’s brass opted not to pursue a big-profile tight end in free agency. Instead of targeting Jonnu Smith or Hunter Henry, they locked up Chris Manhertz to a two-year contract worth $6.65 million. The Canisius product will play a key role blocking in red-zone and short-yardage situations. However, he doesn’t offer much in the passing game. Since 2016, he’s hauled in just 12 receptions for 142 yards along with one trip to the end zone.

James O’Shaughnessy has been one of the Jaguars’ most improved players this offseason. He has earned rave reviews from the coaching staff but he’s far from a receiving threat. Rookie Luke Farrell could also see time on offense but the Jaguars don’t have to rush his development with Hollister now on the roster. The case could be made this year’s tight end room is better than last year’s.

In 2020, the Jaguars’ top two tight ends, Tyler Eifert and O’Shaughnessy logged a combined 64 receptions for 601 yards and two touchdowns. It’s true that the stability at quarterback affected the offense’s total output but the fact is that the team needed better production from the group. Eifert was no longer the playmaker he was early in his career and the Jags opted not to exercise the team option on the two-year contract he signed last offseason and is currently a free agent.

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ tight end room won’t land at the top of a ranking but the addition of Hollister certainly gives the group a boost. You could argue that they should’ve signed him back in free agency but the fact is they rectified a wrong and the tight end room looks good ahead of the 2021 season.

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