The Kansas City Chiefs just traded All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins and just a few days ago, the Las Vegas Raiders acquired Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers. Looking at these clubs swing for the fences, it’s easy to wonder why the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t try a similar move but the truth is that they aren’t currently in a position to contend. Also, the Jags are better off not allocating so many resources to one player.
Teams should always look for ways to get better but not at the expense of their future. The Raiders needed to keep up with their AFC West foes, so it made sense that they added firepower to their offense. On the other hand, the Dolphins have a rookie head coach in Mike McDaniel and lack clarity at quarterback. Both clubs parted ways with several draft picks but Las Vegas also had to give Adams a new deal and the Phins just did the same for Hill.
How much better would the Jaguars had gotten if they had traded for either Adams or Hill? Also, there’s the fact that neither one might have wanted to play in Jacksonville. The Jags did try to land Amari Cooper but the Cleveland Browns ended up outbidding them. Then again, Cooper only cost one third-round pick and didn’t get a new deal. Adams was a first and a second-round pick while Hill cost five selections, including a first and a second-rounder.
Sure, the Jaguars gave Christian Kirk a four-year deal worth $72 million and Adams and Hill are significantly better players than him but general manager Trent Baalke didn’t have to mortgage the organization’s future to acquire him. Also, what makes the Kirk signing look bad is the price tag but Jacksonville won’t mind paying him a premium if he can live up to his contract.
The Jaguars should build through the draft, not trade for superstars.
With all the moves the Jaguars made in free agency, it seemed like they want to buy a superteam but that wouldn’t be accurate. Simply, they had plenty of cap space because they hadn’t used it in previous years. Also, they don’t have many building blocks so their payroll is somewhat small, which allows them to spend big. Having said that, Jacksonville’s biggest additions will come in the draft. If they can land three or four impact players this year, they could be set for the future.
If the Jaguars begin winning games and draft better than they had over the last decade (a big IF), they won’t need to rely on free agents and it will instead become a tool to supplement the roster. Of course, this is a long-term approach and Doug Pederson needs to start racking up wins as soon as possible. That’s why the team’s brass was so aggressive in this year’s free agency.
Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams are the kind of receivers every quarterback wants to play with. But the Jaguars weren’t in the position to land either one. If the Raiders or the Miami Dolphins make it to the AFC Championship, it will be worth it but until then, it’s fair to ask if any of the moves will move the needle.