Jaguars get positive consensus grade for free-agent signings in 2022

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke at the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke at the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Jacksonville Jaguars tried to improve their roster as much as possible in free agency. While their signings themselves have generally gotten solid reviews, the amount of money they spent has raised several eyebrows around the league. Nevertheless, the Jags recently got an encouraging consensus grade for their moves.

Bleacher Report senior writers Gary Davenport, Brent Sobleski, and Maurice Moton recently weighed in on every NFL team’s free-agency moves in 2022 and gave the Jaguars a B+ for their signings. Sobleski says that “the stigma of spending big in the offseason should no longer apply” after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put an end to that cliche two seasons ago. Moreover, he thinks Jacksonville was in need of talent and a fresh start under head coach Doug Pederson.

"“A fresh start under new leadership, specifically head coach Doug Pederson, signaled change. The front office overspent in certain areas. Still, the Jaguars will be more competitive with the likes of wide receiver Christian Kirk, guard Brandon Scherff, linebacker Foyesade Oluokun and cornerback Darious Williams”."

While Davenport gave the Jags a C, both Moton and Sobleski gave them an A. Again, Sobieski focused on the signings, not their cost and that’s probably how the team’s brass sees them too.

The Jaguars could no longer sit on their surplus of cap space.

The Jaguars had plenty of cap room last offseason but avoided making any splash signings. The year before was worst as their only meaningful addition was tight end Tyler Eifert, who got a modest two-year deal worth $15.5 million. Not being aggressive in free agency makes sense for teams that draft well and are focused on re-signing their own players. However, Jacksonville hasn’t been good at developing homegrown talent and their roster has been devoid of playmakers.

That’s why the Jaguars needed to change their approach this offseason and went on to acquire as many difference-makers as possible, even if they needed to pay top-market money for their services. Doug Pederson told the media that this strategy isn’t sustainable and he’s right. Similarly, Trent Baalke hopes they never have to spend as much again. For that to happen, the Jags need to get better at identifying talent in the draft and if/when they do, they won’t have to be so aggressive in free agency year in and year out.

For the time being, they needed to pay a premium to fortify their roster but given the fact that they have won a combined 15 games over the last four seasons, that might have been the best course of action. After all, free agents aren’t rushing to join a struggling team, so the Jaguars need to incentivize players to sign with them.

The bottom line is that the Jaguars had to spend to get better and that shouldn’t be held against them when evaluating their free-agent haul. The B/R crew didn’t, that’s why they gave Jacksonville a positive grade.

Next. Offseason moves by AFC South foes that made us laugh. dark