Wide receiver was arguably the Jacksonville Jaguars’ most pressing need after the 2021 season, so they signed not one but two in free agency, Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. The former is going to have a feature role on the Jags’ offense and will probably be their top target in 2022 but the latter could turn out to have a bigger impact than expected.
Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report recently discussed every NFL team’s best-kept secret and he included Jones on the list. He argues the Jaguars have a well-rounded wide receiver corps but believes that Jones will get plenty of targets based on the financial commitment they made to him.
"Based on the financial investment in Jones, the Jaguars may feature him in three-wide receiver sets after his strong finish to the 2201 season with the Las Vegas Raiders. He caught at least five passes in each of the last five regular-season games and logged a career-high 120 receiving yards against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17. Even though Jones has played five seasons split between the Buffalo Bills and Raiders, he’s still 27 years old and has upside. As a potential starter in three-wide receiver sets with the Jaguars, he could top his most productive campaign, which came in 2018 with the Bills (56 receptions for 652 yards and seven touchdowns)."
The Jaguars gave Jones a three-year deal worth $24 million, so they will most likely want a return on their investment. A second-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2017, Jones was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in 2019. He’s appeared in 79 games with 45 starts and has hauled in 171 receptions for 1,884 yards with 11 touchdowns.
The Jaguars expect Zay Jones to give their offense a boost.
Jones has logged 500 receiving yards or more just twice in his NFL career. That’s why it was a bit surprising to see the Jaguars pay a premium for his services. On the other hand, Moton isn’t the only one that thinks he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. Jaguars legend Jimmy Smith knows a thing or two about playing wide receiver and he believes that Jones hasn’t shown his true potential just yet.
Jones has previously caught passes from Josh Allen and Derek Carr, so quarterback hasn’t played a role in his modest production throughout his career. Maybe he wasn’t used properly or wasn’t a fit with the Raiders and the Bills but it’s clear that the Jaguars are high on him and believe he can be a key cog in their offense. He will be now playing with Trevor Lawrence, so quarterback won’t be an issue in Jacksonville either.
The Jaguars struggled to score points last year, so they made several upgrades to their offense this offseason. If Zay Jones lives up to expectations, they should have no trouble moving the ball and putting more points on the scoreboard in 2022.