NFL teams must strike a balance when putting together their salary cap. After all, they must pay their difference-makers but they have a limited budget and can’t hand out big contracts to everyone. The Jacksonville Jaguars made several splash signings in this year’s free agency and arguably overpaid for some of the players they inked. But they also have several team-friendly deals on the payroll, including that of wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr.
Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus recently ranked the top 32 best contracts, from a team perspective, in the NFL this upcoming season and no Jaguar showed up on the list. The front office paid a premium for the services of wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. Similarly, they gave a multi-year contract to right guard Brandon Scherff.
Most of the players that popped up on the ranking have a big profile. That could be a reason Marvin Jones got snubbed but looking at his numbers last year and his role with the team, his salary seems like a bargain. The former California Golden Bear signed a two-year deal worth $12.5 million with $9 million guaranteed and the chance to get an additional $4 million through incentives.
Jones was expected to be the No. 2 receiver opposite DJ Chark Jr. in 2021 but an injury to the latter turned him into the Jaguars’ top target in the passing game. Even though the offense ranked last in the league in points scored, Jones finished the year with a solid 73 receptions for 832 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
The Jaguars are getting bang for their buck with Marvin Jones
Jones is set to count $8.7 million against the cap in 2022. Releasing him would free up $3.5 million in cap space but would create $5.2 million in dead cap. Although he’s been mentioned as a potential trade target, it wouldn’t make sense for the Jaguars to move on from him. Why would they trade one of their best players and leaders for possibly a late-round selection?
Kirk and the other Jones will step into feature roles but Jones will still be an important part of the offense. Another thing to keep in mind is injuries. The Jags are currently stacked up at wide receiver and injuries can happen at any time, so the team is better off holding onto Jones.
The Jaguars are in the process of rebuilding. At this point, they need to acquire talent, not give it away, which is why the roster was so devoid of talent a few years ago when former general manager Dave Caldwell traded many of the players that made the 2017 AFC Championship run possible.
Jones is set to be a free agent next year but the Jags are set to be around $18 million over the cap next year. They will find a way to get out of the red but for the time. They’ve allocated plenty of resources to their wide receiver room but they should consider re-signing Jones back, especially if they can bring him back at his current rate.