Jaguars TE Evan Engram deserving of extension before 2022 ends

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense has been on a roll since Week 9 and one big reason has been the emergence of tight end Evan Engram, who signed a one-year deal in free agency. Although Engram had a somewhat slow start to the 2022 season, he’s become one of Trevor Lawrence’s most trusted targets in recent weeks, which is why the team’s brass should consider signing him to a multi-year extension.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently put together a list of players who are deserving of a long-term deal and Engram made the cut. Knox cites the tight end’s chemistry with Lawrence as a reason the Jags should give him a contract extension.

"Engram, who only turned 28 in September, has developed a ton of chemistry with Lawrence this season. In 15 games with 12 starts, he has caught 68 passes for 723 yards and four touchdowns. He has provided a passer rating of 110.9 when targeted—substantially higher than Lawrence’s season-long passer rating of 96.0."

Knox goes on to say that Engram’s projected market value is $7.5 million per year and argues that a four-year, $30 million deal seems reasonable.

A first-round pick by the New York Giants in 2017, Engram has set career highs for receptions (68) and receiving yards (723) in a season in his first year with the Jaguars. He’s also two touchdowns away from tying his personal record of six in a season. Given the impact he’s had in Jacksonville, he’s definitely earned a new contract. The question is whether the Jaguars or someone else will give it to him.

The Jaguars may need to pay a premium to keep Evan Engram

All things considered, an annual average of $7.5 million might not get a deal done with Engram. Despite the fact that he’s indicated that he’s open to returning to Jacksonville, that doesn’t mean he’ll take a hometown discount. Instead, expect him to look for a top-market deal.

Engram’s salary for 2022 is $9 million and $7.5 million per season would represent a pay cut. There are currently 18 tight ends (including him) that are making at least $8 million in 2022, and based on the demand at the position, the Jaguars might need to offer him a contract that pays him something along the lines of $12 million -$13 million per year, which would put him in the top 10 among tight ends.

It’s important to note that the Jaguars will probably be on a cap crunch next offseason, so they won’t have enough money to bring back all their pending free agents. If Engram’s salary demands exceed their budget, they might decide that the best course of action is to let him walk in free agency and look for a replacement in the draft.

There’s no doubt Engram has become the playmaker the Jags expected when they inked him in free agency. Similarly, you will be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t think he should get paid. He definitely does and the Jaguars must decide if they’ll be the ones writing him the check.

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