Jaguars free agency: Re-signing RT Jawaan Taylor might be hard to pull off

Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor (75) against the Los Angeles Chargers at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor (75) against the Los Angeles Chargers at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

For the first time since 2021, the Jacksonville Jaguars won’t have to search for a new head coach. But that doesn’t mean they can just sit back and relax in the offseason. Among the many things they need to do is decide which players they want to re-sign and given the limited cap space they will be working with, they won’t be able to bring everybody back. One player who could walk away in free agency is right tackle Jawaan Taylor.

Head coach Doug Pederson met with the local media Monday and said he likes Taylor and would like to see him back in Jacksonville but he didn’t sound 100 percent confident they’ll get a deal done.

“It’s important to us that we make every effort to get guys back”, Pederson said. “We know JT, what he’s meant to the team and organization and we’d love to be able to get that done and he knows that. Sometimes, there are business decisions that are out of our control but it’s important to know that we want them all back and try to make every effort to do that”.

Similarly, Taylor told Mia O’Brien of 1010 XL that even though he hasn’t started conversations with the Jaguars’ front office about a potential contract extension, he made it clear he wants to return, “I’d love to be here, I’m only two hours from home. It’s the team that took a chance on me in the draft, so I’d like to be here”.

A second-round pick in the 2019 draft, Taylor was the Jaguars’ starting right tackle from Day 1 and has made 66 consecutive starts. Although he struggled in previous years, he put it all together in 2022, allowing five sacks and 16 total pressures, both career-bests. Similarly, he posted a Pro Football Focus pass-blocking grade of 76.4, the highest he’s earned over the last four seasons. Here’s Taylor’s convo with O’Brien.

The Jaguars will have a hard time re-signing RT Jawaan Taylor in 2023

Doug Pederson is most likely telling the truth when he says he wants Taylor back but that doesn’t mean he will give him a multi-year deal. The Jaguars are currently $13.96 million in the red, according to Over the Cap, and they will need to shed a few contracts and restructure others just to get under the cap.

Moreover, re-signing tight end Evan Engram or defensive end Arden Key may be a higher priority for the team’s brass when you take into account that Taylor’s potential replacement is already on the roster.

Back in training camp, Walker Little competed with Taylor for the right tackle job. Although Little lost the battle and started the 2022 season on the bench, he’s shown starting potential and has made a strong case to remain in the lineup since filling in for Cam Robinson at left tackle in Week 15.

If the Jags do move on from Taylor, they can plug in Little at right tackle, which makes sense from a financial standpoint when you take into account that he’s still in his rookie year. Also, Taylor will most likely ask for top-market compensation and he might have an easier time getting the deal he wants somewhere else.

This doesn’t mean the Jaguars will definitely move on from Taylor but a return isn’t guaranteed either and there’s a strong chance he will be playing somewhere else in 2023 even if Pederson and the rest of the coaching staff want him to stay.

Trending. 3 discouraging stats from the loss to the Chiefs. light