Contract negotiations can be tough, even if teams and players are on the same wavelength. Fortunately for the Jacksonville Jaguars, talks with tight end Evan Engram, who is set to be a free agent, seem to be headed in the right direction. Having said that, there’s always the chance they’ll break down and Engram will hit the open market. If he does, he would become the top tight end available, according to Clay Harbor of The 33rd Team.
Harbor recently made a list of his top 10 tight ends set to be free agents and Engram took the top spot while Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki landed at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. Harbor notes that Engram’s value to the Jaguars in 2022 was especially noticeable against the Los Angeles Chargers in Super Wild Card Weekend.
"Evan Engram was the No. 23 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He struggled a little bit with drops in New York, but he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022 and showed he could catch the ball (his receptions and receiving yars were career-highs). It was especially clear during the Jaguars’ wild-card win against the Los Angeles Chargers. He made seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown, showing he could play under pressure."
Harbor goes on to say that Engram did everything he was asked to do and proved to be a better blocker than expected. This isn’t the first time the former Ole Miss is mentioned as the top tight end set to hit the open market though. He was also the highest-ranked tight end in Jared Dubin’s list of 25 offensive players potentially available in free agency and 14th overall.
While you could make the case that Schultz is better than Engram, he wasn’t nearly as productive last season. Moreover, the latter set career highs for catches and also set team records despite the fact that he was playing alongside Christian Kirk and Zay Jones.
The Jaguars and Evan Engram could strike a deal at any time
Jaguars fans are fidgety, keeping an eye on contract talks between Evan Engram and the team while waiting for an announcement. The tight end himself said his heart dropped when he thought Jacksonville had made an announcement on social media. In the end, it turned out to be a picture of his accomplishments last season but based on everything he’s said, it looks like it will be a matter of time before he agrees to a deal.
Just recently, Engram made an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio and said that there’s a mutual interest to get a deal done. If that’s the case, the Jaguars could announce they agreed to a multi-year contract at any time. Heck, they might have announced the deal by the time you’re reading this.
If Engram remains in Jacksonville, Schultz will be the top tight end available in the open market and would be in a position to look for a similar or a better deal than Engram. The same is true for Gesicki, who would become a free agent knowing the kind of contract he would command.
While a deal won’t be done until Engram puts his signature on paper, the Jaguars are seemingly doing everything they can to bring him back, and why wouldn’t they? Good teams do what it takes to keep their playmakers from leaving.