Jacksonville Jaguars keeping TE Evan Engram in 2023 one way or another

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) at Nissan Stadium. (Imagn Images photo pool)
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) at Nissan Stadium. (Imagn Images photo pool) /

Tight end Evan Engram became one of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ best players on offense last year, so it makes sense the team will either give him a contract extension or use the franchise tag to keep him around. Either way, the Jags aren’t letting him hit the open market.

Mia O’Brien of 1010 XL reports that negotiations between the Jaguars and Engram are in flux, “but both sides know it’s ending in either a tag or an extension”.

This isn’t particularly surprising when you consider how productive the former Ole Miss Rebel was in Jacksonville last season. Besides setting new career highs for catches and receiving yards, he broke the team’s record for receiving yards by a tight end in a single game, catches by a tight end in a season, and receiving yards by a tight end in a season.

There are a few factors that could potentially be slowing contract talks such as the duration, guarantees, and total compensation. Even though Engram has previously said that he would like to return to Jacksonville, he will most likely want to get a contract that reflects his status as one of the top tight ends in the 2022 season.

Darren Waller’s $17 million annual average is the highest among tight ends and the top 5 contracts for tight ends in 2023 pay an average of $14 million per year. It wouldn’t be shocking if Engram wants a deal in that range.

The Jacksonville Jaguars created cap space to bring back Evan Engram

Field Yates of ESPN reported Tuesday that the Jaguars had freed up $261. million in caps space by converting a total of $32.65 million of base salary for wide receiver Christian Kirk, wide receiver Zay Jones, and guard Brandon Scherff into signing bonuses.

After reworking a few deals and re-signing a few players, Jacksonville is under the cap. As recently as mid-February, they were $20 million in the red and that was without taking wide receiver Calvin Ridley’s contract into account. First, they re-signed C.J. Beathard, they then restructured the contract of linebacker Foyesade Oluokun to create cap room and later freed up more space when they gave defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris a new three-year deal worth $30 million.

On top of that, they re-signed C.J. Beathard to a two-year deal and also gave running back JaMycal Hasty a contract extension despite the fact that they could have brought him back on a one-year tender.

Evan Engram is not the player the Jaguars need to take care of though. Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., right tackle Jawaan Taylor, defensive end Arden Key, and outside linebacker Dawuane Smoot are also slated to become free agents. However, it looks like the teams’ brass are prioritizing Engram over all of them.

The Jacksonville Jaguars spent the last two seasons adding playmakers to the roster. Now, they’re doing their best to keep as many as possible, which is why it’s not surprising to hear that they’ll keep Engram one way or another.

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