Report: Jacksonville Jaguars ready to use franchise tag to keep Evan Engram if needed

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

The Jacksonville Jaguars spent the last two seasons fortifying their offense and they’re now doing their best to keep their core together. They’ve begun to re-sign some of their players who were set to hit the open market but there’s no doubt that bringing tight end Engram back is their biggest priority. In fact, they’re reportedly ready to use the franchise tag to keep him from leaving.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Jags are willing to apply the tag on Engram to prevent him from hitting the open market. There’s mutual interest from the former Ole Miss and Jacksonville to get a deal done but the tag remains an option if contract talks break off.

Even though the Jaguars wanted to give Engram a long-term deal, he opted to bet on himself and sign a one-year deal worth $9 million last offseason. The former Ole Miss Rebel went on to set career highs in catches and yards. He also set team records for receiving yards in a game by a tight end, catches in a season by a tight end, and receiving yards by a tight end in a season.

Engram recently had a sitdown with Greg Jennings of the 33rd team and said that he would love to return to Jacksonville and expects “everything to take care of itself“.

“Definitely, Jacksonville is a place I want to be and want to continue my career”, Engram said. “so hopefully, something gets done there, but definitely understand and now it’s more laid back, let it all come to me, everything will take care of itself”, Engram said.

The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t letting Evan Engram leave in 2023

Engram’s decision to bet on himself paid off, as he’s now in a position to demand top-market compensation for his services. Players have a limited window to get paid in NFL, so it makes sense that they try to maximize their earning potential while they can.

Even though it looked like the Jags and Engram were close to reaching a deal, they haven’t agreed on the kind of compensation he wants. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be ready to use the franchise tag.

It’s important to note that applying the tag doesn’t mean the Jaguars and Engram won’t strike a deal this offseason. The tag would serve as a placeholder and would allow them to keep contract talks open until July 17. After that date, they won’t be able to negotiate until next year.

The franchise tag isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Engram though. Even though he would surely have the security that comes with signing a multi-year contract, he can get an even better deal next season if he once again puts up good numbers. On the other hand, it’s good to see the Jaguars doing what they can to retain their best players, which wasn’t always the case in previous years.

The Jacksonville Jaguars think highly of Engram, which is why they won’t let him hit the open market. They’d rather get a deal done but the franchise tag will do if needed.

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