The Jacksonville Jaguars are doing their best to keep as many of their own free agents as possible but they won’t be able to keep them all. One player who might not return is right tackle Jawaan Taylor, who is expected to be a hot commodity in the open market.
League insider Jeremy Fowler recently shared an article on ESPN+ about things he and coworker Dan Graziano heard at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine (you must have a subscription to read it) and says that Taylor is expected to have a huge market in free agency. Fowler goes on to say that the former Florida Gator could command an annual salary of $17 million to 18 million due to the demand at the position.
Another thing that will make Taylor an appealing option in free agency for teams in need of help at right tackle is his availability. The 2019 second-round pick hasn’t missed a single game in his NFL career, making 66 consecutive starts.
Taylor ranks third overall and is the second-best right tackle on Pro Football Focus’ list of offensive tackles potentially available in this year’s free agency. He’s also No. 4 in The 33rd Team’s ranking.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will have a hard time re-signing Jawaan Taylor
Taylor improved considerably in 2022. After giving up an average of 44 total pressures in each of his first three NFL seasons, he allowed just 16, along with a career-low five sacks, last year. Moreover, he posted a PFF pass-blocking grade of 76.4. Even though he isn’t great in run plays, he would give a huge boost to teams in need of offensive line help.
Mia O’Brien of 1010 XL reports that the Jaguars already made an offer to Taylor. However, they feel comfortable adding a swing tackle in the draft if they can’t meet Taylor’s salary demands. The fact that Walker Little is ready to step in at right tackle is another reason the team’s brass might be willing to let Taylor walk in free agency.
The Jags currently have a bit over $16 million in cap space but they are expected to apply the franchise tag on tight end Evan Engram and accommodate wide receiver Calvin Ridley once he’s reinstated. Thus, they aren’t in a position to offer Taylor the kind of contract other teams may give him in free agency. The Las Vegas Raiders, the Chicago Bears, and maybe the Washington Commanders could pay him a premium in free agency.
The Jaguars would like continuity in the trenches but simply don’t have the cap room to bring back Taylor. The silver lining is that they have a solid replacement in Walker Little, so their offensive line should be able to pick up where they left off last season and keep Trevor Lawrence protected.