This has been a great day to be a fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Less than an hour after the league announced that they’d lifted wide receiver Calvin Ridley’s suspension for gambling on football games, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media broke the news that the Jags had officially applied the franchise tag on tight end Evan Engram, effectively keeping him from becoming a free agent. Jacksonville later confirmed Rapoport’s report on social media and the team’s official website. But as great as this news was, they weren’t of the earth-shattering variety.
After all, Rapoport himself reported last week that Jacksonville was expected to use the tag on Engram, so making the official announcement was pretty much a formality. Then again, it looked like the Jaguars and Engram were close to striking a deal just a few days ago. If they tagged him, it was probably because they couldn’t agree on the terms of a potential multi-year contract.
Keep in mind that both parties want to get a long-term deal done and can continue to exchange offers until July 15. After that day, they won’t be able to engage in any more conversation and Engram will play the 2023 season under the franchise tag, which will pay him $11.35 million guaranteed as soon as he signs it. So what does this mean for the Jaguars and the former Ole Miss Rebel?
Here are three takeaways from the Jaguars’ decision to apply the franchise tag on Engram.
3. The Jaguars won’t be drafting a tight end early in the 2023 NFL Draft
Technically, the Jaguars could pursue Dalton Kincaid, Michael Mayer, or Luke Musgrave, the best three tight end prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. Head coach Doug Pederson would surely like to deploy Engram and a rookie tight end the way he used Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert during his stint with the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, the Jags have other needs, and using a first or second-round selection on a tight end seems like an unnecessary luxury. Instead, look for teams’ brass to fortify their defense with their first two selections.