Jacksonville Jaguars on standby early in NFL Free Agency: 3 takeaways

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson at TIAA Bank Field. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson at TIAA Bank Field. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union] /
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Christian Kirk #13 of the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium on December 22, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

1. The Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 free agent class looks great

General manager Trent Baalke didn’t have a glowing reputation heading into the 2022 offseason. The fact that he was around during the Urban Meyer era was a big reason and his role in then-Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich not becoming the head coach also made him an unpopular figure among fans. But something happened.

Baalke made several splash signings in free agency and he nailed most of them. Right guard Brandon Scherff played a full season for the first time since 2016. Linebacker Foyesade Oluokun became a team captain and was a tackle machine. Cornerback Darious Williams solidified the spot opposite Tyson Campbell and tight end Evan Engram had a career year.

Of course, Baalke’s most scrutinized additions in free agency last year were Zay Jones and Christian Kirk, who were given top-market contracts despite the fact that neither one had had a 1,000-yard season. In the end, both Jones and Kirk posted career numbers and proved the general manager was right to bring them aboard.

With the benefit of hindsight, every signing Baalke made last year looks even better, at least from a financial standpoint. Even though the Jaguars paid a premium for most of the players they acquired in free agency last season, none of the deals they sign look particularly bad, especially those given to Jones and Kirk. Tremaine Edmunds got a bigger deal than the one Oluokun got and Williams’ annual average of $10 million compares favorably to Cameron Sutton’s average of $11 million per year.

The bottom line is that the Jaguars won’t probably be active in free agency because they got most of the players they needed last year.

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