10 realistic free agents the Jacksonville Jaguars can sign (and afford) in 2024

• The Jaguars would love to sign many free agents in 2024, but there will only a handful they'll have a realistic shot at landing, including the next 10.

Jan 23, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis (13) celebrates
Jan 23, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis (13) celebrates / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Lloyd Cushenberry, center

Center Luke Fortner has been the talk of the town and not for good reasons. A third-round pick in 2022, he's made 34 straight starts. Heck, he was the only player on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster who played every single offensive snap the past two years. That's a feat worth recognition but that's where the positives end when it comes to assessing the former Kentucky Wildcat.

As a rookie, Fortner flashed but he also struggled against the run. The expectation was that he was going to improve in Year 2 but he ended up regressing. He did a poor job as a run blocker and ranked 31st in the league in pass-block win rate. However you look at it, he doesn't inspire confidence heading into his third NFL season.

Early in 2024, general manager Trent Baalke told the local media that Fortner has the tools to play well, and maybe he does but the Jags cannot afford to wait for him any longer. They must at least bring in competition and make him earn the starting job. But if they really want to ensure Trevor Lawrence is protected, they should then go after Lloyd Cushenberry III in free agency.

Cushenberry, a third-round pick in the 2020 draft, was a Day 1 starter for the Denver Broncos but he dealt with his fair share of growing pains. However, he's made strides over the last three seasons and is coming off a career year, surrendering 14 total pressures and one sack. While he got hurt in 2022, he didn't miss any games last year, putting down any doubts about his durability.

Connor Williams and Andre James will probably be the top centers in free agency but Cushenberry will also have his fair share of suitors. The Jaguars should be one of them, even if it means paying him an annual salary of $14.5 million, the amount Pro Football Focus thinks he'll get in the open market.