3 best Luke Fortner replacements the Jaguars should target in free agency

• The Jaguars need to replace Luke Fortner at center. Here are three players who could take his place.

Dec 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders center Andre James (68) walks off the field
Dec 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders center Andre James (68) walks off the field / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
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The Jacksonville Jaguars came up short of expectations in 2023. While you could point to several reasons for their inability to win the AFC South and make the playoffs, their offensive line play played a massive role. Unable to protect Trevor Lawrence or open running lanes in the running game, their offense had a hard time putting points on the scoreboard throughout the year. And among the biggest culprits for their struggles in both areas was center Luke Fortner.

A third-round pick in 2022, Fortner regressed last season, giving up 28 total pressures and three sacks. He wasn't much better in the running game, posting a dreadful Pro Football Focus grade of 40.0 in that department. But as underwhelming as he's been, it's possible that the Jaguars haven't given up on him. Heck, general manager Trent Baalke went to bat for him the last time he met with the local media.

But despite Baalke's endorsement, the Jaguars should look for ways to upgrade the center position this offseason. At worst, Fortner should compete for the starting job in 2022 but if the team's brass is serious about fortifying the trenches, they should then eye one of the next veterans in free agency as his potential replacement.

3. Aaron Brewer

After lining up at guard early in his career, Aaron Brewer moved to center last year. He didn't fare particularly well, giving up 36 pressures and six sacks. That's not the kind of production you want from the center position, but it's fair to assume that he'll continue to get better as he gets a firmer grasp of the position.

In Jacksonville, Brewer wouldn't come in as the starter but could add competition at center. When you take into account that signing him wouldn't be cost-prohibitive, he would be a solid alternative to Fortner. Then again, there may be better options out there, and the Jaguars should spare no expenses to improve the position.