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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2. Connor Williams

The Jaguars will have a wide array of options if they want to sign a veteran center. Connor Williams will be one of them but he comes with a caveat. A second-round pick in 2018 by the Dallas Cowboys, Williams lined up at left guard his first four NFL seasons. It wasn't until he joined the Miami Dolphins in 2022 that he made the switch to guard.

Right off the bat, Williams thrived in his new position, setting a career-high with a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 78.2, the highest mark in his career. He was able to pick up where he left off in 2023 but he suffered an ACL injury toward the end of the season.

While there's a reason to believe Williams will make a full recovery, he may not be ready for the start of the 2024 season. And even if he returns in time for the opener, there's no guarantee he'll be at full strength. The Jaguars could roll the dice on Williams but they might be better off going with a player who's not coming off a season-ending injury and can participate in offseason activities.

On the other hand, signing Williams may not be cost-prohibitive. Knowing he'll need to spend the offseason rehabbing, he won't probably get a top-market contract. Instead, he'll probably have to settle on a one-year, prove-it deal. The issue with taking a flyer on Williams is that there's no telling if he'll be his old self when he returns. But if he does, he would be a heck of an acquisition.

It would then be up to the Jaguars to decide if they want to take on the risk or let other team find out.