3 offseason catastrophes the Jacksonville Jaguars must avoid in 2024

• The Jaguars need to be decisive when tackling these 3 decisions. Otherwise, things could get messy.

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) runs off the field after the game of a regular
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) runs off the field after the game of a regular / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA
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1. The Jaguars cannot afford to mishandle contract negotiations with Josh Allen

Outside linebacker Josh Allen started his NFL career with a bang, registering 10.5 sacks and making the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2019. However, he wasn't nearly as dominant the next three years. In 2020 a knee injury limited him to 2.5 sacks and eight games. The fact that Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue were gone added pressure to his shoulders.

Allen was a full go in 2021 but he once again failed to take over games on a consistent basis. The talent was certainly there, playing a huge role in the upset win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 9. However, he also disappeared at times. With Urban Meyer out of the picture, the hope was that Allen was going to play at an elite level in 2022 but he once again fell short of expectations. He wasn't bad per se, but he didn't make enough plays to warrant a contract extension.

Not surprisingly, the front office picked Allen's fifth-year option in 2022 but chose to let his rookie contract play out. Last offseason, the former Kentucky Wildcat acknowledged that he didn't always play great and vowed to become that player the Jags envisioned. He did and then some, racking up 17.5 sacks, one interception, and two forced fumbles. On top of that, he and Ross Matiscik became the first two Jaguars to get a Pro Bowl nod since 2019.

Now, Allen is set to hit the open market, and if he and the organization cannot find common ground, he'll probably get the franchise tag to have more time to strike a deal. If that's because of how his contract is his demands are unreasonable (e.g. asking for top QB money), the Jags should then draw the line. But if they're trying to lowball him, they're running the risk of alienating one of his top players. The last thing they want is for Allen's next contract to turn into offseason drama.

If Allen ultimately gets the franchise tag, he will be in his right to miss offseason workouts. They cannot afford that to happen, as they'll be bringing in a new coordinator and potentially a new scheme with him. If Allen is absent, their best player won't be on the field. That could affect his teammates' morale, and prevent their new defensive coordinator from installing his system. Avoiding that is simple, give Josh Allen a top-market contract; he deserves it.

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