3 most curious decisions the Jacksonville Jaguars made in the offseason

• The Jaguars made a handful of offseason decision that were a bit off.
Miami Dolphins v Jacksonville Jaguars
Miami Dolphins v Jacksonville Jaguars / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Overall, the Jacksonville Jaguars had a strong offseason. They addressed several needs without having to break the bank in free agency. They then bolstered a handful of position groups and managed to pick up a couple extra selections for next along the way. Having said that, the Jags also had a few misses.

The team's brass made plenty of decisions that will put them in a position to contend in the AFC South next season. However, it's fair to wonder how much better they would've been if they had taken a different approach with the following three.

3. Trent Baalke no having a sense of urgency to re-sign Josh Allen

Trent Baalke has hit it out of the ballpark several times since becoming the general manager of the "Jaiguars". On the other hand, he's had his fair share of mistakes. One of them took place in the offseason. Outside linebacker Josh Allen entered 2023 needing to prove himself. He delivered and then some, setting a new team record for sacks in a season with 17.5. But even after having a breakout year, Baalke wasn't in a hurry to pay him.

By his own admission, Baalke hadn't begun contract talks with Allen by late January. Negotiations would drag into the following months. The Jags picked up the pace in March, but by then, it was a bit too late. They couldn't get a deal done before the start of free agency, so they placed the franchise tag on the former Kentucky Wildcat.

Eventually, Allen got the deal he deserved, one that reflected his status as one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. However, the Jaguars could've tagged wide receiver Calvin Ridley if they had reached a long-term deal early in the offseason. Heck, the team might've been able to save themselves a bit of money if they had given Allen an extension last year.

Going back to Ridley, the Jags let him hit the open market because they agreed to give the Atlanta Falcons a second-rounder as part of the trade they made in 2022 if they signed him to a long-term deal before the start of free agency. They could've gotten around that with the franchise tag, which they didn't have because they used it on Allen.

For a moment, it looked like Ridley was going to return to Jacksonville but he ultimately signed with the Tennessee Titans.

The silver lining is that the Jaguars found a potential replacement for Ridley when they drafted Brian Thomas Jr. 23rd overall. Add the fact that they acquired three extra selections — one in 2024 and two next year — when they traded down, and Baalke was able to recover from his own decision-making.

2. The Jaguars released Darious Williams

Cornerback Darious Williams had a career year in 2023. An undrafted free agent in 2018, he signed with the Baltimore Ravens but was waived later the same year. He was quickly claimed by the Los Angeles Rams, where he spent the next five seasons. The Florida native became a free agent in 2022 and signed a three-year deal worth $30 million with the Jags.

Williams got off to a slow start in 2022 but that was mostly because he lined up in the slot, where he wasn't a great fit. He fared noticeably better when he replaced Saquill Griffin in the boundaries. Although he didn't log a single interception, he had a team-high 16 passes defensed.

The following season, Williams tied his career-best of four interceptions and registered his first pick-6. On top of that, he registered 19 pass deflections. But despite his production, the Jaguars chose to move on in the offseason.

One reason releasing Williams was a no-brainer was that the Jaguars were able to free up $11 million in cap space. Simply, the savings were too good to pass up. On the other hand, it was a bit puzzling not to see them make an effort to keep their best cornerback from 2023.

This is especially true when you take into account that the Jaguars could've also gotten $9 million in space if they had released Brandon Scherff but instead restructured his contract to ensure he stayed in 2023. Similarly, they could've gotten a massive $17 million if they had released Cam Robinson but he's still around.

To replace Williams, the Jags signed Roland Darby in free agency. They gave him a two-year deal worth a maximum of $10 million.

Darby has been dependable throughout his career. He's given up just one touchdown the past two years. However, the former Florida State Seminole has never played a full season and missed 13 games over the last two seasons. He's certainly cheaper than Williams and if he can stay healthy, he'll probably be a bargain. Still, signing him feels like a lateral move, if not a downgrade.

Looking back, the top brass didn't see Williams as part of their future. Perhaps, he wasn't a culture fit. Regardless of the reason, they didn't try to bring him back, at least from an outside perspective, even though he was highly productive.

1. The Jaguars chose not to trade/release Cam Robinson

Left tackle Cam Robinson has been a staple of the Jaguars' offensive line since they drafted him in 2017. However, there were reasons to think they would move on from him in the offseason. For starters, he served a four-game suspension that voided the remaining guarantees on the $52.4 million deal he inked in 2022.

The Jags could've released him or traded him at any point of the offseason and freed up $17 million in space. However, general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Doug Pederson say they expect the Alabama product to be on the roster in 2024.

This would make sense if Robinson were a top-tier left tackle but he isn't. He's never made the Pro Bowl and his pass-block win rate in 2023 was among the worst in the league. In his defense, he's become a leader on the offensive line, and the team likes the aggressiveness and feisty attitude he brings to the table.

On the other hand, the Jaguars have in-house replacements for Robinson. Anton Harrison switched to right tackle as a rookie but says that he'll be willing to move back to the left side if that's what the coaching staff wants. Walker Little, a second-round pick in 2021, is also in the mix. He's previously filled in for Robinson and fared well. For whatever reason, though, he's not been able to earn a featured role.

It's possible that the Jaguars do want to trade Robinson but haven't gotten the offer they want. They could be holding on to him to drive up his value. If a team suffers an injury at left tackle, they might meet Jacksonville's asking price.

For the time being, it's a bit surprising that the team's brass hasn't asked Robinson to take a pay cut, restructure his price, or outright release him. All things considered, any of the aforementioned scenarios would've been reasonable.

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