3 observations on the Jacksonville Jaguars early free-agency frenzy

• The Jaguars are off to a promising start to free agency, and here are three takeaways from their early moves.

Oct 30, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke reacts
Oct 30, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke reacts / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Success in free agency doesn't always translate into wins in the regular season. That said, the Jacksonville Jaguars should feel pleased about the moves they made during the tampering window. Besides doing a good job of re-signing their own players from leaving, they've managed to take care of several needs without overspending.

Maybe the prospect of failing to make the playoffs incentivized the Jags to be active in free agency. But regardless of the reason, they look in better shape than they were to end the 2023 season. With that in mind, here are three observations from the signings they made so far.

3. The Jaguars prioritize bolstering the offensive line

One of the Jaguars' biggest weaknesses last year was the offensive line. Their inability to keep Trevor Lawrence upright or pound the ball ultimately played a role in their late-season collapse. Not surprisingly, the team's brass made it a priority to fortify the trenches.

First, they re-signed left guard Ezra Cleveland, whom they traded for at the deadline. Although injuries prevented Cleveland from hitting his stride in 2023, the Jags are confident he can be part of the solution, so they gave him a three-year deal worth $24 million. The expectation is he'll benefit from being healthy and spending a full offseason in Jacksonville.

On the other hand, the Jags also reworked Brandon Scherff's deal, ensuring he stays in 2024. Even though he hasn't been able to recapture his Pro Bowl shape, he's been a dependable player for the Jags. In his defense, he's dealt with injuries the past two years but still managed to make 34 consecutive starts.

But the most important move the Jags have made is the addition of veteran Mitch Morse, who'll take over the starting job at center. Last year's starter Luke Fortner regressed and was routinely the weakest link up front. It's fair to assume that Morse's arrival will lead to an overall improvement across the offensive line.

With much better protection, Trevor Lawrence should have no trouble bouncing back. Similarly, the Jaguars should do a much better job of running the ball in 2024, which would in turn take some pressure off Lawrence's shoulders.