3 unsung free agents the Jacksonville Jaguars should re-sign in 2024

• The Jaguars need to bring back these 3 non-prominent players who had key roles last year.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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1. Ezra Cleveland, left guard

The way the Jaguars handled the left guard spot in 2023 was less than ideal. You could argue that it's easy to say that with the benefit of hindsight but the truth is that there were questions about their approach throughout most of the year.

For starters, the team's brass bet on Ben Bartch to return in time for the opener. The former St. John Johnny dislocated his knee in 2022 and spent the offseason recovering. The Jags could've easily added depth at the position but opted not to. Actually, they did use a seventh-round pick on Cooper Hodges but it still wasn't enough. To nobody's surprise, things didn't work out the way they expected, and Jacksonville didn't have a contingency plan in place.

Without any viable options in the roster, the Jaguars bumped offensive tackle Walker Little inside. He was overwhelmed in his transition but eventually got a hold of the position. Then, the front office traded for Ezra Cleveland at the deadline, something they should've done before the regular season began.

Cleveland, a fourth-round pick in 2020, made 49 straight starts before a foot sprain forced him to miss a few games. When he was traded to the Jags, he was still dealing with the injury, so it took him a couple weeks to contribute. He then dealt with more ailments and didn't fully hit his stride. That said, he was a pretty good player during his stint with the Minnesota Vikings, and it makes sense to bring him back.

It's fair to assume that Cleveland can put it all together if he spent a full offseason in Jacksonville. He could take a short-term deal and rebuild his stock in 2024. From the Jaguars' side of things, they wouldn't have to worry about the left guard position for at least a year and could focus on addressing other needs this offseason.

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