No. 1 projected free agent the Jaguars should pursue in 2024: Brian Burns, OLB
Depending on who signs and who walks, the pass rush market next year figures to be a promising one. The Jaguars are letting outside linebacker Josh Allen play his rookie contract out. Also, Montez Sweat and Brian Burns haven't secured extensions from the Washington Commanders and the Carolina Panthers, respectively. So teams in need of pass rush help could potentially get it next year.
Of course, there's a chance Allen, Sweat, and Burns stay put. In the Jags' case, they should do what they can to bring back Allen, who had a monster game against the Indianapolis Colts in the season opener. So let's say Jacksonville and Allen do strike a deal before the season's end. The top brass should then turn their attention to Burns in free agency.
Like Allen, Burns was drafted in 2019 and has gone on to become a productive pass rusher for the Panthers, appearing in 65 games with 52 starts while registering 39.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles. The Los Angeles Rams tried to trade for him and even made a juicy offer but Carolina wasn't interested in parting ways with him.
Burns and the Panthers have now engaged in contract talks for several months but don't seem close to reaching a deal. Carolina will keep trying to work out a long-term deal in the upcoming months. The franchise tag could be an option but there's also a chance he'll hit the open market. If he does, he would be a great addition to the Jaguars' pass rush.
The Jaguars already have a promising tandem in Allen and ascending sophomore Travon Walker but they need another pass rusher to round out their rotation, and that player doesn't seem to be on the roster right now. Burns would command a top-market deal but it would be worth it.