2. Jihad Ward, outside linebacker
If the Jaguars are looking for a somewhat affordable option to round out their pass rush rotation, they should consider bringing back a familiar face in Jihad Ward, who suited up for them in 2021. At the time of the signing, Ward was supposed to be one of many players who would give a boost to a defense that had ranked 31st in both points allowed and total yards the season prior. However, he was pressed into a featured role even though he's much better suited for a complementary one.
Ward ultimately didn't do much of note in his lone season with the Black and Teal, registering two sacks and 32 total tackles. He joined the Giants in 2022 and went on to post a combined eight sacks the past two years. If Martindale gets the job in Jacksonville, Ward could be incentivized to join him. After all, he's been the most productive in his career when he's played for Wink.
A second-round pick by the then-Oakland Raiders in 2016, Ward joined the Colts in 2018. He was then traded to the Baltimore Ravens midseason in 2019. That's where he first played for Martinale. The former Illinois Fighting Illini has never posted more than five sacks in a season, so expecting him to become a double-digit sack artist might be unrealistic.
That said, Ward would be a much better No. 3 pass rusher behind Travon Walker and Josh Allen than K'Lavon Chaisson was last year. The fact that he won't demand a top-market contract in free agency makes him an enticing option to round out the rotation.