5 contract decisions that will pay off for the Jaguars in 2023

The Jacksonville Jaguars took a conservative approach in free agency to avoid handicapping their ability to make big moves in future years. Yet, they still managed to make a handful of smart contract decisions. Here are the best five.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan talks with the team's first round draft pick Anton Harrison as they walk.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan talks with the team's first round draft pick Anton Harrison as they walk. / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY
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The Jacksonville Jaguars couldn't make many splash signings in free agency but still managed to make several moves that could have a huge impact in 2023.

Some of those moves weren't particularly flashy but the Jags deserve praise for doing what they could with the limited amount of cap space they had in the offseason. With that in mind, here are the five contract decisions they made with the potential to pay big dividends in 2023.

No. 5 Jaguars decision that can pay off: Drafting TE Brenton Strange

Of the three Jaguars tight ends that were slated to hit the open market earlier this year, Evan Engram had the biggest impact of the three in 2023, which is why the team's brass applied the franchise tag to prevent him from leaving. Conversely, they didn't make much of an effort to keep Chris Manhertz and Dan Arnold, who signed with the Denver Broncos and the Philadelphia Eagles, respectively.

Even though Manhertz carved a niche as a blocker, he wasn't much of a pass catcher, hauling in 12 receptions for 113 yards with one touchdown during his two-year stint with the Black and Teal. Thus, it wasn't necessarily shocking to see him leave and get a two-year deal worth $6 million with the Broncos.

Something similar happened with Dan Arnold. He was supposed to thrive in Doug Pederson's tight-end friendly scheme but instead saw his playing time decrease considerably. In the end, he mustered a paltry nine catches for 135 yards last year.

To replace Arnold's and Manhertz's production, the Jaguars used a second-round pick on tight end Brenton Strange. While he needs to hone his skills, he can contribute both as a catcher and a receiver and if he makes a quick adjustment to the NFL, he could end up with more receptions than both Arnold Manhertz in 2023.

On top of that, Strange is set to count an affordable $1.1 million against the cap next season. So it's fair to say that the front office was able to upgrade their tight end room without having to break the bank.