No. 2 Jaguars potential cap casualty in 2024: Zay Jones, WR
One of the Jaguars' biggest priorities in 2022 was upgrading the wide receiver corps. While DJ Chark Jr. was a fine receiver and even made the Pro Bowl in 2019, injuries robbed him of his effectiveness. Similarly, Laviska Shenault Jr. regressed after a promising rookie campaign. The front office spared no expenses and paid a premium for both Zay Jones (3yrs, $24 million) and Christian Kirk (4yrds, $72 million).
Early on, Trent Baalke got lots of flak for giving top-market contracts to receivers who hadn't produced. What many observers failed to see was that the Jags paid Kirk and Jones for the things they could do on their offense, not their past production. In the end, the decision paid off as both Kirk and Jones went on to post career numbers.
In particular, Jones proved his worth and came up in the clutch several times in the 2022 season. One play that comes to mind was his two-point conversion that helped the Jags beat the Baltimore Ravens.
Although Jones has been his usual self in 2023, a knee injury has hindered his production and forced him to miss three games. There's no doubt he'll eventually be back and pick up where he left off last year. That said, the Jags are stacked at wide receiver and if any of their young players make strides in the upcoming months, the top brass could choose to move on from Jones in 2024.
The former East Carolina Pirate is set to make an affordable $11 million next year but if the Jags find themselves scraping at the bottom of the barrel for cap space, releasing him would create $4.44 million with $6.56 million in dead money.