1. Will the Jaguars give Josh Allen the franchise tag or a long-term deal?
The elephant in the room is Josh Allen's contract status. As long as there are no updates, questions will keep surfacing. You could rightfully point out that there's still time to hammer out an extension but fans won't stop being fidgety until he gets a new deal, and rightfully so.
Allen, a first-round pick by the Jaguars in 2019, started his NFL career with a bang, registering 10.5 sacks and making the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, injuries and other factors — the Urban Meyer debacle was one of them — led him to a dip in production the following years. While he wasn't bad per se, he wasn't nearly as consistent as the Jaguars would've wanted, tallying just 17 sacks from 2021-2023.
While Jacksonville's trust hadn't wavered, they weren't ready to commit to him long-term so they let him play out his rookie contract, hoping he was going to put it all together. He did, logging 17.5 sacks and earning a Pro Bowl berth.
Now, the Jags should be ready to shell out top-market money for Allen and make him one of the highest-paid pass rushers in the league. He's earned it. However, general manager Trent Baalke has yet to initiate contract talks with the star pass rusher. To nobody's surprise, the former Kentucky Wildcat isn't pleased with Baalke's lack of urgency: He wants to get a deal done and stay in Jacksonville long-term.
And all things considered, Baalke and the Jaguars also benefit from giving Allen an extension rather than placing the franchise tag on him. If they tag Allen, his salary will be guaranteed and take up a huge amount of space. But if they sign him to a long-term deal, they would then structure a deal in a way in which he uses up a minimal amount of cap space in the early years. Simply put, everyone wins if Allen gets an extension.