The Jacksonville Jaguars acquired left guard Ezra Cleveland last year. He's now slated to become a free agent. If the Jags let him walk, they would create a void at left guard. Fortunately for them, Brad Spielberber of Pro Football Focus believes there will be a couple of appealing choices to replace him in the open market.
Spielberger thinks Jacksonville is an ideal landing spot for pending free agents Graham Glasgow and Demien Lewis. Regarding Glasgow, he thinks his ability to play all three positions inside would give the Jaguars the flexibility to plug him in where they see fit.
"Glasgow would be a great veteran addition for a handful of teams, and here he goes to Jacksonville, where Brandon Scherffmay not play much longer and question marks continue about whether Little stays on the inside or perhaps kicks back out to tackle if Cam Robinson ends up a cap casualty."
On the other hand, Spielberger thinks Lewis would help the Jaguars fix their offensive line issues.
"Lewis returns to the Southeast, where he played college ball at LSU, and fills a major void on the Jaguars' offensive line. Lewis really impressed on film in 2023, and while we may be higher on him than the consensus, he is a proficient run blocker and has made continued strides as a pass protector."
A third-round pick in the 2016 draft, Glasgow spent his first five NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions. He then signed with the Denver Broncos in 2021 and returned to Detroit last year. While he's not a Pro Bowl-caliber offensive lineman, he's been reliable throughout his career, posting Pro Football Focus overall grades of 60.0 or lower just twice in his career. Conversely, he's earned scores of 70.0 or higher four times.
Lewis, for his part, became a fixture of the Seattle Seahawks offensive trenches the past four seasons, having made 61 starts in that span. As Spielberger noted, he had a solid 2023 season, giving up three sacks and 29 total pressures. While that kind of production doesn't pop off the stat sheet, he was solid enough in 2023 to generate interest in the open market.
Graham Glasgow or Damien Lewis? Who would be a better fit with the Jaguars?
The Jaguars could be better off going with the devil they know and giving Ezra Cleveland a one-year prove-it deal. Without ample time to get acclimated after his trade, he didn't have the impact the Jaguars surely hoped when they traded for him. The fact that he dealt with a foot sprain and later a knee injury further prevented him from making an impact.
That said, it's reasonable to think that Cleveland can bounce back next season if he has a full offseason to get healthy and get accustomed in Jacksonville.
But if the Jags decide to move on from him, Graham Glasgow would be an enticing replacement due to his ability to line up at all three spots inside. In Jacksonville, he could start at either guard spot or compete with Luke Fortner for the center job. Then again, the Jaguars don't have to move on from either Cleveland or Scherff to bring Glasgow aboard. They could easily re-sign Cleveland and lock up Glasgow.
PFF projects Cleveland to sign a three-year deal worth $28.5 million with $17.5 million guaranteed but that may be too high of an estimate when you take into account that he's coming off a somewhat underwhelming season. A five-year deal worth $5 million may be more realistic. It would also give them the chance to rebuild his stock and command an even better deal in 2025.
Meanwhile, Glasgow is projected to get a two-year, $13 million deal in free agency. That seems a fair amount for a player of his caliber. If the Jaguars wanted to, they could fit both linemen on their payroll in 2024.
In the end, signing a combination of Damien Lewis, Graham Glasgow, and Ezra Cleveland in free agency would allow them to address other needs in the 2024 NFL Draft.