Jacksonville Jaguars get good (but not great) grades for offseason moves in 2023
Good teams are always looking for ways to get better and you could make the case that the Jacksonville Jaguars didn't do nearly enough in the offseason to upgrade their roster. While it's true that they didn't make any splash signings, they added depth to their roster and re-signed many of their own players, and that's more than enough to put them in a position to compete in 2023, which is why they got solid grades from Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus and Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report.
Both Monson and Knox graded all NFL team's offseason moves and they each gave Jacksonville a B-. Monson thinks the addition of Calvin Ridley was huge and believes D'Ernest Johnson can be a solid complement to Travis Etienne in the backfield". He also likes the Parker Washington pick in Round 6, noting that the former Penn State Nittany Lion "had just three drops last season and an elite contested catch rate of 71.4%" when lining up in the slot.
Knox echoes Monson's sentiment about Ridley and Johnson while pointing out that the Jaguars came out of the 2023 NFL Draft with 13 players.
"Over the course of the weekend, the Jaguars ended up netting and using 13 selections. That's a ton of depth for a 2022 playoff team that remains largely unchanged. Not every rookie will make the team, but Jacksonville should have some terrific camp competition to bring out the best in the back end of its roster. "
Re-signing Evan Engram was one of the Jags' top priorities in the offseason but they couldn't strike a deal, so they used the franchise tag, ensuring that he remains in Jacksonville for at least one more year. The team's brass also brought back safety Andrew Wingard, running back JaMycal Hasty, backup quarterback C.J. Beathard, defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, and defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris, who still got a year left in his previous deal but got a new one nonetheless.
On the other hand, the Jags let tight end Chris Manhertz, right tackle Jawaan Taylor and defensive end Arden Key leave in free agency. They stated that they would have liked to keep them but they couldn't make it work from a financial standpoint.
The Jacksonville Jaguars accomplished two goals in the offseason
Although it would have been great to see the Jacksonville Jaguars be more aggressive in free agency, they didn't want to compromise their ability to sign players in the future for the chance to make one or two big signings this year. Instead, they tried to keep the 2022 together because they believe that continuity will allow them to return to the playoffs and win the AFC South title again in 2023.
And precisely because many of the starters from last year will return in 2023, the Jaguars will be able to develop most of the players they just drafted given that they don't need to contribute right off the bat.
Also, Calvin Ridley will be huge for the offense. Even though he hasn't played in a while and when he did, his numbers didn't pop off of the stat sheet, he's in fantastic shape and driven to return to greatness. Trevor Lawrence already had a pretty good supporting cast and with the addition of Ridley, they have a realistic shot at making a deep playoff run in 2023.
The Jacksonville Jaguars didn't have a flashy offseason but they did enough to position themselves to keep up in the AFC arms race, and if they are playing meaningful football in January (and perhaps February?), everybody would retroactively praise their approach.