The Jacksonville Jaguars put down the Carolina Panthers in Week 17 but they lost return specialist Jamal Agnew to an injury early in the bout. After undergoing tests, he's been diagnosed with a lower leg fracture and he'll miss the remainder of the 2023 season, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.
Head coach Doug Pederson met with the local media Monday and shared Agnew's diagnosis. The former San Diego Torero got hurt after reeling in a 48-yard pass from C.J. Beathard. He stayed on the ground for a bit before leaving the game. This isn't the first time Agnew has missed time with injuries this year. He was previously placed on Injured Reserve after suffering shoulder and rib injuries in the loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
The return specialist returned in Week 15 and was available the past three weeks. He's logged 14 receptions for 225 yards with one touchdown and averaged 26.1 yards in kick returns. With Agnew out for the season, rookie wide receiver Parker Washington and D'Ernest Johnson will handle return duties.
On a side note, head coach Doug Pederson says that Trevor Lawrence is day-to-day with a shoulder injury, so maybe he'll have a chance to play in the season finale. Lawrence suffered a shoulder sprain in the loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16. He ended up missing the Panthers game, the first time he sat out a contest in his NFL career.
Also, Pederson announced that wide receiver Christian Kirk will be eligible to return from Injured Reserve. Kirk suffered a groin injury after hauling in a pass on the Monday Night Football bout against the Cincinnati Bengals. He could give a boost to the Jaguars' passing game in the finale and a potential trip to the playoffs.
How does the Jamal Agnew injury affect the Jaguars the remainder of the 2023 season?
It's never pleasant to see a player go down with injury, but the Jaguars aren't entering uncharted waters. They had previoulsy missed Jamal Agnew and they'll rely on the next man in line. In this case, it will be Johnson and/or Washington.
On the other hand, Agnew's injury adds uncertainty to his status with the team beyond this season. A fifth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Agnew inked a three-year deal worth $14.25 million with the Jaguars in 2021. In his first season with the Black and Teal, he returned a kickoff and a failed field goal for touchdowns in back-to-back seasons.
While Agnew hasn't scored in a return, he's consistently given the Jaguars favorable field position. That said, Jacksonville will have several expenses next offseason, and he may not be at the top of their prioritity list. If Washington or Johnson do a solid job in the finale, they could make Agnew expendable.
Not having Jamal Agnew in the return game willl certain hurt the Jacksonville Jaguars in the finale. However, they'll need to overcome his absence if they want to punch their ticket to the playoffs.