Jaguars dubbed under-the-radar Super Bowl contender for 2024 NFL season

• The Jaguars have enough pieces in place to bounce back in 2024, but can they get all the way tot the Super Bowl?

Season ticket holder of 25 years, John Jackett (cq), holds up a Jacksonville Jaguars banner as he
Season ticket holder of 25 years, John Jackett (cq), holds up a Jacksonville Jaguars banner as he / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA
facebooktwitterreddit

The 2023 NFL season didn't go the Jacksonville Jaguars hoped, getting knocked out of playoff contention by the Tennessee Titans in the finale. But as underwhelming as the Jags were, there were plenty of positives. In fact, they have plenty pieces in place to bounce back in 2024. This has led Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report to think they could be an under-the-radar Super Bowl pick.

Gagnon drew up a list of darkhorse teams who could play in Super Bowl 59 and included Jacksonville, noting that they'll have a chance as long as Trevor Lawrence is behind center.

"They're not exactly flush with draft or real-world capital, but they were a relatively young team in 2023 and ranked 10th in DVOA. The trajectory could be good if Lawrence puts it all together, so there's certainly a window."

Lawrence showed in 2022 that he can lead the Jaguars to victory. Following their amazing turnaround, there were talks about him being a top 5 quarterback and Jacksonville being a sleeper Super Bowl pick. Unfortunately, they weren't able to build off of their success and came crashing down last year. Looking back, there were several reasons for their regression. The biggest one, though, might've been their subpar offensive line.

Without adequate protection, Lawrence routinely lacked the time to throw and often had to put the team on his shoulders. Similarly, the Jaguars couldn't establish the run. Things got so bad that they didn't even try to pound the ball late in the season. Coaching also played a role. Offensive coordinator Press Taylor would often put together an imaginative game plan while the defense looked sloppy and unprepared.

On top of that, the Jags lost key players such as Zay Jones and Christian Kirk to injuries, and their inadequate depth was exposed. The fact that the Jaguars had glaring weaknesses and opted not to address them in the offseason despite the fact that they had the chance didn't help matters.

The Jacksonville Jaguars could quickly right the ship in 2024

Gagnon is right when he says the Jaguars don't have many resources. They don't currently have much cap space and their first pick in the draft comes at No. 17. That said, they could gain lots of assets quickly. They currently have around $11 million in cap space but they could easily gain $17.8 million if they move on from left tackle Cam Robinson. They could easily place him on the trade block and get a third or even a second-round pick in return.

The front office could then free up an extra $9 million if they move on from right guard Brandon Scherff. Add safety Rayshawn Jenkins and wide receiver Zay Jones to the cutting floor, and they could get around $10 million more. That's an additional $40 million in space.

On the other hand, the Jags won't have a pick in the top 10 for the first time since 2018, and they'll have to give the Atlanta Falcons their second or third-round pick as a part of the trade they made to land wide receiver Calvin Ridley in 2022. On the bright side, Jacksonville will enter the draft with nine selections when you account for the two compensatory picks — one in the third round and the other in the sixth — they're projected to get. That's enough ammo to replenish the roster in the offseason.

And that's the thing, the Jaguars already have several building blocks in place: Trevor Lawrence, Josh Allen, safety Andre Cisco, Christian Kirk, and Travon Walker, just to name a few. They just need to attack the offseason and address needs such as the interior offensive line, the pass rush, and cornerback. It would also help if the front office finds a way to keep Calvin Ridley from leaving.

The bottom line is that the pieces are there for the Jacksonville Jaguars to bounce back after a disappointing end to the 2023 season. However, it's too early to call them a sleeper Super Bowl contender. First, they need to fix all the issues that held them back last year and start winning games. If they get off to a strong start in 2024, we'll revisit the issue, but the potential is certainly there.

Here are more stories from Black & Teal:

feed