The Jacksonville Jaguars have amassed lots of talent the past three years but will need to keep revamping their roster in 2024 if they want to keep up with other AFC powerhouses such as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens. Working in their favor is that they'll have enough cap space to re-sign key contributors and maybe make a splash signing or two in free agency. Also, the Jags will have several draft picks at their disposal.
The Jaguars acquired left guard Ezra Cleveland in exchange for a 2024 sixth-round selection. They're also set to give the Atlanta Falcons a pick as part of the trade they made last year to land Calvin Ridley. It will be in Round 3 if he meets certain conditions or it will be one in Round 2 if he re-signs next offseason. But even when you take the Ridley and the Cleveland selections into account, Jacksonville is projected to have nine choices, including two compensatory ones. Here's a list of all of them:
- 1st round
- 2nd round
- 3rd round
- 3rd round, compensatory due to losing Jawaan Taylor in free agency
- 4th round
- 4th round, via the New Orleans Saints
- 5th round
- 6th round, compensatory due to losing Arden Key in free agency
- 7th round
The Jags got the extra fourth-rounder after trading pick No. 127 in this year's draft in exchange for the 227th selection. Compensatory picks go from Rounds 3 to 7 and are awarded to teams that lost players in free agency, using a formula based on postseason awards, playing time, and salary.
The Jaguars could lose several players in free agency, the 2024 NFL Draft will be pivotal
As of this writing, the Jaguars are projected to make the postseason, which means they would pick between No. 19 and 32. CBS Sports has them landing the 27th overall pick, implying they could make it to the divisional round of the playoffs. This pick will be important to address one of four glaring needs they currently have, including wide receiver and the interior offensive line.
The Jags are set to have $24 million in cap space, but they could free up a much-needed $17.7 million with $3.8 in dead money if they move on from left tackle Cam Robinson. They could also create a bit more by restructuring a few contracts and extending a handful of players.
Among the Jaguars' key free agents next offseason are Josh Allen, K'Lavon Chaisson, Ezra Cleveland, and Calvin Ridley. All of them are set to hit the open market. Also, the team's brass needs to consider handing early extensions to cornerback Tyson Campbell, safety Andre Cisco, running back Travis Etienne, offensive tackle Walker Little, tight end Luke Farrell, and of course Trevor Lawrence, all members of the 2021 draft class. They will be entering contract years in 2024.
The Jaguars can wait to extend Lawrence and Etienne given that they're both eligible to receive the fifth-year option in their respective rookie deals by virtue of being first-round selections. However, they need to start locking up the other members of the 2021 class, and the sooner they do it, the more money they'll save long-term.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are entering the last stretch of the season, how things play out will factor in the draft. While having an early selection will ensure they have a chance to land a high-end prospect, they won't probably mind getting picks No. 31 or 32.