2. The Jaguars using the franchise tag on TE Evan Engram
One of the reasons the Jaguars weren't as active in this year's free agency period is that they had made several big signings last year. Besides bringing in wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, the team's brass also locked up linebacker Foyesade Oluokun, right guard Brandon Scherff, and tight end Evan Engram among others.
All the players Jacksonville signed last year went on to fill significant roles in the regular season and that's a good thing. What's not so great is that one of those players, tight end Evan Engram, chose to bet on himself and opted for a one-year deal instead of a long-term commitment.
In the end, Engram's bet paid off as he went on to set new career highs for both catches and receiving yards. On top of that, he broke several team records previously held by Kyle Brady, who last appeared in a game for Jacksonville in the distant year of 2006.
Both Engram and the Jags expressed interest after the 2022 season in striking a multi-year deal before the start of free agency but they couldn't get it done, so the front office used the franchise tag to prevent him from leaving.
Not long after getting the tag, Engram said he felt it was like a placeholder while he and the team engaged in contract talks. However, it looks like they won't get something done before the July 17 deadline, so the former Ole Miss Rebel will play the 2023 season under the $11.345 million tag.
The five highest-paid tight ends in the league are set to make at least $14 million, so Engram is right to look for top-market compensation after having a breakout year. However, the Jags might opt to keep under the tag and let him walk next offseason.
After all, Engram is a very valuable piece of the Jaguars' offense, they drafted his potential replacement in Brenton Strange and signed an intriguing talent in Sammis Reyes. This is why, it makes sense for the front office to take a wait-and-see approach with their start tight end.