Signing Arik Armstead will give Jaguars a massive upgrade in the D-Line

• The Jaguars are making a splash signing after losing Calvin Ridley in free agency.

Oct 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) jogs
Oct 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) jogs / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have taken care of several needs in free agency. They've now turned their attention to bolstering the defensive front and have set their sights on former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead.

Ian Rapoport of NFL media reports that the Jags are closing on a deal for Armstead. This would reunite him with general manager Trent Baalke, who made him the 17th overall selection in the 2015 draft.

Update: Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report says the deal is for three years and has a value of $51 million. The strucutre of the contract shold eventually be revealed.

Armstead had spent all his career with the San Francisco 49ers, playing 116 games with 97 starts and registering 33.5 sacks. Going into Year 10, he's still going strong. Last season, he tallied 42 pressures and five sacks from inside. Furthermore, he posted a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 81.9.

Not long after the news broke that the Jaguars are signing Armstead, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reported that the Buffalo Bills and the Houston Texans were also making a push for him.

As of this writing the potential terms of the contract aren't known but he was set to have a salary of $17.4 million in 2024. The Jaguars had around $3 million in cap space, so they'll probably make a handful of moves to fit his contract. By releasing him, the 49ers freed up a massive $18 million in space with $10.3 million in dead money.

What's next for the Jaguars after trading for Arik Armstead?

When Ian Rapoport broke the news, he said the Jacksonville Jaguars were closing in on a deal. Yet, they hadn't finalized, and that could be important as there's always a chance it doesn't materialize. But for the sake of argument, let's say the deal goes through, the Jags will then get massive help on the interior defensive line.

Jacksonville released defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi after two underwhelming seasons. They needed to fill the void and they're getting a massive upgrade in Arik Armstead. As Rapoport noted, once the Jags lost Ridley, they had a bit of extra money to spare, so he wasted no time looking for ways to upgrade other position groups.

With Armstead in the fold, defensive tackle is no longer a pressing need, so the Jaguars will most likely address other positions early in the draft. Maybe they'll look for Calvin Ridley's replacement in the first round or perhaps they'll take a cornerback to line up opposite Tyson Campbell. Either way, they no longer have to worry about the interior defensive line in the foreseeable future.

Good teams are always looking for ways to improve, and the Jacksonville Jaguars are operating with a sense of urgency this offseason. By going after Arik Armstead, they're showing they want to keep up in the AFC South arms race.

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