As a Jacksonville Jaguars fan, I have learned not to drink the Kool-Aid and expect miracles.
After watching the action unfold in NFL free agency on Thursday, it’s going to be tough not to get excited over the chain of events with this franchise.
My friend Philip agreed after the team signed defensive end Calais Campbell and safety Barry Church. Then they went out and scooped up cornerback AJ Bouye. It will be hard not to think of this team as a contender in the AFC South. That’s the kind of impact a man like Tom Coughlin has had. Campbell told members of the media the reason he picked Jacksonville over other teams, including Denver, was because Coughlin was a winner.
I’m sure four years and $60 million also helped sweeten the deal a bit as well.
While it is only the first day of free agency, Jacksonville established itself as a team looking to move forward. Not as a team rehashing the issues from the Gus Bradley era. Church and Bouye help strengthen the secondary, which lost Johnathan Cyprien who signed with Tennessee.
The Jacksonville Jaguars still have irons in the fire, looking to sign other free agents. It is possible they add more depth at tight end. At some point, a trade for tackle Branden Albert, which had been discussed with the Miami Dolphins, should become official.
The Jaguars have put themselves in solid position to compete for the AFC South.
For Bouye, this is his first big-money deal. Originally, he signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Houston Texans in 2013 and had his best season in the NFL last year. He and Jalen Ramsey, who finished second in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting, are expected to give the Jaguars two of the best shutdown corners in the league. Barry Church is an upgrade from Cyprien and will add another veteran presence in the secondary.
The deal for Bouye is reported to be close to $16 million per season. The move is a classic get for Coughlin, who targeted Bouye from the start, brought him in to help the Jacksonville Jaguars cause and in the process, weakens a division opponent.