While the news of a completed trade for Branden Albert has not been finalized, the Jacksonville Jaguars are still moving to improve the offensive line. The team has announced the re-signing of both Tyler Shatley and Josh Wells. The moves will provide depth on the line as both have been spot starters while in Jacksonville.
The speculation is the team will finalize a deal for Albert with the Dolphins after the two-time Pro Bowl tackle spent Monday and Tuesday morning in Jacksonville before returning to south Florida.
According to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, Shatley has played in 30 games in three seasons with the team and started four games last season because of injuries.
“It’s a great opportunity to stay here and continue to try to prove myself,” Shatley said after signing his new deal at EverBank Field. The offensive line may be the team’s biggest concern this offseason. Shatley and Wells, who played collegiately at James Madison University, are pieces the Jaguars needed to help a running game that at times last season was all but existent.
While the pass blocking improved, with Blake Bortles only absorbing 34 sacks in 2016, the need for better run blocking is something executive vice president Tom Coughlin and general manager David Caldwell will address this offseason. The move to work a trade with the Miami Dolphins for Albert is one of the most important deals so far by the new regime. The fact they did not sign Kelvin Beachum to an extension shows that Coughlin’s fingerprints are all over this rebuild of the franchise.
Wells has appeared in 17 career games with the Jaguars on the offensive line and on special teams. As Jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser wrote, his career thus far has been marked by injuries. He spent the first 11 games of the 2016 regular season on injured reserve with a thumb injury before appearing in the final five games. He spent the entire 2015 season on injured reserve with a thumb injury.
“Obviously [the injuries have been] a disappointment,” Wells said, “but things have worked out. It’s bene a bunch of prayers and keeping the faith, and I’m glad to still be a part of it.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars must also decide what to do with the former first-round draft pick, Luke Joeckel. The team announced last year it would not pick up the tackle’s fifth-year option of his rookie deal. The former Texas A&M product was moved inside to play guard next to Beachum before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Joeckel could be brought back at a reduced contract to compete for the left guard position or to add depth off the bench. Although playing inside is not his natural spot, Joeckel was adjusting to the new role when he suffered the injury.
Like Wells, Shatley wants to continue to make progress with the Jaguars.
“It’s definitely a relief, and I’m just glad they’ll have me back,” Shatley said Tuesday. “I’m ready to get back to work and get started on this 2017 season. I want to continue to my best, help out on special teams and step in offense whenever I’m needed – and if need be, I can start.
“It’s a great opportunity to stay here and continue to try to prove myself and help out our team any way I can.”
Shatley (6-feet-3, 310 pounds), who played collegiately at Clemson, originally signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a collegiate free agent following the 2014 NFL Draft. He has started four games and appeared in 30 in three NFL seasons.