Are the Jacksonville Jaguars putting their eggs in one basket in hopes of landing pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul? The former New York Giants defensive end figures to be one of the most sought-after players in free agency this season. He is a disruptive force the Jaguars could seek as their main acquisition this offseason. The connection to Pierre-Paul and Tom Coughlin, who served as the Giants head coach before he and the team parted ways, could be one of the reasons the former South Florida star are reunited.
With Pierre-Paul causing havoc for the Giants, Coughlin won his second Super Bowl in 2011 in the Big Apple.
“Who’s going to play opposite Yannick Ngakoue,” Ryan Day of bigcatcountry.com asks. “Dante Fowler? Nope. Chris Smith? Doubtful. Tyson Alualu? No. Odrick was never going to be the guy opposite Ngakoue but now their roster definitely doesn’t have the answer. Where else but free agency does this team address that issue?”
There is some thought that maybe the Jaguars make a push to sign outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, but he does not offer the same kind of disruptive force Pierre-Paul does.
Day agrees with me that the connection between player and coach cannot be denied. Jason Pierre-Paul was one of the players to defend Coughlin in lean times in New York when the media had him fired each week in 2015. Given the fact the Jaguars just released Jared Odrick to free up cap space and as well as sent tight end Julius Thomas to Miami, the Jaguars are freeing up, even more, room to make a huge splash in free agency.
Cap space was never an issue, but by getting rid of Odrick the Jaguars have a little under $75 million in cap space, per OverTheCap.com. That doesn’t include the savings they’ll see when they offload Thomas, but it also doesn’t include Branden Albert’s salary. They’ve got the money to make a run at several free agents — and Pierre-Paul is going to be one they’ll likely have to “overpay” to get here. It’s the nature of free agency.
The Jaguars could do the same thing with Jason Pierre-Paul that they did with Malik Jackson, which turned out to be a solid investment for their middle of their defensive line. While other teams have been linked to Pierre-Paul – Atlanta, Washington, possibly Dallas – the Jaguars are as much in the chase to land him as anyone else. Jacksonville was able to sign their top free agent targets the past two seasons (Thomas in 2015 and Jackson in 2016). Could this signing become the trifecta this team needs to take another step toward challenging for the AFC South crown?