Here’s something Jacksonville Jaguars fans haven’t heard in some time. The team does not have to be huge spenders in free agency. Even with the clock winding down on trying to re-sign wide receiver Allen Robinson and the notion other top players – Aaron Colvin, Marqise Lee and Paul Posluszny – could walk this week, the Jacksonville Jaguars are better than they were a year ago at this time.
That could make for an interesting next few days when teams overspend for top-flight players who could swing the balance of power amongst the eight divisions in the NFL.
“Until last season, the on-field results didn’t justify the spending — only 11 victories from 2011 to 2016,” writes Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. “The free-agent class the Jaguars signed in 2017 played a major role in the team’s AFC South title and run to the AFC Championship Game, where they were less than 10 minutes away from playing in the Super Bowl.”
There are holes to fill and depth to be acquired. The wide receiving unit may need major changes. But the core of this roster will remain intact. As DiRocco also said, the team is still trying to re-sign players who will have an impact on the 2018 season.
“The Jaguars have $32.3 million in cap space, which is more than enough to re-sign receiver Allen Robinson and/or cornerback Aaron Colvin. Or to sign one of them and add a somewhat expensive outside player,” DiRocco said. “Just don’t expect multiple signings with numbers similar to what the team gave cornerback A.J. Bouye ($67.5 million/$26 million guaranteed), defensive end Calais Campbell ($60 million/$30 million) or defensive tackle Malik Jackson ($86.1 million/$42 million) over the past two years.”
Robinson is the priority. If the team cannot work out a long-term deal after not extending the franchise tag to him last week, look for the Jacksonville Jaguars to make a run at Sammy Watkins, Taylor Gabriel or Donte Moncrief. The draft could also bring in Dante Pettis of Washington or another top-tier pass catcher.
The team’s current roster boasts five players who appeared in the 2018 Pro Bowl, and there are five others under contract for 2018 who have made a Pro Bowl at one point in their careers.
Now, Jacksonville can add veterans who have experience and are willing to take a short-term deal with the idea they could be playing for a Super Bowl contender. Also, let’s not forget there is no state income tax in Florida – a selling point since the team began play in 1995.
“The players who fit that description include guard Josh Sitton, tight end Jimmy Graham and receiver Mike Wallace. All are 31 years old and play positions at which the Jaguars have a need,” DiRocco explained.