The Jacksonville Jaguars made it official this afternoon as the team announced the signings of guard Andrew Norwell and wide receivers Marqise Lee and Donte Moncrief.
The three players weren’t the only ones who agreed to contracts with the team as it has been reported the Jacksonville Jaguars also came to terms with former Rams safety Cody Davis and former Redskins tight end Niles Paul. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Paul’s deal is for two years and a little less than $5 million, per a source.
Norwell makes the offensive line that much better. The Jaguars led the league in rushing last season, but the organization still felt it needed help on the interior. Norwell, who was an undrafted player from the Carolina Panthers, was considered the best offensive lineman in this free agent class.
“Today is very special,” said the 26-yer-old Norwell. “I am very blessed and honored to be a Jacksonville Jaguar. A classy organization and I couldn’t be happier and I am ready to go to work. I truly am a regular guy, I can relate to a lot of people and I’m blue collar, just like the rest of us. This has been incredibly humbling because I worked so hard to get here and nothing was given to me, everything was earned. I had to go out and take it. Guys can look to me as an example for that; I wasn’t drafted, I made my way, I made a roster spot, I made a starting spot and now I am here today with you guys. Let’s take the brakes off and go, leave it out there on the field on Sunday’s and do the little things right. Work hard, treat people the right way and do the right thing and that is where it got me today.”
Norwell and last year’s rookie left tackle Cam Robinson should give the Jaguars a solid pairing to protect quarterback Blake Bortles’ blindside.
Lee’s new deal is significant because had the team been able to re-sign Allen Robinson to a big-time deal, the former second-round pick out of USC may not have been in a Jacksonville Jaguars uniform for the 2018 season.
The knock on Lee has always been staying healthy as injuries have played a big role in his performance with the Jacksonville Jaguars. When Robinson went down with a knee injury just minutes into the 2017 season, Lee became the team’s No. 1 wide receiver.
“I have the opportunity to be back in Jacksonville, and it has been a great experience so far,” said Lee. “When it came down to it, I felt like this was the best place for me. Being here in Jacksonville, enjoying the team and my teammates and things like that, It was only right to come back. I am acclimated here. That is the biggest thing for me,” Lee said.
“I know the playbook and the people. I have been in this city for my first four years and I’ve really enjoyed it. I know the fans and how incredible they are. Having the opportunity to be here from the beginning, I am so excited. This is such a blessing. With everything that I’ve been through, to get to this point and have this opportunity, it’s truly amazing.”
Lee, 6-0, 196, has appeared in 53 games with 29 starts since originally being selected by the Jaguars in the second round (39th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft. Lee has totaled 171 receptions for 2,166 yards (12.7 rec. avg.) and eight TDs, as well as one passing TD (Dec. 24, 2016 against Tennessee) and one kick return TD (Dec. 18, 2016 against Houston). In 2017, Lee started 14 games during the regular season, catching 56 passes for 702 yards (12.5 rec. avg.) and three TDs, and also started all three postseason games, catching seven passes for 69 yards.
The Jacksonville Jaguars locked Moncrief up and will now have pass catcher in the rotation to go along with Allen Hurns, Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook. The former first-round pick out of Ole Miss stays within the AFC South, and should help spread the defense down field. He said he wanted to prove he is the player he was when the Colts selected him in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
“I’m coming in with a chip on my shoulder,” said Moncrief. “I am ready to come out here and compete and show these guys what I can do and go out on the field and make plays for the team and do whatever it takes. The Jaguars are a young team with a great running back and a team that runs the ball, which makes it easy to throw. For us receivers, we have to have patience. When the ball comes our way, we have to make a play. Jacksonville is the best defense in the game right now. Great corners, the [Defensive] line is awesome and the linebackers are basically safeties with how fast they are. It is going to be fun. They are going to give the ball back to us a lot.”
Moncrief, 24, has appeared in 41 games with 19 starts. Moncrief’s career totals include 152 receptions for 1,875 yards (12.3 avg.) and 18 receiving TDs. In 2017, Moncrief appeared in 12 games for the Colts, missing the last four due to an ankle injury, and caught 26 passes for 391 yards (15.0 avg.) and two TDs. In 2016, Moncrief played in nine games, totaling 30 receptions for 307 yards (10.2 avg.) and seven TDs.