The Jacksonville Jaguars finished up the 2020 NFL season with an abysmal 1-15 record and lost their last 15 games. However, there is hope on the horizon. Jacksonville brought in a new head coach in Florida Gators’ legend Urban Meyer and own the No. 1 overall pick, which it is expected to use on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars also entered the free agency period with the most cap space in the league, and they have been using it. Here is a recap of the biggest moves Jacksonville has made (so far) in the free agent market.
The big names
Jacksonville was quiet during the first day of free agency on Monday, signing mainly depth pieces and special teams contributors. The biggest name the team added on day one was Rayshawn Jenkins. The ex-Chargers’ safety inked a four-year deal worth $35 million and included $16 million guaranteed. A fourth-round pick in 2017, Jenkins tallied 66 tackles and two interceptions last season and will look to improve one of Jacksonville’s weakest spots on the defensive side of the ball.
Perhaps the biggest name Jacksonville signed happened Tuesday. The Jaguars added Pro Bowl cornerback Shaquill Griffin to its defense. Griffin signed a three-year, $44.5 million deal with $29 million guaranteed. The former Seahawk will slide in across from ex-Florida shutdown corner C.J. Henderson in the Jaguars’ defensive backfield, shoring up a passing defense that allowed over 4,000 yards and 34 touchdowns through the air in 2020.
Jacksonville also addressed their receiving corps, bringing in wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. from the Detroit Lions. The nine-year NFL veteran signed a two-year contract worth $14.5 million and $9 million guaranteed. Jones has become one of the most consistent wideouts in the league and will act as a safety blanket for Lawrence. He joins a solid receiving room that includes Pro Bowler D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault.
In the trenches
Jacksonville’s primary focus thus far in free agency has been on the defensive line. The Jaguars were the third-worst defense against the run last season, so addressing the interior of the defense early and often makes sense. Jacksonville added former Chicago Bear Roy Robertson-Harris to the mix on Monday, giving him $24.4 million over three years. Robertson-Harris stands 6 feet, 7 inches tall and should serve as a rotational player along the defensive line.
The Jaguars also brought back Tyson Alualu. The former Pittsburgh Steeler was actually a first-round pick by Jacksonville in 2010. After a few poor years in Duval, Alualu went to Pittsburgh and reinvented himself in the process, becoming a key part of a ferocious Steelers defense. The reunion deal is worth $6 million over two years.
Tyson Alualu will be the only Jaguars player in team history to wear all three helmets. pic.twitter.com/tDXoszIxxc
— Matthew (@RealMBB) March 16, 2021
Jacksonville was also active in the trade market Tuesday, bringing in defensive lineman Malcom Brown from the New Orleans Saints. Brown was a first-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2015, but he spent the last two seasons in the Bayou and started 29 games along the Saints’ defensive line. The Jaguars also signed ex-Ravens defensive lineman Jihad Ward.
More to come?
In total, the Jaguars have struck deals with 15 players, including re-signing players. They may not be done. Many expect Jacksonville to address tight end during the free agency cycle, a position they haven’t had solid production from in years. The best available tight ends include Gerald Everett, Dan Arnold and Jacob Hollister.