After a catastrophic 2021 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars are trying to turn it around with an active offseason.
Practically all of their business so far has had one main goal: get Trevor Lawrence help. The Jags have signed three big-name pass catchers to give their franchise savior some much-needed weapons.
Jacksonville finished 27th in yards per game on offense and sixth in dropped passes last year. Their leading receiver had just 832 yards and four touchdowns, while only one other receiver caught multiple touchdowns.
Offensive skill positions were a blatant need for the Jags and they have attacked it aggressively. They entered the offseason with $39 million in cap space and went on a shopping spree Monday, agreeing to terms with six players. It is no surprise that offense is the focus under new head coach Doug Pederson.
It is important to note that these deals are simply agreed to and not signed. Teams are currently allowed to negotiate with players under the legal tampering period, but signings are not official until the new league year begins Thursday.
The Jags agreed to terms with four offensive players Monday, including three pass catchers.
The singing that made the most headlines was bringing in former Arizona Cardinals wideout Christian Kirk. The terms of the deal jump off the screen: four years and up to $84 million. At first glance, that is a massive price tag for a receiver who has never had a thousand-yard season.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 20, 2020
However, the way the deal is structured allows Jacksonville some breathing room. The Jaguars will be paying Kirk just $1.5 million in 2022 and his total cap hit is just $7.5 million. That number jumps to $21.5 million in 2023, but the Jags can get out before his deal basically becomes a two year, $39 million deal.
The other receiver they singed is former Las Vegas Raider Zay Jones, giving him three years and $30 million. Jones has never had more than 652 yards and seven touchdowns in his career, but provides a speed threat on the outside for Lawrence to look downfield for.
Jags fans should be hyped with Zay Jones signing, he's very underrated but fits in RPO system, deep threat, speedy, and will even pull out a trick play and be the QB like in the video shown below, gonna be fun to watch Doug Pederson Improve the Jags offense #DUUUVAL #DTWD pic.twitter.com/GVcrHKE38E
— Jacob Christian McClure (@Jax16Jags) March 15, 2022
Finally in the skill position department, they signed former New York Giant Evan Engram to a one year deal worth $9 million. Engram can earn up to another million in incentives based on performance this season.
Engram is a versatile tight end but has struggled with injuries in his career. He has played just one full season, and his highest touchdown total was six in his rookie year.
— Roto Street Journal (@RotoStJournal) March 14, 2022
While weapons are key, perhaps the most important signing they made was up front. The Jags need to protect their franchise and they signed Brandon Scherff to a massive three-year, $52.5 million deal. Scherff is a five-time Pro Bowler and made an All-Pro team in 2020 and has started all 89 games in his seven-year career.
Disrespectful Blocks of the Week is here! Watch these lineman on the move getting themselves some knockdowns! And Brandon Scherff gets himself multiple full slabs! pic.twitter.com/58h9qYzR3r
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) October 18, 2018
Jacksonville needs all the help they can get up front and Scherff provides a massive boost. They gave him a lot of money–he is the seventh highest-paid guard in the league–in hopes it will keep Lawrence protected so he can properly operate in the pocket.
Building The Defense
The Jaguars are also reportedly splashing the cash for two key defensive players.
The first is former New York Jets defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi. Jacksonville struggled mightily against the run last season, allowing 125.1 yards per game on the ground to opponents. Fatukasi gives the Jags a big-time run stopper to clog up the middle of the defense. His deal is for three-years and worth $30 million, with $20 million guaranteed.
Want to see some "All gas no break" attitude? How about 320lb Foley Fatukasi covering almost 20 yards of real estate to chase down and tackle Derrick Henry? pic.twitter.com/pZOkdjAaIr
— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) October 6, 2021
The biggest deal they made is for former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokon, who led the league in tackles last season with 192. Oluokon will fill in for Myles Jack, who was released by the team in the wake of the agreement.
It is a combination of cleaning house and new blood for the Jags on defense. Moving on from Jack comes as a surprise, but it saves them $8 million in cap room for next year. Clearly, they value what they expect Oluokon to bring to their defense over what Jack has brought since they drafted him.
The Jaguars are also clearly not done. They still have the seventh-most cap space left in the league with approximately $27 million left, according to Spotrac. With a roster full of needs, this project is simply not done. They have plenty of work to do to build even a competitive roster coming off a 3-14 season.
The combination of massive amounts of cap room and the No.1 pick in this year’s draft present a promising scenario for Jags fans. It will not happen overnight, but this spending spree is a good start to plugging a lot of holes on the roster.