Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 Offseason Previewby Michael Schiro February 26, 2022 0 comments
The Jacksonville Jaguars had a disappointing 2021 season. With a year full of rumors, speculation, and tabloid headlines, it had its ups and downs, mostly downs. At the same time, Trevor Lawrence had his ups and downs during his rookie season and has a lot of room to improve. While he played fine, he didn’t show his magic in college. With fans wanting to see Lawrence take the next step to become the franchise player the team thought he could be. He is under pressure to live up to his college career. While the team itself lacks talent around him, Lawrence needs to step up and deliver for the team. With Urban Meyer out as the coach, it’s a fresh start for Lawrence, along with Doug Pederson.
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Pending Free Agents
While most of the team is under contract or on rookie deals, a few more prominent names are about to hit the market. While the team only won three games, it’s hard to imagine the Jaguars eager to sign back some players. With a fresh start loaming for the organization under Pederson, only a handful of players are high on the team priority list. However, a few unrestricted players are in charge of protecting Lawrence and could be high on the team’s priority list. They head into the offseason with $ 56.8million in cap space according to Over the Cap.
Robinson has been a very productive tackle for the Jaguars this past season. Having given up one sack the entire year on 856 snaps, he has shown that he is deserving of a more significant contract. Per Pro Football Focus, Robinson had a 67.4 overall grade during the season. With him missing four games this season, bringing his grade down, he is still one of the better tackles in the league. However, Robinsons’ injury history could see less value in the open market than imagined. The Jaguars have the second-most cap space in the league, so overpaying for Robinson wouldn’t be a bad idea. The 26-year-old could see the team offer big money with the need to protect Lawrence.
With Chark having an up and down career since he was drafted, much of that has to do with quarterback play. While he has been a solid receiver for the team, Lawrence does need weapons to throw to, and the 6’4″ wideout is a significant target. With Chark being more than an exemplary receiver, keeping Chark is needed. In contrast, the numbers won’t show that he is a good receiver, but Lawrence’s next year with Chark could shock the world.
The 30-year-old guard out of Ohio State has been a solid player. While he is getting up there in age, he does hold a lot of value to the Jaguars. If the team can get Norwell on a contract that is team-friendly in the later years of his career, he could be a great signing. However, since he is older, the team can find players in the draft, meaning he could not get re-signed. While he has been a good player for the team, he has seen a lack of production in the last few years.
Potential Cap Casualties
While the team doesn’t have many players hitting the open market, few could leave the team. With many players potentially leaving, the team won’t be that hard-pressed to re-sign most of them. However, with some young players or good depth players about to hit the market, re-signing some wouldn’t be a bad idea. Following the disappointing season charred in turmoil, some players won’t be eager to come back. While the team has a lot of cap room, a few veterans could get cut to free up even more money.
Laviska Shenault ($1.4 Million Saved)
With Shenault drafted to play the Deebo Samuel role for the Jaguars, he hasn’t lived up to his hype. While he has been a solid player for the team, a change of scenery might do him good. If the Jaguars end up trading him after June 1, he will hold a good amount of value to a team. However, with Pederson coming in, he could see a lot of potential in the young receiver and use him in ways Meyer couldn’t think of.
Jamal Agnew ($3.7 Million Saved)
The 27-year-old receiver hasn’t found a home in the NFL yet. While he was a good rotation player for the team, seeing action in 10 games and starting two of them. Agnew put up respectable numbers while playing 41 percent of the total offensive snaps. The team even got him involved in the running game, which yielded success. While Agnew had a decent year for the team, his value could easily be replaced in the open market.
Brandon Linder ($9 Million Saved)
While Linder is one of the better guards in the league when healthy, unfortunately, he rarely has been. The past two years, he played a little above 500 snaps. With most linemen near the 1000 snap count, Linder has fallen way short. While injuries have plagued his career, the ability to save that money is an opportunity that the team shouldn’t pass up. With plenty of free agent offensive linemen set to hit the open market, the Jaguars can use that cap space saved on Linder on a better player.
Open Market Free Agent Targets
With the second-most cap space in the league, the need to protect and surround Lawrence with weapons is the most significant. With the team needing to defend him at all costs spending big money on offensive linemen is a focus. However, the receiving core has been left to ruins after the team sold off most of the wide receivers. With the receiver room depleted, looking into more talent is an excellent way to spend some of that money.
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
After Williams had a breakout season for the Chargers, the Jaguars would be wise to throw him big money. With the tandem of Williams and Chark making a good pairing. Both of them could make life for Lawrence a lot easier. With Williams receiving a 77.6 overall grade on his season, the 6’4″ wide receiver would be a great addition to the team. Williams’ big catch radius would prove valuable for Pederson’s offense and with how Lawrence likes to play.
Ryan Jensen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The immense physical center for the Buccaneers is just what the team needs to help protect the young Lawrence. After playing two years with Tom Brady, he is the perfect veteran offensive linemen to take control of the line. With the ability to take the pressure off of Lawrence by calling out protection and the MIKE. Doing so would take one more thing off the quarterback’s plate presnap. With Jensen giving up only two sacks on 1,151 snaps the past few years, he is a perfect fit to help bolster the offensive line.
Terron Armstead, New Orleans Saints
Armstead has been the veteran left tackle for the Saint for the past few seasons. While last year he was limited because of injury, he is still one of the better tackles in the NFL. Given his health issues last season, the Jaguars would be wise to give Armstead a short-term contract. Having only given up one sack in under 500 snaps last year, Armstead could solve the lousy tackle play for the Jaguars.
Previewing the 2022 NFL Draft
For the second year in a row, the team will have the first overall pick. After taking Lawrence first overall last year, the quarterback position is the one spot the Jaguars don’t have to address this year. With the clock ticking, the main question is do they take an edge defender or a tackle. The chance to draft a franchise pass rusher or franchise left tackle, either way, the options they choose won’t be a bad one. Furthermore, players like Kayvon Thibodeaux, Aidan Hutchinson, and Evan Neal are all up in the air for the team. One thing is clear, and that is that the team needs new young talent.
Round 1, Pick 1: Left Tackle
With a young and experienced player like Neal to pair with Lawrence, this could be a pairing for years to come. Furthermore, Armstead could be a veteran mentor to Neal that could help his development even more. With Neal being close to the unanimous best tackle in the draft taking him with the first pick is worth it. However, getting Neal would mean passing up on a potential franchise edge rusher.
Round 2, Pick 33: Wide Receiver
David Bell had a tremendous season and overall good career with Purdue. In his final season putting up 93 catches for 1,286 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games for the team. With Bell being a big, fast, strong, and athletic receiver, he would make an excellent complement for the way Lawrence likes to play. His game is solid with the ability to take the top off the defense and work the middle of the field. Getting a receiver to mold with Lawrence while also stepping right in a play the X spot is valuable. Furthermore, leaving the daft with a talented player like Bell is could have a significant impact on the team right away.
Round 3, Pick 65: Tight End
The Jaguars need to add more than one weapon in this draft for Lawrence. An excellent target with this pick would be Jalen Wydermyer from Texas A&M. Wydermyer averaged 12.9 yards per catch on 40 catches for 515 yards his final season at A&M. While he didn’t have many targets during his three-year career, he made the most of it. With the team being a more run-heavy offense, they didn’t throw to the tight end as much as they should. However, that wasn’t because he couldn’t get open or catch the ball.
Early 2022 Expectations
While the Jaguars have earned the No. 1 pick in back-to-back years, expect that to change next season. However, the team will likely not make the playoffs due to the lack of talent. That said, the new talent they acquired this offseason will be enough for a big win total jump. Pederson will surely get the team to 6-7 wins in 2022. The fan base will expect a much-improved team from the unique talent and new staff. That means the team gets somewhat close to making the playoff. With Lawrence at the helm and more infusion of talent around him, getting wins won’t be hard this year.
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