With the offseason underway, the Jaguars have plenty of tough decisions to make. Throughout our daily "Roster Reconstruction" series, we'll take a look at those key decisions at every position. Today, we'll focus on the safety position.
Editor's Note: This series only features players who were on the active roster or injured reserve last season. Future/reserve players will not be included in this series.
PREVIOUSLY ON ROSTER RECONSTRUCTION: Special Teams
Outlook: After a lackluster debut season in Jacksonville, Gipson offered up a turnaround year under the new regime. The Jaguars' alterations to the defensive scheme freed up Gipson's game and the results were impressive. Coming off a four-pick performance from last season, Gipson is probably solidified as the starter at free safety.
Kaye's Take (Staying or Going?): At this point, there's no reason to move on from Gipson, who was sensational at times last season. He took on a larger leadership role and lived up to his salary last year.
He will turn 28 this year, so he is still in his prime. I expect Gipson to stick around for at least one more season.
Outlook: Signed to a lucrative free-agent deal less than a year ago, Church is probably locked into the starting strong safety spot. He had some clear breakdowns in zone coverage last season but another year in the scheme should help alleviate those blunders. With the secondary serving as a strength for the Jaguars, it would be a surprise to see Church turn into the Pete Best (if you're not a music fan) of the group.
Kaye's Take (Staying or Going?): Church is probably going to stick around in Jacksonville. While he had his blunders, he also produced a career-year in his debut season with the Jaguars. Church has become a leader in the locker room and his bosses appreciate his character and on-the-field performance.
Outlook: The Jaguars threw Wilson into the fire during the playoffs when Gipson went down with a foot injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wilson held his own and received some strong praise from Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone.
Wilson has also been a strong special teams player since joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2016.
Kaye's Take (Staying or Going?): I can't find any logic in cutting Wilson prior to training camp. He has been a project for the Jaguars since he joined the team and I expect him to progress this season. He showed some upside while playing in place of Gipson and I'm sure the Jaguars will want to see his development continue at EverBank Field instead of somewhere else.
Outlook: Thompson is the only member of the safety group with his future up in the air. He is set to hit restricted free agency and it will be interesting to see if he receives a tender from the Jaguars.
Thompson's role changed on special teams this past season and he rarely played on defense compared to his work in 2016. He may need to come back for another year to build up his free agent credibility.
Kaye's Take (Staying or Going?): If the Jaguars decide to tender Thompson, it will likely be at the "right of first refusal" mark. That means Jacksonville's front office gets the opportunity to match any contract Thompson signs this offseason.
If Thompson receives the tender, he is almost guaranteed to be back for training camp. If he isn't, it's probably a toss-up, as he can still sign a veteran minimum one-year deal.
Outlook: Harper spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve with a concussion. He went undrafted and signed with the Jaguars after impressing the front office during a rookie minicamp tryout.
Kaye's Take (Staying or Going?): Harper will be back to compete for a depth spot this season. He had his moments during training camp and the preseason last year.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.