The Jaguars will make their (legal) pitches to outside free agents starting on March 7.
The franchise has openly acknowledged that the front office will be "disciplined" and will refrain from "careless" spending in free agency. However, with a 10-year history of losing, the team may have to overpay big name veterans to join their ranks.
The Jaguars have several holes to fill in free agency and plenty of cap space to supplement the roster with talent at every level. The Jaguars are expected to be among the most active franchises in free agency.
Teams can officially sign external free agents on Thursday, March 9 at 4 p.m. EST.
The Big Needs
- Offensive Guard
The team struggled mightily when it came to running the ball last season. After shuffling left guards like a deck of cards due to injuries, the Jaguars are looking for a long-term fix. The team has A.J. Cann on the roster, but he may be a better fit for the left side of the line. The Jaguars are likely to target a potential starting right guard in free agency.
- Running Back
While it isn't likely that the Jaguars address running back in free agency, they could add competition for the back of the roster. T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory both need to perform better this season, but they could also use some assistance in the versatility department. Adding a quick back with the ability to catch the ball would be ideal.
- Tight End
The Jaguars are dealing Julius Thomas to the Miami Dolphins for a seventh-round pick. After cutting their losses on a free agent bust, the Jaguars have a hole at tight end. While Neal Sterling, Ben Koyack and Alex Ellis played well with Thomas and Marcedes Lewis out of the lineup, the Jaguars may look to upgrade the position. Will they address tight end in free agency after being burned by Thomas?
- Defensive End
The Jaguars are hurting for pass rushing help outside of Malik Jackson and Yannick Ngakoue. At defensive end, the Jaguars have just Chris Smith, Jonathan Woodard, Dante Fowler and Ngakoue on the roster. The Jaguars should target - at the very least - a rotational pass rusher in free agency.
Prince Amukamara is likely to leave in free agency and Davon House is a goner. The Jaguars need cornerback depth with only Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Colvin offering starting experience under contract. The Jaguars could add one of the top names in free agency to pair with Ramsey.
Johnathan Cyprien's possible exit leaves a hole at strong safety. The team could fill the need with a talented veteran in free agency. The team could also use depth at free and strong safety, so adding some overall competition makes sense as well.
Current Free Agents
- OT Kelvin Beachum
The Jaguars passed on Beachum's contract option for a four-year extension. He will test the market and is unlikely to return.
- CB Prince Amukamara
Despite breaking up just four passes and causing no turnovers, Amukamara is expected to command top dollar on the free agent market. The Jaguars are unlikely to meet that request.
- OT Luke Joeckel
The former No. 2 overall pick moved to guard last season and suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 4. His market value remains unclear, as does his future in Jacksonville.
- G Patrick Omameh
The Jaguars are likely to re-sign the veteran offensive lineman for depth. He played well in seven starts last season for the Jaguars. UPDATE: The Jaguars have re-signed Omameh.
- SS Johnahthan Cyprien
The former second round pick is looking to cash-in during free agency. His price tag is likely to be too high for the Jaguars, who have limited him to working as a box safety.
- WR Bryan Walters
- The Jaguars seem open to bringing back Walters but he will test the market for more opportunity. He has consistent hands and has shown the ability to play in the slot effectively when given the chance.
- DT Tyson Alualu
The long-time Jacksonville defensive lineman seems poised to hit the market for the first time in his career. Alualu is beloved in the locker room but may have a better chance for playing time elsewhere.
- DT Jordan Hill
A veteran defensive lineman who was picked up for depth, Hill is probably headed elsewhere.
- RB Joe Banyard
Banyard is probably in the same situation as Hill.
- RB Denard Robinson
The former "offensive weapon" has been buried on the depth chart for two seasons. He is likely to look for another opportunity.
- RB Daryl Richardson (RFA)
The Jacksonville native isn't likely to receive a restricted tender, so the Jaguars may let him become an unrestricted free agent.
The Cap Space
The Jaguars currently have $71 million in salary cap space, according to OverTheCap. That total ranks as the third-most available funds in the NFL.
The team has a few impending moves (Thomas trade, Albert's new deal, potential roster cuts) that need to be sorted out before a final number is set.
As we reported last week, the team has the second largest salary cap in the league at $206.3 million.
Current State of the Roster
Trades in the Works
- Jaguars trades TE Julius Thomas to the Dolphins for 2017 seventh-round pick
- Miami trades OT Branden Albert to Jacksonville for 2018 late-round pick
Best Available Players at Positions of Need
- Guard: Kevin Zeitler, Larry Warford, T.J. Lang, Ronald Leary, Chance Warmack
- Running Back: Latavius Murray, Adrian Peterson, LaGarrette Blount, Eddie Lacy, Jacquizz Rodgers
- Tight End: Martellus Bennett, Jared Cook, Jordan Cameron, Jacob Tamme, Vernon Davis
- Defensive End: Calais Campbell, Nick Perry, Jabaal Sheard, Chris Baker, Chris Long
- Cornerback: A.J. Bouye, Stephon Gilmore, Logan Ryan, Dre Kirkpatrick, Captain Munnerlyn
- Safety: Tony Jefferson, Micah Hyde, Quintin Demps, Jairus Byrd, Nate Allen
More on Free Agency
- Jaguars in Free Agency: Eight players that can make a difference without breaking the bank
- Jaguars safety Cyprien on free agency: I have to make a decision that's best for me and my future
- Jaguars Mailbag: Would adding Albert be an upgrade? Are there trade down possibilities?
- Kaye's Take: Three players the Jaguars should target, three players to avoid in free agency
- Caldwell says Jaguars will wait to pickup Bortles' option, team won't be 'careless' with cap space
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye for the latest Jaguars news in free agency.
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