The Jaguars enter this offseason with a lot of optimism. While no team is "built" in January for its next campaign, Jacksonville has the majority of its impact players under contract.
The defense will be kept mostly intact. The offense may receive some reinforcements from injured reserve. With those thoughts in mind, the front office can begin to cultivate depth.
Jacksonville has been very salary cap conscious under general manager Dave Caldwell. The team has been given rare flexibility with contracts due to the deal structures developed by Caldwell and former New York Jets general manager John Idzik.
Entering this offseason, the majority of the Jaguars' contracts are either bargains or manageable based on production return. There are few "easy to read" potential cap casualties on the roster.
There are only three players on the roster who make more than $1 million that have zero dead money attached to their contracts. One of those players is quarterback Blake Bortles, who recently underwent wrist surgery and can't be released while he recovers. Bortles' contract becomes fully guaranteed on March 14.
The Jaguars have signed players like Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson, A.J. Bouye and Telvin Smith to lofty contracts over the last two years. Those deals have paid off but have also created less wiggle room with future spending.
Those deals and the overall need to upgrade certain positions could force the team to move on from other heavy contracts. First Coast News has compiled a list of five players who could become expendable if the Jaguars decide to reallocate their hefty salaries elsewhere.
2018 Salary (Per Over The Cap): $7 million
2018 Cap Savings If Cut: $7 million
Thoughts: The Jaguars signed Hurns to a four-year, $ 40 million deal in June 2016. Hurns was coming off a sensational 2015 season, as he produced 64 catches for 1,031 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
The wide receiver was an undrafted free agent in 2014, so his contract was set at three years in length, making him eligible for an extension after the second year of his contract.
While his early contributions were nearly unparalleled for an undrafted free agent wide receiver, the last two seasons have been disappointing.
Hurns has dealt with hamstring and ankle injuries over the last two campaigns, missing 11 totals games. He has produced just 74 catches for 961 yards and five touchdowns during that timeframe.
Hurns offered a strong showing during the team's AFC Championship Game loss to the New England Patriots, as he looked healthy for the first time in months. The issue the Jaguars face is that former Pro Bowl wide receiver Allen Robinson is set to hit free agency and Hurns is making a lot of money for a slot receiver.
Releasing Hurns would free up his entire salary, which could then be used to lock up Robinson with the franchise tag or a short-term free agent deal.
Hurns has been a leader in the locker room and could seemingly be back on a reshaped contract. However, the Jaguars saw rookies Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole emerge in Hurns' absence and they are significantly cheaper options opposite Robinson.
2018 Salary (Per Over The Cap): $5 million
2018 Cap Savings If Cut: $5 million
Thoughts: Parnell is only on this list because his salary is among those that can be completely wiped out with a release.
Entering the offseason, Parnell's salary ranks 15th among right tackles. His work this past season should warrant a return to the Jaguars' starting offensive line.
Parnell is a veteran leader on the line. While the Jaguars need to prepare to get younger at his position through the draft, Parnell's presence should allow a potential replacement to marinate as a swing tackle or starting guard as a rookie. The right tackle position is as vital as ever with defenses switching up their edge rushers frequently.
The only way Parnell may need to be released is if the Jaguars draft a tackle they feel can start as a rookie. Otherwise, Parnell's salary is pretty reasonable in accordance with his performance last season.
Heading into this offseason, Parnell is the only free agent addition to reach the third year of his contract under Caldwell.
2018 Salary (Per Over The Cap): $2.37 million
2018 Cap Savings If Cut: $2.12 million ($250k in dead money)
Thoughts: Let's get this out of the way: $2.37 million is a lot of money for a punter.
Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis is known for moving on from veteran kickers and punters after a year or two. He moved on from Adam Podlesh (twice), Mat McBriar and Connor Barth during his previous four stops.
Nortman has produced ups and downs with the Jaguars. There have been MVP-level outputs and game-changing blunders. That inconsistency could force the Jaguars to move on this offseason.
Jacksonville could choose to move on to a younger punter in the draft or undrafted free agency. It would be a cost-effective move at a position that typically doesn't need heavy spending.
2018 Salary (Per Over The Cap): $6.93 million
2018 Cap Savings If Cut: $3.68 million ($3.25 million in dead money)
Thoughts: While his contract still has plenty of dead money, Ivory sure seems like a goner at this point. He was inactive for the last two games of the Jaguars' playoff run, despite being the lone running back with postseason experience. He may not have played against the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round if T.J. Yeldon had been healthy.
Ivory was one of the few free agency misses for the Jaguars over the last two offseasons. He was expected to be a tag team partner for Yeldon in 2016 but both failed to deliver to the point that the team spent their fourth overall pick on Leonard Fournette last offseason.
Ivory's veteran presence was necessary for games when Fournette was sidelined, but for the most part, he wasn't worth his lofty salary.
Ivory seemingly still has some gas left in the tank but not to the point where it's worth spending nearly $7 million on him next season. The Jaguars have seen Yeldon and Corey Grant grow into solid options behind Fournette, so dropping Ivory would be nothing short of a formality at this point.
2018 Salary: $3.5 million
2018 Cap Savings If Cut: $500,000 (Correction: Over The Cap listed Jones' savings as $3.5 million but a league source told First Coast News that he still has $3 million in guaranteed money left on his deal)
Thoughts: Jones somewhat fits into the Parnell category. He doesn't make a lot of money for a rotational nose tackle with starting experience.
The Jaguars are set to pay the duo of Malik Jackson and Marcell Dareus around $25.6 million next season. That's a lot of cash for the defensive tackle position. However, both produced down the stretch and in the playoffs this past season. Jones could become expendable if the Jaguars want to invest elsewhere.
Still, Jones provides a versatile presence behind both big money defensive tackles. He can start at three-technique and nose tackle and has experience at both positions. Jones is one of the more well-liked players in the locker room and is one of Caldwell's hidden gem discoveries.
The Jaguars may ask for Jones to take a pay cut but either way he probably sticks around for another year.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.