The Jaguars' 2015 free agent class will go down as a disappointing haul.
Much like that same year's draft class, the free agency additions have not added enough production to warrant a positive spin. While some of that - like with the draft picks - is due to injury, the talent pool - as a whole - has never really earned it's high-profile billing or pay.
The Jaguars signed cornerback Davon House, defensive end Jared Odrick, tight end Julius Thomas, offensive tackle Jermey Parnell, linebacker Dan Skuta and safety Sergio Brown to headline the off-season. Brown was cut after last season, House and Skuta were benched, Odrick and Thomas ended up with nagging injuries that limited their production and Parnell waited until the final stretch of last season to play "his best football."
The group essentially has team options built into their contracts after two years. Parnell, Skuta, Odrick and House have already received all of their guaranteed money and will not cost the Jaguars anything if they are let go. Thomas still has some bonuses left and would cost $3.6 million against the Jaguars' salary cap if he was cut.
Let's take a look at at each player individually and take a stab at each one of their futures:
2017 Cap Number: $8.3 million
Dead Money: $3.6 million
Production with Jaguars: 76 catches for 736 receiving yards and nine touchdowns (21 games, 16 starts)
The Jaguars shelled out huge money for Thomas in 2015 and the returns haven't been promising. Thomas has dealt with several injuries over his two years with the Jaguars and those ailments have understandably impacted his performance. However, even when he was not on the injury report, he wasn't productive enough to warrant his big money deal. Jacksonville paid him before breakout seasons for Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, so they expected him to be the focal point of the offense.
Instead of delivering on the those large demands, Thomas essentially became a role player, overshadowed by his younger teammates. That would be fine if he was making Marcedes Lewis money ($4.25 million cap hit in 2017), but he is set to be the fourth-highest paid player on the team next year. With Ben Koyack and Neal Sterling showing some flash in his absence, I'm not sure it's worth keeping Thomas, especially at his current salary. Cutting Thomas would cost you some credit on the salary cap, but the Jaguars have a huge pot to work with.
2017 Cap Number: $8.5 million
Dead Money: $0
Production with Jaguars: 41 tackles, 6.5 sacks, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles (22 games, 22 starts)
Odrick was easily the most productive member of the free agent class in its first year. Odrick was dominant against the run and led the team in sacks (5.5) from the "big end" position. Several injuries derailed Odrick's second season in Jacksonville, but when he was able to play, he made an impact. Still, Odrick will be the third highest-paid player on the roster next season and could save the Jaguars $8.5 million on the salary cap if he were to be cut.
Odrick is working to return from a shoulder injury that may keep him out of action for a few months. If he sticks around, he will have to fit into a new scheme with a new head coach. He can play in plenty of places along the defensive line, but has a similar skill set to cheaper veterans like Sen'Derrick Marks and Tyson Alualu. Plus, third-year defensive tackle Michael Bennett will return from injury and Sheldon Day is expected to have a larger role. Smaller contracts and youth may force Odrick off the roster.
2017 Cap Number: $6 million
Dead Money: $0
Production with Jaguars: 77 tackles, 23 pass breakups, four interceptions, one forced fumble (32 games, 19 starts)
It's been a whirlwind for House in Jacksonville. He was highly-productive in his first season with an outstanding 23 pass breakups and four interceptions. His takeaways in 2015 were more than the entire secondary produced as a group during this past season (3). However, he was benched in 2015 for a game (which proved to be a mistake) and then was benched for good in the middle of this past season. House kept quiet for the most part and continued to mentor cornerbacks Aaron Colvin and Jalen Ramsey.
"It's easy to keep my situation to myself," House said on Monday. "Everyone - especially my [defensive backs] room - knows my situation. They feel - at least the majority - feel the same way I feel about it. But the good thing about it is I know I can play ball. Look at last year and I did some good things this year. People get scored on, people get balls caught on them. That's going to happen in this game, no one plays perfect."
It's safe to say that if Todd Wash returns as the defensive coordinator, House has little shot at returning. If a new head coach comes in and implements a man coverage system, he may want to keep House around. The biggest factor will be the potential re-signing of Prince Amukamara. At this point, Amukamara looks like one of the top defensive backs on the market. The free agent class for cornerback isn't good and he can use that to his advantage. Still, the Jaguars have money to spend and liked what Amukamara did last season on a one-year deal.
2017 Cap Number: $6.5 million
Dead Money: $0
Production with Jaguars: 31 games, 31 starts at right tackle
Parnell was a bit of an unknown before being offered a big deal by the Jaguars. He was a career swing tackle for the Dallas Cowboys and only started a handful of games. Still, he was inserted into the starting lineup at right tackle upon his arrival. The big lineman has been up-and-down throughout his tenure. He has had bright moments as a run blocker and a pass protector, but too often feels like the culprit of negative plays.
Parnell is due the biggest salary on the offensive line if left tackle Kelvin Beachum's contract option isn't picked up. I think it'll be hard to fill two or three starting offensive line holes in one off-season, given all the work the Jaguars have to do to upgrade the depth and starting groups. I expect the Jaguars to force a pay cut with Parnell and keep him as the starting right tackle. He should receive competition and if he loses, he can serve as a high-priced, but upgraded swing tackle for a season or two.
2017 Cap Number: $4.1 million
Dead Money: $0
Production with Jaguars: 58 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two pass breakups, one forced fumble (26 games, 10 starts)
Skuta signed with the Jaguars after a career-year with the San Francisco 49ers. He was expecting to be a starting Otto linebacker (under it's true Seattle definition) and ended up just being used as a run-stopping SAM linebacker. The Otto position continued to be a career killer for Skuta, who was eventually benched in favor of rookie Myles Jack. He played quite a bit on special teams and offered up a blocked punt in the closing minutes of the season finale loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
"Yeah, it's been tough," Skuta said on Monday. "[Pass rushing and being a starting linebacker] were the reasons why I came to be a Jaguar, to do those things. It just didn't work out, I'm not sure why. That's just the way it goes sometimes, I guess. I just hope at some point I can get back to being part of a defense and being a main contributor and helping a team win."
Skuta needs to be somewhere that he can actually make plays. He showed several flashes in his first year with the Jaguars and then the team essentially reconfigured the position, which limited his production. He is gone and it's probably for the best.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.