One thing is clear: the Jaguars' secondary needs a dramatic makeover; we can all agree on this. How to go about fixing this problem is the issue. For the past year, Jags fans have had many different roster ideas and scenarios, and Rashean Mathis has been the most considered. Many fans are unhappy with Mathis and think that he has leaped past his prime. Another majority would like to see him moved back to a position he hasn't played full-time since college, at Free Safety. Personally, I side with the idea that poor safety play and musical chair pass rushing was the catalyst for many of those dropped coverages that appear to have been his fault last year. Again, whatever your perspective, we can all agree that the five defensive spots last year [Mathis, Cox, Middleton (nickle), Greene, Carey] are simply not adequate.
During the draft, two of those spots were addressed with mid to low round picks. While we haven't seen what Rod Isaac or Chris Prosinski can do yet, the word from the Jaguars staff has been that Isaac should be able to slide right in at Middleton's spot and Prosinksi can eventually develop into starting material. Even NFL Madden likes Prosinski. At minimum, I think these guys shouldn't have a problem finding spots on the roster as role players, but it would be irresponsible to believe that a couple picks in the 4th and 5th rounds are going to be the solution.
There are two names headlining the Free Agent Defensive backs, whenever free agency begins, and we all know who they are: Eric Weddle and Nnamdi Asomugha. Sure, Asomugha doesn't appear to have the Jags' target on his back, but of all acquisitions thus far under Gene Smith, who has? With Mathis having many tools to be solid at the Free Safety Position, Prosinski would have the time to mature at the position and be more capable of ultimately getting a starting position, if he's worth it. This would be a fairly safe project because at 31, Mathis should be solid for another couple years at FS, and whenever he does slip, it won't be as big of a problem replacing a starting safety as it would be a starting quality corner (assuming he hasn't already lost the job to Prosinksi at that point). Signing Asomugha could make all this happen.
There are a few downsides to signing Asomugha over Weddle (if given the choice). The first issue is age. Asomugha is only a year younger than Mathis, and while he might still appear to be in his prime, his play could potentially trail off simultaneously with Mathis (whenever that happens) and that would leave us in need of two spots in the secondary all over again. Weddle, on the other hand, is 26 and still ascending in his prime. Secondly, would Mathis be willing to resign with the Jaguars with a FS role and lesser pay at the end of the 2011 year. Would he be willing to make the adjustment at all? Finally, and most importantly, what will the damage be, monetarily.
While Mathis is projected to make 4.5m this year, Asomugha was projected to make 16.8m in 2011 with the Raiders, so you can count on some inflation with the next team he signs with. Weddle would still be an expensive pickup, but comparatively he would only cost near what the Colts Antoine Bethea just signed at a 4 year 27m contract. That is a difference of probably 45 million dollars over those 4 years. That's a significant difference.
So Lets hear it, BCC community, who would you rather sign?