If there's one player most often linked with the Jaguars in free agency this year it is, without a doubt, Chargers safety Eric Weddle. It seems extremely unlikely that the Jaguars would be content to enter the 2011 regular season with Courtney Greene and Chris Prosinski or Don Carey as the starting safeties again.
So naturally there has been plenty of speculation that Weddle, arguably the best safety in the 2011 free agent class, could be a target for the Jaguars. Even Weddle has said as much. But even if he is the top target for the Jaguars, it's far from a sure thing that he will be signed.
The Jaguars could be outbid by another team interested in Weddle or even the Chargers. ESPN's Bill Williamson believes that resigning Weddle in San Diego is a top priority for the Chargers. A plan B is always necessary.So who could be the new safety for the Jaguars in the event that Weddle plays elsewhere in 2011?
While he might not be the best tackler, Huff is a very good coverage safety that can go toe to toe with some of the best receivers in the league. Perhaps the scariest thing about Huff is that he really never produced much prior to his contract year in 2010.
The guys at ProFootballFocus love Mikell. In fact they not only rank him as the top free agent safety, but as the league's best safety of 2010. He's a very complete safety that provides help in both the passing and running game from the free safety position. What could be problematic is that he will be turning 31 within the next two months and if the Jaguars planning on addressing the safety position long-term during this free agency, he could end up not being a fit.
Manning, like Huff, is a player that was somewhat disappointing his entire career, until his contract year. At age 29, that was four straight seasons of disappointment before he finally became the coverage safety that the Bears envisioned when they drafted him. One bonus about Manning, though, is that he also provides exceptional return ability to whatever team signs him.